My Journey To a Whole Foods Diet

My husband and I have been married for almost five years. We have one year old twin boys and I am busy making a home for our family. One very important aspect of being a Biblical homemaker is making sure that my family is eating healthy. Join me as I dive into this series and share what a whole foods diet is and how you can begin your own journey towards healthy eating today! 

Healthy Eating 101

My Journey to Whole Foods

When we got married, I knew how to cook. I mean, I knew the very basics. I could pull out a recipe and follow it. But I didn’t really know how to cook. I didn’t have this natural instinct or skill of throwing together meals and recipes. I realized after watching my mom that she could just rummage in the fridge, pull out random ingredients, and make a delicious meal in minutes. This is the skill that I lacked and I knew that as a homemaker I needed to get to that point!

I still can’t make up killer recipes very well, but I have come a long way in these 3 1/2 years. As I began my journey of cooking, I bought cookbooks, browsed the internet (and later Pinterest), and learned all the new recipes that I could. But I still lacked something. I lacked the basic goal behind my cooking. I wanted to make yummy and healthy meals for my family, but what “healthy” meant seemed to change with the latest news headline.

How many grams of fat and carbs is too much? Is skim milk healthy or not? Sweet and Low is the way to eat healthy without sugar right?? It all seemed so confusing so I generally tried to make healthy things like beans, chicken, and “whole wheat” pasta. I was making a concerted effort to feed my family healthy! But I was wrong. I wasn’t cooking healthy. I was pumping my family full of sugar, sodium, and chemicals.

Healthy Eating 101

Around this same time we found out that my husband has high blood pressure and high cholesterol. We had suspected it for some time, it runs REALLY high in his family. His grandfather died at 41 from a heart attack so we knew that we always needed to be sensitive to it.

We found out for sure that my hubby has high blood pressure and cholesterol in the summer of 2011. The doctor sent us home with a low sugar low sodium diet pamphlet and suddenly I was on my own figuring out how to lower the sodium and sugar for my family.

Our doctor recommended a diabetic diet so I began researching. I got a diabetic cookbook and started searching online. I got the same advice: switch to artificial sweeteners, don’t use table salt to season food, ect.

And then I began reading food labels. When I went in to buy my “healthy” canned black beans and vegetables I was shocked to find out how much sodium was in each can and often loads of unnecessary and harmful chemicals.

I had to find another way to eat

The shocking news of what is really in our food started to sink in. I wasn’t really feeding my family very healthy. The “healthy,” more expensive whole wheat bread I was buying every week was chalk full of sodium, chemicals I can’t pronounce, and lots of SUGAR! I wasn’t sure what to do, since even the “healthy” alternatives seemed to be so unhealthy! So I grabbed my iPad one night and started searching ways to eat healthy.

I started with looking for recipes on making dried beans and homemade bread.  And a whole new world opened up to me. I stumbled upon a “real food” blog late that night while finding out how to make dried beans in the crockpot. What I found was fascinating! There was this whole diet out there that focused on eating healthy food that wasn’t processed or refined. I found a diet that didn’t include un-needed sugar, chemicals, and other toxic things. And better yet, I found a diet that is easy to follow and one that isn’t a “fad”.

Healthy Eating 101

You see, the real/whole foods diet has been around for centuries. Adam and Eve were eating the whole food diet, not Weight Watchers. Our great great Grandmothers were feeding their family the whole food diet, not this processed junk we pass off as good food today. From that night I started devouring what it means to eat a whole foods diet. I have learned so much along the way.

Had it not been for a few blogs sharing this diet, I may still not know about it today. But even with the resources I could find, I was left doing hours upon hours of research trying to really figure out what healthy eating means. I hope to make that part easier for you. All month long we will be tackling all the basic issues of what a whole foods diet is and I’ll throw in some fantastic recipes along the way as well.

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Why Sugar is Killing Us!

By Sienna Balmet, read part 1: The truth about sugar – How bad is it really?

If you read my previous post on the truth about sugar, you now understand that the regular sugar cane people buy in stores is not natural. In addition, it is addicting and has many negative effects on the health of a person’s body. Even though the fact that sugar is not healthy is relatively well know, the truth of how harmful sugar truly is for people is rarely taken into consideration.

Photo by rockindave1

Photo by rockindave1

In his book Sugar Blues, Dufty comments that sugar is needed by people as much as they need the nicotine in Tobacco (180). Wow…that is quite the example. Unfortunately, finding any processed food without sugar is nearly impossible. Check out food labels at the grocery store this week and you will see what I mean.

Nevertheless, people do not only regularly purchase these sugary foods, but also habitually insert additional sugar to their drinks and food as well. Even infant formulas are hard to find without as much sugar as a can of Coca-Cola! If parents feed their babies formula, this much sugar does metabolic damage to a child from their first day of life (Mercola). I do not think any parent would want to do that to their babies.

Getting babies hooked on a substance that is huge in the development of multiple diseases is horrifying. A New Jersey Dentist, Dr. Robert Boesler adds that, “Modern manufacturing of sugar has brought about entirely new diseases. The sugar of commerce is nothing else but concentrated crystallized acid.”

People must come to understand the role sugar plays in acquiring diseases as well as other health problems, so they can re-evaluate eating so much of it.

Sugar Induced Illnesses & Diseases

Obesity is often a result of frequent sugar consumption.

Foods with high glycemic index levels tend to increase our hunger making us want to eat more high GI foods. People then consume too many calories which get stored as fat. A study done in Nutrition Reviews for June 2000 proved that individuals eating a low GI diet stayed full for longer, and over several hours consumed less calories than the subjects eating high GI diets. Also, elevated blood sugar activates the release of insulin which furthers the storage of calories as fat.

The article Diet, Glycemic Index, and the Food Pyramid written in Havard Womens Health Watch, which gets it’s facts directly from over 8,000 researchers and doctors from Harvard Medical School, states,

“Because high-GI foods – such as processed cereals, potatoes, and white bread – are easily digested, they tend not to “stick” with you. These foods cause a rapid elevation in blood sugar; then, after a couple of hours, the blood glucose falls, resulting in a yen for more food.”

So, the more sugary foods a person eats the more they will crave! Ouch! :(

An article in Prevention Magazine discusses the fact that Type 2 diabetes is preventable. In 2005-2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pronounced 34.3% of all adults over 19 years old in the United States of America obese, and in 2007-2008, 16.9% of all children, 2-19 years old, in the U.S. obese. This percentage does not even include the amount of overweight Americans {it simply takes into account those that are technically “obese”}.

Photo by Mel B.

Photo by Mel B.

