Kris Carr's Ultimate Shopping tips

10 Simple Ways to Eat Clean & Save Green

May 27, 2013|122Comments|


Hi Sweet Friends,

Ever since I started sharing my journey from Hot Pockets to whole foods, I’ve often heard that it’s difficult to afford a healthier lifestyle. I won’t argue with you there. Real food is pricier than processed food made in a lab or a factory. And you will certainly see a jump in the grand total on your grocery receipts. But over time you’ll get the hang of it, and I promise it will become more manageable. There’s always a silver lining, my friends — and the price “jump” can be more of a baby bunny hop.

Today I’m sharing my top tips for saving money on nourishing, plant-based foods. But before I dive in, I hope to inspire you with this one statement:

Do your best to invest in yourself today; your future depends on it.

Even on a limited income, we can each make small upgrades that have a massive impact on our health. And get this, your body will be so grateful that it will reward you tenfold. It will literally move mountains when you give it the slightest improvement. Now let’s get started!

Here are my go-to tips for nifty, thrifty plant-happy shopping:

1. Budget and meal plan. First step, set a comfortable budget. Then, examine your fridge and pantry. I bet you’ve got a lot of goodies in there. Next, map out your menu with my easy meal plan. Don’t skip this step, hot shot. Kitchen champions succeed not because they are the best of chefs, but because they plan their arses off. With more experience, you’ll get the hang of it.

2. Buy bulk. While navigating the grocery store head straight to the bulk bins and stock up! As your bulk food staples grow, you’ll have shorter shopping lists and an arsenal of inspiration for your home-cooked meals. Added bonus: Display your beautiful beans, grains and spices in mason jars throughout your kitchen. Home-decor, Crazy Sexy style!

3. Shop local: Farmers markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Farmers markets are a great place to buy organic foods on the cheap. In-season produce is almost always going to cost less, so try to be flexible and cook with the harvest. A CSA is another thrift-tastic way to eat with the seasons. If a CSA half-share seems like more veggies than you could eat or afford, see if a friend wants to go in on it with you. You can also freeze a portion of your haul for later or make a green juice! Here are some great websites for finding a market or CSA near you: Local HarvestEat Well Guide, Farmers MarketFarmer’s Market Online.

4. Learn the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen: If you can’t afford a 100-percent organic lifestyle, don’t sweat it. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s lists to determine your priorities for organic purchases. They even created an iPhone app. Now that’s handy!

5. Stock up on the essentials during sales. I know it may seem like I’m giving you mixed messages, but if you arrive at the supermarket and there’s a big phat sale on organic bananas, snag those babies! They may not have been on your meal plan, but you can cut them up, freeze ‘em and pop them in your smoothies or soft serve ice cream later. The same goes for dry staples like grains and beans that aren’t going to go bad in your pantry.

6. Grow your greens. As you’ll see in the coming weeks, we’re starting our first vegetable garden (I’m so excited!). It’s exponentially more economical to grow your own food. Whether you live in a studio or a McMansion, there’s always room for a few pots of greens. A two-dollar packet of mixed lettuce seeds will support your salad habit for months. If you’re a city gardener, start by reading Urban Gardening for the Everyday Person. Then check out You Grow Girl, Garden Girl TV and Urban Homestead. For country folks like myself, check out The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible and Four Season Farm. Want more? Stay tuned for my upcoming gardening video!

7. Cut back on restaurants. Aye, Chihuahua, do those restaurant bills pile up! Rather than escaping to the local Denny’s, make your kitchen the new hot spot. Fabu cookbooks, romantic dinners at home, potlucks, picnics and rowdy get-togethers all make dinner a family affair. I’m not saying that you should never step foot in a restaurant again; just try to limit your visits. If you’re intimidated by making anything beyond toast, learn the basics with me and Chef Chad Sarno through our online Crazy Sexy Cooking Classes. You’ll be a confident cook in no time.

8. Make your food last and get creative with leftovers. Wash and store your produce in Debbie Meyer Green Bags (they extend life expectancy). And when your produce looks like it’s about to go south, resuscitate it in a delicious stew. How about leftovers? Don’t toss them. With a little TLC, leftovers can be transformed into fresh new meals. Batch cooking is another way to save time and money. Double or triple your favorite recipe and freeze the leftovers for a quick and healthy meal when you’re in a pinch.

9. Buy used. Buying a new juicer or blender may not be in your budget, but what about a used one? Craigslist, eBay — even your friends and family — might have an affordable, gently used model. In the meantime, you can still juice with any old blender and strainer (cheesecloth or nut milk bags work great!).

10. Skip the bells and whistles. If you’re like me, you definitely have budget leaks, aka knee-jerk spending at Amazon, Target, Starbucks and on all those raw food goodies. Identify where you can tighten your belt and invest in your company (you are the CEO of your health after all), not someone else’s. Don’t let transforming your plate be intimidating or cost prohibitive. As always, you don’t need to upgrade everything all at once. Make a plan and pace your bank account.

