Thursday, August 22, 2013

Good, Better, Best...

I was planning to make up a list or chart of "good, better, best, & never" for various categories of foods. This website already has one made up for your viewing (& healthy, budget friendly eating) pleasure. Enjoy!

The only thing I would add/change is that poultry is always raised without hormones, while conventional beef almost certainly has been raised with the use of lots of artificial growth hormones. So even though "CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) meat" is listed in the BAD section, I will sometimes compromise and buy conventionally-raised chicken when my budget is really tight, even though I will never make the same compromise for beef.

Friday, June 21, 2013

What's Your Budget?

I still want to do a budget challenge eventually and write about my experiences here. But first, I want to know how much you spend on food. This includes groceries, eating out, buying bottled water or other drinks, etc. Tell me: How much do you spend, for what amount of time (per week, per month, etc.) and for how many people? Also tell me if you have a garden, chickens, goats or cows, etc. that provide food for you, and if so, please add in the cost of taking care of the animals, buying seeds & other stuff for the garden, etc. I want to get an idea of what we're all working with. I'd also love to know if you feel that your food budget is enough to eat the ideally healthy diet for your family, and any other considerations as far as special diet considerations you may have (i.e. gluten-free or other special needs). This will give me ideas of where to start in setting up my next budget challenge. Thanks for your participation!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Make-Ahead Monday: Peanut Butter Cookies

I once had a Tuesday through Saturday job and decided it was worth the time to spend several hours every Monday making food for the upcoming week. It was a busy day in the grocery store & kitchen, but it was great to have several things in the freezer so I could just thaw something the night before & pop it in the oven for a quick, convenient, homemade meal every day of the week. It saved me money over buying premade meals, and it ensured that the food was healthier because I was making most things from scratch rather than eating a lot of processed convenience foods.

Some of the things I made regularly back then:

*Lentil Soup
*Clam Chowder

I don't remember what else I made, but these were on the menu pretty regularly, and this list alone was a decent variety so I didn't get bored.

Interestingly enough, I now have Mondays off work again, over a decade later. I've done food prep days here & there in recent years, but I haven't been doing actual meals and it hasn't been as organized or as frequent as I'd like it to be. I've recently decided that I need to institute the weekly meal-making practice again in order to make my life easier and to save money by planning meals ahead of time. I'll keep you posted & try to share what I'm making each week. Today, I was limited by not planning ahead & by not having enough freezer space, so I made 3 quarts of ghee and started a batch of beef broth with some grassfed soup bones I had in the freezer.

Beef Broth

Broth is simple. Some people use veggies in the pot with the bones, but I never bother with that. I roast the bones at 400* or so until they're done and put them in the crock pot. Then I fill the crock pot up with water & turn it on low. I check the water level once or twice a day & keep the crock pot full. After a day (for chicken bones) or two or three days (for beef bones), the broth will be ready. At this point, I strain out the bones & refrigerate the broth until I'm ready to use it in soups, stews, for cooking liquid on rice & beans, etc.

The kid made a big batch of peanut butter cookies today, which are an inexpensive, easy-to-make treat with the nutritional goodness of natural peanut butter.

Peanut Butter Cookies - makes 12-15

*1 cup peanut butter (we buy it freshly ground & add 1/4 tsp. RealSalt to this recipe)
*1 cup natural sweetener of choice - we like turbinado sugar for the price, but it doesn't blend in as well as others (use only 1/2 cup if you choose honey)
*1 egg

Mix together well with a fork or spoon. Put blobs of dough (about 2 Tbsp. each) onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. It will work without the parchment paper, but they do stick a little bit. Press each one with the back of a fork until maybe 1/3" thick or so. Bake at 350* F for 8 - 10 minutes. Let sit on parchment for several minutes to cool before carefully removing them in order to keep them from falling apart. Enjoy!

Have you ever had a food-making day to prepare food for the whole week? What was your experience &/or opinion of it?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Five Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget

Here are a few ideas to help you get started (or continue) eating healthy on a budget:

1 - Cook beans from scratch & use them in lots of different meals. Beans are nutritious & filling, but it gets pricey to buy them in a can. A pound of dry beans usually sells for $2 or less, and a big pot of beans can add significantly to the weekly menu plan.