Sugar Consumption Leads to Obesity

With the number of obese individuals rising, people must investigate how their eating habits may be contributing to the risk of obesity. Evidence makes clearly indicates that sugar consumption leads to obesity, which is a problem since obesity is a primary contributor to the cause of many other diseases.

Diabetes can also be a result of sugar consumption.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when cells become resistant to insulin and sugar consumption triggers the release of insulin. According to the Nurse’s Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study,

“Eating large amounts of carbohydrates with high GI values is associated with an increased risk for adult onset diabetes…”

This may be because after the pancreas has been required to churn out extra insulin to accommodate the extra sugar in the blood stream, the body may eventually become insulin resistant. According to the American Diabetes Association, there are millions of Americans suffering with the consequences of Type 2 diabetes and millions of others unaware that they have it. Also, research done has shown that,

“In 1893, there were fewer than three cases of diabetes per 100,000 people in the United States. Today, diabetes strikes almost 8,000 out of every 100,000 people [in the US]” (Mercola).

Diabetes is a disease that people should strive to prevent, instead of treating it as insignificant and continuing to consume sugar as a regular part of their diet.

Reducing sugar in a person’s diet can help prevent heart disease.

Fructose, another form of sugar, enhances uric acid (Mercola). Uric acid refers to how much acid is present in an individual’s urine. Increase in uric acid leads to inflammation. Moreover, heart attacks and strokes can be triggered by inflamed blood vessels (Mercola).

A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Nurse’s Health Study illustrates that participants with the highest diet of simple carbohydrates and other foods containing sugar had twice the risk of heart disease than participants with the lowest diet of sugar. TWICE the risk!

This strong link between sugar consumption and heart disease is astounding. Even more shocking is the fact that people ignore this evidence or just remain naïve about the contributing factors that lead to extremely dangerous diseases such as heart disease and continue to down sugar by the pound.

Elimination of sugar from a person’s diet has been known to treat the symptoms of illnesses such as heart disease (Dufty 139). Sadly, when people generally go to see a doctor for poor health, the person’s diet is not inquired about or sought to be changed (Dufty 21). Rather than just taking any drugs the doctor prescribes, people should be proactive in finding out what in their diet might be aiding the development of an illness. The heart is one of the most important organs of the human body; therefore, great measures should be taken to protect it-including the limiting of sugar intake.

Intake of sugar is a chief cause of oral disease.

In, “The role of diet and nutrition in the etiology and prevention of oral diseases”, Paula Moynihan, a registered public health nutritionist and state registered dietician, writes that, “Dental caries occur because of demineralization of enamel and dentine plaque by organic acids formed by bacteria in dental plaque through the anaerobic metabolism of dietary sugars” (695). In other words, sugar rots teeth.

Food is a favorite part of many people’s day. We have all had days where we are particularly excited about something that’s in the oven or crockpot, or at least I do. 😉 Well, teeth are what allow people to eat the food they love so much. Nonetheless, little time is spent in the prevention of cavities and other oral diseases.

Sure, people brush their teeth and occasionally even floss, but people rarely consider the effect their food and drink have on their teeth. The number of cavities people normally experience is outrageous. The fact that at 18, I had my first cavity is unusual.

Moynihan asserts that people who regularly consume high amounts of sugar have a much higher amount of cavities than people who consume relatively low amounts of sugar regularly (695). A study conducted showed that the availability of sugar accounted for 52% of the variation in levels of dental caries.

If sugar intake is less than 18kg per person per year, the amount of cavities is low. The lack of sugar availability during World War II was followed by a reduction in dental caries, but was increased when sugar was made accessible again (Moynihan 695). Therefore, the fact that sugar is harmful for teeth is evident. If people want to protect their teeth and remain capable of eating food they enjoy, sugar must be strictly rationed.

Taking Steps Towards Healthy Eating

I know all of this can sound scary and perhaps overwhelming – but we write about the dangers of sugars to help inform you and to help your family make better choices.

We also write this to help our own families stay on track! It’s so easy with our modern diet to allow sugar to creep back in from time to time. But all I have to do is look back on research like this to remember why we have such a strong commitment to cutting out sugar – in all forms.

But of course – there is always grace involved with eating healthyWhile I know it’s important to my family and I to eat healthy and make my home from scratch – I also know that God is sovereign and sometimes our plans just don’t look the way we expect – and that includes things like illnesses that are out of our control!

Read more about the truth about sugar – how bad is it really? And later in the series we will discuss some great sugar alternatives and yummy sugar-free desserts!

The Truth About Sugar: How bad is it really?

By Sienna Balmet 

Who doesn’t love sugar!? People frequently find themselves craving something sweet, and sugar is consistently used to meet that yearning.

Sugar is addicting.

As addicts, I am sure you may have even been tempted to skip over this post and continue to down sugar by the pound…yes by the POUND. People often think they do not eat “too much” sugar because they try to only have a dessert occasionally. However, these people are usually not informed that sugar is found in products regularly consumed. Milk, bread, and a variety of other simple starches contain sugar. 

The truth about sugar: How bad is it really??

Image courtesy of [Victor Habbick] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

All carbohydrates have different Glycemic Index (GI) levels. Glycemic Index refers to how quickly a carbohydrate raises a person’s blood sugar levels (“Glycemic”).

In The 76 Dangers of Sugar to Your Health, Dr. Mercola, an osteopathic physician, claims that people in the 1700’s consumed about 8 pounds of sugar a year, and in 2009 over 50% of all Americans consumed 180 pounds of sugar per year. So, it is obvious that we eat too much sugar!

However, I can picture you now, grasping your highly sweetened caramel frapaccino (yes that is my favorite) and wondering. “So, I love sugar! What’s the problem with it!??” There are many problems with it. Sugar negatively affects the body in various ways. People need to reduce the amount of sugar in their diets. A few of the effects I will be covering in my posts are: obesity, diabetes, heart and oral disease. I will begin by addressing the common belief that sugar is an alright option because it is “natural.”

But, sugar is “natural” isn’t it?!

Many people argue that because sugar is “natural” it cannot be that detrimental for the body, and is a better choice than artificial sweeteners. Honesty time here…I used to be one of these people – standing in the kitchen, generously heaping another cup of the sweet stuff into my chocolate chip cookie dough and confidently proclaiming to anyone around, “Hey, don’t judge me! At least it’s all natural!”

The article Real Sugar vs. Artificial Sweeteners: Which is Better? shares how people argue that because sugar has been around for so long and the body knows how to break it down using insulin, it has to be alright (Kutes). The fact that artificial sweeteners are harmful to the body is true. These sweeteners are chemically-laden and the long-term effects they might have on the body are unknown (Kutes).

