The following "hippie" post is for you, Katie Steiner. May you mock me for the rest of my life.
A self-proclaimed frugalista, I would rather die than pay too much for something. I routinely buy toothpaste and shampoo for under a dollar. I'd rather repair and reuse than throw away and waste. I don't look twice at most things unless they are on sale. However, when it comes to food, I stretch this ideal a little.
Chris and I have recently made some huge changes in our eating habits. A couple of months ago, we "de-high fructose corn syruped" our house, waved good bye to most packaged snacks and anything else with iffy ingredients. Meat is a once or twice a week event, and we try our best to buy hormone-free organic milk and eggs from cage-free, vegetarian fed chickens (are those other chickens NOT vegetarian fed? scary.).
A lot of people think we're weird.
We initially made these changes because we were sick of being fatties. We both have a good bit of weight to lose, but popping in a lean cuisine and eating off a plastic tray every night did not sound appealing. So I experiment on my poor husband who graciously eats my attempts at wholesome cooking like lentil soup and homemade bread (delicious) and tofu breakfast sausage (which will take some getting used to).
I had a 2 hour break between classes on Monday and was itching to get off campus. I was SO hungry and did not bring lunch. Regardless of my lack of money and commitment not to put junk into my body, I pulled into a Chick-fil-a and let the glorious aroma of chicken waft into my nostrils. I read the menu, picked out what I wanted....and left without getting anything. I was pretty proud. Hungry, but proud.
After letting my low blood sugar allow me to briefly entertain the idea of stealing a loaf of bread, I had a brilliant idea. I waltzed into the Whole Foods down the street and stepped into the glorious land of free samples. I grabbed a basket and pretended to shop while I had a lunch of the most beautiful free samples ever to be seen by man. Orange slices, turkey pastrami, smoked provolone, broccoli & carrots with dressing, pineapple wedges. Oh. my. Probably the best little lunch I've had in awhile.
(I'm not endorsing doing this regularly. I ended up feeling guilty and bought a lemon and some wheat germ.)
While I was munching on my free carrot, I wandered around and checked prices. As the main grocery shopper in the house, I'm familiar with how much certain food items usually cost. I discovered that if I pushed past the prepared foods and the novelty items, either at Whole Foods or Winn Dixie (or Walmart or wherever you shop) there is an entire world of wholesome, affordable, delicious food that doesn't come in a McDonald's wrapper.
My grocery cart looks a lot different these days. I came home today with black beans and walnuts from the bulk bins, organic milk and eggs, hemp milk & frozen fruit (Which I made delicious smoothies out of). Eating like this can be expensive. In the U.S., it's way cheaper to rot your insides than to make a good wholesome meal. But I'm determined to make it work.
The moral of the story is:
Stay with in your budget and eat delicious, wholesome food. You'll be rewarded with a long life and free samples.