Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Slooooow going...

Last night I got the "luxury" of heading out grocery shopping all by myself.
Wow that so rarely happens in this house!
So I wanted to take the opportunity when it arose, to really take my time and focus on reading the packets of what I was buying. - Without anybody pulling on my arm/leg or tapping their foot!

And wow again...
Was it ever a slooooow job!!
Lucky I did go by myself because my family sure would have been frustrated with my pace!
Although I'm hopeful that once I become familiar with which products to buy that it won't take nearly so long.

I thought I would tell you about what I learned on my journey.
But before I do I should probably explain...
 the food rules I'm trying to now stick to when I buy:

 **  I'm trying to only choose products with 6 or less ingredients.
4 or less is preferable.
And those ingredients should all be ones I recognise.
 (Not ones more applicable to a science experiment)...

**  Trying to buy organic as much as my budget allows.

  **  I'm trying to choose fresh products grown in the state we live in where possible.
(That's one thing that I have to say is very easy in Australia, because they really do encourage the "buy local" mentality here. So it's definitely easier here than in many other places I've lived!)

  **  I'm trying to buy foods which are as unrefined and as close to their "natural" state as possible.
That means avoiding products with added sugar, salt, white flour, white rice etc...

So, what did I learn? 
(apart from that reading every single packet is mind numbingly slow...)

 **  I learnt that despite how much better for me it is, I just could not bring myself to pay sometimes 4 times the price for an organic product. (Like $7.99 for an organic celery verses $1.99 for "normal")
Perhaps I will be able to over time, then again perhaps not.
But for now I've decided to go for a balanced approach of buying organic where our budget allows, and otherwise just buying food with the least additives and most "wholeness".

 **  I was pleasantly surprised to find quite a good selection of organic meat at my local big name supermarket, and at a price not too dissimilar to the "normal" meat. Therefore I was able to stock up on organic beef, chicken & pork without feeling like I was breaking the bank.
I also purchased regular kangaroo steak which we love in this house. It's not marked as organic but I would imagine the likelihood of those being farmed with antibiotics etc.. are pretty slim! (Although it is quite possible my assumption is totally invalid).

 **  That the hardest things on my shopping list to buy without "numbers" in are; table spread, bread & cereals. In fact table spread or bread without numbers just do not seem to exist in the Woolworths hemisphere (at least that I could find!).
In the end for those two items I just went for the lessor of all the evils and chose those with the fewest ingredients & only 1 or so numbers.
- I would have preferred not to have bought them at all, but since those are staple things in our house and especially since my girls are currently refusing to eat home made (or bakery made) bread, then they came home with me for now... Especially since my girls will actually willingly eat wholemeal or multigrain shop bought bread but not even 100% white home made bread. Go figure.
It baffles me but why not, but I will have to consider it a work in progress.

 **  Amazingly I learned that more often than not "homebrand" (our equivalent to a generic no-name brand) were not only the cheapest options but also the ones which were the most "real" and with the least crap added.
That absolutely astonished me! I would have been certain it would be the other way around and the more expensive well known brands would have been less likely to have the added crap.
But apparently not! At least not in all the products I looked at for example cream cheese & bread to name a few.
What a pleasant surprise!

**  And lastly I learned that there are actually some "junk" food options for my treat loving children to be found in the organic whole-foods section, which also weren't all too outrageous in price. For example I purchased some organic dark cooking chocolate (amazingly only $1.99) to make something yummy with as well as some organic cheese-flavoured corn chips ($2.99 for a large packet). Admittedly the latter may have had a few more than 6 ingredients (maybe 8 or so), but on the plus side I knew every one of them, amazingly they were all on my "acceptable" list of foods so they came home with me.
Whether my fussy children actually like these "healthy" alternatives of junk food remains to be seen though LOL...

And that's where we're currently at.
Want to see what AU $140-170ish dollars buys at the supermarket/organic market these days?...
(I can't actually remember exactly how much I spent but it was one of those two numbers LOL)

Most of the expense would have been meat. That is well over a weeks supply of meat for us so our freezer will be well stocked.
If Neil was going to be home I would have had to buy more fresh produce than that, but he flys back to work tomorrow and we still have quite a bit left from last week.

I try and spend around the $150 per week mark excluding nappies, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that my spend hasn't appeared to increase dramatically despite trying to buy organic as much as possible.

Now just to do something with it all...


Waverlee said...

Well done!

Leanne said...

You are doing great!

Cherie said...

Wow that looks like a great shop. Going by yourself too! I loved shopping on my own I could trail through the shops for hours on end without anyone with me getting bored or hurrying me up.
I'm sure Tom can help you out with a few dishes =D

Anonymous said...

You don't get much bang for your buck these days do you? We normally average around $300 per fortnight for the 7 of us and the 2 pets but it will be interesting to see what the price hike is once we start on this new wholefood plan.
I have read a chart somewhere on the internet that you might be interested in..it was something along the lines of the produce you should buy organic and which ones you can buy generically...funnily enough celery is one you should only buy organic but I can't remember why.

Cassandra said...

The reason they recommend buying organic celery is that it doesn't have a thick skin and it grows on the ground. Pesticides and all that. Thin skinned fruits and veggies (celery, peaches, greens, etc.) are on the "buy organic if at all possible" list while thicker skinned items (such as bananas and watermelon) are on the "it's nice if you do but not necessary" list.

I try to buy some organic, mostly my greens. Fruit is hit or miss. Prices are so much higher for organic produce!

amy g :) said...

it's great to keep notes on what veggies are affordable now, since you could always plant them for your garden next season! (if you have space?) i'm a bit wishy washy on buying organic greens, since my rabbit refuses to eat some of them (but will eat the non-organic version). that REALLY weirded me out!