Although these artificial sweeteners are not a good choice as a substitute for sugar, this does not make sugar acceptable to eat. William Dufty, who has written for the New York post, is a promoter of avoiding processed foods. In his book Sugar Blues, Dufty acknowledges the actuality that even if a person was starving, eating sugar is worse than eating nothing because,

[sugar] drains and leeches the body of precious vitamins and minerals through the demand its digestion, detoxification, and elimination make upon one’s entire system” (137).

Anybody up for a chocolate chip cookie now??

Additionally, to think of the refined sugar people generally eat as “natural” is ridiculous. The chemical process and elimination of all protein and fiber, leaves the sugar cane with just about 10% of the natural plant (Dufty).

Before deciding to use sugar because it may appear as the healthiest “natural” option, a person should thoroughly analyze the negative effects sugar causes.

Up next we will discuss just what exactly sugar does to your body and how it’s killing Americans! Later in the series we will discuss some great sugar alternatives and yummy sugar-free desserts!

What is an easy step you can make to start eliminating sugar from your diet?

A Grace-Filled View on Food

Guest Post by Stacy from Stacy Makes Cents

grace-filled-view-on-food

“And the Lord God said, ‘Go therefore into all the world and eat only organic, whole foods that are grown by local farmers who feed their animals non-GMO corn.” –Fanatical Food Christian 1:1 Uhhhh, no. Sorry, that’s not in the Bible – but sadly, some Christians act as though it is.

Hi, my name is Stacy and I’m a Christian who eats a healthy diet. But, I’ve been put off by a lot of the Christians in this same category who seem to heap criticism on their fellow brothers and sisters for not eating the same “healthy” way. “But, but, but” you yell!!!! “God said, ‘Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.’” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

You bet your bottom He said that. But you know what? He wasn’t talking about food here – he was talking about SEXUAL IMMORALITY. I hate to tell ya, but eating a Twinkie isn’t a sexual morality issue.

I’m gonna talk straight up today about how we should be looking at food – because guess what? FOOD IS NOT A SALVATION ISSUE. Period.

Multigrain Bread

 There are two extreme camps when it comes to food in the Christian world.

1. Eat it All Abraham:

Well, Jesus declared all foods clean in Mark 7:19. That means I can eat whatever I want. At a church potluck, I can gorge myself on Velveeta and Cool Whip. Please pass the Doritos and give me some of that Marshmallow Fruit Dip for my apples because they need a little somethin’ somethin’.  Jesus wants me to be happy and food makes me happy. Life on earth is so short I might as well enjoy all the Hostess cakes I can before I go to heaven to live for all of eternity. I’ll be good later and drink a Diet Coke to balance things out.

TRUTH: I seriously doubt that Jesus meant we should eat as many Doritos as our body could hold. Really. Because the Word also says, “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial…” 1 Corinthians 6:12. You SHOULD be taking care of your body the best way you can with the knowledge that you have. Just because you CAN eat it doesn’t mean you should – quality of life should really be considered here. Yes, your time here is short…but do you want to spend it in pain and agony?

Tiramisu French Toast

2. Organic Obadiah:

I should honor God with my body. In the Garden of Eden, when everything was perfect, Adam ate organic vegetables and prospered. Scientists have messed with our food chain by making food GMO (genetically modified) and if we eat it, we’re saying that’s okay with us. Stay away. Only buy organic. The Word specifically outlines what we should and should not be eating…and frankly, if you’re not following that advice, then you’re not following the Word of God. Shame on you. Haven’t you read The Book?

TRUTH: Yes, God expects us to take care of our body. But he’s not condemning us to hell because we slipped up and ate a Snickers bar on vacation. God shows us grace and He is patient with us. And he is MOST PLEASED when we show love to our brother, no matter his eating habit. Healthy food is good for you, but it doesn’t take the place of our need to rely on God for all our health and wellness. He is the author of life – not us.

Bacon-Cheese Topped Chicken

So, how should we look at food as Christians? Well, I’m not entirely sure about you but this is what my husband and I have decided:

We will eat healthy food and try to eat locally as much as possible. We will attempt to eat whole foods, but don’t wig out if occasionally we slip up and have the #5 meal at McDonald’s.

But, here’s the main point: we will not reap condemnation on those who choose NOT to eat like us…and trust me, that’s most of my family. I will not give a sermon to an overweight mom in the grocery store because her buggy is full of Fruit Loops and frozen lasagna. Instead, I’ll smile at her and give her some love. And when a family member serves me up a nice big plate of broccoli covered in Velveeta, I’ll eat it – because that’s what I believe Jesus would want me to do.

There is a fine line between Abraham and Obadiah – I want to be in the middle…don’t you? I want to eat healthy, while showing love and respect to those who have not made the same choice.

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:31

The Dangers of Sunscreen: What You May Not Know

Sunscreen was created nearly 100 years ago to block our skin from absorbing harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Coppertone was introduced to the market in 1944 as the first sunscreen marketed to the public widely (source). Now, American’s hardly leave the house without slathering on the stuff! But is this practice really safe? Are we really protecting our skin from the sun or further harming our bodies from the chemicals?

Traditional sunscreen has been shown to be toxic and incredibly unhealthy! What is so harmful about this product that is supposed to protect us? Find out more!

Skin cancer is on the rise! You don’t want to get it? Slather yourself with sunscreen every 2 hours. In fact, that’s not enough protection. You need to wear sunscreen everyday of the year because even on non-sunny days, UV rays still come through the clouds. You might as well just wear a suit of suncreen at all times!

That is the typical stance on sunscreen today. And yet, traditional sunscreen has been shown to be toxic and incredibly unhealthy!

So What’s The Deal With Sunscreen?

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation:

From 1970 to 2009, the incidence of melanoma increased by 800 percent among young women and 400 percent among young men.”

I think we need to ask ourselves – why have we seen such a huge rise in skin cancer in the past few decades? Are people in the sun more than in centuries past? I tend to not think so since the days of plowing the fields under the hot sun have been largely exchanged for days sitting in an air conditioned office.

I wonder if our modern lack of modesty has something to do with it? Since 1970, young women’s bathing suits have become smaller and smaller, now hardly covering a thing! Has our culture fallen further into vain attempts at beauty by sunbathing for hours in the hot sun wearing nearly nothing  contributed to the rise in skin cancer by 800%? Maybe. But modern medicine’s magical lotion, sunscreen, is falling short on protecting American’s from skin cancer.

The Largest Organ of Our Body

Anything that we lather on our skin {lotions, perfumes, deoderant, makeup, ect} is quickly absorbed into our blood stream. As we all know from elementary school, the skin is the body’s largest organ! What does this mean?