As you can see, there are tons of ways to make a plant-powered plate work for your wallet if you’re ready to use a little elbow grease. When my food expenses start creeping up, it’s usually because I’m being a bit of a slacker, not because of my veg-inspired diet. I’m not planning my meals. My apron is dusty. The takeout menus get more play than my ukulele. Make new habits by trying one of my tips per week. You can do this!

Your turn: What are your savvy, money-saving solutions?

Peace & prosperity,

Kris Carr



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122 responses to 10 Simple Ways to Eat Clean & Save Green
  1. Such wonderful tips, thanks Kris! xox

  2. It does take some planning but with a commitment to your health, its an investment in longevity!

  3. I love your tip re: meal planning! That’s definitely a way that I can save money. Thanks Kris!

  4. I found this product a while ago. Works so well, I have bought some as gifts and will be buying more. We belong to an Organic Co-op..so keeping what we get fresh for as long as possible it important to us in our buying plan. I reviewed it for a blog I contribute too. Highly recommend it.

    http://blog.greendeals.org/go-green/product-review-egg-produce-saver/

    Love the reminder I am the CEO of my health Kris.. and extending that to ALL of my purchasing needs!

  5. My top tip is to choose and plan where to shop. Combined with meal planning, this is a killer combo! I now travel across town once a week to shop at a store that is A LOT cheaper than the one that is closest to where I live. I’m saving so much from meal planning and shopping in this way!

    Also, meal planning will help ensure that nothing goes to waste. That, and a juicer will make sure you get maximum nutrients for you bucks!

  6. C said on May 27, 2013

    I remember once hearing you say that if organic cucumbers are just too darn expensive, use conventional ones: just remember to peel them. Good advice! Thanks Kris Carr! Xo

  7. Everyone can grow sprouts, year round, no matter where you live. Just get in the routine of starting a new jar each day and then you’ll have a lovely jar full of sprouts each day. Keep in mind too that pulses can be not just soaked but actually sprouted. I don’t eat them raw even when sprouted but they cook up in no time and not only are less fartalicious but you lose a lot of the phytic acid, which is an anti-nutrient.

    • Hi Jeannie,
      Advice how to start sprouting? I’ve seen from buying the kits to just soaking seeds or grains, and also found differing length of time for soaking. Any tips for an easy start on this?
      Thank you much,
      W

      • It’s almost unbelievably simple. Big things, like lentils, can soak for a while, little tiny seeds get rinsed and drained at least once a day. The little sprouts poke out and for lentils and other pulses, that’s a good time to cook lightly if you cook, or let go a bit longer if you want to eat raw. The little seeds sprout fast and it’s easy to eat a jar a day in our household, so I just keep starting a new jar every morning. Also good for fermenting if you do that!

    • Kyra, thanks, that is a very cool story and I’m glad you are movnig forward with this and having fun. It is amazing how it feels holding that book in your hands, isn’t it? Thanks a ton for the great comment and I hope you keep movnig forward. Any questions on anything as you run up against it, feel free to ask here or e-mail me. I tend to have opinions on things. (grin)

  8. Fantastical tips girl!!
    Adding to the grow your own tip the cheapest way to get a powerhouse of concentrated nutrients is homegrown sprouts!! I grow all my own and even take rhem when we travel
    peace and raw health,
    Elizabeth

    • I’m going to try that this fall when our local market shuts down. Sweet pea greens/ sprouts are now one of our weekly must have. This thanks to Kris and her advice in a post about juicing for newbies to start with mild greens including sweet pea. We were finally able to try them this month and they are sooooo good raw or juiced.

  9. Hi Kriss! Thank you for you crazy sexy tips:-) do you cut your veggies before putting in those bags or you leave them whole? I just really struggle for room in my fridge. I also find even though my fridge is at correct temp if veggies go near the back of shelf like celery, as it has to to fit, it freezes it. Any fridge tips? xx

    • Some people pre-cut to save time which is totally fine. I don’t as I’ve read in many places that pre-cutting, washing etc too far ahead can reduce nutrients and best to do just before use. But if pre prepping works for you and means you’ll actually eat the healthier food then go for it. There’s lots of good info online for storing produce. Just do searches such as “best way to…(store or keep carrots fresh etc)” and you will find lots of info. Maybe Kris and her team will cover this in a future blog?

    • Hey Amanda
      regarding your fridge freezing things, is your fridge an intergrated unit in your kitchen? I mean is it housed in some cladding to match the rest of your kitchen? If so, the problem is that the back of the fridge doesn’t have enough ventilation for the fan/vents to maintain the temperature and cool the whole fridge evenly. If it isn’t an integrated unit, it could be that the fan at the back or one of the filters is in need of a clean, or the back of the fridge is too close to the wall. Another common reason for this is if your fridge is overstocked or your thermostat needs to be replaced. Trial and error may help you with this.

  10. I like the term I am the CEO of my health– nothing beats picking fresh home grown green. I started with lacinato kale and Swiss chard.

