Showing posts with label frugal green lifestyle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label frugal green lifestyle. Show all posts

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Tips for Taking a Family Meatless or Vegetarian

Taking a family meatless
Tips for Taking a Family Meatless
When my husband and I were married 10 years ago we both made compromises and my vegetarian lifestyle gradually fell by the wayside until recently when we watched the movie Food Inc. I instantly knew I wanted to return to vegetarianism at least temporarily if not for good.

Men are sometimes a little different. Although he was strongly moved by the abuse in the movie...he likes his meat. So we are making compromises to eat less meat so that we can afford organic meat. Following are some tips on how I am successfully introducing this new lifestyle choice to our family.

Don't go 'whole hog' or 'cold turkey' so to speak. We have some friends that are missionaries to a third world country where food, especially meat is scarce. For several months before they make a mission trip they gradually cut back on their protein intake making it much easier for their bodies to adjust to the change in lifestyle.

Serve a complete protein at every meatless meal. Beans, tofu (if your family likes it), eggs and cheese are all good choices. Learn the winning combos to serve. Rice, organic corn and beans make a compete protein for example. Sometimes you can make a recipe complete by adding nuts or seeds.

Stock your pantry for success. If you already cook from scratch transitioning to vegetarian can be very simple. Stock your pantry with your favorite legumes, nuts, nut butters, whole grains and a large variety of fresh, frozen and organic canned fruits and vegetables. Stock your refrigerator with plenty of high protein dairy and invest in tools such as zip lock freezer bags and a food processor.

Introduce new meatless recipes as side dishes rather than main dishes. If your family really likes the new introductions you can make it the main dish next time. Remember to make it a meal by adding salad, sides and bread if appropriate.

Introduce naturally vegetarian recipes. For us this first introduction was Quiche, a huge hit at our house. The great thing about Quiche is that you can adjust the recipe to fit your pantry. Our pantry was low this week so rather than making Quiche with veggies, this week I used fresh herbs. I also found a recipe that uses a hearty potato crust rather than the traditional pie crust.

Start by re- introducing favorite family foods. I started with one of our favorite foods, Enchiladas. We love enchiladas and I remembered ordering Mushroom Enchiladas at a local Mexican restaurant and loving them. It was an instant hit and I built momentum for all recipes to come.

Go ethnic. One of the first things I discovered when surfing for hearty vegetarian recipes was that many ethnic favorites like rice and beans, felafel's in pita and egg plant Parmesan are naturally yummy and meatless.

Take it slow and know that your family will gradually begin to prefer more fruits and vegetables. I have observed that overtime both my husband and children are starting to ask for more of the vegetarian favorites I am cooking.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Shopping Report/Finding Organic Labels

Finding Organic Foods
Considering frugal Organic Shopping Report
In keeping with our New Year's Resolution to find more organic labels and Non-Gmo products my daughter and I set out on a week long shopping trip to see just what was available in our area and how easy it is to find meat, produce and products.

We began our trip by making a list of foods that were most important to us. Our list included organic popcorn, since we love popcorn and corn is a very high risk product. My daughter has also been on a search for organic meat filled canned ravioli. While Annie's Homegrown does have a very good ravioli product, it hasn't quite satisfied the ravioli taste buds in our house. This is what we found.

At the end of my report you will find a chart listing my findings. Grades were based on products available, prices, shop ability (could I make one stop and find everything  I need?), and taste (I have to feed a tough crowd, lets face it, I am the only one in the house really committed to this cause).

We began our shopping @ Safeway since they introduced their own organic store brand, "O", line of organics. I expected to pay a little more but also find a little more. I was surprised by the lack of organic and Non-Gmo labels. When I asked about the "O" line of meat the butcher told me that he could order it but that it was just way too expensive in his opinion. Overall I gave Safeway a grade of C+ for their efforts.

We continued on to Wal-mart. After viewing the movie Food Inc. and noting the efforts of organic vendors to get their products on Walmart shelves, I expected to find more here. While there was a section of frozen prepackaged organics, I still found very little organic and Non-Gmo labeled foods leaving Wal-mart with a overall grade of D+.

Next Stop was Sprout's Farmer's Market where I expected to find organic meat, produce and hoped to find popcorn. I did find Organic popcorn and prepackaged goods like organic enchilada sauce that tasted great. In regards to meat, Sprout's brand was simply labeled "USDA Choice." I did find one organic chicken for an outrageous $14.99. Ouch! Overall, I will probably shop Sprout's to stock up on some of my dry goods but I couldn't stop and pick up everything I needed. I gave Sprout's a B-.

