fresh foods can be less expensive than a standard "supermarket
diet". Buy from
farmers markets or vegetable stands or grow, catch or pick it
yourself. Look for
sources of real food in your area and learn to make prepared foods
buy anything in cans, boxes or
processed. Make your own
everything from scratch. Don't eat takeaway, in restaurants or from
bars. Make your own
corn on the cob in bulk in season, cut off kernels and
or make creamed
corn: Slice off kernels and scrape cob with back of knife to release
"milk" with the corn kernels. Place in cast iron pan with milk and
butter and cook slowly on low heat until it thickens up. Add salt and
pepper to taste. Can be frozen.
rice, whole-grain grains and beans in bulk.
Make sure they are well soaked and drained before eating.
a garden, if possible. If you
live in a small city apartment, grow something in containers near the
windows. See Container
foods you don't have to buy organic: broccoli,
eggplant (aubergine), cabbage, bananas, kiwis, asparagus, frozen peas,
mangoes, pineapples, frozen corn, avocadoes and onions. Because these
fruits and vegetables do not need a lot of pesticides to grow, they are
usually low in chemicals even if they are grown conventionally and sold
in supermarkets. When buying
from a supermarket, wash thoroughly and/or peel first. Foods grown
conventionally but sold in small markets will have less chemicals than
those sold through large supermarkets, which require their growers to
add pesticides whether they are needed or not.
to accept a more limited variety of foods that are good
you can afford. Buy local produce in season, and eat the same thing
every day until it is used up.
your own sauerkraut,
brined or lacto-fermented vegetables, pickles or
kimchi in large glass jars. Buy large quantities of onions and cabbage.
Daikon radish (also
called mooli) provides a lot of bulk for little cost. Apples can be
added. Let it ferment for at least 4 weeks.
Garlic is better for you than ten mothers, say the Chinese, so
definitely try to buy garlic, organic or otherwise. Grow your own if
possible. If any of your garlic cloves begin sprouting, just stick it
in the ground. If you don't have land of your own, put it anywhere that
looks suitable. Make a note of where you planted it and go back at
harvest time. (This is called "guerrilla gardening")
Eat seed sprouts raw, add grain sprouts to sourdough bread and eat bean
sprouts lightly steamed. Make your sprouts in a net bag. Make your own
net bag from old nylons or other material that allows water to flow
through. Sprouts that can be eaten raw are seed sprouts such as:
sesame, buckwheat, sunflower, pumpkin and quinoa. Sprouted grains such
as wheat, barley or oats should be fermented or added to sourdough
bread. Bean sprouts are eaten as a vegetable.
your own potatoes
if you can. Dig up your lawn. If you don't have land, make a potato
garden out of large plastic boxes, buckets, old barrels or old, used
tires. Otherwise, non-organic potatoes are not that good nutritionally
because of chemicals used to grow them, but they are cheap and tasty
and very tempting to someone on a low budget. At least if you are
making kombucha you can know that the kombucha is helping to
disperse any toxins that come with the commercial potatoes.
If you have
a yard or land, get some
chickens, for the eggs. Own
a goat, housecow or pigs, if you can.
to recognize free, wild
in your area. Boiled dandelion leaves can be eaten like spinach. Make
tea by brewing leaves and twigs from oak, maple, birch or hawthorn
trees. If you live near the shore, collect edible seaweed (kelp) and learn how to use it.
lots of bananas.
Get a good, rubber spatula to scrape the last bite of food from a bowl it is prepared in.
substitutes are all too expensive. The least expensive is unrefined
white sugar sparingly and drink live ale or
kombucha with it to
help digest the sugar and convert it into energy. If you can get raw
honey that is not too expensive it is fine to use it, but still try to
use it as sparingly as possible.
your own chocolate
products with cocoa. There is no healthy, inexpensive way to eat
chocolate. The healthiest way to eat cocoa is to grind expensive raw
cocoa nibs and mix it with expensive raw honey. If you can't afford
that, and you have to have chocolate (I understand) these recipes will
let you make cocoa-based products as cheaply as possible, and without
the chemicals added to manufactured chocolate, even though technically
the healthy frugal alternative would be not to eat chocolate at
Pudding | Fudge
Eliminate vegetable oils
if you can. If not, buy very small amounts of expeller-pressed or
cold-pressed olive, sunflower and coconut oils and then use them as
little as possible, if you feel you must have vegetable oils. If you
can't afford these expensive oils, don't use any vegetable oils at all.
