Friday, February 27, 2009

Budget and the restricted diet... take 2

Our eating habits have been pretty bad since the baby came. I was run-down before she came and even more so since she came. Part of that is likely a recurrence of CMV (cytomegalovirus--like mono and causes debilitating fatigue and on/off illness for months). I'm also all screwed up hormonally with what my ob/gyn believes is full-blown PCOS on a rampage.

So we've truly been slacking. And it shows in our diet and how often we eat out. Bonus for you all, however, in seeing what you can do and how easy it is to slip up. ;) (gotta find a silver lining for everything).

We pay for food (groceries and eating out) via the envelope system. When there's no money left, you stop buying stuff. Of course, during the gas crisis we budgeted more for gas and never revisited that amount when the prices came down. As a result, we were occasionally using leftover gas money to enable the "illness" of slacking off and eating out. (blushing with shame here).

That has to stop. We don't have the money to do that.

The coop helps. We are a dropoff point and it earns us a discount on our food. If either of the groups were full, our food would be free (because we help divide the food which offsets the small amount we would be paying for it). It's certainly work, but it's free food. Even with the groups not full, the discount is a HUGE help. If you can't score this kind of deal because it's not available to you, consider starting your own. Find a few friends who want to buy together and find a resource that will sell in bulk for a discount. Then just divide it up. But if you don't have the time, then you just don't have the time. Being a coordinator for another company certainly has it's tasks. I don't find it overwhelming other than finding members. I'm just not good at it.

We have NOT yet gotten to where we can eat organic meats; although I AM able to occasionally find antibiotic-free chicken breast on sale. I've long been a stealth grocery shopper. But that was when it came down to the lowest price and occasionally whether or not I could tolerate the lowest price. Usually, I could.

The thing is, it was a trade-off: was the lower price worth the change in taste? If yes, I bought the cheaper item. If no, I sought out the higher priced item wherever I found it for the best deal.

This is no different: either you feel that the healthier food is worth more money and simply seek it out at the best available price; or you buy cheaper food.

Huge help in finding the best price is a price book. I kept one for 11 years and now I'm going back to it. I had put it down because I couldn't eat most of the items in there anymore! But I just need to redo it and start keeping prices on the things I CAN eat. The price book is what GOT me to being a stealth shopper before. It's going to be critical going forward. Here's a good template for a price book:

I like to keep a line or two empty under each entry: one for "sale price" at that store and one just blank for ease of eyes. But to each their own. You list all the prices for one item on one page. Learn from my error: use pencil. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I hate pencil. I did ALL of my math work from 7th grade up entirely in pen (thankfully, I was a math whiz). But I learned to keep the price book in pencil.

It's not cheap to eat well; but it doesn't have to be outrageous either. None-the-less, it explains the health of a country that is unable to manage it's financials because many are trying to live above their means and opting for vacation over venison. ;)

Friday, February 27, 2009

early breakfast: organic blueberries

breakfast: scrambled eggs with organic ketchup. I also had half a broiled grapefruit with raw sugar and regular honey.

snack: organic apple--sliced

lunch: Matthew had GF bread with homemade Concord grape jelly. Grapes were not certified organic, but our coop buys a lot of stuff from a certified farm and got these from that farm's neighbor--who said they were pesticide-free. I didn't get a sting in my throat, so I believe that. They're native to the area, so they shouldn't have needed much anyway. Mike and I had pasta with Bertolli jarred sauce (Olive Oil & Garlic--one of their few safe flavors). This was not the organic sauce and one of their few that is completely safe.

snack: organic apple--sliced... again. Note to self: this is going to be a constipation problem for Matthew. >:( He also had a Coco Loco bar from Enjoy Life.