  11. Kris, Great tips. I am so looking forward to seeing your garden grow. Jo-Ann

  12. Gail said on May 27, 2013

    I have ckd and have been told to carefully limit potassium and phosphorous and sodium. How to eat this way and avoid beans,and other foods that are high….

    • Potassium isn’t as much a problem as sodium and protein are. Beans not only are a high protein food, as a seeds, but both contain significant amounts of anti-nutrients (these are reduced by about half by soaking/sprouting). Other than those two food categories, this seems like an almost ideal diet for you, or at least a good basis. You don’t say what stage you are, and your dietary needs will get adjusted, but really, this is too complex to ask random people on the internet. Talk to your nutritionist and doc, but veggies in general are your friends.

  13. Jane said on May 27, 2013

    I cook with http://www.thefresh20.com for the vegetarian/vegan plan and it saves me tons of money. There is very minimal processed food (once in awhile pasta or couscous) and very healthy. Every week they send me a menu and I go shopping. It even tells me the approximate cost per item. I also save my beans and dried bulk items in glass jars.

  14. Shop for fresh produce at ethnic groceries. Asian greens are less costly and more plentiful there than in a regular market. Also, I wash any conventional produce with water and a bit of white vinegar, in the hopes (belief) that the vinegar helps remove pesticide residue. What do you think?

    • OOOH great idea, so many little asian style shops around now and the produce always looks fresh and really green.

      Thanks! xx

    • This sounds crazy, but wash veggies in a squirt of dish detergent in a big bowl of water, then rinse. It’s routinely used as a natural pesticide, removes as much of the bad stuff as possible, and no, your food won’t taste soapy. But greens retain a bunch of pesticides and it isn’t really a bargain to buy non-organic.

  15. Thank you Kris!

  16. Like your tips but what about single people? Buying bulk is difficult because i end up wasting it! I would love to see tips for singles. Love your website and your work!
    Wendy

  17. I agree with all these tips! Going to the store with a plan, when you’re well nourished is so huge! I have also found that here in Phoenix area the bulk bins can be great but aren’t always the best deals, for instance I can usually find raw almonds for $4-5 a lb, but some other things are more than they are conventionally. Loved the tips! I recently started prepping most of my veggies within 1 day of getting home and have found that 1) they last longer, surprisingly! And 2) it cuts waaaaay down on cooking and juicing time. I usually cut them in the various ways I need and stick them in a ziplock bag with a paper towel in it. When the veggie gets used the bag gets washed and reused!

  18. On the west coast we have a store called Fresh and Easy. They have a discount area for groceries that are about to expire. I shop that area first and stock up on the veggies& fruit I will need for the next couple of days. I also buy out whatever good quality meat they have. I can freeze the meat when I get home and thaw it the day I need it.

  19. Great tips! And so true that our health is worth the investment.

  20. LL said on May 27, 2013

    Hi Kris – I’ve been alkali zing for a few years now but am recommitting since reading your book. Here’s no denying its the closest thing to using the force in our galaxy! Quick qu – are the dirty dozen still dirty if you’re buying organic?
    Thanks
    L

    • No. Those are the ones you want to buy organic so then they will be clean. :). Conventional dirty/organic clean on the dirty dozen

  21. Love your ideas and luv you!

  22. Forget canned beans. A bag of dried beans usually cooks up to the equivalent of 6 cans–for the price of about 3! And quick-cooking methods abound on the Internet. NO MORE OVERNIGHT SOAKING. Cook up a huge batch of beans, portion them out into freezer bags (a can of beans usually equals abt 1 1/2 cups) freeze ‘em to lay flat and you’ve always got beans on hand to start a great quick meal!

    • Great idea to buy and cook dried beans! You can also do this with rice and pearl barley. I use a large baggie to freeze them and with a ruler on the outside of the bag make depressions to separate the bag contents into four squares and freeze. When you are ready to use it, one quarter of the bag contents will break off easily, and the rest can remain frozen for next time. Saves time, space and $$$.

  23. Shop at Aldi’s! They don’t have organic, but they have a great produce section, nuts, and frozen fruit for less than regular grocery stores. They’re owned by Trader Joe’s.

    Also, I think it’s important to eat plant based even if you can’t afford anything organic.

  24. D2 said on May 27, 2013

    One of the local stores that has organic, has a senior day once a month and all the organic produce and everything in the bulk bins is 10% off. This is a great time to get nuts, seeds and grains that aren’t normally on sale. Also if you watch the prices on the things you eat, you can tell when it is a good buy.

  25. Someone I was dating said to me — “some girls buy Prada… you buy organic.” Ha.

    This list is so true!! Thank you!

  26. Loving all your ideas! xo

  27. What’s worse, in my opinion, is throwing out produce that’s become rotten only because I just couldn’t eat it all in a week! Not only do I plan (as recommended) I only purchase small amounts, that I know will be eaten within a few days. It’s a double whammy, spending extra on organics, only to have them wither away.

    • Keeping it simple and meal planning (Kris has free forms on this site) will help. It takes time so be patient ; )

    • Amy said on May 27, 2013

      can you get chickens? i don’t feel as bad giving it to them, because they can digest stuff that has gone too bad for us humans. it’s a win win!

