Starting Detox Cleanse/Elimination Diet

I am So NOT a fan of fad diets, including diets that eliminate foods; I’m an even bigger non-fan of celebrity doctors that make tons of cash promoting a health fad…but I’ve been feeling really crappy lately and I’m desperate to try to figure out if I do indeed have some sort of food sensitivity, or at the very least, to reset my buttons and get my body feeling better again.

Originally, when I lost weight (3 years ago), I felt healthy, vibrant and alive! Slowly, as time moved forward, I began to feel sluggish, foggy, and depressed, probably worst than I felt before the weight loss. I felt like my energy was disappearing and I didn’t feel like “myself” anymore. I blamed being peri-menopausal.

I recently began reading my library copy of the book “Clean Gut: The Breakthrough Plan for Eliminating the Root Cause of Disease and Revolutionizing Your Health” (Dr. Alejandro Junger) and even though I’ve read other gluten/dairy-free and elimination diet books, the timing must have been perfect, because I felt a little hopeful.

I found the My Clean Program web site, with a helpful “welcome letter” and started to read, read, read. (*Note: membership is required (free) to access all the diet documentation.)

The “clean gut” diet led me to the original “cleanse” detox/elimination diet, which then led me to the Dr Oz 30 Day Detox Diet (details: Dr Oz Clean Detox manual)

Diets Compared

I initially liked the idea of Junger’s “clean gut” diet (the one from the book I was reading). It allowed eggs, other lean meats & fish, and tomatoes, but there was some concern, because the diet did eliminate most fruit (except berries), all grains/beans (but quinoa and lentils) and some veggies like yams, sweet potatoes and beets. It suggested a shake for breakfast, and solid meals for lunch and dinner.

The original “cleanse” detox diet eliminates eggs, tomatoes/nightshades, some fruits, but it did allow some gluten-free grains like buckwheat, millet, quinoa, and also allowed chickpeas, beans, etc. It suggested a shake for both breakfast and dinner, and a solid meal for lunch.

The Dr Oz (*gasp*) Detox is more “user-friendly” – of course they have to cater to all his followers, who need an easy diet fix! ha! It was much less structured, without elimination of any vegetables or fruit, and it suggested a shake for breakfast, and solid food for lunch and dinner. They unfortunately promote it as a super easy way to drop some weight, but that’s not really what the cleanse is about.

All programs completely remove all gluten, dairy, peanuts, and processed sweeteners, but the original “clean” allowed sweeteners like dates or figs, to be used sparingly.

I decided that the list of allowed foods in the original cleanse was much more doable, but I didn’t like being forced to “drink” breakfast and dinner meals, so I’m modifying to only one smoothie in the morning. I also do not want to use isolated protein powders, so that is an adjustment as well.

The last modification is that I’m not following their daily supplement advice, at least not right now. I’ll still be taking my usual vit D, Calcium, and fish oil, but I added 200mg magnesium before bedtime. I’m hoping it will help me sleep better. (thanks also to Angela for her magnesium advice, I’ll also be searching her web site for inventive blender breakfasts.)

Here’s the list of Edible Foods For Cleanse:
whole vegetables, leafy greens
brown rice, non-gluten grains
stevia
beans, lentils
green tea, yerba mate
wild fish, organic chicken & turkey
nuts, seeds, & nut butters
avocado & coconut
whole fruits & berries

Here are the exclusions:
dairy, eggs
gluten
processed sugar
soy
coffee, soda, alcohol
beef, pork (I’m still going to occasionally eat beefalo)
corn
tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes
bananas, strawberries, oranges, grapes

There is a lot more detail in the downloadable Clean manual.

The most difficult part is giving up dairy and gluten, ha! Sunday, as I was deciding to try the diet, I had just taken a fresh-baked loaf of bread out of the oven! What a big change this will be for me!

Day 3 Feelings

So here I am, Day Three, of the cleanse.

I’m still trying to feel my way around, and I’m sure I’m not doing things perfectly, but there’s 21 days, so I’ll get better as time moves forward.

I need to get more organized about meal planning, especially making grains/beans ahead of time. I can’t rely on bread-pizza night or fried eggs as a quick go-to dinner anymore. I know I’m not eating enough greens and veggies, especially with dinner. If ONE benefit comes out of this, it’ll be that I learned to better manage my ingredients and create more true-blue healthy vegetarian meals.

