Healthy Food Budget June, July 2013 {{MOVED}}

My detailed weekly posts for the healthy food budget have moved to a new area.

I thought that it would be more organized to keep most of the budget posts in one separate area instead of getting them all mixed up with my regular blog posts. I know most visitors aren’t interested in my spending details, and truthfully, I am really budget blogging for myself, to keep a record I can refer to if needed.

So, detailed budget posts are found at, but I’ll continue to post quick monthly updates here as well.

I copied all older posts to the new blog, and eventually I’d like to remove the originals from here, and set up URL redirects, but that will take a lot of time, and it might not even be necessary. In the meantime, there will be two copies of older posts.

So, here’s my monthly update for two months

June 2013: $401.72

Dining Out: Total $23.57
Gardening: Total $16.39
Groceries: Total $361.76

Great month. Considering I started my cleanse/detox/elimination diet mid-month, I did very well. But truthfully, the real reason I made my budget was because we didn’t go out to eat but once all month. The bulk of the spending was groceries.

Groceries: $361.76
Trader Joe’s 119.58 (32%)
Whole Foods 99.81 (27%)
Wilson Farm 48.65 (13%)
MARKET BASKET 45.34 (12%)
Open Meadow Farm 37.41 (10%)
Wilmington Farmers Market 14.25 (4%)
Hannaford 2.50 (1%)
Food Pantry donation credit ($5.78)

July 2013: $475.43

Dining Out: Total $116.20
Groceries: Total $359.23

Boy did July kick my budgeting butt! Yikes. I didn’t just go over, I was ran over by a bulldozer!

Two changes came in July though. A lot more meat consumption. I’m still experimenting with my diet, but I drastically reduced legumes and grains, especially wheat and gluten, along with dairy and eggs. It’s been very difficult since I was such a proponent of a plant-based diet with only occasional meat consumption. My go-to meals were fried eggs, bread pizza and pasta with tomato sauce. Working with an elimination diet, I had to increase meat and lower the carbs. I’m still not ready to blog about the details yet, but hopefully soon. It’s been a long overwhelming life-changeing haul, but I’m getting closer to answers.

The second change to my budget was removal of supplements and vitamins. These really were a necessity and wasn’t something I could control as easily as groceries, so I moved them to a separate budget expense.

Groceries Total 359.23
Whole Foods Market 93.28 (26%)
Trader Joe’s 89.16 (25%)
Wilson Farm 62.83 (17%)
Local Farm 59.36 (17%)
MARKET BASKET 39.82 (11%)
Open Meadow Farm (meat) 7.54 (2%)
Penzeys Spices 7.24 (2%)

Even though the budget was over the top in July, I learned some valuable lessons. I’m still affected by impulse buys, whether it’s at the grocery or DH clamoring for take-out. When I don’t follow my specific list, I get into trouble. It’s something I need to work on.

And secondly, even though the last few days burst the budget, I was eating good healthy food, so it really was worth it. Summer fruit is expensive but it’s good for you and that’s all that matters!

Happy August Budgeting!

Coconut Palm Sap/Syrup, Responsible & Sustainable, or Not?

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about coconut vinegar, and how healthy and awesome it is.

I was browsing on this morning, checking out items on my “wish list” and noticed the coconut vinegar product from Coconut Secret – on the summary page, they praise their product, claiming it’s low-glycemic and healthier than apple cider vinegar. The vinegar is made from the sap of the coconut palm tree.

In the back of my mind, I remembered something about palm sap or sugar not being sustainable, so I googled.

tropical traditons logo

I found the article from Tropical Traditions (whose products I just LOVE) and was reminded how truly UN-natural coconut palm sugar is.

Coconuts or Coconut Sugar – A Coconut Tree Cannot Produce Both!

If a young blossom from the coconut palm tree is emptied to gain its syrup, then that blossom will never create a coconut fruit. Please read their article, as it contains a lot more information that I’m sharing here.

After more research, I found the follow-up rebuttal from Coconut Secret disputing the Tropical Traditions claims, and arguing that once a coconut palm tree has been sapped, it will continue to give syrup for 20 years. They also maintain that the benefits of coconut nectar outweigh the benefits of a mature coconut.

…sap products offer a nutrient-rich array of amino acids, minerals, B and C vitamins, are low glycemic and have a nearly neutral pH.

So who’s right? If you believe Coconut Secret, there should ultimately be a balance of both worlds, using the sap as well as fully matured coconut for all benefits.

That sounds fine, until you begin converting the sap into sugar, and because of that, I’m on the side of Tropical Traditions.

First of all, I didn’t appreciate the “tone” of the Coconut Secret article. It was a little petty, suggesting that the Tropical Traditions owner had ulterior business motives and because TT owned the web domain, they were hiding future plans.

Seriously, wouldn’t TT be jumping on the coconut sugar bandwagon to sell more products if it was truly a sustainable, responsible product? Of course they would!

And I think that it’s brilliant that Tropical Traditions had the forethought to purchase the domain so no other coconut company could profit from it! I think they should forward the traffic to their article page not their cane sugar product page, where it goes now.

Coconut Sugar – Healthy, Responsible, Sustainable or Not?

I’m truthfully not against the time-honored tradition of extracting the coconut flower sap to produce “tuba,” which is used to make coconut vinegar and coconut vodka.

What’s distressing is the world has been convinced that coconut “sugar” is better than any other sugar (shades of agave nectar!) But really, coconut sugar is SUGAR, something that should be consumed in moderation. It’s not the new wonder food, {some reports are not convinced it’s glycemic load is as low as claimed or that it’s as healthy as claimed, since it’s got a big dose of fructose}

Increase in popularity means an increase in coconut palm sapping production. How can a process be healthy and sustainable if it’s goal is to be producing SUGAR!

And that, is where the real trouble lies. Consumers love new health foods (especially when Dr Oz promotes them), which eventually leads to cheaper mass-production and loss of sustainability and integrity. Nothing is 100% sustainable when greed and profit take precedence.

The key is moderation and variation in our food consumption!

I Like Tropical Traditions :)

So, bottom line, I’m supporting Tropical Traditions in this argument. I’ve been consuming their gold label virgin coconut oil (and coconut cream and shredded coconut) for a couple of months, and wow, there is a difference in quality and taste compared to other coconut oils I’ve used.

coconut water vinegar

I also just found out that they have their own coconut vinegar product, produced from coconut water, not from coconut palm sap! Their product is not distilled or pasteurized like most commercial vinegars, it’s sold in its raw state, complete with the mother, like Bragg’s apple cider vinegar. So cool!

On the other hand, I am not opposed to trying a Coconut Secret product also; their coconut vinegar and especially their coconut aminos look promising, as both are in a raw state, like the Tropical Traditions vinegar.

As for coconut sugar, I don’t think I’ll ever be using that product. We don’t consume that much sugar/sweeteners and when I do, I try to use sucanat, honey, or maple syrup, but we also keep normal everyday white cane sugar in the house for DH’s coffee and for my canning needs.

What I do believe is that the only way to true health is a reduction of sugar consumption. It doesn’t matter if it’s white cane sugar or coconut sugar. Sugar should be considered as a special treat or reward, like it was back in the “olden days” before it was mass-produced for massive profit.

(Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate link(s) for which I might receive a small referral reward for any purchases made after clicking the link.)