Thursday, May 30, 2013

'b' is for (wholefood) budget - part 3

Who would have thought you'd be on the edge of your kitchen stool waiting for the next wholefood budget post? Well not me! This series has turned out to be the most read posts ever on my blog. So, thanks again to all contributors both in the post and the comments.

Today it is a pleasure and a treat to bring you kitchen table wisdom from Natalie who blogs at The Little Gnomes Home and a bonus contribution from Tammi who blogs at Dear Molly Handmade. Tammi emailed me during the week in response to the budget series and ever so humbly mentioned she is doing her best finding affordable ways to provide wholefood for her family of nine on one income!! Whoa hats off to Tammi. I immediately felt Tammi's story was so inspiring I asked her if I could share it here.


How many mouths do you feed in your house? Adults? Children? 
We are a family of four - 2 adults and 2 children. My littlest has just started eating solids so it would be fair to say I am really only feeding 2 adults and 1 child. 

What percentage of the food you buy is organic?
I would say all the food we buy is organic. We receive a weekly delivery of fresh fruit & vegetables from an organic delivery service, order meat every 2-3 weeks, and do a weekly shop at a local organic supermarket for dairy, eggs etc.  We do still use the major supermarkets for toilet paper and a few other non-perishables.

Most of our meat is organic, however we are just as happy to buy local, grass fed (and finished) meat when we know where it is coming from - that is why I like to purchase from feather and bone.

What would be your average weekly spend on food?
On average we would spend $300. We spend a significant part on (raw) dairy - usually about 12 litres per week. Dairy is a wonderful anti-inflammatory protein source. 

What are your top 3 tips on saving money on food? 
My biggest tip for saving money (which I am sure most of you have heard before) is meal planning. It really makes all the difference as it means that all the food in your fridge has a purpose and gets used up. 

Buying in bulk can make a big difference. For any item that you use frequently, do a Google search and see if you can locate it either wholesale or in a larger quantity. You will also be saving on all that unnecessary packaging. For example, we purchase coconut oil in 16L containers - this saves us about $6 per litre. Joining a local co-op is another great option for bulk buying.

Growing your own herbs also helps, given the cost of organic herbs per bunch, but a big difference in convenience and wastage.

I hope to share some of my other tips in my upcoming e-cookbook. Sign up to be notified of updates for Natalie's e-cookbook here. (from Nikki - "Natalie's book will be gorgeous and delicious I can't wait!")

To those who say eating wholefood is expensive what would you say?
There is a supermarket price for food and there is a real price for real food. For example, Australian readers will know that we can now buy milk at the supermarket for $1 per litre, this, I don’t believe is the fair price to the farmer – raw organic milk in Sydney costs $4 per litre.....Queenslanders can get it for $3! 

Eating good food can certainly be affordable for all budgets, but depending on the household income, this may mean spending less on other things. For us, real food comes first.  Being savvy and aware with what you buy (just like our Grandparents did!) - Buying cheaper cuts of meat, often on the bone, slow cooking and incorporating the broths into other meals, imparts good nutrition across many meals.  Asking your local fish monger for any scrap bones to make a stock (usually free), as well as buying food that is in season also helps to ensure affordability.

I also believe that food should be prioritised above supplements and vitamins. Of course some are necessary, however instead of multi-vitamins, fish oils and other ‘common’ supplements we prefer to start by eating the right foods grown in/ grazing on nutrient rich organic soil. 


Over the last year we have been trying to eat a more wholefood diet but my challenge is the amount of mouths we need to feed on our single income plus a small amount in board from our big boys.  

We are a large family consisting of myself and hubby, five children ages - 20, 18, 15, 10 and 3, an adult niece and our oldest son's girlfriend. 

Coming from a long line of passionate home cooks I've always cooked from scratch but have been mindfully moving away from the ingredients I habitually used to more healthier versions and to be honest, it has been a struggle.  Not only in sourcing organic products but also in changing the views of our older two who have been very resistant to making changes ie: they were huge white bread and commercial cereal eaters (cornflakes/rice bubbles) and still complain about the sourdough bread I make and the lack of cereal in the cupboard.