dinner thoughts: thinking chinese food... which would be steamed chicken and broccoli for Matthew and who knows what for me and Mike. Alternative is sushi from the grocery store (ours has awesome, fresh sushi). But today is payday--which means food shopping that didn't get done today because of waiting for DYFS to show (rescheduling) which grounded us most of the day after accounting for therapy. So I'm thinking to kick off Mike's week off, we eat out tonight and get down to business tomorrow with food shopping and house fixing. ;) We shall see what ACTUALLY happens. be continued.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

early breakfast: half of a brownie made with Whole Foods brand GF brownie mix

breakfast: Matthew had a scrambled egg with organic ketchup. I had half of a grapefruit with brown sugar and honey. Mike can no longer have that because vitamin C interferes with a medication he takes. So he had the last bag of Stop & Shop store brand instant farina (Maple & Brown Sugar) with organic blueberries. Blech on top of blech IMO. We had caffeinated chai tea (Good Earth) with honey... plus water.

snack: organic apple slices

lunch: Matthew & Mike had leftover meatloaf (homemade). Matthew also had slices of an organic tomato on it's way out. I skipped.

snack: organic grapes (me & Matthew)

dinner: Outback. Matthew will have a Joey Sirloin cooked with no spices or butter (I didn't even know they cooked it in butter until they called--seeing us remove butter from EVERYthing) with fresh veggies (no butter) and water. Mike and I split a prime rib with no spices on it; but we get garlic mashed potatoes--which has some milk in it. Mike also gets cream of onion soup. He is the worst eater among us, by far.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Saturday, February 21, 2009

early breakfast: cereal bar by request

breakfast: organic blueberries

brunch: at Perkins--Matthew had 2 scrambled eggs and 1 strip of very crispy bacon that was likely full of all kinds of horrible stuff... plus OJ (which is safe) and my cantaloupe and honeydew melon. We bring our own ketchup. Mike had some kind of completely off-limits omelette and I had a Steakhouse Scrambler with on sauce, no gravy and no cheese (so just potatoes, meat and egg) with our ketchup. We all had muffins that I know are not okay. I had OJ & coffee--Mike had coffee.

lunch: Matthew ate the last of his steamed chicken and broccoli and Mike and I skipped.

snack: don't think we had one--early dinner and late lunch

dinner: london broil coated in honey & freshly grated organic ginger that I've had for 3 months plus some pineapple chunks (canned--Dole non-organic). We had fresh organic string beans on the side.

then we went to a party. Matthew was confined to Lay's chips (which MAY have had corn oil in them--they said corn OR palm) and was allowed 3 pretzel sticks because there was no corn or soy in them. Mike and I? Forget it. We are paying for it dearly this morning.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009

early breakfast: organic blueberries and then an organic apple in slices (love my apple slicer)

breakfast: eggs. Matthew had his plain scrambled eggs on one slice of GF bread (so it made half a sandwich) with Nature's Promise organic ketchup. Mike and I just ate ours without the fanfare, plus we had more broiled grapefruit with brown sugar and honey... plus some green tea with honey. Of course, we also all had water.

snack: I think we skipped morning snack.

lunch: Matthew is currently eating leftover chinese food: steamed chicken and broccoli. I have no flaming clue what Mike and I are going to eat.

snack: organic apple slices (by request); then more organic cherry tomatoes; then some of the raw string beans I was making for dinner.

dinner: organic string beans (fresh) and leftover pork loin that had been cooked with onions, appples and potatoes.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I'm actually recalling this almost 10 days later and I'm going from memory here because it seems like a day that most of you will face and wonder how we deal with it. It was a day outing at Liberty Science Center.

early breakfast and breakfast were at home--normal.

I packed the diaper bag with Matthew-safe juice boxes and his Edward & Sons crackers.

On the way, we ate lunch at Burger King--a HUGE treat for Matthew. He gets the kids meal hamburger with pickles and tomato (no ketchup, and we pay extra for the tomato). It's flame broiled instead of fried--thus no oil. And now they offer apple fries. So he has apple juice and apple fries. But this day, he wanted potato fries and Mike got them for him. Of course, we empty 2/3 of the bag before giving them to him. Hey--it's a day out.

We get to LSC and do some of the exhibits. The cafe there is horrible for eating around food allergies and barely even offered up fruit. I was able to score one of two remaining bananas and a bottle of water that I shared with Matthew and Mike.

