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Eating for Tomorrow

“Eating healthy is too expensive.”

How often do I hear that? All the time.

One of my friends that reads this blog, asked me to do a blog on that issue, to explain how I do it, and how I feed a family of four kids and two adults, 8 cats and 2 dogs on the money we spend.

Before I start, I should say that I don’t shop at Aldi or any half price anything. I don’t grocery shop at WalMart although I do buy supplies there for the household. However, were I given a small town choice, that carried what I need, I would take it. Sadly, living in Rural Iowa, that simply doesn’t work much of the time. While a quick “oops need that” run will suffice at the small town stores, they simply don’t have enough selection to justify me shopping there weekly like I do otherwise.

“Why don’t you shop at Aldi?”

  1. The food is green/unripe/damaged, picked over, packaged in groups that are not useful to me usually, and tends to spoil faster for all of the listed reasons.
  2. The food really isn’t that much less expensive in the long run, mostly for the above reason.
  3. Their food is lower quality than I prefer to feed my family.

“Why don’t you use coupons?”

  1. Coupons are typically for items that I do not buy, or for quantities that I will not use in time to make it worth the money to buy.
    • coupons entire goal is, as an advertisement, to get you to buy their product and buy MORE of their product than you intend
    • I resent being used that way, and keeping track of cost and waste has made me choose, for me, against couponing. If it works for you? Grand.
  2. I used to be a cashier and I HATED coupons. The instilled resentment is probably coloring my opinion – won’t lie.
  3. In all my years of clipping and using coupons (about 3 years during a determined stage of my life) I never saved any long term money on anything. I did the math and when coupled with my personal dislike of stray bits of paper and clutter, it really just didn’t work out for me.

“Why shop at Hy-Vee?”

  1. They are “employee owned” … which I don’t completely understand but I know the workers there have been there a long time and seem very happy. I see a lower turnover than other stores.
  2. Their produce is well tended and handlers are trained – no bruised fruit here.
  3. Their prices are competitive.
  4. They offer a member card – certain purchases earn me pennies off my gas prices which adds up quickly.
  5. The “friendly smile in every aisle” is no joke. I enjoy my time there.

So there’s my free ad of the day for Hy-Vee.

I spent roughly $67 on apples (2 bags), pears (1 bag), oranges (2 bags), spaghetti squash (1), 2 boxes of fresh sliced mushrooms, baby carrots (1 lg bag), carrots (2lbs), shredded lettuce (4 bags), 1 lg bag of potatoes, and some corn husks (tamale style).

Last week I bought green onions, onions, mushrooms, apples, oranges, fresh curly parsley, 1 zucchini, 1 yellow squash, and a bag of cranberries. For roughly the same cost.

I typically buy all of the above and sweet potatoes, bananas on sale, grapes on sale, cabbage heads (red and green both), cucumbers, and occasionally squash.

As I have stated before, it comes down to using these things before they spoil. And as aware and careful as I am, I still sometimes lose items to waste. IF I was a single woman, that $70 would buy me a month supply of the same veggies listed. That’s not bad at all.

In comparison, processed food costs more to feed the same number of people the same day. It just seems less expensive – even when it’s not. It’s easy to eat and prepare. It doesn’t go bad if you forget it. And it tastes “good” to you. But in reality, once you go to raw food, you’ll never be able to go back to that cardboard tasting stuff ever again.

When you stop buying processed foods, you’ll discover you eat less, not more. This is due to there being less sugar and less chemicals that are designed to make you eat more. Chewing your food also changes how you feel after you eat it. Raw food requires you to chew it up and the process of chewing is satisfying. It’s why we like potato chips. If you are serious about your health and weight loss, try the following things for that crunchy and satisfying snack:

  1. slice up celery into bit sized bits to snack on in place of chips
  2. use snow peas or sugar snap peas in place of unhealthy snacks
  3. baby carrots are easy to eat and satisfying to chew
  4. baby cucumbers are a thing – try them!
  5. cut up broccoli and cauliflower as a healthy snack
  6. cut fresh fruit into slices to eat as finger food
  7. pineapple tidbits or chunks are a great ‘sweet’ treat

There are also healthy alternatives to chips such as sweet potato chips that you make yourself. Slice up a sweet potato into slim wheels and lay on a sprayed cookie sheet (I use olive oil spray). Spray lightly with oil and bake for 15-20 minutes. Or, as an alternative, place pepperoni on each slice and then layer another on top. Spray lightly and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Here are a few rules of thumb when eating raw food and keeping it fresh:

  1. Process your food into sealed containers such as cut up celery, sliced green onions, chopped fresh spices, or lettuce. Never leave them out in the air either in your kitchen or in your frig.
  2. Place onions, potatoes, and sweet potatoes into a dark, cool, dry place to keep them fresh and unspoiled for weeks. Do not keep these items in plastic but in a breathable sack or their original mesh.
  3. Place fruit in baskets in the open air and do not leave them in sealed or plastic containers. If fruit flies are an issue, place some apple cider vinegar in a cup and place the cup near or beside the baskets (or between them).
  4. Process sweet fruits such as bananas once they start to turn brown skinned. Mash into a bowl and add a splash of lemon juice and some honey – then freeze for later.
  5. Process stone fruits by slicing thin and placing on a wax sheet after dipping into a mix of lemon juice and honey. Freeze overnight and then peel off and place in freezer safe sealing plastic bags such as Ziploc. (This works for apples too.)
  6. Freeze tomatoes whole and in their skins in a freezer safe bag. When ready to use, run the tomatoes under hot water and the skins will peel right off. They will be ready to core and use, or process in a food processor.
  7. Only buy enough fresh spices and herbs for you to use in a week as they spoil quickly – even in a closed container in the frig.

