In Search of a Healthy Deal
Ever hear those stories about a coupon-obsessed woman who buys $200 worth of groceries for .37 cents? While I admire frugality, the problem is, those coupons almost always apply to food “products” that contain High Fructose Corn Syrup, MSG, Aspartame, GMO’s, Preservatives, Trans Fat, Artificial Flavors & Colors, and other unhealthy yuckies. So what the crazy coupon lady thinks she might save in groceries today will likely result in increased medical bills tomorrow.
I am often asked where I shop, and for tips to buy healthy food for less. I wish I had a quick, easy answer. Undoubtedly, you have to get creative these days because the price of nearly everything has increased; not the least of which is groceries. So here’s my long-winded answer for now…….at least part of it.
I grow some of our food. I currently have a few Tomatoes, Green Beans, and various Herbs remaining in my summer garden; with Broccoli, Lettuce, Carrots, Spinach, and Kale growing for fall. You don’t need a large plot to have a garden. Container Gardening is easy, works well in a small space, and is a fun way for kids to learn about their food. Your container can range from a plastic milk jug to a wooden pallet. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. The key is healthy soil and adequate sunlight. Be sure to Barter with other gardeners, and be aware that your neighbors might have fruits or vegetables they’d love to give away. In fact, we’re coming into Apple season and I’ve already decided that my neighbor’s tree produces more than they’ll need. I wouldn’t want them to rot and attract rats!
I buy some food at our Saturday farmer’s market, as well as a small grocery that sells local products, including Grass-Fed Beef, Pastured Chicken, Raw Honey, Raw Milk, Grass-Fed Butter, Pastured Eggs, and produce. You can also save money by joining a Co-Op or a CSA. If you have freezer space, you can jointly purchase a side of beef with another family for significant savings. Yes, quality meat is more expensive, but this is a prime example of quality over quantity.
Don’t waste your hard-earned money on unhealthy meat. Instead, buy quality and make it stretch. For example, when I make tacos, I add black beans and/or refried beans to the spiced grass-fed beef mixture. And I never toss chicken bones without making broth out of them. I keep homemade chicken broth in my freezer for soup or to simply drink later. It’s so good for the immune system! Dark meat chicken is always less expensive than white meat, plus it’s more flavorful and even a bit more nutritious. And don’t be afraid to buy whole chickens and cut them yourself. It only takes a couple of minutes, but you’ll save a lot.
Do you have any friends or family members who hunt and fish? I do, and I fully intend on bribing them. A night of free babysitting in exchange for some venison and salmon? Heck yeah! Does your neighbor have chickens? Maybe they have some extra eggs they’d like to place in a good home.
If you’re fortunate enough to live near a Trader Joe’s, some of their deals can’t be beat. Organic EVOO for $6.99, Organic Virgin Coconut Oil for $4.99, and 32-oz. bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Magic Soap for $9.99. And who doesn’t love free food samples and coffee while they shop?
Those of you in the southeast can find some great sales at Earth Fare. Be sure to sign up for their Tomato Bank program to receive special deals via text and email.
I also buy a few groceries from Costco, like New Zealand Lamb. It’s grass-fed, and as close to organic as it gets without being certified.
Regardless of where you live, perhaps one of the easiest ways to save money on groceries is through iHerb.com. They have a huge selection at a savings of 20-50% off the prices I’ve seen elsewhere. And you can shop in your PJ’s without the hassle of traffic or parking.
Here are just a few of my favorite products from the over 35,000 that iHerb offers. Use code TJG586 at checkout for $10 off your first order, plus free shipping and no tax!!!
Miracle Noodle Shirataki Pasta: A great Soy-Free, Grain-Free, Gluten-Free alternative. Kosher too! I like to mix it with regular, organic spaghetti or spaghetti squash.
Madhava Coconut Sugar: Organic, Unrefined, and Non-GMO Verified. It’s 1:1 replacement for sugar makes it ideal for baking, and coconut sugar contains minerals and amino acids. iHerb sells it for a full $2 less than what I’ve found at other retailers.
HealthForce Nutritionals Vitamineral Green: Hands-down the highest quality Multivitamin/Multimineral supplement I have EVER seen. Food-based, even contains ingredients like Chlorella and Spirulina for cleansing/detoxing. Available in powder or capsule form.
Andalou Naturals Skin Care Products: Clean Ingredients: non-GMO, also no Parabens, no Sulfates, no Phthalates. Drug store prices; better than department store quality. I use their Cleansing Gel, Toner, Serum, Moisturizer and several other products.
Simply Organic Spices: Non-irradiated, and about the same price that you’d pay for conventional spices. Some of my favorites from a medicinal standpoint include Cayenne Pepper, Turmeric, and Cinnamon.
Mt. Hagen Organic Instant Coffee: Living in the south, it’s iced coffee season most of the year. iHerb sells this product for a full $3 less than I’ve seen in elsewhere.
Vitamin Code Raw Vanilla Protein: One of the few protein powders I trust, and it even tastes good! Raw, Organic, non-GMO, Dairy-Free, Sprouted with Enzymes and Probiotics; but no artificial sweeteners or junk you’ll find in other protein powders.
As you’ve probably concluded, my search for deals on groceries is ever-changing, and focused on healthy food. But I hope you’ll find these suggestions helpful, as I know this economy isn’t getting any better. I’ll continue to post other great buys from iHerb and elsewhere on my Facebook page, and I invite you to do the same.
So unite, Natural Health Freaks! Let’s give the crazy coupon lady a run for her money!