It’s also been scary because I realized that I am extremely caught-up in food and it makes me sad that there is a possibility of a dairy or gluten sensitivity. I think that is what stopped me in the past from trying an elimination diet. The fear of finding answers, answers that will be difficult to deal with.

I am keeping a detailed journal, and also keeping an open-mind.

Day one, I was ready to give up! I think it was due to feeling overwhelmed and disorganized. Day two started very dark and depressing, but it worked its way out with a good old fashioned cry. LOL. Nothing like a blast of cleansing tears!

And here, Day 3, I feel good. I’m trying to “rate” my days feelings with a #1-10. Today was a 7. I’d like to believe that my rating system is going to adjust itself, as a “7” in 10 days might feel more like a “10” today. Ha!

Believe me, I’m not fooling myself, thinking that the most difficult part is over. I’ve prepared myself for a lot of doubt and depression bubbling up, which will tempt me to give up…but I trust I’ll have the strength to remain diligent to reach my light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel goals: energy, clarity and happiness.

Newburyport Farmers Market

For the past couple of years, I’ve been looking forward to experiencing the Newburyport Farmers Market in Newburyport, MA. I am on their e-mailing list and it always seemed like an exciting market with lots of vendors, even in the colder months. Unfortunately, it’s about 35 miles from home, a little too far for a casual Sunday drive.

A few days ago, I was lucky enough to get my chance to visit the market on the way to visit Maine. It was incredible and I wish it was closer, as I’d be dropping by more often!

Heron Pond Farm – 1lb potatoes $2.50 and small lettuce for $2
New Hampshire Mushroom Company – $4.80 for blue oyster mushroom at $16.99lb
Farmer Dave’s – $4.50 for mix-your-own-bag of baby greens for $12/lb
Arrowhead Family Farm – $3 for huge bundle of green onion tops

Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison – Book Review

I first noticed the Vegetable Literacy: Cooking and Gardening with Twelve Families from the Edible Plant Kingdom, with over 300 Deliciously Simple Recipes book on the library “new books” shelf and it immediately leaped into my hands.

I opened the book and while flipping through only a few pages, I knew this book was something special!

I should first mention that I am a big fan of the author, Deborah Madison. Long ago, I bought her famous “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” cookbooks and I’ve also borrowed the rest of her publications from the library.

I knew as soon as I saw her name on the binding, before I even opened the book, that “Vegetable Literacy” would be something that I needed to read.

The book itself is stunning. It’s a big heavy book, with well-crafted binding. It’s even got one of those fancy ribbon bookmarks (aah, the little things that thrill me!). The book cover is lovely photo of pretty garlic scapes, curling and knotting themselves into unique shapes.

The photographs inside the book are artistic, yet meaningful. What I dislike are photos that are added to a cookbook just for the sake of art, or the author’s ego.

Vegetable Literacy includes photos that describe each vegetable whether just pulled from the ground, flowering, or showcased in a recipe. There is no wasted space in this book.

One of my favorite photos is her “bolting” rainbow chard.

It’s truly an encyclopedia of edible plants!

The book is divided into twelve chapters, one for each plant “family”, including:

  1. carrot family,
  2. mint family,
  3. sunflower family,
  4. knotweed family,
  5. cabbage family,
  6. nightshade family,
  7. goosefoot & amaranth families,
  8. the (former) Lily family,
  9. cucurbit family,
  10. grass family,
  11. legume family
  12. morning glory family

Each chapter then presents specifics about each plant/vegetable in that particular family, including history, varieties, nutritional benefits, food compatibilities, cooking wisdom, and several intriguing recipes.

The index is extensive so it’s easy to find a recipe ingredient or where a plant is discussed, and I did refer to it when I wanted to read about a specific vegetable.

There are many personal anecdotes sprinkled throughout the book that clearly validate her longtime love and respect for vegetables that she personally grows, or finds at the market. One story that fascinated me was when she forgot garden carrots one fall, they rewarded her with beautiful flowers the next summer.

The only thing missing is detailed growing advice, which she does occasionally offer, but you’re probably better off with a gardening book for that.

She did inspire me to grow grow grow, and to try new things like keeping my carrots in the ground after frost or until January or February! Can you tell I am suddenly obsessed with carrots! ;)

This woman absolutely knows her stuff!

