Shopalooza Eating Poorganic Weeks 3-5

I’ve been on an “Eating Poorganically” shopping frenzy lately. I’ve gotten a little confused with the weekly spending allotment and the budget because of starting EP in the middle of one of our summer months, when we had been eating normally.  I should have waited to start EP with a new budget, but alas, I did not.

For those of you reading The Low Ryder who are just joining for Eating Poorganically, I’ll give you a little explanation. My husband is a teacher and is not paid in the summer, so once that end of summer payday rolls around, we are in the MONEY. Well, not exactly. But you get my drift.

Here are the fig-ahs. (That was a British accent. Could you tell?)

We finished the summer within our $500 a month consumables budget having spent $500.89 on our groceries and household items.  We started Eating Poorganically in the middle of that month, so I am not totally sure what our food and non-food breakdowns were, but I am keeping track of that now.We also went on vacation that month during which we cooked out own meals, so I am pretty pleased with that number.

Anyway, Week 3 we spent $98.94 on poorganic food, which is somewhere in that above number.  Here are some photos, but I don’t have everything because I am a slouch and sometimes the ProvidinaTOR gets irritated at me taking pictures of our food, which admittedly, is strange. (Not the food–the photographing it.)

HT $6.28 I had to head back on the last day of super doubles for this free pasta and some other produce that I washed thoroughly. Now that I'm an avid fruit washer with a lovely spray bottle of vinegar solution right at my sink, I'm barely worrying about pesticides anymore. :)

Down Home Bakery $12.50. Local Honey for $9 and $3.50 for a one lb. loaf of bread. I know. It is a lot, but I am just keeping it real and trying stuff out for y'all. I have to say that this bread is VERY good. I've been exploring different options in the "organic bread" world. A Bread post will follow with my findings. :)

Bi-Lo $27.35 for all organic (except the bananas) produce. I think it was this produce that confirmed my decision to just WASH my much cheaper non-organic produce, and attempt to buy locally when possible. It just felt silly to go out of my way to buy "certified" organic apples from NEW ZEALAND when there are perfectly good ones for sale at the Peach Lady's truck. A little swish in a vinegar bath and a scrub and they are fine and dandy in my mind. I'm sure there are some naysayers, to whom I'm happy to recommend some more hardcore organic blogs.

Earth Fare $19.54 This milk was NOT organic, but it was Non-Homogenized, which is supposed to be better. It was also from a more local SC dairy. The yogurts are also not organic, but follow Earth Fare's rules about antibiotics and cow-niceness, etc. I've been reading a lot about dairy and have learned that whole milk is actually better in many ways (other than just yumminess), so we are trying it. (Check the article on my Facebook/EatingPoorganically if you're curious.) I wanted to try the EF Cheerios and I have to say; I might just have to grandfather General Mills Cheerios back into Poorganic eating. There is just NO knock-off that touches them. It's okay. You can say it. I am a Cheerio snob. These EF organic ones were just . . . okay.

Obviously, I don’t have pictures for everything that I bought Week 3, which included $16 worth of plants and seed that I purchased for our garden. There were a few other trips too.

Onto Weeks 4 and 5

Due to some payday confusion and some binge buying, I am putting these weeks together.  Also they will be the beginning of the first OFFICIAL month of Eating Poorganically.  If you recall, we are trying to eat for $85-$100 a week, or at the very worst, no more than $400 a month.

So far this month, we have spent $ 226.

I know (sheepishly).

It is hard doing this.  Here’s a few more pictures  . . . after which I will offer up some pathetic excuses.

HT $28 Items on the left are non-organic and items on the right are organic. As you can see, $28 buys you A LOT more at HT than at EF, where it is harder to coupon. As I've already stated, the produce is washable. The tuna is still an item I'm researching because, try as I may, I cannot find "organic" tuna and I can't even find cans that say "wild-caught," which is supposed to be better. Thus, in the absence of lunchmeat (which is too expensive) I am buying good old tuna. I buy the chunk light which supposedly contains less mercury than albacore. I get points for that, right? The cheese is not organic, but cheese is another issue of mine. Organic cheese is REE-DIC-U-LOOS-LY expensive. I did find that Trader Joes has more reasonable organic cheese, but as that trip was after this one, I was desperate. The ProvidinaTOR hails from WI and my children have that blood in their veins, so while I might get away with reducing meat, little Ryders need their cheese. The peanut butter was free. Additionally, I don't think I'm going to sell us on organic PB, so Skippy Natural or another under 5 ingred PB might have to do. Incidentally all the "no-stir" natural PBs have sugar, and I still have to figure out what "palm oil" is. Anyone? Do I have to explain the Riceworks? Had coupon, relatively healthy, end of story. Any other questions?

