tips for eating right inexpensively

Q:   Dear GreenSmoothieGirl, I can’t afford to eat the way you suggest. Any ideas?

A:   Most people base their purchasing decisions on taste, convenience, price, appearance, and shelf life.

Of course, what tastes good is dictated by our addictions, and you know if you read my blog that sugar is the most addictive substance on the planet.   Having to wash fruits and vegetables can’t compete, for convenience.   Organic produce doesn’t always look shiny and pretty.   And produce and most whole foods don’t last long on the shelf.   Nutrition is the loser in most buying criteria and decisions!   (If you don’t believe me,  take a peek at  what’s in virtually all grocery carts next time you’re in the store.)

I do have 11 tips for you to save money (and many more are in 12 Steps to Whole Foods):  

  1. Plan meals ahead of time and keep a shipping list to avoid impulse buying.  Along with your shopping list, keep a list of what constitutes “good” prices, as well as a calculator to take along on shopping trips. 
  2. Quit buying chips, soda, and packaged cookies and candy. Quit buying meat.   Quit buying fast food. These things are costing you more than you may realize.
  3. Instead, buy grains and legumes, which are higher in protein than people expect, inexpensive, and they keep in storage for years.   Try serving grains/legumes most nights a week instead of meat.      
  4. If you have a family, invest in a big freezer.   Put it in the garage.   Buy it used if you need to.
  5. Start learning what things cost, and buy larger quantities (5# or more) of produce, nuts, seeds and grains when they’re in season and on sale.
  6. Freeze on-sale fruits in small bags in the freezer.   Put greens in the freezer for green smoothies, if you can’t use them before they will go bad.   Freeze bulk-purchased nuts and seeds in freezer bags.
  7. Ask around and find the buying co-ops for local produce and health-food items.   Get on email lists for those co-ops.   You don’t have to buy huge bulk amounts for Azure Standard and other co-ops.
  8. Dig a cold-storage hole in the ground against your home, if possible, line it with plastic or wood or straw, and put a wooden lid on top.   Store potatoes, onions, carrots, homemade sauerkraut, nuts, seeds, and oils through the winter.
  9. Grow a garden.   Even if all you have is a patio or tiny backyard, you can grow a surprising amount of produce.   This will give you organic produce, and you can freeze whatever you’re not able to use, for fall and winter months.
  10. If organic produce is really expensive, buy conventional and just wash it well, with a veggie soap.   I use Shaklee Basic H.   A gallon of it lasts me a decade.
  11. Go shopping when you’ve just eaten, not when you’re hungry.   Then planning and intelligence informs your shopping decisions (not cravings and addictions).

health benefits of flax

Today I start blogging, in several parts, on good fats.   Hopefully Myth #3 of my Nutrition Manifesto has convinced you to get plenty of good fats in your diet every day?   This week, I’ll post a new YouTube vid showing how to make Flax-Veggie crackers to address ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS, today’s and tomorrow’s topic.   So if you haven’t subscribed to my vids (it’s free!), go to YouTube, find me by searching for “green smoothie” (I’m either #1 or #2), and subscribe!   You’ll be notified every time I post a new demo.   12 Steppers, on April 1, you’ll get a chapter on good fats, with recipes and ideas on how to get them in your diet daily.

Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are the unsaturated omega-3 (alpha-lenolenic acid) and omega-6 (alpha-lenoleic acid) fats.   They’re called “essential” because the body cannot manufacture them and therefore must be supplied by diet.   (Your body can produce adequate omega-9s if enough essential fats are available.)   These fats support many of the body’s systems, including the nervous, immune, cardiovascular, and reproductive systems.   EFAs are used by the body to make and repair cell membranes and eliminate waste from cells.   They also produce prostoglandins, which regulate blood pressure, clotting, heart rate, and fertility.   EFAs are particularly critical for babies, pregnant women, and children for neural development.

Americans are omega-3 deficient.   We need a ratio of between 1:1 and 4:1 omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids, but most Americans get between 10:1 and 25:1.   Deficiencies in omega 3, as well as inappropriate omega 6 to omega 3 ratios, have been linked to many of the diseases the U.S. leads the world in: depression, cancer, heart disease, stroke, asthma, lupus, diabetes, ADHD, and Alzheimer’s.   Americans get too much omega 6 partly because of our reliance on processed vegetable oils, which are high in damaged, low-grade versions of that nutrient.

If anyone experiences symptoms of depression, the first thing I recommend trying is flaxseed or flax oil in the diet every day, which can create dramatic improvement.   Yet another reason to enjoy foods rich in EFAs is that they have the effect of combating damage done by the “bad fats.”   The phytoestrogens in flax  are known to  balance hormones for women: too-high estrogen counts tend to come down, and too-low estrogen counts tend to come up, eating flaxseed.   And compounds in this power food are well established tumor inhibitors, so anyone with a history or risk for cancer should take note.


The American Cancer Institute acknowledges 27 different compounds in flaxseed that are anti-carcinogenic!   In recent years, a hot topic of research is the lignan compounds, a special carbohydrate known to prevent both cancer and heart disease, as well as inflammatory conditions.   Flax has the highest known concentration of these lignans, 75 times higher than the next-highest food.

Sold on flax yet?   Read tomorrow for more about eating it.