Some Bits of Plant Knowledge

Did you know that the Carrot family includes parley, fennel, and caraway among others. I had never heard of the herb angelica, which looks like parsley, but the flavor is unlike anything familiar.

Chia seeds are part of the mint family and are a compete protein (didn’t know that!) It is sometimes called the “running food” because just a handful sustained Aztec messengers during their extended running bouts.

Rhubarb grown in a greenhouse usually have rosy-colored stalks and they’re milder and more tender than stocks grown in the garden or in the field. A common mistake is assuming green rhubarb is not ripe, it’s is! Never eat the leaves, they are poisonous.

Buckwheat is also a compete protein, containing all eight amino acids. Buckwheat flour might need more liquid when using in batters.

The goosefoot and amaranth families include amaranth, beets, chard, lambs-quarters, quinoa, and spinach. For some reason, I thought chard was a crucifer vegetable like kale!

Here’s a recipe from the book I found at Epicurious: Doesn’t Peas with Baked Ricotta & Bread Crumbs sound scrumptious? And the recipe photo is divine!

I admit I didn’t have time to read every single word about every single plant, but I couldn’t believe how much I learned, and how much Deborah inspired me.

Read This Book!

Today, I am sadly returning Vegetable Literacy, admittedly a couple of days overdue, with the promise that I’m going to request a copy again very soon, because I didn’t have enough time with it.

If you find a copy of this book, it’s certainly meant to be cherished, and read over and over.

And that’s my Library Monday!

Disclaimer:
I love reading cookbooks, like some people love reading novels! I am inspired by recipes, and enjoy learning ideas from cookbooks, which means I’d rather put my own spin on a recipe than follow it exactly. Please keep in mind that my opinions might be completely different from the other home cooks.

My Healthy Food Budget: Month of May, 2013

Month of May Healthy Food Budget: $471.52

Wow, yep, way over my $400 budget, but there was surplus of $100 from earlier months, so I’m still under yearly total of $4800 – $5000.

May Food Spending Total $471.52

Dining Out: $79.51
Gardening: $5.78
Groceries: $373.53
Vitamins/Supplements: $12.70

Some specifics:

Whole Foods Market: Pastured step4 chickens were on special at $2.99/lb. I bought a whole chicken and a whole cut-up chicken for a total of about $24. I froze a few of the individual pieces for meals throughout the month, and the whole chicken is still in my freezer.

Tropical Traditions: (2) jars each of coconut oil and coconut cream $38 – that took a big chunk from the budget!

Spent about $27 for farm meat (Open Meadow Farm) but I got many meals from 1lb of ground beefalo and 3lb fresh ham steak, including rendered pork fat.

On the other hand, I spent almost $30 at two farmers markets, with not much to show for it. :(

But NO excuses! I admit spending went overboard, especially the last two weekends, starting with Memorial weekend, wanting to treat ourselves.

The most frustrating part was there was not a lot of produce in the house during most of the month, and since we’re “between seasons” I’m having a difficult time finding decent fruit, without spending a fortune on organic.

June starts a new month, and local produce is becoming more plentiful. My plan is less spontaneity at the farmers markets, and sticking to less expensive local farmstands when possible.

Freezer/Pantry Update

Took inventory of my preserves, and I am still in great shape.

4 -1/2 pint blueberry jam with 2 in the fridge as well (new!)
7 -quarts canned tomatoes
6 -pints canned tomatoes
5 -pints applesauce
4 -pints cranberry apple sauce
2 -pints corn tomato salsa
2 -pints tomato jam (very sweet, not sure what I’m gonna do with this!)
1 -1/2 pint apple cider jelly
2 -1/2 cup grape syrup
4 -1/2 pint grape syrup

Plus, in the freezer, I have a few bags of summer corn, dried summer tomatoes, summer cherry tomatoes, and probably a few other assorted tomatoes. I am out of summer green peppers, but I still have a quart bag of jalapenos.

