Friday, June 8, 2012

Groceries - Week 4

Some of the Farmer's Market Produce

Week 4

Took me a couple extra days to get this out, but at least it was simple this week:

Farmer's market: $145.00
5 organic lemons, a few pounds of various organic chiles, 1 organic eggplant, 2 bags mixed organic baby greens, 15 organic vine ripened tomatoes, 2 organic watermelons, maybe 8 pounds organic potatoes, 4 baskets local  organic strawberries, 3 pounds organic grapes, 100% grass-fed organic beef (3 pounds ground chuck, 1 pound liver, 1 3-lb. chuck roast)

Corner Store: $4.98
2 avocados

Over flow from last week: $48.78

Total: $198.76

Over budget by $48.76, then.

I was hoping to get the budget back to where it should be this week. Obviously, that didn't happen. We arrived home from visiting hubby and didn't make it through the first night before the flu descended. When you come home to an empty fridge and have the flu, well, you still have to go buy food, right? So I shuffled off to the Farmer's Market, high fever and all.

Unfortunately, feverish Shauna flaked and thought to herself that the old budget of $200 was still in effect.

But honestly, even if I hadn't known that, I would have likely over-spent. Strawberries and grapes are a huge treat for me, and they HAD them this week! I decided to buy some extra. My farmer has them one, maybe two DAYS out of the year. If I'm very lucky, maybe he'll have more next week, but likely this will be all I can get unless my own strawberries do much better than they seem to be doing. I restrained myself from overspending to get even more of them.

Same for the grapes. The farmer I get these from doesn't use sulfur/sulfite containing anti-fungals, so I can actually eat these. Again, trying to grow our own, but the vines are still new and not growing grapes yet, so I'm reveling in the taste of grapes and considering whether there's enough to try a small batch of grape syrup for sweetener this year.

After I bought all this (and regained sentience after flu-blech), I was thinking I would slowly whittle this overspending back down over the next few weeks so that I will have 'paid off' my, well, my grocery loan to myself. And then I sat down and took a look at it all.

I don't think this budget and our health are compatible. 

We're not getting enough protein. I know that in America, that's not the usual case. Everyone and their health coach always says Americans get way too much protein. But my family? Not so much. I have a few sources of protein: beans, seeds, nuts, and meat. But my sources for these are either small, like only sunflower seeds from my own garden, or they are expensive, so I've been cutting back on them to try and have a more reasonable grocery budget. I also have to special order our nuts and beans, and both of these companies are more seasonal in their supplies than most. They have both been out of the beans and nuts I can have for a few months now, and I've run out of my extra supplies.

Me and the kids have been a bit more tired and cranky than usual, lately, so I did a nutrient check (I have a dietician to help me out on this one. She's wonderful). Yup, low on protein. We've probably been getting about half of what we need the last three weeks, sigh.

My beans and nuts are now finally in season and available and I have a better idea of how much I need to order to alternate with meat periodically. While it isn't terrifyingly expensive, it's something I have to get in one, big chunk per month, getting a little surplus toward the times when it's not available. I haven't built up reserves yet within this budget to eat for this week AND buy extra. But I'm still going to have to buy it if I want us to all be healthy a few months from now.

If I have the $, health trumps budget. If I don't have the money, well, we do the best we can, like everyone in that situation, you know?

I'll see how it works this coming week when I order the beans and nuts. I know it will be way over budget - the order alone will probably be more than $150. We'll see if the budget in the weeks that follow will be low enough that I ever catch up, or if I will remain over. Perhaps this isn't a budget I can stick to and still get the nutrition I need for me and the kids (sorry, hubby honey, I know you're working hard on your grocery budget out there on your lonesome when we're not around. You can do it, though!)

Most likely, it's just another sign of how ON budget I need to stay, actually staying well below the budget and with no extras, if I want to be able to afford the food needed to stay healthy. Since I can't have vitamins at all, and my kids only seem to be able to tolerate a multi-vitamin that is missing some key nutrients, I'm not going to screw around.

If I mess up and we have to spend more so that they get the nutrition they need, well, I'll give a little thanks that we have the money. I might be ticked at myself, and yet again, this is really kind of embarrassing to put this up here. But, well, I don't want to pretend it's all coming up roses.

This budget is a hard one for us. I have to work harder at making food from scratch than ever. But jotting this down, and talking about it, is something I should have done months ago. It's only recently that I've really been feeling healthy enough on a consistent basis that I feel like organization is starting to emerge from the mad scramble that has otherwise been our weekly life.

Better late than never.

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