I was very surprised to find that my normal shopping stop was quite shop able. I would say it is one of the best places to shop. Not only has Fry's Marketplace come out with their own store brand but they have started carrying some national organic labels as well and they put them on sale offering prices competitive to name brand. I found Annie's Homegrown for the same price as Kraft and Chefboyardee. They are also offering a large section of organic produce. I gave Fry's Marketplace a B+.

Trader Joe's received the highest score being very shop able, carrying organic meat and everything imaginable, I gave them an A-. Why the minus? Taste, I just cannot use some of the meats and cheeses without complaints. Some of the dry goods taste "pasty." The breads and produce however are wonderful, very flavorful produce.

Honorable Mentions:

Costco (B) is a warehouse store, but I am finding some organic meats for reasonable prices as well as organic produce, I will probably continue to stock up there. SuperTarget (B+) now carries their own brand as well as competitors brands for competitive prices.Target brand has come under some question so as always make sure the label says organic.

Grade Card

Organic Meats
Organic Produce
Organic Dry/Frozen Goods
Organic Dairy
Organic Store Brand
Organic Store Brand
One Chicken
Very little
Rather Large Section of Produce
Organic Store Brand & several isles of competitors
Not so much
Trader Joe’s
Yes Some
Enough to Stock up

Friday, January 6, 2012

Healthy lifestyle changes are frugal and green

After our New Years re-review of the movie "Supersize Me," my hubby and I have decided to make a few new small changes. The benefits of changing to a more active organic lifestyle is that it is innately frugal and green in nature. Eating more organic, less processed food is naturally going to reduce the amount of packaging. While walking more...uses less gas.

Wearing a Pedometer

In the movie "Supersize Me," they use a pedometer to calculate the number of steps Morgan takes everyday. Experts estimate that the average office worker walks less than 2000 steps a day; it is recommended that we walk around 10,000 steps a day (approximately 5 miles). Wow!

You don't have to buy a pedometer to calculate your steps. I downloaded a great step counter widget for my android (the downside is you have to wear your phone around). It was free! I found mine at United Cheddar. Choose the widget rather than the app, it is more accurate. The widget not only tells you your steps it gives you a kilometer count as well as a count of the number of calories you have burned. I love it.

The Great American Detox Diet

The other great change inspired by the movie is the diet Morgan's then girlfriend (now wife) offered at the end. Alexandra, a vegan chef developed an 8 week detox diet for Morgan to help reverse the evil effects of McDonald's food on his liver. We are not planning on going all vegan for 8 weeks but we are planning on drastically reducing our meat, refined sugar and processed food intake. While we normally cook very healthy and eat at home, for at least the next eight weeks we plan on eating more vegetarian meals than meals with meat and when I say this I mean dinner. As a rule we usually only eat meat once or twice a day substituting with high protein legumes, but for a few weeks we are going to meet the challenge and do so much more often. Again, what is good for your body is also good for the environment.

How I became Considering frugal

Fueled by the growing list of pollution related allergies my family suffered from each day, and inspired by my 97 year old grandmother who could recycle ANYTHING before recycling was cool, back in 2011, I decided (in the spirit of the Julie/Julia Project...) to embark on a journey to see just how much one family could do to change our planet. I didn't consult any other parties before I launched this idea. Thankfully my husband, daughter and son are usually my biggest supporters. Here is the catch; as I'm normally very thrifty (you can note from early blog posts), I was looking for ways that I could reduce our carbon footprint and make socially responsible purchases without increasing our spending. Mmmmmm. We succeed in changing some of our habits a bit and finding ways to reduce our footprint. There were lots of fun epic fails alone the way too! But the biggest change we have made over the course of the last six years, was to move from the mega city of Phoenix to Wyoming. You can read my full bio on my About Me page.

Legal Disclaimer

While it is true that I am working on a PHD in Psychology and very smart and frugal, I am not a medical doctor, criminal, personal or accident lawyer. I do not sell insurance nor am I an accountant or mortgage advisor. While some of my posts may offer good ideas on home, health and business solutions, I am not personally responsible nor is Considering frugal for any advice, ideas, recipes or menu plans that you decide to use. This blog is intended to be helpful and fun. Any products you purchase from my Amazon store or any other retailer advertised on my blog must be returned to them. I may sometimes endorse a product that I love. This is simply my opinion, you must try all products at your own risk. While I personally do not use tracking cookies or share information, my affiliates are third parties and they may do so. Please click, travel and purchase at your own risk.

frugal advice

"...for your Father knows what you need before you ask." Matthew 6:8