As I’m searching through my recipes for a healthy dinner option tonight, I noticed one for stuffed bell peppers. Mmm, I haven’t had those in a long time. The recipe called for brown rice, which is not allowed in my paleo diet. But, being a young student there isn’t a lot in my cupboard and I decide to cheat, just this once.
I had completely cut cereal grains out of my diet and I decided to cook my bell pepper stuffing with the tiny bit of brown rice I had left from before I altered my diet. I hate to see things go to waste when I’m already searching the couch cushions for change.
This all reminded me of the common excuse Americans have for not eating healthy; that healthy food is expensive. I suppose when you’re trying to feed a family of four on a salary below poverty line, it can be hard.
But bell peppers only cost seventy-something cents. And a pound of ground turkey cost $3.98. You could make four stuffed bell peppers without the rice for less than $7.00.
There are ways to stretch your budget. But I think that it’s a mindset that is the problem here and not the money.
People are too stuck in their ways. People like sugar and sweet tasting foods. People don’t want to be healthy. I get the strangest looks when I tell people the changes to my diet I’ve made. Jaws drop when I tell people that I eat my sandwich on two romaine leaves. They don’t get it.
My last grocery bill before I started the paleo diet was about $94.00. My most recent grocery bill from when I first started the paleo diet was $163.08. But I bought a portable heater for $17.00 and some puppy food for $12.44. Those are things I don’t buy everytime I go to the store. So my actual bill for food was $133.64.
Ok so that is still more than the $94 before the paleo diet. But I had to buy some start up foods like olive oil, coconut oil, almond meal and some more spices.
I bought garlic powder, minced garlic, parsley, and oregano. All together these cost $17.22.
The coconut oil was $5.98.
The almond meal and the olive oil were a little harder to buy.
The almond meal cost $9.00 for a mere pound.
And I thought that the almond meal was bad until I got to the olive oil. I decided to go ahead and buy the largest size. It’s not like I wasn’t going to use it or it was going to spoil and it would save me money in the long run. For 3 liters of olive oil it cost me $22.12.
Everytime I go to the grocery store, I’m not going to be buying $22.00 worth of olive oil or four different spices. I like to consider all these foods part of a “start-up cost” for the paleo diet.
If I subtract all these expenses from the $133.64, then my bill comes out to be $79.32. That’s about $15 cheaper than the bill before the paleo diet!
Still, I’m sure there are some people who find it hard to justify buying $22.00 worth of olive oil or a 1lb $9.00 bag of almond meal/flour when you can buy 5lbs of regular flour for $2.00.
But think about it this way. You’ve probably bought a cotton shirt for $20.00 that cost mere cents to make. Shoot, some of you have probably bought designer jeans for $150 that cost nowhere near that price to make.
Or what about electronics? That ipod you have is built to break. That laptop, it’ll need an upgrade in about two years. These things cost hundreds of dollars.
I hope next time you’re shopping, you think about buying healthy options, even if they are a dollar or two more. Instead of investing in material goods, invest in yourself, your health, your mind, body and soul.