I recently had the privilege to review Real Food on a Real Budget: How to eat healthy for less by Stephanie Langford. It is a wonderful book! I cannot say enough about it, honestly. "Although this is a book on frugality, it is also equally a book on preserving good health through eating real, whole, nourishing foods." (taken from Real Food on a Real Budget)
It is "a primer for families who want to learn how to save an average of 20-30% on their food budget, while at the same time serving better quality and more nutritionally dense foods.
Based on 6 years of hands on experience and hundreds of hours of research, Real Food on a Real Budget will teach you how to drastically lower your food budget OR significantly increase the quality of the foods that you buy (for the same amount of money).
Think you can't afford to eat nourishing foods? Think again!"
In her new book, Stephanie readily engages your attention while at the same time remaining extremely practical, helpful and realistic. Many of us know that we want to make changes in the kitchen, but don't always know how to make those changes. This book will get you started and give you fodder for change for quite awhile. The introduction alone is jam-packed full of great ideas and resources about how to eat Real Food without overspending.
As you may know, I'm all about baby steps in making changes. If a change seems too big or daunting I kind of "check-out" mentally, thinking, "I CAN'T DO THIS!" But this book really walks you through a lot of small and sometimes bigger changes that you can begin to make in order to help your family eat healthier without going broke. I'm all about that! After all, one of the reasons I started this blog was to share just such ideas with you.
As Stephanie states in her introduction, "Being able to afford substantial food that will nourish both us and our families is not only possible, but it's often easier than you might think."
Little did I know that our tight financial situation would end up being a blessing in disguise. Having a small grocery budget (that by God's grace has expanded over the last couple of years) naturally led me to make better choices with my money at the supermarket. A couple years back my husband decided we wouldn't buy junk food because "we couldn't afford it." (He still teases me that I actually listened to him!) Little did I know that this was just one more way God was helping our family learn how to make healthier choices.
On my journey towards better food choices I'm also learning that when I say "yes" to one thing I say "no" to something else. I would encourage you to pray about the changes that God would have you to make. You can't change everything at once (at least most of us can't) and it's certainly not helpful to your health if you're in a constant state of stress over making these changes. See what changes the Lord would have you to make.
You can start small. It might be starting to buy only real butter rather than tubs of the fake stuff, organic milk versus the regular store brand, coconut oil rather than rancid vegetable oil (cringe...I've been using it all this time and had no idea! Thanks Stephanie for enlightening me!), or buying Hunts brand ketchup since it doesn't have High Fructose Corn Syrup. Then maybe start with some other things such as making your own kefir or yogurt. After you feel comfortable with those changes, start making bigger changes like making your own sourdough bread or grinding your own grains (I hope to be at these points soon. I guess I'd better pray about an electric grinder--and a bigger kitchen to put it in) :)
Stephanie aptly states that, "The point is that great things happen as the culmination of so many smaller things. This is true in most areas of life, and it is true also in the kitchen. There are many 'little' and seemingly insignificant things that we can do as we attempt to stretch out food, make more with less and keep our expenses as low as possible. These little things really do count in the food economy of our homes."
In her chapter about working with a budget, I love that Stephanie says, "As I pressed into Him, sought to learn new ways to stretch both the dollars and the food those dollars bought, and worked to maintain a grateful spirit and a diligent attitude, God always provided. Often abundantly. Nutritionally, we ate as well as we could mange to and tried not to worry about the aspects of our diet that were less than perfect." So well stated!
When God is leading us to make changes, He helps us make those changes. When you pray specifically it is SO exciting to see God answer specifically. It may not always be in our time and sometimes He says "no" but it increases our faith to see God working. Here are some very specific answers to prayers I've had lately. I'm not of the "prosperity gospel" mindset where some people think that if you serve God He's going to give you millions or that He's a "genie in a bottle" and whatever I want, I get, but I am of the biblical mindset that God does indeed provide for His children!
- I desired a larger (green--my favorite color!) couch and a chair for our living room for more seating. About a week later God provided (very nicely) for free!
- I needed some workout clothes for our physical fitness class at church and God provided them through a gift card and birthday money. (We only had to put in $5 towards the outfit!)
- We felt our oldest son really needed a physical outlet of some sort and decided he should play t-ball this spring. Two days later God provided all of the money (I was crying like a baby when we got the money!)
- Our printer died and we thought it'd be best to get a printer/copier in one for our homeschooling needs. I happened to mention to a friend that our printer died and she said they had one they'd been trying to get rid of! It was BRAND NEW and as I anxiously awaited it's arrival, I wondered, "IS IT A PRINTER AND COPIER IN ONE??" Of course it was! God is good!
- We have moldy carpet in our living room but didn't have the money to replace the carpet. (Don't worry, we cut out the moldy section). Then God unexpectedly provided the money to replace the carpet. I can't wait for it to be installed--hopefully next week! Then that health concern won't be a concern any more! After praying for months about a particular math curriculum for our oldest, God provided it for free (the exact set I needed!!)
Stephanie also wisely states in her book, "Remember, this isn't a contest. This is about making conscientious, thoughtful decisions and doing the best you can with what you've been given. Being a connoisseur of frugal and nourishing food simply requires that you know your goals, options, resources and limitations, and that you play within their boundaries."
I can't say enough about this book. It is a tremendous resource whether you're a "newbie" to eating Real Food or a seasoned veteran. There is something for everyone in this book. If you would like to check out Stephanie's blog, please go here. She has quite a bit of useful information!
AND one blessed reader has the opportunity to win an e-version of Real Food on a Real Budget!
There are several ways for you to enter. Be sure to leave separate comments so that each one counts as an entry.
Leave a comment on this post telling me why you would love to win this book.
Become a follower on Purposeful Homemaking. Be sure to comment on this post letting me know you did. If you're already a follower, just leave a comment letting me know. :)
"Like" me on Facebook and then leave a comment on this post letting me know you did.
And for yet another entry, "Like" Keeper of the Home as well on Facebook.
Drawing will end at 12 midnight EST on Thursday, March 3.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some Real Food tips to go put into practice! :)
Note: Although I am an affiliate for this book, everything I have written about it is my personal opinion and honestly written. I was not paid to write this post.