On the way home, we ate at Chili's in pre-celebration of my birthday. THANKFULLY, they had grilled chicken for kids on the menu. Nothing on it. And the veggie was either green beans or broccoli with shreds of carrot. Wonderful. He got some water in a kids cup and all was good with the world. I honestly have no clue what I ate. I know that whatever Mike ate made me think he'd be sorry. I had an alcoholic beverage and he had a beer; but then we had water. I had a decaf coffee before leaving. No clue why.

Matthew fell asleep on the way home. Of course, he woke twice (briefly) during the night; but then we had lapsed on being consistent with his daily fish oil, too. :(

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

I should note that we got a food delivery on Saturday. I took a picture of it--picture to follow. I also took delivery yesterday of a special order (all organic):

12 grapefruit
12 6 oz. boxes of blueberries
3 pints of grape tomatoes
10 lbs. red potatoes
1 lb. pine nuts
1 lb. dried bing cherries (mistake--didn't know they were dried)
2 24 oz. bags of Rapadura whole cane sugar
2 lbs. of green grapes

This cost me $135 (which includes $10 for a box of Green Bags)

Needless to say, Matthew's early breakfast was blueberries.

Breakfast was just eggs. My and Mike's had potatoes and onions in them (we're overrun with onions and apples). With water... the coffee pot has been put away instead of being out on the counter.

Snack: baby carrots (non-organic)

Lunch: kill me--a bagel stick with eggs and salami (insert eyeroll). I had ham and salami with lettuce and tomato, oil and vinegar.

Snack: more blueberries

Dinner... at the inlaws. Pasta with olive oil, garlic and mushrooms (Matthew got GF pasta, but Mike and I got whole wheat pasta) and then broccoli and rotisserie chicken from the supermarket (which shockingly was safe ingredient-wise for Matthew). Matthew also had grape tomatoes (MIL always has them for him) and we all had grapes for dessert.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

No early breakfast today--he woke at 7:45am. Unfortunately, the baby woke at 6am. Six of one, half a dozen of the other (insert eyeroll).

Breakfast: eggs with Taylor ham. Matthew had a sliced organic pear. Mike & I had broiled grapefruit with honey & brown sugar... and coffee. Matthew and I also had our little cups of half water, half Tropicana OJ. Again--Matthew didn't drink his. >:(

Snack: peeled baby carrots (non-organic)

Lunch: Tinkyada rice pasta swirls with Bertoli Olive Oil & Garlic sauce for me & Mike. Matthew refuses, but I still buy "safe" sauce just in case. Water for all to drink as usual.


Dinner: will be the stuffed peppers we should've eaten last night. be continued

Monday, February 2, 2009

Monday, February 2, 2009

Today is Candlemas... purification and renewal. Kind of like a "new year's day". :)

Early breakfast: cereal bar

Breakfast: eggs with Taylor ham. Matthew also had sliced organic pears and Mike & I had organic grapefruit with brown sugar & honey (and coffee). Matthew and I had 1 c. OJ (which is Tropicana OJ half-n-half with water).

Snack: organic apple slices

Lunch: Matthew had hard salami on a bagel stick and more Tropicana OJ. In all fairness, he barely touched the bagel stick. I had ham, salami, lettuce, tomato and vinegar on a roll with water. Mike had leftover homemade soup and I brought him an everything bagel with cream cheese. Matthew and I were on the go and this was a social visit more than a food visit.

Snack: I don't remember an afternoon snack.

Dinner: I'm making stuffed peppers that won't be done on time. Contents: ground beef, organic onion, organic tomato paste (Nature's Promise brand), organic low sodium beef stock (Nature's Promise brand), rosemary, thyme, oregano, pine nuts and rice (I think it's Success rice--the boil-in-bag kinds). Put into organic bell peppers from the coop.

Of course, that's not going to be done in time... so Matthew will have leftover Outback and Mike and I will make sloppy joes out of the leftover pepper filling and some organic hotdog rolls.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Early breakfast: organic strawberries

Breakfast: scrambled eggs with Taylor ham. Additionally, Matthew had an organic pear cut up and Mike and I had broiled grapefruit and coffee. Matthew and I each had a very small cup of Tropicana OJ (half OJ and half water). I think the total amount of liquid was 1 c. be continued.