Chemicals can be absorbed through skin and into the blood stream causing toxic effects. The chemicals may also cause reactions on the skin surface. Some individuals may be particularly sensitive to a compound or a plant and others may experience little or no effects from contact.” ~ EXTOXNET {Cornell University, Oregon State University, the University of Idaho, and the University of California at Davis}

This really makes me think twice as most modern “beauty” and “skin care” products contain dozens of toxic chemicals including “carcinogens, reproductive toxins, endocrine disruptors, phthalates, nitrosamines, lead, heavy metals and formaldehydes” {source}. Some studies estimate that up to 60% of what we put on our skin gets absorbed directly into our blood stream. According to one study, “the underarms and genitalia showed up to a 100% absorption” (Kasting, 2005).

According to OSHA, in reference to chemicals and toxins in the workplace,

Most chemicals are readily absorbed through the skin and can cause other health effects and/or contribute to the dose absorbed by inhalation of the chemical from the air. Many studies indicate that absorption of chemicals through the skin can occur without being noticed by the worker. In many cases, skin is a more significant route of exposure than the lung.”

What is so Harmful About Sunscreen?

Not everything we put on our skin is bad. For example we readily take hot baths and apply aloe vera to our skin…and that isn’t toxic! It all depends on what you are lathering on your skin. Many natural products are safe to use such as pure aloe vera to your skin or beeswax for your lips. But most sunscreens on the market are not safe and the toxins can be absorbed easily into your bloodstream and your body. Even with the FDA cracking down on sunscreen, there is more you need to know!

Vitamin A {AKA retinyl palmitate and retinol}

Retinal is a common ingredient in sunscreens and makeup and takes on an anti-aging property. However, according to the Environmental Working Group,

It is used in regular makeup as an anti-aging ingredient but, perversely, has been shown to hasten the development of skin tumors and lesions on sun-exposed skin. Data on the potential skin cancer risk of retinyl palmitate have been public since 2010, but most sunscreen makers have not removed this chemical from their products.”

According to CNN, “Government-funded studies have found that this particular type of vitamin A may increase risk of skin cancer when used on sun-exposed skin. However, these reports have been in mice and evidence has been inconclusive for humans.” Vitamin A is not an essential ingredient in sunscreen so until the studies are conclusive, I will not be using sunscreen with this ingredient! Read more about the problem with Vitamin A and learn more about Vitamin A studies.

Just one of THREE sunscreen displays at my local walmart - makes you wonder about this BILLION dollar industry!

Just one of THREE sunscreen displays at my local walmart – makes you wonder about this BILLION dollar industry!

Oxybenzone

Oxybenzone should be avoided at all costs as studies have linked it to skin cancer and as a hormone disruptor. According to EWG,

“It soaks through skin, triggers allergic skin reactions in sensitive individuals and may be a hormone disruptor. The FDA has yet to review any data on the potential toxicity of oxybenzone and other chemical sunscreen ingredients, despite evidence they can mimic hormones (Krause 2012) and have been detected in urine and breast milk samples (Schlumpf 2010, Calafat 2008).”

While the FDA insists that it’s a safe ingredient, the bottom line is, it has not been effectively tested. The studies that have been done have largely been ignored. What we need is further testing…or simply avoid this potentially toxic ingredient.

Finding Safe Alternatives

Vitamin A and Oxybenzone are only two of dozens of chemicals that are in modern sunscreens. Personally I am leery of so many chemicals {especially so many that are shown to be toxic} that are lathered on my skin. It’s a breath of fresh air to see natural sun screen alternatives with ingredients you can actually pronounce and know what they are as opposed to the long list of ingredients in normal sunscreen. 

So the next time you walk into Walmart to pick up a bottle of sunscreen – please think twice! I know it can seem overwhelming but there are safe and natural alternatives! This month we will dive deeper into all things sunscreen and we will extensively cover natural and safe alternatives for fun in the sun but until then, review this list of things to void in the sun and safe sunscreens to use! And here are 9 surprising facts about the sun.

Sources for further study:

  1. http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/your-sunscreen-might-be-poisoning-you
  2. http://extoxnet.orst.edu/tibs/cutaneou.htm
  3. http://www.we-be-healthy.com/skincare/
  4. http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/16/health/sunscreen-report
  5. http://www.ewg.org/2013sunscreen/the-problem-with-vitamin-a/
  6. http://www.ewg.org/2013sunscreen/9-surprising-facts-about-sunscreen/
  7. http://www.ewg.org/2013sunscreen/what-not-to-bring-on-vacation/
  8. http://www.ewg.org/2013sunscreen/best-sunscreens/best-beach-sport-sunscreens/

What do you think about sunscreen? What does your family use?

 

What does it mean to make my home from scratch?

I am on a journey. A journey that will last my entire life. I am on a journey towards discovering – and living out – what it means to be a Biblical, God-honoring, Proverbs 31 homemaker.

Along this journey I have discovered that the quick fixes in life are rarely easy solutions and that the good things in life are worth fighting hard for – a prayer filled life, saturating your mind with scripture, enjoying your kids, loving your husband, crafting healthy meals and a natural lifestyle so my family can better serve God’s Kingdom – it all takes intentional thought, hard work, and prayer!

I am on a journey. A journey that will last my entire life. I am on a journey towards discovering – and living out – what it means to be a Biblical, God-honoring, Proverbs 31 homemaker.

The Homemaker’s Duties

It’s so easy to get overburden in this life. We pile on unrealistic expectations that we equate with godliness. Is your kitchen spotless and those perfect pinterest brownies are baking away in the oven – but in the meantime you are screaming at your kids and you have yet to bow your head in prayer today or open God’s Word? It’s so easy to get entangled in false ideas on what a Biblical homemaker should look like, we need to turn to the one source we can trust – God’s Word, specifically Titus 2 and Proverbs 31: 10-31.

And so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. ~Titus 2:4-5

What does being a Biblical, Godly Homemaker look like?

  • Older women are supposed to be involved in mentoring younger women
  • We are to actively and consistently work at loving our husbands and our children {even when they are late for dinner or track mud through the kitchen}
  • We are to be self controlled and pure in our life which extends to our speech, attitude, demeanor, and thoughts
  • We are to work at home. Other translations say “homemakers” NKJV, “to be busy at home” NIV, “keepers at home” KJV. These all bring with it the idea of having your primary job and responsibility be your home. Working hard to keep your home, manage it, and to be busy taking care of your family.
  • We are to be gentle, kind, and submissive to our husbands.
  • A wife who follows these Godly principals is more precious then fine jewels and riches {Proverbs 31:10}
  • We are to diligently seek out materials and resources for our family {Proverbs 31:13}
  • We are to seek far and wide, doing what is necessary to get healthy, clean food for our family {Proverbs 31:14}
  • Gathering, preparing, and serving food for her household is a big {and important} part of her daily routine {Proverbs 31:15}
  • We can be industrious if it serves our family. We can plan, invest, and even grow food by our own hands {Proverbs 31: 16}
  • We are to think about and plan all aspects of our household – from warm winter clothing to beautiful bed coverings to helping feed the hungry and needy {Proverbs 31:18-31}

Learning Lessons From Scripture

What is the point of trying to resemble a Titus 2 and Proverbs 31 women in our speech, character, attitude, and thoughts?