Towards the end of last year I joined a local co-op, that I source the majority of our grains this has helped significantly but with orders only being open every few months I am yet to learn the amounts I need to order to see us through.  

I've also started growing herbs and am trying to grow a small amount of veggies. A green thumb does not come naturally to me but I am determined to supplement our diet with what I can grow.  

Meat is another issue. Organic meat is so expensive! And hard to source here (coastal Western Australia) and even with drastically decreasing the amount of meat we eat, it's still a huge cost. We used to be your typical meat and three veg family, seven nights a week...that's changed over recent months to include more vegetarian meals..again met with resistance from a few family members but I feel good that slowly but surely we are making progress and are much better, health wise, for it.

When I first started learning about how detrimental processed food could be to our health I really beat myself up at what we had raised our children on and I was actually really angry that I had been mislead all these years.  I had always assumed that because I made a fair majority of what we consumed from scratch that it was better than packaged/commercial food. I guess it was better but not by much.  It wasn't until we started seeing less allergic reactions (less eczema flare ups, less tummy aches, more energy etc) that I came to realise just how valuable a wholefood diet is and that in turn has strengthened my resolve to continue learning all that I can in order to live a healthier life.

I do realise that eating a wholefood diet follows the same principles regardless of the amount of mouths one needs to feed but it would be wonderful to read of the experiences of someone else who has a large family like myself :)

THANK YOU Natalie and Tammi for taking the time to share your stories, I know that many people will be inspired by your commitment to feeding your family's well and your resourcefulness. Readers let Natalie and Tammi know in the comments what works for you, what has inspired you and if there are any readers out there with a large family like Tammi we would love to hear how you are managing your wholefood budget. Stay tuned for some hot tips from Meg at My Wholefood Romance next week. Happy wholefooding x


  1. no tips from me i'm afraid, i'm just reading and learning. so glad for the suggestion of looking up places to buy staples in bulk, i don't know why it never occurred to me before, but it is my plan this week to do this, so thanks x

    1. Just great to have the feedback Max. glad that this series has given you some ideas. I just popped over to your blog your children are totally adorable, loved the post about the apple orchard. I've put a couple of links to your posts in my links list for tomorrow. Thanks for reading x

  2. Thanks for having me Nikki! x

  3. Hi Nikki, I've recently discovered your blog and have particularly enjoyed this series on a wholefood budget. A couple of months ago my mother died quite suddenly from an aggressive cancer at the age of 56. Since this time I have been re-evaluating the way we live and the food we eat. We're in the process of making the change to organic foods and chemical free cleaning / beauty products. I've been surprised by how much more expensive organic products are, even though I've become a member of a local food-coop. I need to get myself to the markets a little more frequently! I look forward to tying some of your recipes. Charmaine

    1. oh Charmaine I am so sorry to hear about your mum. I can very much relate to you re-evaluating the way you live and what you eat as a result of your mum dying so young. I lost my mum young too, my mum was 44 when she died of a sudden heart attack as did her father at the same age. One of the legacies from this is that I pay loving attention to my health and well-being. Sending you so much peace, love and strength as you journey your grief. I look forward to hearing more from you along the way. Thanks for reading and leaving your comment, xx

  4. Oh yes and gardening, can't believe I left that one out, the most important of all. Grow your own food, so super cheap and more delicious than anything ever. xxx

    1. And nothing beats harvesting food that you have grown. My granny used to always say getting your hands int he dirt was good for the soul, I have to agree. Happy weekend to you lovely x

  5. Nikki, this has been a wonderful and inspiring series, actually as I read back through your posts I'm realising just how inspiring your blog is. Thank you for giving me a voice on this never ending journey to health and well being and for connecting me with like minded mamas.

    1. Tammi it is the greatest pleasure to be part of your health and wellness journey and it is great to find like-minded mamas to spur each other on, ask questions, share tips, ideas and recipes. I look forward to sharing more with you. Thanks again x

  6. I'm so glad I stumbled upon your blog! It's beautiful :)


Thanks for your comments. I read every one!

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