The 30-Day Health and Frugality Challenge

I’ve been writing a short series on my initial interests in a healthy lifestyle and how I got where I am today.  After being shown Weston A. Price materials, and being convinced I needed to adjust my diet, “Modern American diet”, I eliminated many (but not all) processed foods.  This wasn’t too hard at all, especially because I really didn’t stick to any rule, just eliminated some things.

But here’s what bugged me – there seemed to be a myth believed by everyone that eating healthy is expensive.  To me, it seemed like it was being inferred that might as well eat unhealthy since it costs a couple bucks more to do otherwise.  Well, I don’t like misconceptions. They bug me. Especially when believing them causes super adverse consequences.

I decided to just do my own experiment.  I will spend $60/month on food, this comes out to about $2. a day. Apparently the world’s poor live on this much.  Am I able to do it in the States where things cost more and while eating healthy?  So January of 2009 myself and a coworker set out on a challenge.  The goal was actually to “beat” the other person. And one of the rules was that this could not include fasting or going hungry. Eat meals, just do it cheap and healthy.

What I learned:

-It is possible. I spent 60 dollars on groceries that month (went out to eat a couple times).

-Making food in bulk saves money. This was definitely key.

-Buying food in small portions (like a microwavable bag) is way more expensive than just making something yourself.

-Preparing one’s own food from as much scratch as possible is the way to go for saving money.

-It wasn’t costless. While I did save money, I found that the greatest cost came in terms of time. The time to prepare meals was much longer than what I was used to and cared for.  Only took a couple days to figure that one out. After a week I wanted to quit for that reason alone. How impatient I can be!

Eating more healthy still takes more time than I’d like in terms of preparation. No regrets though.

Ok, so you’re all wondering how I did it.  Well, it wasn’t all  “primal approved, but it sure wasn’t processed!”

Rice, beans, ground beef, eggs, some fruit, nuts, 1 steak, and maybe some other things I can’t remember. I really wish now I had kept a journal of what exactly I bought and paid.   Enough reason to try this again I suppose 🙂

Go ahead and try it yourself. Give yourself a dollar amount for groceries and 30 days (assuming you don’t eat out a ton).  I’d love to hear how it goes!

p.s. making food in bulk comes in handy for those what-ifs in life.  Something just came up and I need to run out for a couple hours without a chance to make/eat dinner hear. I have a tupperware of meat/onion/garlic all set to go that I’ll just eat en-route or on location.

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About Staffaction

If I ever write a memoirs it will be called "From Podunk to Poland to Pakistan"...so says a good friend of mine anyway. I'm from a small town in Michigan and enjoy world travel. I'm a Christian, advocate for liberty, enjoy real food, and barefoot runs. I studied economics and now work full time for a missions organization as a link between US churches and overseas schools and churches, serving indigenous pastors by discipling and teaching them so they can teach others.
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6 Responses to The 30-Day Health and Frugality Challenge

  1. Jim Purdy says:

    Congratulations!
    You’ve discovered the Social Security food plan!
    Millions of older Americans have no choice but to live very frugally, shopping once a month, and preparing all their own foods at home.
    Maybe AARP will make you an honorary member.

  2. Ben, it makes sense that living a lot off of rice and beans would be frugal. But aren’t those high-carb foods looked down on by the primal diet? Maybe I’m wrong: I’m new to this and mess up the whole paleo/primal/low-card distinctions.

  3. I am very interested to see how this will turn out!

    I will do one when I am settled in New York.

  4. Staffaction says:

    Chuck, yes! let me know how it goes…feel free to give me a heads up and maybe we can go head to head…always easier for me when it’s a challenge 🙂

    Loren – You’re right about the beans and rice not being paleo. I considered it healthy in that I wasn’t eating processed food. Legumes are not paleo when they are dried then prepared. It’s ok to eat fresh peas/beans for instance though. Rice has it’s pros and cons, and again lots of prep goes into it to avoid deleterious effects as I understand it (Mark’s daily apple has a decent article on that). As far as being low or high carb, that just depends on the individual and their particular needs. With Paleo, it’s not so much that ya try to aim for low carbs, but it just ends up being that way in that we look for nutrient dense foods. An athlete like me is totally game for carbs as found in sweet potatoes and fruit. Someone trying to lose weight should probably consciously try avoiding the carbs.

  5. Pingback: Primal Today | The Primal Challenge

  6. Pingback: My $3 Paleo Dinner (with pictures) | The Primal Challenge

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