      • Thank you for always aconmodaticg my hectic schedule. I don’t like to change any appointments, especially with my dentist or doctor but sometimes it is necessary. You don’t put any additional guilt on me and that makes it so easy to work with your office. I have never experienced an unpleasant visit. The offer of the hand waxing, headphones, tv, beverages and cookies are appreciated. More importantly is the staff that continually impresses me with your courtesy and conversations. Great website!

  28. Kait said on May 27, 2013

    1) Stick to the basics. Rice and beans might not be the sexiest of meals, but is hearty and filling and vegan and there are a million different ways to prepare it, especially if you read it as “grains and legumes.”
    2) Frozen veggies.
    3) Checking for discount produce. Oftentimes it’ll be bruised or past its “best buy” date (for, say, packaged greens) but is still ok.
    4) Shopping with the sales. Since most grocery stores post their sales online, I try to meal plan around whatever fruits and veggies they’ve got discounted. This way I can still enjoy a variety of produce without paying full price.

  29. One of my resources for affordable, organic food is Costco! The hubs and I shop there once a week, and our membership literally pays for itself. (the executive membership pays you a little bit back on everything you spend) I get giant bags of organic baby kale, big containers of organic lettuce and spinach, bags of whole grains, hemp and chia seeds, the list goes on and on. We are on a very tight budget, for me Costco is an invaluable resource.

    Disclaimer: no, I don’t work there or own their stock! I just think people equate “big box stores” with evil. I wanted to remind everyone that a deal is a deal, no matter where you find it!

  30. I do many of the things you mention here, and though it costs me more in my grocery dollar weekly to eat consciously, I spend far less than I used to on doctors and medicines. My local CSA charges me $31.50 weekly for a box packed to the brim with locally grown organic veggies, delivered to my doorstep – a bargain! My sister turned her yard into an edible landscape, and I garden with her. We just harvested our first homegrown organic carrots, which we grew in 2 pots, and I have an awesome photo to prove it. I know that as we all begin to embrace this way of eating and treating the earth, it will get easier and less expensive, not to mention healthier for all of us.

    I love your site and have recommended it to many people I know who are looking to have a healthier lifestyle.

  31. I try to use my pulp from juicing. I just made grain-free, no refined sugar, spiced carrot-apple muffins! They were yummy!!!

    I am also starting to ferment foods. Veggies that are about to go bad go in a glass jar with salt brine to ferment. They last pretty long and have a nice tangy taste!!

  32. If you have the room, cut an inch off the bottom off the stems of your leafy green, put them in a glass of water like flowers, cover with a plastic bag and put them on the door if your fridge! They keep so much longer! I’ve even done this with broccoli!

  33. My favorite is to buy onions, celery and mushrooms and use my mini food processor and mince separately and then freeze in my ice cube tray and then shake them into freezer bags. I have measured and each cube is exactly 1 tablespoon which means easy measuring for soups and stews or where ever you need minced veggies.

    This also keeps me from losing space in my fridge and from going bad. I use them fresh for a few days but make sure I process the rest.

  34. Love your tip about displaying beans, grains and spices in mason jars! It makes me so happy to open my pantry and see my lovely ‘collection’…when my food looks beautiful I can’t wait to get into my kitchen. Grains + Garden Greens makes for the best last minute summer meals!!

  35. Our town has a lovely Farmers Market that just opened up for the season two weeks ago, and I am loving it! But besides it, I have asked around and found a farm that sells fresh, organic veggies year round.

    My body is loving what your Crazy, Sexy plan is doing to it, Kris! I will be late to work rather than not take the time to make my morning green juice. :-)

  36. Would love to share this on FB and Twitter. For some reason it keeps telling me that I’m “not signed” in when I click your FB and Twitter buttons. (And yes, I am signed in to both my FB and Twitter accounts!). Thoughts anyone?

  37. I know this is on the far out side of what most people would be comfortable with but honestly my husband and I went through a phase of dumpster diving! We are in Colorado and when we first moved to the expensive town we live in, we were really stretched. We are a fairly big family and absolutely believe that we are the CEO’s of our health. A friend gave us the idea (which was totally new to us!) and showed us the “ropes” and we really witnessed the amount perfection and waste that even natural foods stores hold and create. We would find about 30 to 70 pounds of (mostly) perfect organic produce, cheese, baked goods, and even beautiful flowers every time we went, which was about 2x’s a week. We would find 20 containers of say organic blueberries, 40 apples, 20 stalks of beautiful broccoli. I would freeze and can things and juice and make soup. We don’t do it anymore, but it was a great experience at the time that made us aware of another side of things that seemed good to understand. I know it became almost trendy for a while and even saw a documentary about people in NYC doling it! Now I do all the things Kris suggests, but unfortunately find the farmers market extremely expensive. We like to go to farms and pick our own food when in season and support a Colorado owned grocery chain that does a great job at buying Colorado grown organic produce and they price it well. Also finding wild growing edibles and fruit is a great way to go. Sometimes it’s good to think outside the “box”.

