For years, my husband and I have tried to be as healthy as possible. We don’t eat junk, we exercise, we don’t smoke, we drink very little, we don’t take any medications, and we’ve created a low-stress life for ourselves. We’re coming up on our fourth anniversary, and we’ve started talking about having a baby. We’re thinking about maybe starting to try later in the summer… we’ll see how we feel then. But we did commit to being even healthier than usual this year. Starting January 1, we gave up all alcohol, and redoubled our efforts to eat right. We were already doing pretty well on that front, but we’re doing even better now. The idea is that we want our bodies to be as healthy as possible before we even try to conceive – creating a new human being is a pretty big deal, we want to leave as little as possible to chance. Anyway, we’ve virtually eliminated sugar from our diets (and no, we don’t use any artificial sweeteners – we just skip it all together), and we’re eating about 95% organic food.
Organic food is not cheap. I’m sure everyone has noticed this by now. In the grocery store yesterday, I saw that the cage-free, hormone-free eggs I buy are now $4.29/dozen, compared with the store brand for under $2/dozen. And the organic mushrooms I bought were also double the price of conventional ones. We get veggies delivered to our door every week from an organic produce company, and we pay $38/week for 20 lbs. I still consider that a good deal, since it just shows up every week and I don’t have to shop for it. Also, it’s gotten me out of veggie rut – we get all sorts of variety in the box. But still, we’re paying almost $2000/year for our produce delivery. And the soy and rice milk that we buy runs about $7/gallon. Ouch. But when we gave up dairy milk, my husband’s allergies all but disappeared, so we decided that it’s worth it.
We almost never go out to eat, and we eat very little meat, so that keeps our total food bill reasonable. But it’s still pretty high. Especially when I look at how I shop for pretty much everything besides food. I’m the thrift store queen, I have been known to swipe stuff out of dumpsters, I drive a 16 year old Honda with 210,000 miles on it… and yet, I have no problem paying $4.29 for a dozen eggs.
I think the reason is that I tend to look at the long-term picture whenever I’m spending money. If I need a shirt (ok, I don’t really need any shirts, since I have plenty – let’s say I want a shirt instead), I know that I can go to a thrift store and get a great shirt for under $5. Or I can go to the mall and spend $40 for a similar shirt. After I wash them each a couple times, I won’t be able to tell the difference anyway – the $40 shirt won’t bring me any more pleasure than the $5 shirt, so why the hell would I pay an extra $35? Food on the other hand, does have long term effects. I’m thoroughly convinced that processed food and chemical-laced conventional food are a primary cause of ill health. So when I look at an organic tomato that’s double the price of a conventional tomato, I see a lot of value in the organic one… and that’s the one I’ll buy.
So I’ll keep on being frugal in every other aspect of my life, so that I can buy the best food I can find and not bat an eye when the Vitamin Cottage cashier tells me my total is $345. It’s money well spent.