My husband I finished our Whole30 a few weeks ago. We both felt really good by the end and were sleeping well and had more energy.
We’ve continued to eat primarily whole unprocessed foods and did a few test runs with dairy and gluten to see how we feel. Gluten: my ankles swelled up for three days, I got a raging headache and felt really tired. Dairy: not bad but my ‘only ever have while pregnant’ heartburn returned.
It will be a challenge to continue to eat this way but I feel we have a good chance now that both of us are on board. And my husband has started to cook more (yeah!).
The other challenge: the price.
Our grocery bill went up almost 40%. We’re eating a mountain of fresh fruit and vegetables and the best quality eggs, meat and fish that I can find.
Is it worth the money? We think so. But it’s still hard to fathom that a tiny box of organic blueberries, a little treat we all split with our breakfast, costs us $4 USD. We could be eating homemade pancakes or boxed cereal for pennies instead.
Why is it so hard to spend money for the best quality food?
Kristen asked that question the other week and it sparked some great comments on The Frugal Girl. Well worth the read.
I’ve been reading about the ancestral health movement for a few years. After my husband read It Starts With Food we had a discussion about if we could afford to buy the best quality food available to us.
We’re lucky: we can.
Sure, we have to watch other areas of spending. We eat out even less now. That part is kind of easy: no Whole Foods salad bar on the Isle of Man. If we want to come close to eating what we eat at home we have to go to a restaurant and drop $25-$40 per person. Yikes.
But without changing our lifestyle in a dramatic way we can spend more on our food.
Spending according to your values.
Food and clothing have become cheaper and cheaper thanks to manufacturing processes and overseas labour.
See this article and infograph on NPR. I’ve highlighted a few of the differences above.
Some of this is a good thing. Lower income families can afford milk and clothes.
Some of this is a bad thing. More money available for non-essentials has changed our consuming habits. We buy more. More things that don’t last and end up in landfills.
The inexpensive boxed and processed foods that some people eat by choice, and others because it’s all they can afford, are hurting their health.
What’s your health worth?
We’ve put health near the top of our priority list. iPhones which would run as at least $200 a month? Not on the list. A bigger home that would run us another $400-$700 a month? Also not on the list. If we wanted those things we would have to reconsider this increase in spending on food.
The jump in spending on housing between 1949 and 2011 is also striking. It’s worth noting that people are buying (and renting) much bigger homes today. In 1950, the average new house was less than 1,000 square feet; in 2000, the average new house was over 2,000 square feet. – NPR What Americans Buy
Many of the commenters on Kristen’s post said that high quality food was a priority for their family and they did without a lot of other things to afford food that was local, humanely raised and organic.
Three years ago I would have said we couldn’t afford organic. Actually, I did say it to friends when the discussion came up.
Organic is a fortune.
I can’t justify the cost. We can’t afford it.
Of course, we had an expensive cable package and a whole list of other expensive non-essentials and things we couldn’t afford on our credit card bill. We were in a lot of consumer debt. Buying better quality food wasn’t a priority of mine at the time.
I didn’t see it that way of course. I thought a lot of things we spent money on were things we had to have.
This is a question of both luxury and value. It’s luxurious to have the means to buy organic. It’s also something that’s value for increasing health is debatable. I’m not inferring that if you have the means to buy organic but don’t you aren’t prioritizing your health. There are many ways to prioritize health and eating high quality food is just one debatable spoke in a big wheel of things you can do or spend on for your health.
What fascinates me is that I, and I am sure many others, often confuse not being able to afford something with not making it a priority.
I’m actually trying to use the phrase ‘we can’t afford that’ less and saying ‘it’s not a priority for us’ more.
The fact is we could afford a bigger home, a car, private school or a whole host of other things (not all of them though) if they were a priority for us. But they’re not.
If you have the luxury, how do you talk to your kids and friends about why you prioritize spending on the things you do? Do you tell people ‘we can’t afford that’ for things that your family has no interest in spending money on?