My husband and I are going to be starting the a 10-day detox this week (See the Daniel Plan book, section of Chapter 10 called The Daniel Plan Detox for more info). I definitely need to take time to prepare for this, otherwise it’s a really difficult detox to follow! For the detox I am getting rid of:
- processed/fast food (anything with additives or chemicals)
- artificial sweeteners
- all added sugar
- all dairy
- all gluten
Personally, I’m not going to entirely eliminate caffeine this time, I will keep drinking green tea, but I do recommend gradually decreasing your caffeine before the detox starts if you want to get rid of caffeine as the book recommends.
How I Keep on Budget
The Daniel Plan book has a recommended shopping list, but it is actually very expensive to follow for a few reasons:
- There is lots of variety on the list
- Package sizes are very small
- Much of the produce on the list is not grown locally in central NY
To save money and to push myself to plan ahead I shop for staples such as organic meat, grains, and storage vegetables like onions once a month. Rather than spending my budgeted $50 weekly, I spend roughly $100 at the beginning of the month, then pick up fresh fruit and vegetables along with perishables totaling $25 each week. It comes out to the same monthly cost but it has worked out to be more affordable for me. Here are some other tips for eating healthy on a budget:
- Buy in bulk (for example, Wegmans sells a 25lb bag of organic brown rice for $36 – this is less than half of the per pound price for smaller size packages)
- Buy non-organic for the clean 15 (For those of you who are not familiar with the clean 15, it is a list of produce with very low pesticide residues that are safe to buy non-organic)
- Shop less often (this cuts down on impulse buys and forces you to plan ahead)
- Do not include meat at every meal (I use a lot of alternate proteins such as eggs, beans, mushrooms, and nuts)
- For meat: buy less expensive cuts (like ground meat, chicken thighs)
- For vegetables: shop at farmers markets or buy directly from the farmers
- Use everything – I try never to waste food (more about uses for kitchen scraps here)
Feel free to leave a comment if you have any other suggestions for eating healthy on a budget.
Edit: I just wanted to add a note based on some questions I’ve gotten. According to the Daniel Plan book, it is completely fine to make substitutions and even make your own version of the detox meal plans they lay out – as long as you follow the basic guidelines outlined in chapters 4 and 10. I’m sure it’s really healthy to follow the meal plans they have exactly but it’s just not realistic for me.
Cooking on a Busy Schedule
There are a number of ways I streamline cooking in my life. I put aside about an hour on Sunday night to prepare breakfasts and lunches for the week. I also make big batches whenever I cook for dinner and refrigerate or freeze the leftovers for future meals. I try to keep food around that I could cook quickly – here are some emergency meals that take less than 15 minutes to prepare:
- Microwave a sweet potato and top with some spinach and a fried egg or two
- Brown some ground beef or turkey with some chili powder and onions and put it on top of a salad of lettuce, tomato, avocado, oil and vinegar
- Chop up a big pile of vegetables (carrots, celery, cucumber, tomatoes, bell peppers, etc) and dip in homemade guacamole or hummus. Add some pre-cooked chicken or pine nuts for extra protein.
Do you have any other quick meals you make in a pinch?
Now the Daniel Plan book suggests that you take stock of your pantry and see what you have that you can still use before you go shopping. Here’s what I have to start with:
- Organic brown and basmati rice (I buy this in bulk by the 25lb bag a couple of times a year)
- Organic quinoa (I buy this by the 5lb bag)
- A jar of organic, all-natural peanut butter
- A partial jar of organic tahini
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Apple cider vinegar
- Green Tea/Coffee
- Herbs and spices (i. e. oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage, chili powder, crushed red pepper, curry powder, salt, pepper)
If you don’t have anything to start with it will cost you a little more to start up, but you will get to where you only have to buy the staples occasionally.
Also, I’ve been doing this plan for a while, so I have no junk in the house anymore, but if you do I highly recommend tossing all of the junk food you have in the house! It goes against all of my instincts to throw food away, but if it is around it is just way too easy to give in and eat it!
I’ll be shopping in the next few days and I’ll post again then!
Disclaimer: I am not a health professional in any way! This is just an account of how I am trying to follow the principles laid out in the Daniel Plan in a way that is efficient with my time and keeps me on my budget.