    • I second that Jessie. We didn’t dumpster dive for food, though we have been known to search for salvage to upcycle for furniture that way. But we have gone foraging a few times and one thing I have heard of recently is food swapping, so if you have some bulk you can swap it for something else you need through a bartering system. I tend to go for full organic as much as possible though some things I will sacrifice if needed for organic plant based foods and fairtrade, organic wholefoods where possible too.

    • I remember CNN did a special on dumpster diving awhile back and people were finding top shelf stuff in the dumpsters and going home and cooking gourmet meals. We live in such a wasteful society.

  38. 10-4 Sister !!
    I second that cutting waaay back on eating out – saves big $$$. Plus , 90% of the restaurants use cheap GMO derived ingredients. Better to put that money towards high vibrational food items – learn to cook and feel fantastic!!

  39. Lisa said on May 27, 2013

    Perfect timing for this article! My family and friends always say “I can’t afford to eat healthy!” But your article contained great suggestions. One thing I did recently was go directly to the factories of both Bob’s Red Mill and Dave’s Killer Bread (In Oregon). I got 25 lb bags of my favorites such as Rolled Oats and Whole Wheat flour. Dave’s had a great deal on their breads too so I bought a lot and stuck them in the freezer. I realize that not everyone lives close to these places but perhaps there are factories/farms that are near you that you all can check out.

    • Try selecting the web address and then copy and paste it into your Facebook or Twitter comments.

  40. I always shop the flyers before I make my meal plan and I always look for the discount produce bin. It’s usually 50% off and the produce has a couple days left! Love this post! When my friends ask me how I can afford to buy organic I say…
    “I’m worth it!”

  41. Thank you . Excellent tips. I absolutely adore you. :)

    • Charles Hubbell – No real clue what your favs are, but I know which ones are MINE!1. The three of you sitting and snmiilg in front of the log.2. You guys sitting in front of the log and tickling Carl.3. The two of you sitting, looking at each other and Kris is holding Nick’s head.Maybe I just like the log? Lol you two and three are amazing. Love the pictures! Can’t wait for next summer!

    • We need a lot more insights like this!

  42. there is a dirty dozen app for android too.

  43. Shop for organic fruit and veggies at Trader Joe.

    They have a good assortment of organic salads, fruit and veggies and a very reasonable price!

  44. I wanted to see the pdf of the clean and dirty foods so I clicked on it. It took me to a place to download it. They wanted your email before you could download. And before you could even look at it to see if you wanted to get an app, they wanted to have you click on the app. So I clicked on the app to download it then it went to a screen where everything stopped and wouldn’t take any clicks so I never did get to view the dirty and the clean foods. Now they have my email address and I have nothing.

  45. As always, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! Blessings to you! So grateful, I found you!

  46. Liz said on May 27, 2013

    Whole foods are more nutrient dense and help you fill fuller in the long run. You also fill better and not so bogged down when you cut out processed foods that take much longer to digest. Thanks Kris for dispelling the myth that healthy food costs more. It’s an excuse to take control of your health

  47. Great article thank you.

    I agree planning is key and some healthy food is more expensive than less healthy food.

    People who complain that eating healthy is so much more expensive than eating processed food should remember that calories are not equal. Compare the price and nutritional value for example a banana to that of a fast food burger.

    Compare nutrition value and not price.

  48. Kris, this is a fantastically timed blog post! Thank you for giving us that local harvest website. I had no idea there were that many CSA’s in my area! I’m gonna try to convince my family to participate. I love the whole idea of it!

  49. Great post this week, Kris! I think these tips can actually apply to just about anything you are trying to afford. They are universal, which I love. I would also suggest shopping at different stores. For example, I do my weekly grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Trader Joe’s tends to be the cheaper of the two. However, for items they don’t carry, I go to Whole Foods. It’s a great way to save money and support multiple healthy grocers.

  50. I save the “milky” looking crinkly produce bags and keep my greens in them but first I blow into the bag (with the greens in it) until it blows up like a balloon and then while holding the open end in my fist I squeeze the air out and quickly nip the open end closed. I may use an elastic or tie it closed. This replaces the oxygen with CO2 and so will slow down the oxygenation of the produce.

    I bought two medium sized rectangular white plastic baskets with openings all around the sides (so i can easily see what is in them without having to pull it out every time), from the dollar store. These sit in my fridge on the top and second self where the air circulates the best and I keep my CO2-filled bags of greens in these baskets. These were hard to reach areas of my fridge and now I can just pull out the basket to see what is taking up the space, especially at the back of the fridge.

    My greens now last WAAAY longer. :-)

    You can see a picture of the inside of my fridge and my dollar store baskets here http://www.facebook.com/healthyfoodrevolution

    • Yes, really great point! Finding ways to have fresh food last longer is a must to save money. If you can also get in the habit of saving scraps for soup broths (onion skins, peels etc) or juicing ( tougher asparagus and cauliflower/ broccoli ends) and what’s left for composting to add to your gardens (save on store bought) you’ll save even more.