As you can see, eating raw and healthy is not more expensive but it IS more work. No, you can’t just grab a frozen dinner and pop it in the microwave but your body, your health, and your pocketbook will thank you.


Fuel the Machine


There is a radical notion making its way around dietary circles that states we are affected and effected by what we eat. It’s been spinning around the airwaves for about 30 years, gaining momentum over the last 10. The whole movement got traction when auto-immune disorders became more regularly spoken of and diagnosed by the medical and pseudo-medical communities. At first, people in general scoffed at the notion that the food we eat might be the reason for a host of issues ranging from skin conditions to mood disorders – yet it persists and has become cemented into the informed person’s diatribe.

I was never all that convinced myself as a 20-something. I was immortal and was going to live forever. While I had always struggled with weight, I accepted it was my own fault and my own doing, in that I lacked the self-control to keep the bad things out of my mouth. The self-hate became part of who I was.

That began to change around 2005, as I struggled with mild petite mal seizures and a sort of sleeping-sickness that I could not explain any better than my doctors. The doctors told me nothing was wrong yet there clearly was something happening to me that even they admitted they could see and even reproduce. However, lacking any solid explanation, I went without a diagnosis for over 10 years after my first initial symptoms were identified as being problematic.

I had abnormal EEGs and an abnormal psyche profile. In their desperation to pin my issues on something, they decided to pin them on my psyche and didn’t really look into anything that might have been wrong with me physically. Even if they had, there was no tool available at that time to catch what we now know is Celiac’s disease in mainstream midwest-centered medicine.

That’s not to say that it didn’t exist. It did.

Celiac’s Disease has existed for around 2000 years – it’s not new and it’s not complicated. The gut simply cannot digest gluten and produces toxins, which the body reacts to via an auto-immune response, attacking the gut and damaging the small intestine. This reaction causes nutritional deficiencies that can be damaging in the short and long term. It’s not a fad and it’s not made up. It’s not something that can easily be fixed and there’s no cure. It effects 1 in 100 people worldwide, with most sufferers not diagnosed and open to an entire array of health issues.

1 in 100.

With 7 Billion people living on this earth currently, that means that over 70 MILLION people are suffering from this disorder currently.

7o. Million. People. Worldwide.

The United States population is roughly 318 Million people. That means that over 3 million people in the USA alone have this issue.

3. Million. People.

This isn’t made up and this isn’t exaggerated. Put 100 people in the room and 1 of them will have Celiac’s and that’s not counting the ones with simple sensitivity. That’s the ones with actual Celiac’s. Fill Michigan Stadium to capacity (107K) and you’d have roughly 1000 people with Celiac’s.

Over 80% of those in the US with Celiac’s are not diagnosed.

That’s 2.4 million people are suffering from Celiac’s and don’t even know it.

This isn’t about adaptation, per se. This isn’t about anything but genetics and that some people are BORN with this issue. You either can or can’t digest gluten. It’s as simple as that. It can be debated that some guts simply couldn’t adapt to the influx of grain or it could be argued that it is simply the way things work. We’re not cookie cutter humans and neither should our diet be created to fit just one type.

Another argument to be made is that perhaps we were never designed to consume the large amount of carbohydrate and grains that we forced our bodies to ingest due to loss of the hunter/gatherer culture and a slow progression toward farming and stationary cultures. It can also be argued that the ability to digest this overabundance of grains is the aberration, rather than the inability to do so – and those that couldn’t adapt simply died as our cultural norms swung the way of farming grains and living with less meat and vegetable consumption.

The poor were always forced to eat less. In any culture you look at, the working poor at the worst diet, and lived as cheaply and simply as possible. They lived hard lives and died young. A host of diseases afflicted the poor that the wealthier seemed immune to – largely due to their diet. This fact is glossed over for a whole litany of reasons, the least of which is the necessity of keeping the poor underfed, exhausted, and unable to fight back.

But that’s another piece for another day.

Today, we discuss how what you eat is making you sick. 3 million of you in the USA alone. That’s a lot of sick people – so let’s talk about what that means.

In children, Celiac’s looks like a lot of issues including the flu.