Where I Spent My Grocery Dollars This Month

Whole Foods 118.29 (32%)
MARKET BASKET 56.49 (15%)
Trader Joe’s 39.29 (11%)
Tropical Traditions 37.95 (10%) (coconut products)
Hannaford 29.66 (8%)
Open Meadow Farm 27.30 (7%) (meat)
Newburyport Farmers Market 16.80 (5%)
Ocean State Job Lot 14.01 (4%)
Amazon.com 13.74 (4%)
Salem NH Farmers Market 12.50 (3%)
Seven Acres Farm 7.50 (2%)
Total: 373.53

About My Healthy Budget

My healthy budget goal is to eat seasonal (local if possible,) home-cooked meals while sticking to a $400 monthly budget for all food including groceries, dining out, entertaining, vitamins/supplements, and gardening.

There’s two of us eating (mostly) 3 meals per day. DH occasionally eats take-out lunch at work, & that $ comes out of his personal cash stash.

Homemade Blueberry Jam (Lower Sugar)

homemade blueberry jam

Okay someone please tell me why I feel the need to make my own jams and jellies when there are perfectly good store bought products available?

Tell me that it’s totally worth it because I’m controlling the ingredients and sugar content. And it doesn’t matter that I’m melting over a hot stovetop on a 90° day!

Okay enough self-pity.

Late last summer, I decided that I was going to try to create enough canned jams and jellies so there wouldn’t be a need for commercial product.

Since I started so late in the season, all the cool fruits were out of season (like strawberries, blueberries, and stone fruit), so I started with an easy apple cider jelly, then onto batches of Concord grape jams & jellies.

I’m so proud that I made enough to last us through winter! But spring couldn’t come quick enough as I was down to one last jar of sad apple cider jelly, along with a few emergency jars of Concord grape “syrup” that didn’t quite work itself into jam.

So when Whole Foods Market announced that they were offering organic blueberries for $1.99/pint I knew it was time to start making more jam!

I had borrowed “Put ’em up” from the library and I found a “quick blueberry jam” recipe that utilized Pomona’s Pectin without the need for massive amounts of sugar, so along with 4 pints if blueberries, I also purchased a box of Pomona’s.

I used Pomona’s a couple of times last year. I like that I can use a smaller amount if sugar and didn’t have to worry about making the jam thicken on its own.

So this morning, despite the 90° heat wave, I got my ingredients ready and proceeded to make a batch of blueberry jam while a big pot of water and jelly jars came up to boil next to it.

I was doing really well, following the directions, allowing the jam to come to a boil slowly. I then added the lemon juice, calcium water, and sugar pectin mix and stirred stirred stirred waiting for the second boil.

I kept peeking, and it wasn’t quite there yet, until I turned away for a little too long and splurshhhh, blueberry jam erupted all over my gas stove!

Then it was time to remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes before ladling into jars for the hot water bath. When I was finished, I had 4 (eight oz) canned jars and 2 for the fridge.

The other good news was the sticky blueberry mess on my stove was thankfully easy to clean!

Here’s the recipe:

Quick blueberry jam

Based on recipe from “Put em up” cookbook by Sherri Brooks Vinton

Makes about 6 cups (original recipe stated 4 cups, I used 4 US dry pints of blueberries. 1 US dry pint = about 2.3 cups, even after losing some to boil-over on the stove)

This jam is full of fresh blueberry flavor. Because these berries are easy to stem and have no hulls or noticeable pips, it’s a quick project too.

Ingredients

1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons Pomona’s universal pectin
4 US/dry pints blueberries, stemmed (about 9-10 cups, original recipe stated 8 cups)
1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
2 teaspoons calcium water (mix included in the Pomona’s box- I still had a batch in the fridge from last year)

Directions

  1. Whisk the sugar and pectin together in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Rinse blueberries and add them into a (nonreactive) sauce pan (I used my 4qt stainless pot) and slowly bring to a boil over low heat.
  3. Continually stir and crush blueberries with potato masher and/or immersion blender (I used both)
  4. Add the lemon juice and calcium water.
  5. Slowly pour in the sugar pectin mixture and keep stirring to make sure it all dissolves.
  6. Return jam to a boil, and then immediately remove from heat to let the jam rest for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to release air bubbles. Skim off any foam.
  7. Carefully ladle jam into small jelly jars and either store in fridge for 3 weeks or process for 10 minutes using hot water bath method.

Using only 1 cup of sugar, it’s approximately 17 calories and 4g sugar per Tbsp!!!

