Monday, February 9, 2009

Frugal Eating - FAIL!

When I first started searching for frugal food blogs I was very excited. I was ready to roll up my sleeves and get to cookin' the good, healthy, cheap stuff. Let's go!!

And it never panned out. After six months, I give up.

It seems that it is impossible to eat cheaply with diet restrictions.

Can't have wheat? You're done. Add dairy to very done. And I have to have the expensive eggs.

Now, I know you can eat wheat free. I know you can do without dairy. But you aren't going to do it very cheaply. At least not in my area. And to make matters worse, I don't actually have a know, like diabetes or celiac -- I have funky toxin issues that won't put me in the hospital. I just get sick and break out in hives on my face and body and blisters on my hands and feet. So when I get frustrated I just eat what we can afford and stay sick.

But I'm tired of being sick.

I can eat corn, potatoes and white rice (not brown..its an allergy thing). It's just too bad that the pasta's and other such subs made from this stuff are 4x the price. I bought a corn pasta the other day and it was over $3 -- I could buy 4 bags of regualr pasta for that!!!!

My other big dilemma is location. I have never lived in a city where groceries were a monopoly. Seriously, it's Walmart or HEB. Walmart has the worst produce I've seen for sale. HEB is high priced. And there aren't any food health stores either. There is a little corner in the Drug Emporium with stuff -- but talk about sticker shock. Yes, I definitely miss my Whole Foods, Wild Oats and a slew of other choices (Aldi's!!!) in Omaha. Of course I could drive an hour and a half either direction and find whatever my heart desires - but get real. Between the gas cost and the milage on the car it is just not worth it. We only make that trip when we run out of our favorite ethnic type foods (greek, mediteranian, chinese, indian) - since we don't have ethnic markets either (except a Mexican one that is not too bad at all).

I am going to try and grow a garden this year. I'm very intimidated by the whole process but I'm working towards it. If I can get my husband to help out with getting it started this will actually happen. This would help the vegetable prices I am paying. But, did I mention I've been on meds since I was 3 because I'm allergic to everything that grows??? It will still cost me.

I also suffer from a lack of recipes. Steamed veggies and meat every night is BORING. Most gluten free recipes call for ingredients I don't have and at the prices here, won't get. Lack of availablity here is also a problem for "exotic" ingredients.

I can't eat much soy so tofu is out. I do use it in a couple of dishes - but it is not a good sub for me. Has to do with thyroid problems I have and how soy makes it worse.

Our menu planning is not very frugal either. We do plan every week. But, when you have a husband that had food withheld when he was growing up and remembers being hungry all the end up with an ultra-controlling eater. He does check what we have before he starts deciding what he is going to eat(menu planning is a family affair). But if he wants something, that's it, that's what we are having. Because he can. It's his house. It's his money. He can eat what he wants. (And he is more than happy to cook these things ladies, he's not making me do it if I don't want to.) Now, I do get to throw some meals in there also and can try to balance it out a little. But, if he's been gone and returns home...he always changes the menu to eat those things he didn't get while he was gone - and marches right off to the store to get what he needs. Messes everything up.

So, we have a budget of $125 per week which is mostly spent on fresh fruit and veggie and meat. That's a little under the average for a family of 4 (occasionally 5). And I still think its way too high. Food budget has always been the thing I excelled at saving money on pre-diagnoses.

And just to add insult to injury, now it comes out that high fructose corn syrup is full of mercury. One of my issues. And here I was thinking it was probably fillings in my teeth. So now, the love of my life, Coca-Cola, is also poisoning me.

I just don't know if its worth going on. Bury me now. The funeral should be very affordable after what the family will be saving by not having to feed me.


  1. Autumn, I feel so bad for you! I can't imagine how difficult it must be to be allergic to so many things. I remember reading a book by a local author who had this same problem, and she conquered it by growing her own everything. I wish I could remember what it was called.

    As you know, we have a garden, and it does really cut down on produce costs. However, when we run out of garden produce, we eat mostly frozen vegetables and frozen or no-sugar-added canned fruits, because the fresh produce in the grocery stores is such crap! It's either old and wilted or coated with pesticides and waxed within an inch of its life. Blech!

    My word verification is duspers. I know this has nothing to do with anything, but I find it amusing.

  2. That is hard. I spend what you do for a family of four. Its so hard to spend less.

    You know it is also your house too. You work very hard even if you dont earn an income.

  3. I do feel for you. We don't really suffer from food allergies but just trying to eat healthily breaks the budget.

  4. It is very hard. I cook all the meals for our family of 3. I try to exclude meat and dairy because I don't eat it but the guys do. We spend 100 bucks a week on groceries.

    Not drinking soda will cut down on your grocery bill and your hfcs intake.
    You can also grow your own veges. I am going to have tomatoes and zucchini this year.

    Cheers and don't give up. Remember how much money you WON'T be spending on doctor bills when you are more healthy.

  5. A bunch of moms I know have been challenging each other to stick to a $100 per week grocery budget. I don't know how they do it. My failure to meet this goal probably has a lot to do with my insistance on organic food, particularly meats and produce.

    I noticed you're reading Barbara Kingsolver's book on eating locally. I thought that was inspirational, although I failed in my only attempt to grow my own food. I'm thinking of trying one more time, maybe in pots instead of in a garden.