  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Cough
  • Decreased hearing
  • Diarrhea
  • Earache
  • Eye discomfort and redness
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Joint pain or muscle pain
  • Nasal congestion
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Skin rashes
  • Sore throat
  • Urinary problems
  • Vision problems
  • Wheezing

It’s important to understand as well that your doctor may diagnose your child by accident or ignorance with something other than what is wrong. How? Well, here is how and why:

When a child is under stress, their bodies respond to it just like adults. However, they lack the ability to communicate that stress effectively and act out or react, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Some of these are:

  • Accident proneness
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Appetite Loss
  • Baby Talk
  • Bed-wetting
  • Biting
  • Crying Spells
  • Detachment
  • Excessive Aggressiveness
  • Excessive Laziness
  • Fingernail Biting
  • Grinding Teeth
  • Hitting
  • Indigestion
  • Insomnia
  • Kicking
  • Pounding Heart
  • Respiratory Tract Illness
  • Stuttering
  • Tattling
  • Thumb sucking

Makes you think, doesn’t it? What is A.D.D or O.D.D if not half these symptoms? How many of our children are simply sick and reacting to what they are eating? That is an excellent question of which there currently is no easy answer.

Let’s move on to adults, as it’s far easier to quantify and face head on.

Adults and children both experience stress, and that can be caused by their environment, their bodies, or their mind. When the human body is under stress, it has a few set reactions that some physicians, more every year, are realizing are important when gauging what may or may not be actually going on.

Here are a few bodily clues that you are undergoing more stress than your body, mind, and psyche can handle:

  • Blood Issues / Blood Panel Oddities
  • Brain Dysfuntion / Disruption
    • Migraines
    • Seizures
  • Emotional Disturbances
    • Depression
    • Rage Issues
    • Mental / Emotional Disruption / Instability
  • Heart / Lung Issues
    • Heart Arrhythmia / Rapid Heartbeat
    • High Blood Pressure / Low Blood Pressure
  • Immuno-Reaction / Immuno-Overreaction / Immuno-Inaction
  • Insomnia / Sleeping Issues
  • Liver Issues
    • Digestion issues / Indigestion
    • Gas (intestinal or flatulence)
    • Heartburn / Reflux
    • Stomachache / Nausea / Vomiting
  • Overreaction or Reaction without Stimuli of Fight/Flight Response
    • Anxiety attacks
    • Apnea / Holding your Breath
    • Needing “fresh air”
    • Needing to Pace / Restlessness
    • Nervous habits (hair pulling, twitching, etc)
    • Panic attacks
    • Rapid Breathing / Out of breath
  • Sexual Affect / Effect
    • Infertility / Miscarriage
    • Irregular Menstrual Cycle / Missing Cycle
    • Sexual Disinterest / Sexual Dysfunction / Sexual Overstimulation

Yes, all these come from stress. Nothing more or less. This is what happens when your body is under more stress than it can handle and it’s actually a shortened list. Scary, right? So if you are not feeding yourself right, or getting enough rest, or dealing with a stressful world, stressful situations, or a stressful relationship, all these things, these symptoms, come into play. Read that list again, will you. Yes, it applies to everyone. So even if you don’t have Celiac’s or any other sickness, this is your body on stress.

Now, let’s throw in an auto-immune response to eating certain foods. Or coming into contact with a food that triggers a serious reaction such as an allergic response.

We live in the most stressful point in human history and it’s not a shock to anyone that studies these things that we are seeing an rapid and alarming uptick in auto-immune disorders, stress-related reactions, and overall declining health in a large portion of the population. Throw in physically debilitating illness such as Celiac’s or the daily stress of simply making enough money to survive, and you have the perfect storm for cancer and a host of illnesses that we see every day around us.

In the end, the crux of the argument is this: What we eat may not make or break survival long term, but combined with stress it certainly ranks in the top five ways to end up dead much too early.

So how do we fix this?

For me – I have joined the thousands across the country striving to get my gut back to health by avoiding anything that might piss it off. The list is long and the challenge of staying on the diet is the most difficult part of it. I feel better already, with more energy and less malaise. Before I started the gluten diet, I hit just about every one of the symptoms. Now, I hit about 4 or 5. I’m striving to get that number to zero.

For you – analyze your diet. If you have insurance and can afford it, seek out the necessary tests. Find out if this is what is happening to you. If you have insurance, make sure you get more than just a blood test, as the blood test is somewhat inaccurate and sometimes completely incorrect, particularly when the person is already avoiding gluten either consciously or unconsciously.

If you truly want to know for sure, a genetic test and a biopsy of your gut can be done. I recommend both. Most doctors will agree to both tests if your blood test is inconclusive or your symptoms disagree with the test results.

Over the next few weeks in will be focusing on the AIP and a gluten free life, including recipes and cooking strategies that will help you focus on your new lifestyle. Please do understand that if you do not need to be gluten free, there is zero reason to do any of this. You are far better off to simply choose one of many alternative diets (low carb, low sugar, etc.) if your sole goal is to lose weight.

Thank you for reading, and know there is more to come.



What is Celiac’s Disease

History of Celiac’s Disease

Science and Your Gut

Symptom Checker

Stress and Reactions (in children)

Stress on the Body (adults)


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