2 - Make a weekly (or monthly) menu plan. I don't know about you, but if we wait until we're hungry, then we end up eating whatever is quick & easy to prepare, which isn't always what's cheapest. Planning ahead allows me to choose a healthy variety of foods and save money in the process. Another way meal planning can help save money is that I don't buy things that sound good only to have them go bad because we're busy using up all those other things I bought because THEY sounded good, too. ;)

3 - Make broth! Save the bones from all the meats you eat. Put them in a container or bag in the freezer if you don't have very many at a time. When you have a decent amount (like the bones from a whole chicken, or a few roasts, etc.), then put them in the crock pot, fill the crock pot with water, and turn it on low for 24 hours or so. Bone broths made this way extract the gelatin & other nutrients from the bones, which greatly enhances the nutrition of any diet. Did you know that the amino acid profile of gelatin perfectly complements that of the muscle meats? What one is missing, the other has - in perfect balance. Consuming broth made in this way has a protein-sparing effect, making our bodies happy with less meat than we might otherwise need to be satisfied.

4 - Buy a crock pot. If you don't have one, it's well worth the $20 or $30 investment, even if broth is the only thing you ever use it for!

5 - Ditch the microwave. It changes the actual molecular structure of the food, rather than just making it hotter, which means that the foods aren't what your body is expecting from nature. Try a toaster oven for reheating leftovers or preparing something small. It takes some adjustment in getting used to things taking a bit longer, but there's no sense in damaging the food you worked so hard to afford & prepare.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Word About CLA

Have you ever heard of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)? It's a fatty acid that is anti-inflammatory in the body and helps a person to burn fat while maintaining muscle. And where can you can get it? The fats in grassfed animal products. I was wondering why I've been hurting a lot more than usual at the end of my workdays this week, so I finally decided to look at how I've changed my diet in the past week for this budget challenge, to see if I could figure out a simple connection. The one thing I REALLY keep craving is the grassfed dairy fats I usually consume in much higher amounts: grassfed cream, butter & cheese. I have used one quart of cream in a whole week, which is almost nothing for us, and I haven't bought any other grassfed dairy products except fresh whole milk. No wonder the kid keeps asking for "the good butter" - it's grassfed & will give him the CLA he has been missing in his diet this past week.

I like saving money. I like challenges...and games...and learning new things. I've learned something very important, and I'm done with the budget challenge the way I had it set up, in order to make sure we get what we need to be healthy. I have learned other things this week (as well as in other phases of my life), and I will continue to share recipes, nutrition information, money-saving ideas, tips for inexpensively boosting the nutrition content of a meal, etc. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


The fact that it's summer, combined with the sale on raw milk & the fact that bananas are one of the cheapest fruits available...well, it means that I've been making smoothies. EVERY. DAY. Bananas and fresh milk are both sources of electrolytes, which we all need in the heat of summer. Another thing I love about smoothies is the convenience. Not that it's inconvenient to eat fruit & drink milk...hmmmm...but sometimes I just want a delicious, creamy, nutritious drink. My smoothies always have bananas and milk. I usually add about one banana for every cup or so of milk. Sometimes I put strawberries in with the bananas. Sometimes I make a peanut butter & banana shake instead for an extra protein boost. Once, I even put them all together for a sort of pb&j taste. No matter which one I choose, they're creamy, cold, delicious & satisfying. Experiment with smoothies & enjoy your summer!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Update - Progress & Priorities