I couldn’t resist sampling on a slice of my homemade whole wheat bread!

homemade blueberry jam

Salem NH Farmers Market

Drove up to the Salem NH Winter/Spring Farmers Market this morning. It was the last market of the season, so I really wanted to check it out.

There was a good selection of products, but probably not as much as previous weeks.

There was even raw dairy products: cheese, milk, cream, buttermilk, kiefer, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc. from Brookford Farm. I was tempted, but I didn’t partake. Isn’t it funny how we become so brainwashed by the govt to be scared of certain food products. Maybe this summer, I’ll get brave enough to try raw milk!

From Arrowhead Farm, I bought some awesome tender young swiss chard and mizuna greens (each batch was $3.75). The chard was excellent in my salad for lunch today! They had a very diversified selection of greens, including tatsoi, mustard, and lettuces. They even sell mushrooms!

I also purchased a dozen eggs from Hurd Farm for $5.

I’m really looking forward to summer! Life is good!

Gardening Diary: Peas, Beets, Greens, Plus 2013 Plans

I planted my first seeds a week ago Monday (May 6th) so I figured I’d better post something, along with some gardening plans.

I had three rows of garden last season, along with countless containers. This season, I’m planning on the three rows, and a few containers.

In the row that grew tomatoes last season, I planted my cool-weather crops.

Peas, Beets, Asian Greens

I had opened pea seed packs from last season, so I used those up first. This time I set up the trellises first and then planted the seeds in front and back of each trellis. Last season, my pea plants were all over the place, and they were a jumbled mess.

So, one small row of shell peas in front of first trellis, and snap peas in back of the shell peas, and then more snap peas in two rows front and back of the second trellis. Next week, for the remaining two trellises, I will plant a new batch of snap peas, to help stagger the harvest times.

shell and snap pea sprouts garden May 2013

From last season’s opened seed-packs, I planted beets on the far right end, and then scattered Asian mixed greens seeds over the middle area.

Asian greens just starting to peek:
asian mixed greens from seeds garden May 2013
Beet greens popping up:
beets from seeds garden May 2013

The oregano plant looks awesome again this season. It’s so easy to grow, and it just keeps coming back. This will be the third season!

oregano plant garden May 2013

Here’s a full shot of the garden:
full view of garden May 2013
It’s difficult to see the first two wire trellises for the peas, but they are on the far left, first row, next to the white trellises.

My plan for the summer is to plant pickling cukes, tomatoes, cabbage, green beans, more beets, and perhaps peppers. I had such bad luck with the peppers last year, I am not sure if I want to try again.

I’m thinking tomatoes along the back fence, and I’d love to put the cukes in the front row, maybe dispersed with the greens and beets. I wonder, by the time the cukes are spreading out, the greens will be spent? I’ll have to look back at my last season photos and figure out how big the cuke plants were in late June.

My containers from last season are a mess with all sorts of weeds growing in them. I’m thinking of removing all weeds, dumping all the soil into my wheel barrow, mixing it up, maybe adding some compost, then adding it back to the containers for new plants.

Anyone have any ideas or plans for their veggie garden this summer? Life is good!

My Healthy Food Budget: Month End April, 2013 + 6 Month Update

April Week 4 Healthy Food Budget: $103.47 spent, for a total of $381.98 for the month. (See below for 6 month update)

Yay! I was able to stick to a lower budget this month! Awesome!

I have to admit I sort of cheated…but not really. I needed fruit (for one last day of April). But why waste fuel for a second trip to the store a day or two later when I could pick up everything in one shot (including some non-grocery items). I applied just what I needed to April’s budget, and will carry the rest over to May.

My plan for purchasing local flour this week was put on hold for now. I had plenty of Bob’s Red Mill flour, so better to be frugal and eat from my pantry instead.

DH was craving fried seafood (he works so hard, I can’t say no), so we splurged with a larger-than-normal-take-out dinner. I had a coupon for $10 off a purchase of $45 or more, so I added in a small Italian calzone to freeze for a dinner next month.

My pantry is getting really low! I was shocked to find I only had a few tablespoons of brown rice left, and I used the last of the quinoa. I’m going to need grains in May for sure. I also ordered (2) coconut oil & (2) coconut cream (BOGO) from Tropical Traditions and tuna will be delivered from Amazon, so that will also be a big hit to my May spending.