Peach Lady's Truck $16 for local Peaches and local Asian Pears. She said that these pears will last two months on the counter as decor if you don't mess with them. Unfortunately, we'll never know. They are delicious. I have decided that being called "Honey-Child" by the Peach Lady is equivalent to organic certification.

Trader Joes $28 I bought both "raw" and organic cheeses so we could compare. These prices are actually just as good as HT (3.99/lb), so I might try to stock up on organic cheeses once a month. Even though I used to get bagged cheeses for like $0.50 each with couponing, I have heard the grate yourself stuff is better because it doesn't have the anti-stick additives. These little grapes were $1.99/lb and are so tiny and yummy. The kids love them. I wish I'd gotten another as I don't plan to go to TJs that often.

ALDI $25 Good old ALDI. I can always count on you. The walnuts at ALDI are the same price as TJs. The honey is $4.50 for 24 oz, which is half the price of the same size bottle of local honey (see above). I am thinking of using the cheaper honey in cooking and saving the local honey for raw consumption. Does anyone know if it makes a difference. In my mind cooking would negate the "localness" somehow. Is this crazy? Since we are trying to reduce sugar, I'm using a lot of honey, so I might have to find a more "poorganic" option. These raisins are not organic. I need to do some more research on how well fruit with pesticides is washed before it is dried or juiced. These might help me know how to feel about non-organic juice and raisins.

Farmer's Market $13. These MUSCADINES are to die for. At first I was annoyed by the seeds, but now I feel deliciously at one with nature sucking that plumpy little fruit and sieving the seeds in my teeth. Even though we have tomatoes on our vines, I am still stocking them continuously for the following reason.

Local Grass-fed Beef and Uncured Bacon $38 Okay, so this was my big CRAZY splurge so far. I am looking into possibly buying some bulk cow, but I wanted to taste the meat first to make sure we like it. Buying it by the pound in small quantities is horribly expensive (obviously), but we are partially doing this for "research." I am glad because one thing I learned is that I will never buy uncured bacon again. It is not the same thing at ALL, so while I can probably use it in soups or pork recipes, I can't substitute it for bacon. The farmer warned me when I bought it that it wouldn't be what I expected. I should have listened to him!! The ground beef was fantastic! We haven't tried the ribeye. I'll let you know if we decide to buy some beef in bulk. Let me know if you live nearby and want to go in together on some cow! :)

 

That’s all the pictures that I have, which isn’t all of the $226, but it gives you an idea of what my shopping trips have looked like! Here are a few observations . . .

a. We are eating well, but whether it is growth spurts or ease of digestion, my kids are CONSTANTLY eating.

b. I am shopping a lot. This is probably because we are eating so much produce that I keep running out to get more.

c. I am cooking more . . . bread, granola, scratch biscuits. I don’t mind it yet, but it might get old. What will we do then?

d. The kids are surprisingly un-phased by the lack of processed and convenience food. Even though we don’t really have crackers or granola bars anymore, they seem to be fine with cut up fruit and yogurt with honey. All of them are really starting to get into hummus, especially when I put black beans in it. (Recipe to follow in another post.)

As for the $226 we spent in two weeks, I know the weeks got kind of screwy somewhere, so I think I might just abandon the week notion and stick to a running tally of where we stand for the month. I hope that doesn’t mess you up too much. Also buying that beef really messed with the total.  Since that meat will be for the whole month, I’m not focusing on the weekly problem.  We still have $174 for the rest of our month, which is about three more weeks. Even though we haven’t come close to spending so little thus far, the shopapalooza means that we are pretty well stocked. I’m hoping that the $174 will be spent almost exclusively on produce and milk.  We are planning to go apple picking this weekend, so all our meals might have apple in them for the rest of the month.

