The first word that comes to mind at this point is probably the least helpful and most discouraging. I expected a little bit of a learning curve jumping into Whole30. It delivered.
A Few Unforeseen Challenges:
Whole30 for the Whole Family
Because we’re specifically addressing one of our children’s health problems, we decided the whole family should go on Whole30. It would be easier for our child and the reality is that we can all stand to eat healthier.
The problem is some people give birth to precious children who eat half a peanut butter sandwich and baby carrots. And some kids are locusts. Guess which ones we have.
Frugal Meals that Everyone Likes
To say that everyone has been a good sport is an understatement. They’ve been exemplary. Everyone (except maybe the toddler) understands why we’re eating this way, what the end game is for our health, and why certain foods interact badly with our bodies.
They do not, however, like the frugal versions of Whole30 meals. Rather than breakfast hash or vegetable soup, They’d rather eat sausages and salad with squash fries for every meal. I can’t blame them. I feel the same way.
The first week of Whole30, every time someone asked me how it was going, I answered, “Whole30 is stupid, and I hate it.”
While I normally eat very clean, I experienced a heavy dose of detoxing the first 10 days. Allllll the symptoms came at me. Everyone else felt fine – go figure.
Now that my body is functioning more or less normally, it’s a little easier to get creative with meals and think past survival. We will need all the creativity the coming weeks.
Clean Meat on a #CheapskateWhole30?
Here’s my main problem: Organic, grass-fed, pasture raised, local – insert all the hippie words – meat is expensive. Can I say that we’re doing a #CheapskateWhole30 if I spend $5/lb on meat?
I think it depends. Everyone’s Whole30 looks a little different. Everyone has unique reasons for doing Whole30 and we all have unique budgets. There is no winner or better person here – only each of us doing our best in the season we’re in.
Because we’re doing this for gut healing for my child, and because of everything I’ve learned about conventional meat, I will not compromise eating “mostly” clean meat. We’re adjusting the rest of the budget so that this month we can afford it.
I say “mostly” clean because I’m not legalistic. This week I found ground turkey on clearance at Kroger, and we ate that without guilt. 👍
How We Saved Money the First 10 Days:
Last week I shared our game plan. Here’s what we actually did to trim our expenses:
Our farmer has a deal where you can purchase their local, grass-fed ground beef for $5/lb if you purchase 50 lbs.
We could have saved more if we had purchased half a cow through a cow share, but we don’t have an extra freezer. So we chose this option.
Ground beef is the least expensive cut of meat, and it’s the easiest to stretch since it’s all ground up. Call me white trash, but we love it, and it saves us a ton of money – even while trying to eat clean meat.
Our chicken came from Aldi, which started selling organic, Certified Humane chicken at literally the perfect time. At $2.49/pound, their price rivals Costco, and I didn’t have to buy a membership or drive 30 minutes to get there.
After roasting a Spatchcocked chicken, we take all the bones and skin and make bone broth (I like the Instant Pot method). Bone broth is supposed to help gut healing, so my son and I drink it and I use it in soup.
Bone broth helps fill us up so we don’t need to eat meat at every meal.
This is one area where my family’s food preferences interfere with saving money. We eat sweet potatoes or potatoes at nearly every meal. The only problem is that most of my family doesn’t care for them. I’m trying to find a balance between letting them fill up on other things and you-have-to-eat-potatoes-because-they’re-cheap.
If your family likes potatoes, they will help you save a lot of money.
Last week I made soup from bone broth, potatoes, veggies, and spices. Because of the above issue, it was a bust. However, they still ate it. I’ll find another way to make soup with other frugal ingredients.
Making #whole30 more fun for the kids – they got to choose 1 kind of fruit and 1 kind of vegetable. They could either keep it all for themselves or share it as part of a meal. This is one kid’s fruit and veggie of choice. So far the fruit has been hoarded and the veggies are for everyone. Go figure. Since we bought them at #aldiusa , it cost $9 total to make everyone feel like they were getting a treat. Feels like a win. •••• What do you do to make kids more excited about healthy meals? #cheapskatewhole30
Sale Fruits & Veggies
With the exception of the fruit and vegetable each kid gets to choose and lettuce for salads, we try to focus exclusively on whatever we can find on sale or on clearance. Then we build our meals around those elements.
The first week, I followed our usual method and had everyone choose a meal they wanted to eat. The second week, I made a menu plan but ended up substituting frugal meals and less meat.
What We’ll Do Differently
After trying some new things, failing a little bit, and reevaluating, here’s what I’m going to do for the next 10 days:
Baked Home Fries
This is the one way my family eats potatoes. Looks like there is a lot more chopping my future, but hopefully more money in my wallet.
I’m gonna try more of this. I can make it with water instead of broth and go heavy on the veggies.
Another recipe that I think I can get away with. They won’t love the potatoes, but sometimes life is hard. #firstworldproblems.
Inspired by my friends Melissa and Crystal, I’m going to hit up the clearance stickers at our local Kroger and see what I can find that’s Whole30 compliant. This might mean fewer organics and clean meat, but you never know! We’ll try it.
So far, we’re doing okay. It’s more expensive than I anticipated, but I’m giving myself grace because this is the first time we’ve done something like this.
I’m really proud of my family and how well they adjusted. Meanwhile, I’m grateful that we have a plan and that we stick to it.
However, the biggest win is that our son is already doing better! I’d call these first 10 days a success, although they held too many surprises and challenges.
The Main Takeaway
What I hope you get from this post is this: If you’re trying to save money and do Whole30 or any kind of allergy testing and gut healing, give yourself some grace for the learning curve. Tight budgets are challenging and add even more stress to an already stressful situation. Be patient with yourself and your people, reevaluate and adjust the budget if necessary, and remember that you’ll get better at this. It’s a new thing. New things are always hard at first.
Crazy, I just started a Whole30 , too! Well, I guess I’m halfway through now (yay!)…its been going pretty well for me, but it definitley is more expensive. My saving grace is that I’m the only one in our family doing it, so the rest of the boys can eat more”normally”. Though I will say even though I’m the only actually doing it, I really think all of us as a whole are eating better overall. Good luck on the rest of your 30 days! Hopefully your son will continue to improve. 🙂