Even though I have been writing for the Eat Well, Spend Less crew for only seven months, I have been following this series from the very beginning, and it has been a huge inspiration to me. In fact, my “Living Better” journey began about 18 months ago when my friends Alyssa (aka, the other writer here at KFM) and Myra began sharing how their lives had been changed by diet and other natural living sources.
Naturally, I was intrigued, but I had to find out for myself what all of it was about. So I did some research and made a few changes, by making my own (safe) hand soap and deodorant, and tossing the microwave.
I also got serious about what we put into our mouths. Like, really serious.
I have since tossed most of my processed, canned, and frozen foods. I now only buy grassfed beef and hormone/antibiotic-free chicken. I’m not exactly a stellar gardener, but the produce we eat is from our back yard, locally and organically grown, or at the very least is found on the “Clean 15″ list. Our family also enjoys the benefits of a farm not far from us that sells milk and eggs. Many of the other products we buy, including gluten-free pasta, come from Azure Standard.
Now some of these changes came with a bit of sticker shock, as most coupons are for processed foods, and it was a little worrisome as to how I could keep our grocery bill down. But I was undaunted and completely determined to make this work. In doing this, I made up some of the difference by using coupons every time on toiletry and household goods, rather than food items. For me the key was to find what I am not willing to give up and focus on that. Our family is going to eat as well as we possibly can, so our toilet paper might not be top-of-the-line. My kids use way too much anyway, so that might not be a bad area to cut!
Side note: It is funny, however, that in MY particular area, my milk at the farm is the same price (and sometimes less, depending on which store!) as I would pay in a grocery store. And I’m not talking about organic milk. My milk from the farm is $5 a gallon, whereas at my local grocery store, it is upwards of $4.50 + tax for just your regular, store brand milk. So, making the switch from store milk wasn’t a leap at all for us.
With the changes in our diet, we have also striven to eat out less and stay home more. That isn’t always an easy accomplishment with soccer practice 4 nights a week (in the next town, no less!) falling right at suppertime. So, while everything looks good on paper, we still are not where I would like us to be. But, we are getting there and getting better. Sugar is a big thing we are trying (a little unsuccessfully, I might add) to kick right now. It doesn’t help that pregnant momma is craving Kit Kats (blush) right now.
In addition to eating better, we are much more careful about what we expose our children to, and have moved from commercial cleaners to non-toxic, homemade cleaners and sprays. We are also learning about the benefits of essential oils.
I know this sounds like a lot of work, but believe it or not, my life is more simple now than it was two years ago. Our family generally feels better, and have not battled sickness like we have in years past. Plus, I know what is in my food and from where my food is coming. To me, that knowledge is priceless.
In honor of our year anniversary, the Eat Well, Spend Less ladies are talking about how their food and buying habits have changed over the last 365+ days. Read about them here: