By Chantale Roy
Translated from French.
It seems that we humans have this mischievous tendency to resist change. The reason that manages to wade through the mass of objections with which the ego repeatedly bombards the will itself deserves an honorable title.
If this solid reason is in line with my will, the financial argument may try to attack it with the statement, "Yes, but eating healthy is expensive!"
Personally, my desire to be healthy in order to live fully and freely will never be stultified by such an argument, especially since in my eyes it is false. At the end of the day, my daily plate is quite economical, in addition to being highly profitable.
Here are some ways to save money and earn more. Basically, it's all about learning how to make the best food choices and how to use them optimally.
1- Make a list of what you really eat
Most people rotate through about 10 recipes. Add to that a variety of foods such as whole fruits and vegetables, like apples for example. It is then easier to make a list by categories (for those who eat raw, see the list in my book Crusine express:
- - fruits;
- - vegetables;
- - seeds;
- - nuts;
- - cereals;
- - legumes;
- - other.
Afterwards, we gradually build up our inventory. Buying only what we really use prevents us from losing money and ghost food...
2- Set a food budget and stick to it
It is quite possible that if we don't have a financial limit, the lure of the moment can make us lose control. From these numbers, we can keep some balance, as sometimes just thinking "as long as it's healthy, I can add it to my shopping cart" can play tricks on us.
3- Buy in bulk
Our personal or family budget can be daily, weekly, bi-monthly, monthly, yearly, etc. If it allows, we can buy our most popular ingredients in larger quantities. Of course, for perishable items, such as fruits and vegetables, we need to assess our real needs and determine if they will ripen at the same rate as our daily consumption. For example, a case of fresh, organic bananas for two people may not be as relevant. On the other hand, if you like to eat them frozen to make ice cream or smoothies, and the space available in the freezer allows it, this choice can be clearly advantageous. You can even negotiate with merchants or wholesalers.
When it comes to non-perishable items, such as nuts or dried fruit, there are plenty of online stores where you can order them in large sizes. In addition, most of them store their ingredients in a more food safe manner. Thus, their nuts are usually refrigerated (check with the wholesaler). I do know of several health food stores where these ingredients are refrigerated.
4- Adopt healthy conservation practices
I am fortunate to have a son who particularly likes to keep a tidy fridge. I make sure to follow his example... When everything is in its place, we see what we have and we are more inclined to consume what is there.
My nuts, seeds and dried fruits are kept in the famous glass Mason jars. My fresh vegetables and fruits are stored in round or rectangular glass containers. In the pantry, my cereals and legumes as well as cocoa products are in airtight containers. On the wall, an unused wine bottle rack has been converted into a spice rack. Each of these is stored in reused glass jars.
5- Buy locally and in season
Fruits and vegetables make up the majority of a diet that can be called "healthy". To get the most out of them, it's best to buy them fresh, without storing them for weeks on end, thus losing most of their nutrients. You get what you pay for!
Also, in season they are more abundant and therefore less expensive. British Columbia makes it easy to choose from, as there is a wide variety available from one week to the next.
6- Sourcing directly from your kitchen: making sprouts
It is agreed that freshly picked foods are richer in nutrients. Seeds that have been sprouted in a pot or on potting soil are not only the most nutrient-dense foods, they are also the best value for money. In fact, you can get seeds for pennies and produce pounds and pounds of sprouts that would be worth many dollars if you bought them at the store. All it takes is a little time and water. So a tray of sunflower sprouts costs me about $1.75 (compared to $15 or more, in the store) and $0.30 for a jar of sprouted red clover (instead of $5). Of course, I'm not even comparing the freshness which is... incomparable.
I once lived in a place where I had access to hundreds of acres of growable land. Currently, it's a large balcony that houses my multiple strawberry, tomato, leafy green and herb plants. We should not underestimate the cultivable space around us. Urban gardening is the focus of visionaries. All the money saved from all that food growing in my home is not insignificant.
8- Making choices
Depending on the time of year, the price of food varies and it is a good idea to take notes. When I'm in a grocery store, I sometimes look at the price of foods that I don't buy. Meat, fish, seafood, dairy and highly processed foods are expensive. Fruits and vegetables can be too. I have learned to prioritize some of them when they are in season of course and also to favor the more economical ones, most of the time.
For example, sunflower seeds can easily replace some or all of the nuts in my vegetable milks or pies. Buckwheat can replace other more expensive seeds. Carrots are inexpensive year-round and delicious in many forms.
9- Eat the whole food
I make choices, but I focus on what is organic. So I want my investment to be optimal and I make sure I don't waste anything. The organic lemons I squeeze for their juice get a second life when I dehydrate them: I use the powder I get from grinding them into flour in the blender and give a lemon flavor to many of my dishes.
Root vegetable leaves or strawberry tails go into my juices. The vegetable pulp from my juices is reused to make crackers or a dehydrated vegetable powder. The pulp from nuts, seeds and grains is also used to make crackers or is dehydrated to make a gluten free, almost all purpose flour.
10- Do not throw away
After watching the documentary "Just Eat It: Food Waste Story", I learned that 40% of what is produced on the earth is not consumed and that we typically only use 25% of what we buy. I don't want to be part of this unconscious waste movement.
11- Eat as raw as possible
Eating raw food provides maximum nutrients. Being better nourished, we eat less, which is economical, unless we eat our emotions... In my life, I notice that I am much healthier and therefore more productive and efficient in my work, which can also translate into monetary value in the end. I have been doing this overall assessment for decades. Eating healthy gives me more economically, physically, psychologically, spiritually, emotionally, not to mention my ecological footprint.
For all these reasons, when the slightest resistance to change comes up, I can't make myself believe that eating healthy is too expensive...
About the author...
Chantale Roy is a graduate of the Living Light Culinary Arts Institute in California. After opening two restaurants offering exclusively raw and gourmet cuisine, she turned to teaching her art and publishing books specializing in this field. She also created the first raw culinary arts program at UBC (University of British Columbia) and as of December 2015, her healthy cooking courses (raw, vegan or vegetarian) will be offered online via the Éducacentre College.