I have to admit, I'm not sure how this budget challenge will turn out. I've already spent a lot of my budget, I don't know how this amount of food will last, and the kid is complaining about not having "the good butter" - and it's only been a week. I started out to learn along with you. I wanted to find out how I would make a small budget work with a determination to eat nutritious food. I'm learning. It's difficult. One of the main things I'm learning, though, is how difficult it can be...but I'm also learning that I'm not sure if it HAS to be so difficult. I am blessed to have a huge garden space & my own chickens, and I know that isn't something everyone has access to. If I didn't have a big garden space, I would grow a small garden. If I didn't have any garden space, I would make raised bed gardens on at least part of my lawn. If I didn't have that option, then I would grow food in containers - even if it was just wheatgrass or fresh herbs in my kitchen. (I did both of those when I lived in an apartment with no garden or patio space for growing food.) I make choices that help us eat healthier even when we can't spend a fortune on food. One of those choices has to do with my priorities. I got a big tax refund this year. I know it's popular & even fun to spend a tax refund on something fun like a vacation or a new TV. I actually did need a TV to replace the one that fuzzed out along with the sound of a movie, making it so we could listen to the movie & not see it o see the movie with the sound turned all the way down. We haven't had TV channels since the whole digital TV thing happened, but we do enjoy a good movie every now and then. Technically, we could go the rest of our lives without watching another movie and suffer no health problems from it, so "needing" a new TV may not be quite accurate, but I was on the lookout. When I got my tax refund, I spent some of the money on a TV. I admit it. I spent money on something I know very well is a luxury. I went to a yard sale & got a working television for $10! Movies can now be watched AND heard in our house, which definitely scored me some points with the kid. :) After the TV, there were a few needed clothing items, so I bought a few things and then shopped for a sewing machine (which I got on a really good sale!) along with fabric to take care of the rest along with future clothing needs. Most of the rest of my tax refund got spent on good nutrition that I might not otherwise be able to afford throughout the year. I loaded up on the pricier items we really enjoy & feel good eating, like the 72 pounds of grassfed butter that is taking up every inch of available space in my freezer (!), several bottles of the fermented cod liver oil that I talked about the other day (you can get it cheaper if you buy 12 bottles at once - see for details), and the raw olives and high-quality protein powders that are really nutritious (& tasty!) but don't always make it into our regular food budget. Would this work for you? I don't know. I don't know your situation. I don't know what will work for you. I'm blogging so I can share what I do, in hopes that it will help you. Even if you don't do everything the way I do, maybe you'll get an idea here & there. Maybe you'll find a way to eat something you haven't tried, or to make something you hadn't known how to make. Maybe you'll just laugh at something I do that you think is just plain weird, silly, or whatever. Entertainment has value, too, right? ;) Anyhow, I don't think this budget challenge accurate for my personal circumstances because it doesn't show all the things I do on a regular basis, but it is a place to start. We'll get to more of my real life after the challenge is done. Meanwhile, I have to figure out how to satisfy the kid who has such good taste in butter.

Recipe - Coconut Flour Muffins

This may not be one of the cheapest foods I make, but these muffins are very satisfying and are a healthy option fo a treat or a breakfast-on-the-go.

Gluten-Free Coconut Flour Muffins

Coconut Flour Muffins – by Angie, adapted from Vivian, who adapted it from the book “Cooking With Coconut Flour”

Basic muffin recipe:

12 eggs
1 cup coconut palm sugar
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (or coconut milk)
1/2 cup butter (or ghee, or coconut oil), melted
1 1/4 cup coconut flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. Real Salt

Sift dry ingredients together & set aside. With an electric mixer, beat together eggs, palm sugar, coconut oil and coconut milk. Keep the mixer running while you add the dry ingredients and mix all together until smooth. Work quickly because it gets pretty stiff as the coconut flour absorbs liquid. Fill 12 greased muffin cups to the top with batter, or use non-stick muffin papers – the regular muffin papers stick and will tear away a lot of your muffin. Even in greased muffin cups, the muffins will usually stick & tear a bit. Bake at 325° F for 20 - 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10+ minutes. They are good as they are, but I also like mine cut in half with some real butter...melting from the warmth of the fresh-baked muffins. Yum!

What to add for flavor variations:

Blueberry muffins:
2 cups frozen blueberries – stir into batter just before filling muffin cups

Chocolate muffins:
1/3 cup raw cacao powder – sift in with dry ingredients
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar (add this much extra because of the bitter cacao)

Coconut muffins:
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes/shreds – stir in just before filling muffin cups

Gingerbread Muffins - I’m still playing with the amounts of spices for this variation:
2 Tbsp. blackstrap molasses – blend in with wet ingredients
1 1/2 tsp. ginger - sift all spices in with other dry ingredients
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Realization

This is about health, and it's about my budget challenge. Specifically, I need to tell you a story about MY health...and fermented cod liver oil.