  51. Great tips. I get that comment/ question fom others when the subject of what I’m doing to get better comes up including my (now) juicing (thx Kris) and ficus on organic meats as I’m not vegetarian – yet. I try to offer similar tips but many if us here understand its hard when your dealing with serious health challenges to add the challenge of changing your food…it can seem just too much at times. It’s so worth it though. I make sure to read and listen to inspiring stories each day (the Gerson site has some great ones) and send out compassion for those still struggling because we’re all in this game together right? Also take baby steps and try a different recipe each week and or new plant food to manage new costs. Make friends with neighbours/ coworkers who have gardens and swap if you have one or swap non foods if needed. Kris’ books are great but if you cant afford hers or others new (I’ve been there where every dollar counts) look for used or go half with a friend or relative. You’ll end up saving money if you start avoiding processed and restaurant food and feel better.

    Happy Memorial Day to all my American neighbours…eh! : )

  52. Good News! I grew up in a 30 acre avocado grove and owned a grove with cherimoyas. We had carrot juice in glass bottles years ago, now I own a nutribullet and Jack La Lanne juicer. Health is Wealth! My thryoid condition has me concerned so my daughter and I eat the best we can afford.

  53. Great tips, Kris!! My mantra is that what is on the end of my fork that is going into my mouth is my Health Insurance Policy in action….

  54. Rupa said on May 27, 2013

    Hi Kris! I found that when I finally got free of my addiction to frozen, blended coffee drinks, I could suddenly afford those large cartons of fresh, organic blueberries (etc). Seriously! I was in denial about how much I was actually spending on that scary stuff. Thanks for the helpful post.

  55. I am a single person and a vegeterian. To ensure that I can come home and have a quick healthy meal, I like to prepare then freeze legumes in mason jars. I like to use dry blackeyed peas, lentils and black beans. Each is so different they give me different types of meals. For example, with black eyes peas, I may give them an Italian flair. I will put rinsed black eyed peas with bpa free canned tomatoes, several bay leafs, garlic (easy-from a jar), basil, salt, cayenne, frozen onions or even dried or fresh depending on time, maybe a spoonful of tomato paste, cover it with distilled water in my crock pot and go to bed. Early the next morning its done, so I take the crock out of the electric unit, and so it can cool. Before I leave for work, I put the whole thing in the fridge with a lid (on a kitchen towel just in case its still warm). I come home that evening, pour servings in to mason jars (half way so it can expand) and freeze. I do the same process with whatever legumes I like. The result is a fridge full of wonderful main dishes that I can set out in the morning to let it thaw and it is ready to do when I get home. All I need to do is make a salad, etc. and I am good to go with a healthy meal. Hope someone finds this useful!

    • aw, thanks The adicve from your blog has been tremendously helpful, and even if the letter of some of it isn’t really a fit for me, I take the spirit of it and apply it and it seems to work.That was the most amazing feeling, taking that book out of the box it came in and holding it my hands. I always planned to do paperback but was a little afraid of the learning curve. But it really wasn’t that hard, and the book came out beautiful! Definitely worth doing, if just for the thrill of holding the actual book

  56. Nomi said on May 27, 2013

    For produce that freezes in the refrigerator:
    1. Make sure it doesn’t actually touch the sides or the back
    2. See if turning the cold setting to a bit warmer helps
    3. If your refrigerator is old, the best defense is storing your veggies that freeze in rectangular
    Tupper-ware type containers with lids..
    4. Make full use of the doors, all condiments like mustard, almond butter etc store there.
    5. Make full use of the pull out drawers. Tender veggies that need to be kept coolest like basil do well in the ‘meath and cheese’ drawer.
    6. Put fruits in one pull out and veggies in the other if you have that configuration.
    7. Change the spacing between shelves, ususally there can be one very ‘short’ shelf for flatter items, allowing you to have not just the very top shelf but at least one other with enough height to it to be able to stack food and fit the larger items (like a whole watermelon).

  57. great post, timely and smart!

    I am a leftovers queen and tend to always have some left over from the night before or a few days ago which I can jazz up or just heat up for lunch at work. In terms of going organic, the best way I have found is a combination of bulk buying the dried stuff, though some things I get tinned and pre-cooked, e.g. chickpeas and getting a farmer’s box delivered to our door every second week. With only two of us in the house and one of us having the luxury of fully subsidised lunches at work (not me!) we don’t consume that much.

    When first considering signing up to the farmer’s box scheme, I looked for a company that allows me to swap things in the boxes that I don’t like or won’t eat, to avoid it going to waste and a company with as much attention to their own footprint, recycling and packaging as possible so that the costs were reduced from that point of view as well.

    I have specific staples I always use and then always have a trawl through the offers to see what they have in the way of bulk, specials or seasonal offers and usually go with one of those. I have set up weekly email reminders to help me to remember to actively review my orders before they are delivered, to make sure I am not getting anything I would not use. I love getting farmer’s boxes, it is like the anticipation and surprise of Christmas and I can have great fun learning how to cook something new or interesting or seasonal.