March Food Spending

Dining Out: $61.02 / Total $140.43
Groceries: $42.45 / Total $241.55

Most of my spending this week was for take-out! Wow! Ha! So much for my “unspoken” $100/month dining out budget!

I tried to eat from my freezer and pantry, and hit the grocery store mostly for produce; we still ate very well for the most part!

(Mon) Whole Foods Market & Market Basket $8.92 for Theo 70% chocolate bars, bok choy, and broccoli

(Wed) Market Basket $14.56 for pineapple, asparagus, organic Fuji apples, red grapefruit, minneola oranges, and bananas.

(Wed) Open Meadow Farm $8.32 for yummy boneless pork chops (meat from farm is pre-paid in full, so technically no real money is actually spent, but I apply the cost to my budget as we consume it.)

(Sat) Market Basket $5.79 for mango, grapefruit, minneola oranges, organic Fuji apples, bananas

(Tues) Market Basket $4.86 for grapefruit, avocado, and minneola oranges.

Where I Spent My Grocery Dollars for April: $241.55

MARKET BASKET 95.39
Whole Foods 43.51
Trader Joe’s 29.38
Open Meadow Farm 28.77
Amazon.com 28.40
Seven Acres Farm 7.50
Jones Farm 5.60
Aubut’s Liquors 3.00

6 Month Budget Update: $2299.06

Dining Out: $720.96 (31%)
Groceries: $1550.04 (67%)
Supplements/Vitamins: $28.06 (1%)
Total: $2299.06

I’m 6 months into the budget (nov-apr) and so far so good. I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to continue the lower budget totals in the warmer months, but I am hoping to stick to my original $400/month. If not, I’ve got an excess of at least $100 to play with.

It’s comforting to know that my grocery spending is 67% of my food spending and more than double that of my dining out spending. I’d like to continue that trend!

Where I Spent My Grocery Dollars 6 Month Update

Grand Total $1,550.04

MARKET BASKET 393.80 (25%)
Whole Foods 387.36 (24%)
Trader Joe’s 268.73 (17%)
Open Meadow Farm 134.25 (8%)
Amazon.com 65.31 (4%)
Ocean State Job Lot 59.88
Seven Acres Farm 59.75
Mann Orchards 37.04
Wilson Farm 33.24
Winchester Winter Farmers Market 30.65
Brookline Farmers Market 21.70
Tropical Traditions 20.97
Four Star Farms 15.00
iHerb.com 13.27
Hannaford 11.04
Jones Farm 5.60
Vitacost 4.94
Penzeys Spices 4.25
Aubut’s Liquors 3.00
WALMART 0.99
Credits (20.73)

Interesting that Whole Foods and Market Basket are just about even. Soon, I’ll be heading to local farms more, so the % of Whole Foods spending will surely go down in the next half.

All in all, it’s been a very good 6 months. We’re eating well, with regular decadent splurges thrown in. Life is good!

About My Healthy Budget

My healthy budget goal is to eat seasonal (local if possible,) home-cooked meals while sticking to a $400 $385 monthly budget for all food including groceries, dining out, entertaining, vitamins/supplements, and gardening.

There’s two of us eating (mostly) 3 meals per day. DH occasionally eats take-out lunch at work, & that $ comes out of his personal cash stash.

My Healthy Food Budget: Week Three April, 2013

April Week Three Healthy Food Budget: $77.19 for a total of $278.51. That leaves $106.39 for the rest of my monthly budget.

I’ve reduced my April food budget to $385, which will bring the total year estimated food budget down to $4700 (down from my original $4800 projection). It would be nice to drop it another $100 by the year end, but we’ll see.

So, there are 11 more days left in the month, I’m planning to purchase some local grain flour from Four Star Farms next week, with a trip to Whole Foods Market in Cambridge, and possibly more veggies at a Farmers Market this weekend. There shouldn’t be any problem sticking to my revised budget amount, but the temptation of take out does mess me up sometimes! Ha!

