Ha!  You CAN save money and eat healthy, earth conscious foods!  It’s so simple I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before!  

Here is the secret:

Switch to a plant-based diet. 

That’s it….

Oh, don’t roll your eyes at me.  I don’t mean you have to become a vegetarian or a vegan (although those are very healthy, good lifestyles – just not for everyone).  Instead you become what is rapidly becoming known as a “flexitarian”. 

Apparently, and I just learned this new word last week, a flexitarian is someone who eats mostly a plant-based diet but isn’t opposed (morally or otherwise) to eating meat on the occasion.  

We did this a while ago, after working with a holistic health/food counselor who taught me new uses for old foods and coaxed me to eat vegetables I NEVER thought would darken my door, much less my refrigerator!  But being brave, and not one to ever shrink from a challenge, I pushed on.  Now we are full-fledged “flexitarians” eating meat only once or twice a week.  

We are a  family of three, fully organic/wild, including meat purchases – which in other words reads E.X.P.E.N.S.I.V.E.   And my grocery bill had creeped up to $250 a week (including whatever sundries we purchased, which are all natural products too)!  

Today, even with those expensive meats and products like for instance,$20 for a free range chicken! $18 lb for fresh caught wild Salmon, $7.99 for a small  container of laundry soap that is safe for the earth and for me and my family….

my grocery bill is…..drum roll please…..$150 a week!  Holy SMOKES!  I never thought I would see the likes of those prices again once I committed to eating organic foods and using organic products. 

So a regular weekly menu in my house looks like this:

Breakfast:  Whole Grain Cereal (usually Kashi brand), boiled eggs and fruit, omelette, or spinach Quiche

Lunch:  Left overs, sandwiches (made with boars head all natural meats and LOADS of veg including tomatoes, sprouts, onions, ect., salad and a slice of sour dough bread or homemade bread

Dinner:

Monday: Double Mushroom Soup, whole wheat bread and fruit salad made with seasonal fruits and sweetened with agave nectar. 

Tuesday:  Cuban Black beans & Rice

Wednesday: Roasted Chicken, Cajun spiced boiled potatoes, sautéed collard greens, sliced tomatoes

Thursday:  Left overs

Friday: Stuffed Portobello Mushroom caps (stuffed with spinach, cheese, etc), some sort of vegetable side

Saturday: Clean out fridge – left overs

Sunday: Warm Shrimp Spinach Salad with sliced bread

snacks include: roasted pumpkin seeds or nuts, fruits, pretzels, popcorn, smoothies, banana bread, guacamole and baked tortilla chips, etc. etc.

Your Money or Your Life

November 19, 2008

Your Money or Your Life  is one of the best resources to changing the way you view money.  It really explains well the actual rather than initial cost of the products you own.  With maintenance, cleaning and repair, often your stuff ends up owning you because the more you own, the more you have to work. 

The authors go about changing the reader’s perceptions about money by putting costs in the form of life hours.  How many life hours will it take you to pay for something and what would you rather be doing with those life hours – working to pay for stuff or doing something on your own terms.

If you haven’t already, check out the website or get a copy of the book (from the library of course) and participate in the transformation.  Let’s face it, since we now all have to pay the bill of our consumer society so we are really not in a position to choose this transformation instead it was foisted upon us.

http://www.yourmoneyoryourlife.org/

Living Cheaper

October 24, 2008

With talk of a global recession, everyone is understandably nervous and looking for opportunities to cut back on every day expenses.   Here is a tip.  Live lightly.  Be a conscientious consumer.  Don’t fall in the marketing trap.  

Making conscientious choices can lower your carbon footprint thereby helping the earth but also lessen the wallet squeeze, helping yourself. 

  1. Install a clothes line. Your clothes drier is the second largest energy consumer in your home.  
  2. Unplug unused appliances.   Appliances produce what is called a phantom load.  This is energy used while it is plugged in and idle waiting use.  Research shows that unplugging televisions and appliances when not in use will reduce energy bills by up to 40%.
  3. Invest in LED lights at Christmas.  To decorate for the holidays, use LEDs that consume up to 90% less energy that traditional Christmas lights.
  4. Invest in florescent. Florescent lights consume up to 80% less energy than their incandescent counterparts. 
  5. When you save energy you are shrinking your carbon foot print but also SAVING MONEY!
  6. Rethink conventional household cleaners.   Common house hold cleaners are full of synthetic and possibly toxic chemicals.  Switch to baking soda, vinegar and soap and water.   You will significantly reduce the amount of resources used in packaging by choosing not to consume these products in plastic bottles.  You will also keep far more money in your wallet as the cost of a few products is far cheaper than many separate cleaners.
  7. Switch from paper to cloth.  Invest in quality cloth napkins (preferably made with organic cotton).  These last far longer, use far fewer resources and are FAR CHEAPER than their paper counterparts when used over time.
  8. Don’t drive unless you need to and then combine errands for maximum fuel efficiency.  Not only will you reduce the amount of ozone depleting emissions you contribute to the environment, you will also reduce the amount of money depleting trips to the gas station.
  9. Ride your bike on errands within 2 miles of  your home.  Again saving emissions released into the environment but also saving money on gym membership fees and health care costs by being fit.
  10. Lower your thermostat in the winter and raise it in the summer.  Again you will save energy which will in turn save money on energy costs.
  11. Eat locally grown food whenever possible.  Locally produced, organic foods, contain more nutrients and are better for you than store bought foods that have to be shipped from long distances.  This results in saving money in health care costs.
  12. Exercise, play with your kids, and laugh….this all reduces stress which in turn will reduce your health care costs.  Happy, healthy people visit the doctor far less than overweight, unhappy people. 

Borrow – Don’t Buy

October 13, 2008

Green resource: 

An excellent website that links people who have stuff with people who need stuff.

www.loanables.com

If you have something that you aren’t using regularly rent it to your neighbors who may need that particular item.  If you need something like a saw or a canoe or truck even…do a search on loanables to see if someone has one in your area that you can rent.