    Otherwise, I visit a few different local supermarkets to stock up on other stuff, again paying attention to deals on organic and seasonal stuff AND, I have a small veg patch downstairs with lettuce, giant mustard, garlic, herbs and some other greens which I am trying to cultivate to see if I couldn’t keep us in some of our greens throughout the year without having to buy. We will see, first season of trying this out, certain of the greens, the pak choi, rocket and kale are not liking the weird weather we have had here in the UK and some have bolted into flower before bulking up on the juicy leaves..but anyway, it is all trial and error after all! Will try courgettes and stick with lettuce, chicory, kale and cabagge for my next attempt!

    I don’t meal plan. I am a very fluid cook and tend to make things up as I go along but love the satisfaction of being able to see that I have finished that head of lettuce or broccoli, or that I didn’t throw out those slightly sad looking sweet peppers but instead whizzed them up to add to a lovely pasta sauce.

  58. Lisa said on May 28, 2013

    Love your tip for growing your own greens and wanted to share with you a fantastic way to grow the best lettuce you’ll ever taste! I had seed to salad in 7 weeks using an aeroponic garden tower. I am growing 20 plants vertically w/o dirt in a very small space. Perfect for those in the city with balconies or even inside with a grow light.
    I’m so impressed that I decided to rep the product. Please visit my website http://www.hummingbird@towergarden.com and you will be amazed, I promise!!!

  59. Jen said on May 28, 2013

    I also recommend making smoothies instead of juicing if you’re on a tight budget. A little produce goes a looooong way in a smoothie! :)

  60. Sue said on May 29, 2013

    I plan a weekly menu! I include at least 4 main meals. Like you, I double up on the recipes for left overs. Then I include fruits and veggies for the week. If I forget something oh well, time to improvise! I have gotten very good at making items up on the spot. The one big thing I have learned is eat the perishable items first! I even post the menu for my family. They love to look at the Weekly Menu and know what’s for dinner.

  61. Dear Kris,

    I think it´s intresesting that so many people says they can´t afford to eat organic or healthy (clean food) when they do afford to smoke or buy alcohol and even go out and eat lunch every day.
    I guess it´s just an excuse to continue to by fast food or food that doesn´t support your body; unhealthy food.

    There are people, for examples students or people that don´t have possibility to work full time, that actually have limited possibility and maybe eat spaghetti with ketchup 5 times a week.

    But for example root fruits are very cheap and a great food. Much better than spaghetti and ketchup 

    Another thing I would like to ask you are if you know about Milk thistle or Silymarin?
    I have used that for my liver for many years and it supports it very well ( I have an auto immune liverhepatit ). I have eaten cortisone for 25 years and milk thistle do that I don´t need to eat as much cortisone.
    Do you know anything about this herb?

    Thanks for your great cookbook. I love your crab cakes made of palm hearts and also your great polenta.

    I wish you the best.

    Bliss

    Madelaine Eriksson

    Sweden

  62. My husband and me have become masters of recycling leftovers. We hate throwing them…we spent money for it, yah know. I love tip no.5. So many ways we can save and eat healthy by being creative.

  63. Anna said on May 29, 2013

    So often vegetables don’t get eaten, so we end up throwing them away. BEFORE that happens, I recommend PLANNING to cook up that leafy spinach, or butternut squash and FREEZE it in ice cube trays. Pop them out and put them in ziplock bags in the freezer. Next time you make soup, a casserole or rice dish, pop a couple of the frozen cubes into the mix and get an extra concentrated and fantastic helping of vegetables in every bite.

    Fresh HERBS can be handled in the same manner, although perhaps in smaller cube trays. Fresh cilantro, basil, parsley can be pureed with a little water and frozen. Then just pop them into those side dishes or soups for lots of fresh flavor.

    The same is true of fresh FRUITS. Don’t let that banana turn black. Puree it in the blender and FREEZE it. Apples cook down into a nice soft consistency for freezing. Puree those peaches and mangos. Pop those grapes directly into ziplocks and freeze them too. All of these can be added to smoothies with a little almond or rice milk, a touch of greek yogurt and a dollop of honey, if need be. Super good and nutritious for that afternoon snack. Kids love them as much as you do.

    Ideas from a frugal Nana

    • Great practical tips, Anna. These will be good to try. I always end up with withered vegetables and black bananas.

  64. I am concerned about the dirty dozen/ clean fifteen mantra. Corn is always listed on the clean 15 and no warnings confer about genetically modified foods. I understand the clean fifteen is listed to help those of us with little to no money to budget for real foods to look for places to save a couple of pennies while still getting decent foods. However, pushing non organic corn as “clean” is an abomination and confuses the already frustrated low income food buyer. Trust me, I KNOW. Pesticide contamination should rank at least along side GMO contamination, no?? Though I think GMO’s should rank above pesticides.

  65. Repack bagged lettuce, spinach, kale or any greens, as well as berries with layers of paper towel between. Soaks up the excess moisture that makes produce slimy and gross. Food lasts a LOT longer. And grab the green bags in the produce aisle instead of clear, if you really do need a bag, that is.