Grocery Spending Details

Dining Out: $32.39 / Total $79.41
Groceries: $44.80 / Total $199.10

(Mon) Market Basket $18.84: Applegate Farms deli chicken breast, (1) avocado, minneola oranges, bananas, Kerrygold swish cheese, Organic Valley half & half, Teddie organic peanut butter (sale $3.99)

(Wed) Whole Foods Market $4.31 for organic Fuji apples

(Wed) Seven Acres Farm $7.50 for 2 dozen jumbo eggs. Note: I bought a couple of cartons of eggs from the grocery (Pete & Gerry’s and Born Free) and I’ve found I like my farm fresh eggs better. They’re JUMBO huge eggs, and fresh as could be. I’m sticking with Seven Acres farm! And they’re celebrating their 75th year! Gotta support our local farmers!

(Fri) Market Basket $14.15 for Applegate Farms Sunday bacon (sale $4.99), 2lb bag o’ clementines, organic apples, minneola oranges, and bananas.

About My Healthy Budget

My healthy budget goal is to eat seasonal (local if possible,) home-cooked meals while sticking to a $400 $385 monthly budget for all food including groceries, dining out, entertaining, vitamins/supplements, and gardening.

There’s two of us eating (mostly) 3 meals per day. DH occasionally eats take-out lunch at work, & that $ comes out of his personal cash stash.

My Healthy Food Budget: Week 2 April, 2013

Week 2 Healthy Food Budget: $134.74 for a total of $201.32 for April

Even though I spent over $100, I feel good about my spending this week. With almost $200 left for the rest of the month, I’m confident I’ll meet my budget.

I’m actually hoping to reduce my April food budget to $380, but we’ll see.

We splurged on a nice lunch last Saturday. Almost $30 was more than we like to normally spend for lunch or take-out, but it’s nice to splurge once in awhile.

To compensate for last Saturday, last night, I made a homemade Italian calzone, instead of opting for take-out. It cost less than $5 and was absolutely delicious. Yes, it was totally unhealthy and decadent with white flour and loads of deli meat, but if we are going to have “junk food” it’s better to make it myself, right?

DH is already trying to convince me to buy Chinese take-out tonight because we saved last night. Ha!

There was some stock-up spending this week. Almond butter and raisins/nuts at Trader Joe’s. Four lbs of chicken breasts at Whole Foods, which I promptly baked and froze for 4-5 weeks of meals/soups.

I bought a lot of fruit and vegetables, including a splurge for a container of Olivia’s lettuce greens (I was craving salad). It’s good because I’ll have enough veggies to last the upcoming week, but I’ll need to buy more fruit soon.

My canned/frozen summer tomato stock is still strong, but my grape jam is dwindling down. I do have lots of jars of grape “syrup” that I could boil down into jam (adding some Pamona’s pectin) but commercial fruit preserves might be necessary.

Spending Details for Groceries Budget – Week 2 April

Dining Out: $28.78 / Total $47.02
Groceries: $105.96 / Total $154.30

(Sat) Trader Joe’s $29.38: Feta cheese, (4) Bananas, organic half & half, hazelnuts, shelled pistachios, organic raisins, pasta, almond butter, frozen organic green beans

(Sun) Woburn Winter Farmer’s Market @ Spence Farm (Jones Farm) $5.60: batch of beets complete with green tops ($3) and small bunch of “Red Rain Asian Greens” ($2) and one apple (.60)

(Sun) Market Basket $11.04: Olivia organic spring mix, organic Fuji apples, Savoy cabbage

(Thurs) Market Basket $11.45: Cauliflower, organic apples, minneola oranges, bananas, and 6pk organic eggs (not happy but I had to buy “Born Free” brand, but I guess it’s better than Eggland’s Best CFO brand)

(Thurs) Open Meadow Farm $12.80 (pre-purchased meat): pork spareribs (yum)

(Fri) Market Basket $4.53 for deli meat (homemade calzone)

(Fri) Whole Foods Market $31.16: Organic rainbow chard (sale), organic baby bok choy, organic celery, 5lb bag o’ organic carrots, jar of sauerkraut, (2) local ricotta cheese (raincheck), and 4 lbs bone-in chicken breast ($1.99lb sale)

About My Healthy Budget

My healthy budget goal is to eat seasonal (local if possible,) home-cooked meals while sticking to a $400 monthly budget for all food including groceries, dining out, entertaining, vitamins/supplements, and gardening.

There’s two of us eating (mostly) 3 meals per day. DH occasionally eats take-out lunch at work, & that $ comes out of his personal cash stash.