That the Word of God may not be reviled

We diligently work hard to be wise keepers of our home because we want to share with others the Good News of God’s Word. The NKJV says “that the word of God may not be blasphemed”.

When the world looks at Christians, this should be their first glimpses of Christ. They should see our chase, gentle, and pure spirit’s and be able to see the Good News in our lifestyle. We can do this by modeling Titus 2. We can put on love for our husbands, children, and households and show what it means to live by Biblical standards.

 A Woman Who Fears the Lord is to be Praised

What is the point of setting the Proverbs 31 woman as our standard? This excellent wife is praised in Scripture for being a Godly woman. The Queen tells this passage to her son, instructing him in the kind of woman he should find to marry.

Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates. ~ Proverbs 31: 28-31

The point of living our life measured against this standard isn’t for earthly man centered glory for ourselves – but rather to bring honor and glory to God, above all else!

We model our lives according to this standard because God’s Word instructs us too. We are to love our husbands and our children, work hard in our home, and ultimately bring glory to God through these actions.

On a Practical Level – Being a Godly Homemaker

Now that we see what the Biblical model is, how do we live this out?

Many people praise the modern inventions of our day. Most of us no longer have to toil away under the hot sun all day just to gather our food. Modern conveniences allow us to not spend any time in the kitchen if we don’t want too – in fact you don’t even have to have a kitchen at all with fast food restaurants on every corner.

We have modern, time saving appliances like washing machines, microwaves, and vacuum cleaners. We should be more advanced then the women of the Bible. We should be able to go far beyond what the Proverbs 31 wife did because we should have 10 times more time on our hands right? Gone are the days of having to rise while it is still dark just to make breakfast!

But have all of our modern, time saving devices and conveniences actually hurt us and not helped us?

With all your free time that processed convenience foods can give you, do you spend that time in God’s Word? Or what about in prayer? Do you fill your time playing with your children and cultivating a deeper and more loving marriage with your husband? Do you take advantage of this new time and practice hospitality by inviting others into your home?

Or, do you fill up your time with other things? Do you zone out on television for hours every night? Do you find yourself making excuses why you can’t spend quality time with your kids because you are “just too busy”? Do you use this same excuse with your husband or reaching out serving others?

On a more basic level, have all of these time saving conveniences of our modern age hurt your family? Such as health, mental clarity, and strength and ability to serve His Kingdom?

Being Busy at Home

When I look at how the Proverbs 31 women scheduled her day, I can think of only one thing: She was the very definition of what it means to be busy, keeping her home.

This excellent woman at servants at her disposal. She could have ordered them to rise early and make breakfast. The Queen was instruction her son on the kind of woman to find who would one day become Queen over Israel.  This princess would have vast resources at her fingertips and yet – the Prince is taught to find a woman who is a mighty worker. This woman had time saving resources at the snap of her finger in the form of loyal servants and vast resources.

But she chose instead to be a hard worker at home. I think there is value in forming your character when you choose to work hard instead of laziness – but that is another topic for another day.

Homemaking From Scratch

So why am I choosing to take making my home from scratch so seriously? In fact, I’m taking it so seriously that I’m launching a brand new blog all about it?

As a Christian Homemaker, I think it’s my responsibility and privilege to make sure my home and family is healthy. I want to help my husband to have enough energy to accomplish his daily work. I want to help grow my children up into strong Christian servants. I want to use our resources wisely, and stretch every dollar as far as it can go.

And more importantly – I want to honor God in my homemaking.

When I look at the Proverbs 31 woman, I see someone who isn’t afraid of hard work. She rises early, goes to bed late, and makes sure her family is healthy and taken care of. She is invested in the small details of life such as making sure they have fine bed coverings and warm clothes for the winter.

She knows the value of working hard for her family – Because it helps build Godly character. And in our day when modern convenience and processed foods are filled with toxic junk, I can’t feed knowingly feed this to my family. When I discover unhealthy, toxic ingredients in things like household cleaners, I can’t knowingly expose these to my children and husband.

What does it mean to create a Biblical home as a Godly Homemaker?

Since these modern devices and foods don’t seem to be saving us any real time anyway – since we are collectively busier than ever as a nation – then I want to harkon back to a simpler time.

I want to do my morning devotions while the bread is baking in the oven.

I want to spend precious moments laughing and playing with my children as we hang the laundry out to dry in the back yard.

I want to create a loving, Christ Centered family that is focused on HIS word and not modern, popular culture.

I want to teach my kids what it means to work hard, be diligent, and profit from the work of your own hands to build character, dilience and most importantly – Godly character. 

I choose to make my home from scratch because it’s the best way I know how to create a Christ Centered, healthy, vibrant home that is focused on serving the Lord to the best of our ability but never letting creating a healthy home become an idol in your heart.

We will be focusing on all things from scratch here at Homemaking From Scratch. Come back as we discuss what it means to be a Biblical woman and craft a healthy, non-toxic home for your family! Follow us on Facebook or fill out our form below to get FREE updates via email!

Why do you choose to make your home from scratch? It’s worth an in depth look at your life.

*Top Image courtesy of [Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What does living Natural have to do with being a Christian?

When “going green” and organic products first started becoming popular, I thought it was a wordly-hippie-waste of time. I thought, and still do think, that God is sovereign over this life and this world. The book of Revelation in Scripture clearly teaches that God will end the world on his time line {Matthew 24:36, 2 Peter 3:10, Revelation 21:1}. Never again will the earth be destroyed by a flood {Genesis 9:8-17}, but instead by fire will this life pass away and our new life will begin {2nd Peter 3:4-10}. {Does this scare you? There is HOPE!}

It is not in our hands to control the fate of this world. I thought that was all the the “green” movement was about. Saving the environment. Or the panda’s or something. And besides, I don’t have money for all these expensive “green” and organic products. I thought you would have to be a millionaire to really eat and live that way. I just didn’t understand.

We glorify God in our bodies when we take care of them in a way that we have the energy and stamina to serve him more fully. A healthy lifestyle promotes more energy and mental clarity to work hard at our jobs, take care of our home, diligently teach our children, love our husbands, and serve God’s church. READ MORE!