It’s not that necessary and you can learn to cook without it. Roast or
steam food rather than cooking in oil, or render your own lard. Use
yogurt or kefir for salad dressing. Substitute applesauce for oil when
without condiments such as ketchup and mayonnaise as much
possible. Make a substitute for mayonnaise by mixing cultured
cream or kefir with a little kombucha or apple cider vinegar and Celtic sea salt.
your own raw apple cider vinegar
rather than buying from the store. Grind some apples in the blender
with water, add some sugar and a kombucha matrix. Cover with a cloth
and set on the counter for a couple weeks and it will turn to apple
cider vinegar. Or just use some over-mature kombucha.
is the one thing you should buy expensive. The stuff they sell in the
store is sodium chloride, not real salt. If you have any discretionary
income for healthy food at all, put good Celtic sea salt or Himalayan
crystal salt at the top of the list.
Eat less meat,
and eat liver
or heart or other organ meats. Grind cheap meat and fat from
with an old-fashioned hand-operated meat grinder. Make liver
from bones from leftovers. Put the bones in glass or ceramic slow
cooker, and simmer overnight or for a day or constantly if you have a
source of low heat. Drink a cup of broth at every meal, or use it as
the base to make soup stock or congee.
the bag of
frozen whitefish fillets that are somewhere in the bottom of the
supermarket’s frozen food cabinet (you may have to hunt
This will give you many fish dinners with fish that have been
that drips in the pan from roasts and poultry.
Gelatin, that jello-like substance that collects at the bottom of the
pan when roasting meats is very good for you. See that you don't throw
a speck of it away. Add it to your bone broth or other soups.
your own beverages: ale, kombucha,
Never buy soft drinks.
store-bought whole milk by adding a cultured
to it. The cheapest milk you can buy is usually at
or look around for sales. Raw milk is better, but much more expensive.
If you can't afford or are unable to buy raw milk, buy pasteurized milk
and culture it with kefir, yogurt, rennet, sour cream with live enzymes
or cultures or creme fraiche. But do NOT get ultra-pasteurized milk. Do
not use canned or powdered, skimmed milk. It is better to get
non-homogenized milk if you must buy pasteurized, if you can find it.
organic flour to make hot
Soak the flour in water for 24 hours, and then put it on a slow cooker
for an hour to heat it. Serve with yogurt or kefir and add sliced
bananas. Use sugar sparingly (sugar syrup, maple syrup or honey) (Don’t
forget to drink a live fermented beverage when eating sugar.)
heavy cream to use in place of butter.
Butter is good for you. Don't buy margarine. If butter is too expensive
for you, culture heavy, double or whipping cream with creme fraiche or
any other yogurt type culture that can be used with cold milk and which
you do not have to boil the milk or cream first. Let the culture stand
at room temperature for at least a day, or until it thickens. Mix it
with Celtic sea salt, Himalayan crystal salt or any other good, real
salt (NOT table salt and not anything that has additives or says
"free-flowing" Real salt does not flow freely). That will =sort of=
take the place of real butter. You can make your own butter from
cultured heavy cream, but it is expensive. Use lard liberally in your
cooking so there is less need to butter it. Substitute lard for half
the butter in any recipe.
instead of meat for animal protein.
Organic free-range eggs would be ideal, but they are much more
expensive than regular eggs, and even the worst regular eggs are still
very nutritious. Use lots of eggs. One egg a day per person will supply
almost all protein and animal nutrients you need.
Make your own bread.
I would be remiss if I did not point out that even if you are eating
the healthiest diet possible, if you are consuming the amount of
calories considered standard in Western societies, you could cut it in
half and only be healthier for it. Obviously, that's not a solution to
feeding a family of growing children, but I still thought I ought to
mention it. If it's just you, you can always eat less to eat healthy.
from cooking devices.
When using a slow cooker, place a heat-proof plate on top instead of
cover and add another bowl (or two) of other stuff to be slow cooked.
Around the cooker put stuff that needs to be warm such as rising bread
dough or yogurt. Cover everything with quilts to conserve heat.
cheaper hamburg/minced beef with high fat content. (Save
your own lard. Substitute for at least half of butter in recipes.
cooking. Refrigerate or freeze and use in cooking.
turkey, duck, beef and bacon fat can all be re-used.
potatoes, onions, carrots and cabbages in bulk and store them.To
store, they should be hung up in a cool, dry place where nothing can
get at them and they cannot freeze. Apples should be wrapped
individually in newspaper. Tomatoes can be dried. Using
your own cream cheese
and use in place of cheese, butter and mayonaise. To make cream
cheese, culture cream with creme fraiche and then strain it through a
jelly bag (cotton flannel) or 4 layers of cheesecloth/muslin. Use the
whey to culture sauerkraut or other vegetables or as a starter for
bread or ale. Some heavy cream may culture as thick as cream cheese
with no need to strain out whey.
to the farmer's market at the end of the day to see if there are any
Check what is being thrown away. Many farm Traders will peel off the
outer discolored leaves of cabbages and throw them away. These are
still perfectly good for sauerkraut.
around for local farmers.
If there are any farmers near you, find out what they grow and sell.