Any questions or things that you are specifically wondering about? What are your reactions so far? Should we keep it up? Is this worth it?

8 Responses to Shopalooza Eating Poorganic Weeks 3-5

  1. Lisa August 31, 2011 at 11:04 pm #

    Hey…we might consider going in on a cow with you. We’ve talked about it. I think it’s cheaper than buying anything at the grocery store and from what a friend told us a few years ago, you can have them cut it however you want. I could be totally wrong as I have NO experience in this. Do you wash ALL your fruits and veges with vinegar water? 1/2 and 1/2 solution? Even strawberries and kiwi with a softer skin? I’ve heard strawberries, apples, and so many more that I love are the highest for pesticides. Anyhow…you’re inspiring. I feel worn out after reading your blog tonight though. 😉 That must have taken a lot of energy.

  2. thefunnysister August 31, 2011 at 11:50 pm #

    Please let us know the specific poundage of beef shown… thank you! :) I am looking forward to having a successful Farmer’s Market trip this Saturday with which to compare some of these items and experiences. Oh…. and you are awesome, sister!

    • TheLowRyder September 1, 2011 at 12:02 am #

      Alas, it is only a little over 4 lbs of meat. 2 ground beef. 1 lb of non-baconish bacon. And a ribeye that is a little over 1 lb. The prices are MUCH better if you buy in bulk. The ground beef was 85% lean, but the farmer said, and I agree, that it seemed much leaner than what would be called 85% lean in the store.

  3. Erin September 1, 2011 at 5:47 am #

    I am loving these posts! You have to keep it up…because once we get over the pond and then over a few more countries… ha ha (did i get my geography right)? I am going to try to do the same. As best as I can. please keep it up!

    love ya… miss you…
    erin

    • thelowryder September 1, 2011 at 9:16 am #

      I can’t wait to hear about how your shopping and eating experience will compare over there. I will have several Eating Poorganic readers in Europe (England, France, and Germany) so I’ll be counting on you guys to keep up informed on how good or bad we have it here in America. :)

  4. Becky September 1, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

    Have you noticed a change in the behavior of your children since cutting out processed foods? I have recently noticed that so many of the processed snacks, foods, drinks, etc that I buy are PACKED with SUGAR! I am trying to buy lower-sugar items, but I wondered if I needed to forgo processed items all-together. Gavin is VERY energetic and hyper and I am wondering if the processed/sugary food would be playing a role in that. Any thoughts on that?

    • thelowryder September 1, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

      Well, you will get ALL kinds of opinions on whether or not sugar causes crazy behavior, so I won’t weigh in on that. Honestly, I wouldn’t say that I have particularly noticed a difference in craziness, necessarily, but I do know that reducing sweeteners and processed foods in general won’t hurt him for sure. I will say that it has not been as difficult as I thought to reduce our processed food intake, AND the kids are taking it much better than I thought they would. You could try doing the REAL or homemade idea that I’m doing, which means that he can have store bought items with five or less “okay” ingreds OR he can have whole foods. Try to make sure that one of the five ingreds isn’t HFCS or sugar, especially if it doesn’t say real cane sugar. I guess a lot of sugar in processed stuff is from “sugar beets” which are often genetically modified, which is supposedly bad. So instead of having “processed” crackers or chips from the store, they can have a banana or some popcorn or baby carrots or grape tomatoes, or cut up cheese, or yogurt (but not tube kind). Much to my surprise, all my kids are liking plain yogurt with just honey on it. I’m pretty liberal with the honey, but I figure it is a compromise.There are TONS of snack and food ideas on 100daysofrealfood.com. OOO, one bit of good news is that TRISCUITS are whole grain and are less then five ingreds with NO sugar. Bring ’em on!. :) Hey, try it and let me know what you think. I’d love to dial Dylan down a few degrees.

  5. Lisa P September 1, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

    I’m pretty sure palm oil comes from a plant and is “semi-solid” at room temp. It’s used in food rather than hydrogenated oils. When so many people became concerned about trans fats from hydro. oils, palm oil production sky-rocketed. Unfortunately, meeting this demand has led to deforestation and loss of habitat for animals such as the orangutan :( (There is no easy answer, is there?)