My eyes were opened

I thought we ate fairly “healthy”. We had protein bars as snacks. We didn’t eat red meat very often and didn’t have desserts all the time. And I even bought whole wheat bread! Sure we had boxed and canned foods mixed in with fresh foods…but we were “mostly” healthy and I really thought I was doing a decent job.

I thought this until we found out my husband’s cholesterol and blood pressure was way too high for a 25 year old man! I knew that we didn’t want him on medicine the rest of this life so I began doing research. I started coming across articles and books that showed that maybe salt itself isn’t terrible. And red meat can have a place in your diet. And GASSP! Fats can be healthy?

My dietary world was turned upside down and I started researching everything I could! From eating healthy I started learning about toxins in other things such as my hand lotion, window cleaner, and laundry detergent. Slowly I have been converting our house into a healthy, non-toxic environment…or as much as I can that is in my control!

What does this have to do with being a christian?

Trying to live a healthy life and making many foods from scratch takes a lot of time, energy, and resources. Quickly I had to decide if this was worth my time and money. Should I be spending precious time and energy on making things from scratch?

After all, we have such a limited amount of time on this earth! As a Christian, I know I will one day account for the time I spend to God. I don’t want to stand before Him on the judgement day and have nothing to show for my life. I want to vibrantly serve Him and I want my life to be clear to others that I am following the One True God. So how does this all play in with living a healthy life?

We have a responsibility to care for our bodies

In Scripture, God tells us that our bodies are a temple and that we were bought with a price {1 Corinthians 6:19-20}. Because of that, we are not to defile the temple. Specifically, God tells us not to defile our body with sexual sin but in a similar way I think we are supposed to take care of our bodies through proper nutrition, exercise, and creating a toxic-free environment for our families. We need to glorify God with our bodies.

 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” ~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, ESV, emphasis added.

When you are overweight, out of shape, and making poor nutrition choices you will not have as much energy, stamina, or brain power to serve the Lord. We are to be good stewards of what he has given us. And he has given us these bodies for a limited time. We need to care for them to the best of our ability.

We glorify God in our bodies when we take care of them in a way that we have the energy and stamina to serve him more fully. A healthy lifestyle promotes more energy and mental clarity to work hard at our jobs, take care of our home, diligently teach our children, love our husbands, and serve God’s church. And all of that is glorifying to God!

Our goal in healthy living should not be to lengthen our lives but rather be able to more fully serve God.

What does natural & healthy living have to do with our lives as Christians? Find out!

My responsibility as a Homemaker

As a homemaker, God has given me the special task of caring for my family! This is my primary ministry in life – loving, caring for, and serving my husband and children. As the Proverbs 31 woman was busy caring for her household, I want to be busy caring for and creating a healthy environment for my family to live in.

Ways that I can glorify God in my Homemaking while living healthy

1) Use resources wisely

We are not rich. I don’t have money laying around waiting for me to buy expensive organic and specialty food. We are on a tight budget and every penny counts.

That’s why learning how to cook nutritious food from scratch is so important because 9 times out of 10 it can be cheaper!

2) Cook good food!

I don’t know about your family, but my husband LOVES good food! He could never be content eating vegetarian meals or tofu lumps. The good news is that eating healthy can be delicious with just a little preparation and work! In the end I am serving my husband and family by providing food that is healthy and yummy.

3) Train up younger homemakers

Homemaking {& cooking from scratch} is largely a lost art today. Many women enter into marriage woefully unprepared. They stumble into marriage without the most basic of homemaking skills. By spending time learning how to be a healthy homemaker, I can practice the Titus 2 model and pass this down to younger homemakers {and sometimes older ones too}!

4) Allow my family to more fully serve

As I mentioned earlier, I started on my real food journey when we found out my husband had high blood pressure and cholesterol. But as I continued on my journey I realized that things like my constant headaches and tiredness were not normal or okay! By implementing a healthy lifestyle I am able to help my family overcome many of these problems {and help avoid future ones} and free us up to more fully serve God!

When my husband isn’t plagues by illness, fatigue, or headaches and has more energy and mental clarity, then he is more able to provide for his family and serve God in His areas of ministries. I am being a helpmate to my husband by providing nutritious {and delicious} food!

Don’t make an idol out of living healthy

Finally, I want to share a piece of my heart. Learning how to live a healthy lifestyle can quickly become an idol for many homemakers. We want so badly to create a safe, non-toxic, healthy household that we forget who is really in control. While I think we should create a healthy home for our family to the best of our ability {without sacrificing other areas of our life}, we need to remember that God has numbered our days {Psalm 139:16} already and nothing we do will add a single hour to our life {Matthew 6:27}.

“Some godly people who exercise regularly and eat well drop dead at every age. And some sedentary overeaters live to be ninety. Our days are set by God, not us. You won’t live a day longer or shorter than God decides. But keep in mind that some people have survived the plunge over Niagara Falls. That doesn’t make it wise.” ~ John Piper, Physical Exercise: What I Do and Why

Getting Real in My Kitchen

This year I have several goals when it comes to my homemaking. I don’t ever want to be stagnant in my quest towards becoming a better homemaking, wife and mother who brings glory to God. My main focus right now is in the kitchen. This year I’m getting REAL in my kitchen…and converting to a whole foods diet!

I am on a quest and a journey right now towards making sure my family is eating healthy. I have been discovering what it means to eat a truly healthy diet and cook yummy nutritious meals for my family!

Here are some tips I’ve learned along this journey as well as some resources to help get you started!

Tips to a Healthy Kitchen

1)  Throw out all your packaged Foods

Packages foods are usually the most processed. They most likely contain fillers and chemicals that are unhealthy and even dangerous!

Learn to avoid things such as artificial food coloring, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, preservatives and more! Here’s a handy guide on 7 things to avoid when shopping.

Throw out all the processed, packaged junk and learn to make things from scratch. For example, did you know it’s MUCH cheaper {and healthier and super easy} to buy a bag of dried beans and cook them yourself  rather than buying canned!?

2) Learn to Read Food Labels

This is key to having a healthier kitchen! Many items that are labeled “healthy” or “natural” or “low fat” are actually the opposite!

It can be overwhelming to know where to start and what to look for when reading labels so here is a great explanation for how to read food labels.

3) Experiment in the Kitchen

If you are used to a highly processed diet then switching to a healthy diet may leave you stumped!

I never grew up eating many vegetables and even as an adult I have never really cared for them. But when I realized I really needed to get more in our diet, I decided to experiment with how to make the best tasting vegetables and this has led to many of our favorite recipes!

Start experimenting with new foods and I’m sure you will discover new favorites along the way!

I am learning how to make sourdough from scratch and I know it will be a new family favorite!