They may let you buy in bulk when they are preparing it for sale to big
meat growers if they have any pasture-raised heart and liver
they would sell to you. You can make a liver
pate with a hand-operated meat grinder for pennies a serving.
around during the hunting season if anyone has any extra game to barter.
Learn how to home-brew ale and you may
have plenty of hunters willing
to trade with you. Learn how to butcher game animals. Many hunters will
only be interested in keeping the muscle meat, so ask if any have any
bones or feet and make stock out of them. Ask small butchers if they
ever butcher meat for hunters during the hunting season and if they
have any leftover parts that the hunter doesn't want, such as liver,
heart, fat or bones.
Buy meat in bulk (1/4 cow, 1/2 pig) and freeze. Do you
anyone interested in buying a steer for meat together?
inexpensive boiling fowls.
To cook, cover in a crockpot with a little water and lard added. If you
buy roasting chickens, eat every part. Eat the liver and other organs.
Save the fat for cooking. Use the bones in bone broth or stock. Use the
stock to cook beans or rice. Have the rice and beans for a meatless
your own backyard livestock,
such as chickens, pig or rabbits. (Eat rabbit meat with fat. Recipe:
brown pieces of rabbit meat in bacon grease, remove meat and add flour
and water to make a gravy, return meat to pan and simmer, covered,
(or organize) a buying club in your area so that you can
health products in bulk as a group.
put 1 part oat flour or soaked grains and 3 parts water in a ceramic, glass
or enamel bowl in a crockpot. Add some dried fruit to taste. Put over
low heat, covered, for several hours or overnight (if a large amount
like 2+ cups of grain or flour). When cooked, add raw or cultured cream
and raw honey.
put 2 cups of brown rice in 4 cups of bone broth or stock. Soak
overnight and put low heat, covered, for 4-6 hours. Add sea salt or
Himalayan crystal salt as desired.
such as chicken heart: cook, covered, in sauce and serve over brown
Soak for 1 or 2 days in water. Discard water and cook for another day over low heat. Add salt
if desired. Serve with brown rice for a meatless complete protein.
eggs instead of meat for supper.
Recipe: scrambled eggs, put in frying pan with hot lard, add tomato
sauce, oregano and salt. When hot, cover with grated cheese.
bone broth and grains and
beans bought in bulk.
Look for cast iron, Pyrex, corningware and baked enamel pots and pans
at tag sales and second hand sales. Until you can replace
cookware, do the following to try to reduce as much as possible the
negative interactions in cooking with metal:
pour vegetable oil in aluminum pans and heat until smoking. Repeat
until pan is coated with a layer of black, baked-on grease. Avoid
washing as much as possible, and renew layer of oil and re-heat if you
have to scrub the pan.
steel: put some water into the bottom stainless pot and then place a
pyrex glass or oven-proof ceramic dish or bowl inside of stainless
Learn how to
preserve food the
traditional way In brine so that you can stock up on either your own
homegrown or purchased farm vegetables when they are cheap just after
the harvest and save them for use during the winter when they would be
Other Ways To Reduce
Make your own laundry
detergent and all-purpose cleaner with soap, borax and washing soda. Washing soda (calcium
carbonate) can be purchased from pool supply stores as pH-increaser or
pH-up for less cost. See Cleaning
* Hang up laundry,
outdoors or inside.
Never use a dryer.
Shop at second-hand stores, garage or yard sales. Local charity shops
will often sell items cheaper than large, national thrift stores.
If you can't walk to the store and have to drive, don't go shopping
more than once a week. Plan any other errands at this time. Carpool if
* Join Freecycle
Eliminate disposables: use cloth rags instead of paper towels, linen
napkins instead of paper napkins; make cloth toilet wipes out of 4"
square flannel and terry cloth sewn together to use instead of toilet
paper or use hand-sized wash cloths; make cloth gift bags.
Make sanitary or incontinence pads out of cotton terry cloth. Use
either hand towels or cut a bath towel into hand towel sized pieces.
Snug-fitting underwear or jeans/trousers will hold in place.
If you're going to be away from home during mealtime, pack a lunch bag.
Always bring at least a bottle of water around with you so you are
never tempted to purchase a commercial beverage.
Choose one room to live in during cold months. Insulate it by putting
plastic sheeting over windows with duct tape. Make draft excluders for
under the doors and thermal curtains for the windows.
Don't pre-heat your oven. That is only done so that recipes can be
standardized. Once you learn how your oven works, you can begin cooking
as soon as you turn it on.
*Strain old vegetable oil
and use for
fuel in oil lamp candles.
Guide to Self-Sufficiency by John
A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants by
Sam Thayer. What's good about this book is that the author tells about
things he has experienced,
just cut and pasting or rephrasing what other people have written.
Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating by
Fergus Henderson. A little bit too heavy with the sugar, but it helps
explain the mysteries of some types of food preparation. Eliminate the
sugar or substitute honey or sucanat.