Here's the thing. I have had horrible chronic respiratory infections for YEARS. They've gradually gotten less severe as I've improved my diet these past several years, but I could feel it coming on a few months ago. I managed to keep it at bay for about three months. Then I had a week or two that were busier & more stressful than usual, and I felt it starting to settle in my lungs, I started getting a sore throat, etc. I got quite a bit better after a weekend of rest, but it isn't completely gone. I finally realized that I had been forgetting to take my fermented cod liver oil (FCLO). This stuff is the real deal: made the old-fashioned way and therefore high in natural pre-formed vitamin A (which is needed for immune function and protects the body against respiratory infections, among other things). I started this blog & budget challenge right about that same time, and I had decided to take a much-smaller-than-usual dose of the FCLO for the sake of my budget, considering it part of the food budget since it is an old-fashioned whole food rather than an isolated supplement or medication. I've changed my mind, and here's why:

If I can get well by taking higher doses of naural, healthy, body- & brain-nourishing FCLO and have it save me a trip to the doctor and time missing work, as well as the cost of possible medications, and then paying for probiotic supplements or something else to deal with the side effects of said medications...well, you get the point. Copays alone would probably not be much different than the cost of the FCLO, and since I don't have insurance, the price difference is a no-brainer. So I'm going to take as much FCLO as I want, and it's coming from my healthcare budget now instead of counting as food. I've realized that FCLO is always worth the price. It comes out just under $1 per teaspoon, which I think is the amount I've heard recommended (by the Weston A. Price Foundation - or WAPF) for adults. I usually try to take that amount daily, but I may take more if I'm sick, or sometimes I'll take extra to catch up on missing doses. I highly recommend this food for everyone, but I have to say that the cinnamon tingle flavor is the only one that covers up the unpleasant taste of it. If you're here in Utah, you can buy FCLO at Real Foods Market. Check out their website at - They have stores in Heber City, Saint George & Orem and will be opening a store in Sugarhouse in August. Otherwise, you can order it from - enjoy! The WAPF website also says that it is important to eat other fats in your diet if you're taking FCLO, to balance the types of fatty acids. They say that eating eggs with the yolks, real butter, meat fats, etc. will provide the balance needed. No problem here - we love our good fats!

Have you ever taken FCLO? If so, what was your experience with it?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Sum-It-Up Saturday - Getting Started

I started this challenge Tuesday. It's been a challenge to get going from nothing, since I usually have at least a couple of things made ahead of time and a lot bigger variety of ingredients in the kitchen.

Here's what we've been eating this week:

coconut flour muffins
nachos (tortilla chips topped with grated cheese & heated in the toaster oven)
fresh milk
grilled cheese sandwiches
a smoothie or two
popcorn (air-popped, with lots of butter & Garlic RealSalt)
fermented cod liver oil - not really a menu item, but it's important nutritionally

We need more variety, and I realized that we'll be really short on calories if I don't start using a LOT more of the foods that are cheapest per calorie, so I'm taking time the next couple of days to make food. If it's ready to eat or just reheat & serve, it's a lot more appealing than if you have to figure out what to eat & then make it. I'm hoping that having food ready to go will help us stick to our budget without getting too hungry or tired of eating the same things all the time. I already have a suspicion that sunflower seeds are going to get old really soon...

Today, I have a chicken roasting in the oven. I'll make old-fashioned chicken broth from the bones & use the meat & broth in a variety of recipes:

chicken casserole - the Kid's favorite meal
chicken salad if I make mayo - the good kind is out of my budget for now, and the grocery store varieties all have soybean oil &/or canola oil, both of which we avoid because of the inflammatory issues they can cause, so I'm thinking of using the cheap olive oil I bought to make our own mayonnaise. How's that for a run-on sentence? ;)
Enchilada casserole - tortilla chips, beans, chicken, cheese, & homemade enchilada sauce
Chicken soup

I also have the black beans soaking today to be cooked tomorrow. The kid sometimes likes his nachos with beans, so I'm happy to cook up a pot of inexpensive, fiber-rich black bean goodness for him. :)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Free Food Friday

Every Friday, I want to share something about free food - either tips or experiences, or both. This week, I got free food from the back yard in the form of malva seeds (aka "belly buttons" or "cheesies"). Did you ever eat these when you were a kid? I remember thinking it was one of the the coolest things ever when one of my friends introduced me to these backyard snacks! :)

The Food - Grocery List

I've been shopping - a LOT - this week. In order to make my food budget stretch over six weeks and get a variety of taste & nutrition, I had to make at least a basic plan, and that included shopping around for the best prices, considering which foods need to be organic & where I'll compromise, choosing alternate foods to provide similar nutrition at a cheaper price, etc. I don't do well with starches in my diet at all, I need fermented cod liver oil to function well & stay healthy, and the kid says he can't live without cheese. Actually, considering the need kids have for animal-sourced vitamin A & other nutrients, he may be right about that, but that's a topic for another day. :) Beyond that, I think we can be a bit adaptable as long as we both get plenty of good fats & proteins - i.e. real butter, cheese, eggs, nuts, etc. - and as long as it tastes good.