4) Connect with other Homemakers

Learn from others around you. Ask how your friends and ladies at church make certain dishes and be ready to share your secrets as well!

Homemakers shouldn’t be in competition with each other! Rather we should be learning and growing together for the sake of our families and for God’s glory!

Join us on Facebook to connect with other homemakers and have discussions centered around how to raise our families for God’s glory!

5) Do your research!

I didn’t truly know what eating healthy was until one day I stumbled across the 100 Days of Real Food blog. My eyes were opened and for 2 1/2 years now I have been researching what it means to really eat a healthy diet!

Here are some great websites to help you on your journey:

Those websites provide some great knowledge when you are starting out and if you want to dig even deeper {and broaden your recipe base} then here are some fantastic eBook resources you should check out!

Cookbooks

Crock On by Stacy Makes Cents

A semi-whole foods slow cooker cookbook – packed with a ton of yummy recipes!

20 Minute Meals by Intentional By Grace

Do you need simple, nutritious meals for your family without having to resort to pre-packaged, processed foods or carry-out? Leigh Anne shows you how to do it – and in under 20 minutes!

Real Food Real Easy by various authors

The book is a collaborative eCookbook with more than 70 real food recipes – This book can potentially be all a real food newbie needs (minus the cost of food!) to feed their family in the early days of converting to real food.

Simply Summer by Modern Alternative Mama

Fresh, seasonal summer recipes — exactly what you need when you want to enjoy summer’s bounty. The recipes are light and delicious.

Just Making Ice cream by Just Making Noise 

An awesome book packed full of ice cream  recipes that don’t need a fancy ice cream maker and are made out of nutritious ingredients!

Seasonal Meal Plans by My Humble Kitchen

I LOVE Diana’s menu plans!! I have done a few week so eating in our household off her menu plans and she has some amazing recipes! This eBook of 4 weekly menu plans is awesome :)

Cookbook Favorites!

Cooking from Scratch Cookbooks

Restocking the Pantry by Nourishing Joy

Make Your Favorite Condiments at Home (Without Sacrificing The Store-Bought Flavor You Love)

Wholesome Mixes by Little Natural Cottage

Learn how to prepare, store, and even give as gifts your own healthy, homemade make-ahead recipes!

Cooking from Scratch Cookbooks

Books on Cooking Tips

Money Saving Mom’s Guide to Freezer Cooking by Money Saving Mom

Step-by-Step Instructions for Learning How to Cook for the Freezer

Do the Funky Kitchen by Heavenly Homemakers

Get your kitchen organized and functional (get it? funky…functional) once and for all! Learn to organize and clean your kitchen in easy steps!

The Curative Kitchen by Handy Pantry

A comprehensive food and nutrition resource and step-by-step healthy eating guide

Books on Cooking Tips

Real Food on a Budget {Part 3}: Meat & Dairy

Finding real, whole foods on a budget has become a passion of mine! Slowly, one food at a time have been converting to real whole foods since it can be expensive to eat healthy!

So this year I have started buying more local fresh produce, knowing what I need to buy organic {and what can do without}, making smart choices about dairy {although this doesn’t always mean raw for our budget}, and finally eating more grass fed and pasture raised meats. It just takes some simple steps to start saving money and incorporating more fruits and veggies into your diet is an excellent way to reduce cost and get healthy!

Photo by SMcGarnigle

I have some goals for this year {i.e. buying only organic {& raw} dairy products, learning to can this summer, making all breads from scratch, ect.} and the one I am working on right now is converting our family to all {or mostly all} pasture raised and grass fed meats. You can see why this is so important to my family so I have been working hard on making this a possibility.

Natural & Healthy Shopping on a Budget: Meat & Dairy!

The first thing I want to point out is, buying healthy meat…is expensive. Plain and simple, it costs more to raise healthy meat. The farmer who lets their cows graze all year in their hundreds of acres of land has to charge a lot more for the beef he raises as opposed to the large farm that grows cows in half the time {with the help of growth hormones} on very little land. There is just a difference in price but the different in taste & health can’t be beat!

If you are making it a priority this year {like we are} then there are some great ways to help offset the cost:

Eggs

Because eggs are easy, this was the first thing our family started eating healthier. Here are a few ways to get cheaper healthy eggs

Costco

When all else fails, head to Costco. They have a great price on their organic eggs. You will get a better price at Costco then heading to Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods for organic eggs.

Find a Local Farm

Other than growing your own chickens, this is my favorite option! Find a local farm down the road that you can visit. You can see the living conditions of the chickens and that they are free to roam. You can often get a good deal on organic {or at least organically grown even if it doesn’t have the label} eggs!

Raise Your Own

Other than making sure they have food and water once or twice a day, raising chickens really isn’t that hard. I know it may sound gross {because chickens just seem gross} but buy some chicks, wait a few months, and you will have fresh delicious eggs all year for pennies on the dollar! Don’t think you have enough room for chickens? Get this book. Right now. The Backyard Homestead

Dairy

Right now, my family is committed to eating healthy organic dairy products as much as possible. I hope to switch to raw products in the near future but while I work on our budget, organic it is for now!

Thankfully, you can purchase organic dairy products everywhere {even target & walmart}! So search for area for the best prices.

Whole Foods

While they can be a bit on the pricier side for some things, they offer a huge variety of organic milk, yogurt, kefir, cheese, butter and more!!

Organic butters at our local Whole Foods

Trader Joe’s

This is a favorite stop of mine each week. You can find a decent selection on organic butter, yogurts, kefir, & milk at a decent price.

Costco

Of course Costco has a great price on organic milk and some organic cheeses but not all Costco’s carry the same things.

Find Local Farms

Find some local farms that offer raw or organic milk and cheeses. Or buy the raw milk and make your own cheeses & yogurts!

Chicken

My family eats a lot of chicken! While I’m not the biggest meat eater, I do like chicken. I started realizing that the growth hormones and antibiotics in the chickens I was buying was not okay! But at $14.99 for a chicken at whole foods I didn’t think I could afford it! So my family and I are raising meat chickens this year. They will be ready in about 6 weeks and we will have fresh, healthy, and yummy chicken for the rest of the year for a great price!

Find a Local Farm

Again, find a local farm near you. Ask how they treat their chickens, what they feed them and if they are free range. Ask if you can bulk order a bunch at once to get a good price.

Raise Your Own

This is my favorite option! I never thought we could grow our own chickens for meat but it really isn’t very difficult or time consuming. You can even have a butcher come right to your house to slaughter them all for you {you just have to make room in your freezer}! Or if you are brave enough, you can even slaughter them yourself {we are still trying to decide what we are going to do this year}. Don’t think you have enough room to do this? Go buy {or barrow} The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals. Seriously, it rocks!

