Light at the end of the tunnel…

This is the final week of the “Jewelry Diet”. I have not tallied all of the grocery receipts, but the last notes I made showed me coming in around $7 per person, per day. Definitely not my goal of $5, but also a pretty decent savings over what I typically spend per month. I briefly considered including my dogs – 2 chocolate labs – in on the total daily allotments when they ate a wedge of Parmesano-reggiano. I had briefly set it on my kitchen counter so I could answer the phone…that lovely bit of cheese was one of my indulgences, carefully budgetted into my menu, so I was not so happy with them that day!!

What have I learned from this experiment? First and foremost I have learned that with a little planning and some flexibility it is NOT difficult to eat good, wholesome food on a budget. We ate well. I know that if we were in dire need of saving I could have cut back even further…it would have taken a bit more creativity, but it could have been done.

Second, I have learned that when unnecessarily putting your family on a budget – especially when they are not used to being on one – DO NOT TELL THEM!! If I had said not one word to my family (one member in particular) they would never have known. I did well keeping the foods and portions the same…

Third: We did eat well; however, I discovered that despite the fact the foods I eat are ‘pure’ and wholesome and un-processed, I don’t eat enough vegetables. I do well with everything else. We eat whole grains (breads, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, etc.) and plenty of fruit; the meats we consume are from grass-fed, humanely raised animals. We may possibly eat the minimum daily recommended amount of vegetables, but I’d say it’s borderline…this is something for me to work on.

Fourth: As much of a Whole Foods advocate as I am, they are not perfect. I was disappointed to find out much of their ‘365’ brand of frozen vegetables, which are labeled organic, come from China. I did a little research and discovered there really are farms in China classified as organic; however, I worry that with all of the pollution in China the acid rain negates a lot of the organic effects. I have not delved deeply into the matter, but I plan to spend more time researching and sorting fact from fiction. It is so convenient to stock up on frozen vegetables for those times I don’t have a lot of time to spare, and their brand was an inexpensive and good-tasting choice…

The big question: Will I continue my ‘Jewelry Diet’ in the months to come? This experiment highlighted the fact that we spend a lot of money on food. Being on a budget this month, I did not waste much food at all. And I ended up going to the store only once, at most twice, per week…this forced me to plan my meals, which is often the most difficult part of making dinner in the first place. My goal is to keep this going; however, I am not going to be quite so restrictive if I want to make a particular meal that happens to cost more.

Please share with your friends, thank you!

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