Here's what I've bought so far:

From Real Foods Market:

1 quart heavy whipping cream, grassfed & non-homogenized - $9.29
3 gallons whole raw milk from grassfed cows $13.78 (buy 2, get 1 free sale - very rare!)
1.87 lbs. organic sucanat ($2.99/lb.) - $5.59
1 bottle fermented cod liver oil, cinnamon tingle flavor - $43.99?

From Winco:

1.1 lbs. freshly ground peanut butter ($1.98/lb.) - $2.18
0.54 lbs. honey ($3.48/lb.) - $1.88
3.39 lbs. organic coconut flour ($3.18/lb.) - $10.78
4 lbs. strawberries - $4.98
11 bananas - $2.86
1 1/2 lbs. spinach - $4.28
3 lg. lemons - $1.74
1.74 lbs. raw cashew pieces ($2.69/lb.) - $4.68
4.37 lbs. raw sunflower seeds ($1.48/lb.) - $6.47
1.06 lbs. broccoli crowns ($0.98/lb.) - $1.04
1 bunch green onions - $0.58
2 lg. roma tomatoes ($0.59/lb.) - $0.46
2 lbs. cheese, no added hormones or antibiotics - $7.48
5 lbs. butter, no growth hormones ($3.07/lb.) - $15.35
2 lg. containers full-fat Greek yogurt, no hormones ($2.48 ea. sale) - $4.96
2.00 lbs. regular rolled oats ($0.63/lb.) - $1.26
1 bunch kale - $1.48
0.26 lb. ginger ($1.98/lb.) - $0.51
0.40 lbs. poppyseeds ($4.22/lb.) - $1.69
1.45 lbs. black turtle beans ($0.99/lb.) - $1.44
0.22 lb. mung beans ($1.95/lb.) - $0.43
1 avocado - $0.68
1 whole Foster Farms chicken ($1.28/ lb. sale) - $7.53
0.99 lb. red seedless grapes ($0.98/lb.) - $0.97
1 bottle olive oil - $4.98

From Target:

1 box whole grain pasta - $1.29

 From my back yard:

3 dozen eggs ($2.50/dozen) - $7.50

From Costco:

1 bag Kirkland Signature organic tortilla chips - $3.99?
2 loaves Aspen Mills Whole Wheat bread - $4.99

From a previous bulk order on Azure Standard:

2 lbs. organic popcorn - $2.50?

----------------------- Total spent so far (with tax added): $189.20 ----------------------

Wow! That's a long list to type out, and it's taken a big chunk of our budget, but it sure doesn't look like much in our kitchen. Hmmmmmm...

I'll keep you posted on how we use it. The kid is already lamenting the lack of "healthy butter" (his words, not mine) because he has been used to eating "Pasture Butter" that we normally buy at Real Foods Market. In fact, we're both used to "the good stuff" because we did an experiment 2 years ago of eating only what is sold at that lovely store, and we both felt soooooo good that we didn't want to go back even though we really weren't eating an "unhealthy" diet before that. The nutrition was simply better because Real Foods Market focuses on providing the most nutrient-dense foods available. I know that what we're doing here isn't ideal, but I'm working to make food as nutritious as possible within a small budget, and that doesn't always buy us what's ideal. Let's face it - if it were ideal, we would eat a diet made up completely of foods that are grown fresh and organically in our own backyards and neighborhoods & nearby mountains, milking our own cows or goats, catching fish from local streams, making our own cheese & butter & sauerkraut & traditional sourdough bread...but we've gotten far away from that as a society, so there are going to be some compromises. I'm okay with that - for now ;) - and I look forward to learning on this journey with you!

The Challenge!

I'm challenging myself to do what I'm claiming to be able to help you all do: to eat a nutritious diet on a small budget. I'll share tips, recipes, my thoughts about what's always worth the money as well as some good/better/best/never options to help you make decisions that are supportive to your family's health & budget. Here we go:

The rules:

1. This is a six-week challenge. I started it earlier this week in celebration of the shopping cart's birthday. :)
2. I am attempting to buy, cook, eat & feed my kiddo nutritious food, & nothing but nutritious food, on a budget of $25 per person per week. That's $50 per week for the two of us, or $300 total for the full six weeks.
3. The challenge will actually last six weeks and two days because we had a few random "leftovers" in the fridge, and I want everything to be fair & square.
4. I won't promise to count spices & salt in my budget, since those are things I keep around all the time & only buy every few months or so. I may figure out how much of an item I used in a recipe (like a few cents worth of some seasoning or spice), but I won't count buying the whole bottle since I don't buy them every week or every month.
5. Some of you know that I have chickens & get wonderful eggs without spending much on their food. For the sake of the challenge, I'll count eggs at the price you can buy them in this area. Winco has Omega-3 eggs for $2.38 a dozen, plus tax. My neighbor has backyard chickens and sells really good eggs for $2.50 a dozen to anyone who wants to come & buy them. These are cheap prices for good eggs, and I feel that they fit in a healthy-food budget, so the eggs I get from my chickens will enter my fridge at a calculated price of $2.50 per dozen. Yes, it's a bit of a sacrifice for me to figure it this way - I must love you already. :)
6. I'm doing this challenge now because I know that not everyone has garden space. We just started planting the garden this week, so mostly what we can get so far are a few weeds.
7. I'm a working mom, so I won't be in the kitchen making food every waking minute, but eating nutritious food means cooking, especially if you aren't paying someone else to make the food for you.

The kid & I eat a lot, and we like good food. I'm not sure if we'll be satisfied & eat really well or if we'll end up being really creative with weird random ingredients the last two weeks of the challenge, but I know some good principles of both nutrition & budgeting, and this will show how well I can make them work together and where I can still learn better ways or implement better strategies. Hopefully, we'll have some fun along the way! Are you ready? I know (hope) I am!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Happy Birthday to the Shopping Cart!

That's right. Our dear friend the shopping cart is 76 years old today. It was invented by Sylvan Goodman on June 4, 1937. Thanks, Sylvan!

Happy Birthday little shopping helper. It just wouldn't be the same without you!

I celebrated by doing a little shopping for nutritious food. I'll tell you more about it later. Meanwhile, have a fun shopping cart party for me! :)

Monday, June 3, 2013


To say that I have an interest in health & nutrition may be a bit of an understatement. I've been reading books about health & nutrition since I was a teenager. For fun. :) I also LOVE good food. Beyond the books (as well as because of them), our personal experiences have helped me (the mom) discover some things about how the quality & type of foods we eat affect our health. We've tried a lot of different foods, a lot of different ideologies, and a lot of personal experimentation & listening to our bodies regarding nutrition & our own personal health (and believe me - we have issues!) What am I getting at here? We know how to eat what our bodies need nutritionally. We know how to get more information & more opinions, and we know how to change & experiment if/when something doesn't seem quite right. That is all straightforward enough.

I like to educate. I want people to be healthy & happy, and I love to share what I've learned if it might help someone else. I thrive on it. It's my passion. So, what's my point?

Eating for our health doesn't always come up with the same price tag as eating for the budget's sake.

I can't tell you how many times I've read articles promising to help me - or my friend, neighbor, mom, etc. - eat real/healthy/organic/(or-whatever-else-they-want-to-call-it) food "on a budget" or "How to save money on such-and-such healthy diet," only to realize that everyone has different ideas of what constitutes living or eating "on a budget." I can't tell you how many people I've talked with about health & nutrition only to have them say that eating healthy is too expensive.

During the last several years, I've been in a variety of financial/budget situations. I've been able at times to buy every single food item, vitamin, probiotic, exotic superfood powder, green drink powder, fresh juice, etc. that I ever wanted. At other times, I have had to rely on help from resources like the local food bank. Most of the time, I've been somewhere in between.

I know what it is to feel great and want to tell everyone how amazing this or that food/diet/supplement/rare-exotic-superpower-extract is and what it can do for their health. I also know how frustrating it can be to be told that I'm not eating healthy enough and that I should just cut out all the extravagant luxuries that I MUST be spending my money on. Never mind the fact that I don't HAVE an i-anything or a TV bill to cut out. Never mind the fact that I already make food from scratch, buy in bulk, grow a garden, and all the other things that are supposedly the remedy for my false sense that eating healthy is too expensive...

Here's the kicker - what started the fire for this blog: I don't like to complain; I like to fix things. I like to make things better. I live with a determination to make the world a better place. That's why I'm here.

I intend to change lives for the better with this blog. If I don't change EVERYONE'S life for the better, that's pretty normal. But if I can share something that makes someone's life happier, easier, healthier, tastier, more fun...well, you get the point.