Beef

Azure Standard

You can actually order grass fed beef from Azure standard! I haven’t personally done it but I do know some people who get all their beef from Azure.

Buy a Cow {or a half}

This is what we are in the process of doing right now. We found a great local farm that raises grass fed and grass finished beef and we are buying a WHOLE cow. My in laws are taking half and we are taking half. This will give us enough beef for an entire year! And we are getting it a pretty decent price for grass fed beef.

Raise Your Own

What? Raise your own cow? That sounds crazy! Actually, raising a cow for meat is really easy! You just need some room for them to graze and you have everything you need! The butcher will come right out to you and everything. We will be doing this for next year. Find out more about raising cows {even on small land}: The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals

Make one vegetarian dish a week

My husband is NOT a big fan of this suggestion. He feels like a meal just isn’t a meal without meat. So I have to get creative. I make homemade pizza or yummy bean and cheese burritos for dinner. Great creative and your family may not even notice that your meal doesn’t have meat!

If you family isn’t as extreme as my husband, then try skipping meat in your dinner 2-3 times a week. This way you can still get the great healthy meat each time you eat it.

Where to Find Local Meat:

  • Local Harvest – This is the best resource for finding local farms, co-ops, farmer’s markets, and natural stores!
  • Azure Standard – Grass fed Beef and free range chickens
  • Eat Wild – Another great resource for local meat
  • America Grassfed – Learn everything you could ever want to know about grass fed meats

Other Great Resources

***Psst! Did you know that you can get great dried fruit {and so many other great things} from Vitacost for an UNBEATABLE price? AND you can get $10 off your first purchase using the coupon code found HERE.***

Want an easy way to transform your grocery budget and get more nutritious vegetables with every meal? Start a vegetable garden! Don’t think you have the room? ANY space, even an apartment patio or kitchen window, has enough space to give you herbs, fruit, and vegetables all year-long! Find out more and start your garden today with my book, Apartment Gardening: A Practical Guide to Growing Vegetables in Small Spaces!

Real Food on a Budget {Part 2}: Fruits and Vegetables

This month we have been exploring what it means to eat healthy and do it on a budget! Now we will really dive into how to actually convert your diet to healthy real foods without breaking your budget! Start with my simple steps to saving money on a whole foods diet and then continue on to today, part 2, where I discuss where I actually do my shopping and how I save money!

Eating a real, whole foods diet can feel overwhelming at first! It may seem like you HAVE to buy all organiclocally grown foodgrass fed & free range meats, and raw milk, and go totally natural! But in reality, it takes baby steps to start converting your diet. Don’t try and jump into it all at once or you might will feel overwhelmed and give up! Come back next week for my story about converting to real foods and why we are not totally natural!

I was SO overwhelmed when I first began this journey so I want to help point you in the right direction. Slowly I have learned {and I am still learning} how to convert our family slowly to healthier and more natural food! So let’s dig in!

Natural & Healthy Shopping on a Budget: Fruits & Vegetables!

Produce

Produce is the first thing my family started converting. I started researching how to get more vegetables into our diet and this led me to really understanding what the big deal about organic produce is for the first time! While my budget can’t handle my buying organic produce ALL the time, I have committed to purchasing all items off the dirty dozen list organically. Here is how I found to purchase produce within my budget!

Grow Your Own Garden!

This is the cheapest option if you have the time to put into it and the space. For a few cents for seeds or a few dollars for young plants, you can have a whole crop of fruits and vegetables all summer long! Feel like you don’t have the space? I didn’t think so either until I found out that I could have a whole vegetable garden out on my apartment patio! Nearly everyone can grow something even if it’s just a few herbs in your kitchen or a tomato plant or two outside your front door. Get creative and you can save a ton of money on fresh, organic, healthy veggies! 

This summer my in laws are doing a big garden in their back yard so we are staking our claim to part of the garden. 99% of our produce this year will come from our own garden. It saves SO much money but does take a lot of effort. But there is not better way in my opinion to get fresh healthy vegetables into your diet while on a budget! AND learn how to garden in small spaces.

Farmer’s Markets

This is an excellent resource if you have one nearby! If you can’t grow your own produce, then hop online and find your own farmer’s market nearby. Local Harvest has an option to search for farmer’s markets by zip code. You can also try googleing farmer’s markets and searching on Craig’s list.

Farmer’s markets are a great resource because small local farms can come together and sell their produce and goods at a great cost! They can cut out the middle man and sell directly to their consumers. They bring what is in season and it’s usually picked fresh that morning and on your dinner table that night! Since the process to become “certified organic” is a really long and expensive one, many small farms are not certified but still follow organic guidelines. So make sure to ask each farm how they do their produce and goods and you may find that most of them are basically organic!

Photo by Robert S. Donovan

CSA {Community Supported Agriculture}

A CSA or Community Supported Agriculture is when a local farm delivers {or you pick up} a box of fresh seasonal produce 1-4 times a month. You get a box of whatever they are harvesting that week or month so you are always getting something new and it’s always fresh! The advantage is you get fresh, local produce for a great price! The only disadvantage is that you don’t usually get to pick what you get. Often you will get a discount for signing up for the whole season at once! You can also search on Local Harvest for a local CSA in your area.

Local Grocery/Health store

My local grocery store is a good option for produce on the clean 15 list and for last minute purchases. I usually pick up yams or sweet potatoes at my local grocery store and don’t worry about it. Other things that should be bought organically, such as apples, I get at my local Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. Costco also has fantastic prices on seasonal produce and most stores carry a wide variety of organic produce.

Since we don’t have our Spring and Summer crops in our garden yet and because I am still so busy cuddling {and nursing and changing} my twin baby boys a lot of our produce the last few months has been purchased from Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Costco and some at our local Safeway {normal grocery store}.

Organic Apple slices at my local Costco

Come back tomorrow for Part 3 of Real Food on a Budget as we discuss where to find the best deals on meat and dairy! In the meantime read the rest of our posts in our Feed Your Family: Healthy Eating on a Budget Series!

***Psst! Did you know that you can get great dried fruit {and so many other great things} from Vitacost for an UNBEATABLE price? AND you can get $10 off your first purchase using the coupon code found HERE.***

Want an easy way to transform your grocery budget and get more nutritious vegetables with every meal? Start a vegetable garden! Don’t think you have the room? ANY space, even an apartment patio or kitchen window, has enough space to give you herbs, fruit, and vegetables all year-long! Find out more and start your garden today with my book, Apartment Gardening: A Practical Guide to Growing Vegetables in Small Spaces!

 

This post is part of my Feed Your Family ~ Eating Healthy on a Budget series. Catch up on all the posts in this series:

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, but all opinions are 100% my own.