  66. Tara said on May 30, 2013

    When you buy whole foods rather than boxed or processed, your dollar does go farther. When you eat whole foods, you actually will eat less food. It seems like you may spend more, but you really aren’t. Why? Because you stay satisfied longer! You will be eating wholesome goodness rather than “empty calories”.

    • Tara,

      That was a really great tip. I’ve always been afraid of going healthier because I think it’ll cost too much. And, I’ll admit that when I’m in the grocery store trying to “find” the healthy stuff I get a little overwhelmed and just go back to what I’m used to doing.

  67. Wow! Great post. I’m in the middle of learning how to get my family to eat healthier, couponing, and meal planning. On top of running a business with two kiddos at home full-time it’s a task. But, your tips were so simple and don’t seem like they’re going to require anymore “extra” effort. Thanks so much for these!

  68. Wow, these are all great tips! I am going through college right now, so it’s hard to balance my budget between school and good foods. I cannot stress enough how much a meal plan helps! Also, don’t go to the grocery store hungry! It makes you crave foods you really don’t need.

  69. Planning meals for the week actually saved me money! I wasn’t sure it was going to be the case but I decided to give it a try yesterday before going food shopping. My bill was 50 euros less than usual! Thank you Kris, it’s a great tip! It saved me time & money.
    xx

  70. I agree that planning is key! I admit I have a routine which some people argue against, but it saves me tons of time. I’ll have a certain type of meal on the same day each week although the actual ingredients (usually the vegetables) vary depending what I have that week. This works really well for me and of course nothing’s set in stone so if I want to change it around or switch in something new I can do that any time.

  71. Last year i stayed up until midnight to apply online for a community garden plot and managed to get one of 10 plots available. I’m so excited about growing my own and visit my plot almost every day. :-) Today I brought home some chives and baby spinach. :-) I am sure that I will save money as a number of the items i am growing are very expensive to buy organic.

  72. Hi Kris,

    Thanks for all the tips, however I do have one big question regarding the green bags, I want to get some, but what about her brand of boxes? They apparently work the same, but do you need to throw them out after say 20 uses, or just keep washing then? Because if the boxes last, then wouldn’t it be better getting these? Thanks so much if you can reply! :)

  73. One technique to prolong veggie life is to take them out of grocery plastic bags (yuck) and wrap them in slightly dampened hand towels. They keep a lot longer this way.

  74. #7 was my favorite tip, and not just because it’s so easy for us to just want to go to the restaurants. I like how you mentioned to make your kitchen your “hot spot”. Home cooked food can be just as enjoyable as something you bought at the restaurant, You just have to make things that excite you(while being health conscious, of course). And, cookbooks should help you do that.

  75. Really a useful and impressive blog shared here. Keep up.

  76. Thank you for the tips – is that your motorcycle Kris?

  77. I love batch cooking! Sundays are my day to prepare meals for the week. Not only does it save money, but it also saves me tons of time! Plus, when I have taken the time to prepare meals, I’m less likely to say, “Oh, heck let’s just go out to eat!”- helping me save more money!

  78. I want to find a safe way to freeze food in portion sizes. I know about the Debbie Meyer Green Bags, but the company says not to freeze food in them. Does anyone use them to freeze food anyway? How about glass containers? Any advice appreciated!!

  79. Greetings Kris,

    In one of your articles you talked about skin care. I can’t find it. What is the name brand?

    Appreciate all the information you share.

  80. Try different grocery stores. I love Trader Joe’s, but I invariably spend at least $25 more there each week than at a smaller chain on the other side of town. They have less organic options, but for THIS TIME in my life I have to focus on saving the money before going all organic or bust…because my bank account really does bust every so often! When we’re a bit better off, caught up, whatever you want to call it, sure, I would love to go back to Trader Joe’s. But if you can find some place cheaper and at least buy what they DO have organic, you may find you can strike a happy balance.

  81. Many bargain stores start carrying natural and organic products up on customer requests. So go and ask your store to carry them.
    I shop there first and then find my remaining items at the regular natural foods store. This can save you quite a bit green in the long run.

  82. I’m so excited to finally know of someone else who has the same cancer as me its very rare I was diagnosed last November when they found the tumor it was already stage 4 I’m looking forward to finding and reading your book I’m also a mother of two small children and this has made my fight difficult please feel free to contact me regarding any treatments that worked

  83. Hi Chris, I am 32 and although PET Scan said clear, i just finished chemo again for stage 4 breast cancer that metz or i should say invaded my bones. yes i take meds everyday have to get an IV Zometa to prevent further damage from the CA cells for…a l..o..n..g. time. I need help, how to avoid the sugar, i was working as a nurse, but due to illness i havent worked in almost 2 years, i was first doagnosed in 2011. My husband is in the Army, and so we’ve been struggling. We moved alot and now we are permanently living in a cute small apt in Lacey WA. I am going to see a plastic surgeon for my reconstruction, I need help with meal planning. I am so scared to eat now.

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