Tip 3: Join a buying club or get savvy at buying food online. Nowadays many buying clubs exist to help you bypass the markup charged at the grocery store. The catch is that you have to buy in bulk and it is far less convenient than making a trip to the store when you run out of something, but the benefits are greater than just saving you money. Buying things like oils and other liquids in larger containers saves countless smaller containers that are packaged for the store.
Azure Standard is a good resource for those who want to buy bulk and happen to be in their delivery area. They sell high quality bulk goods, specializing in organic. If you call them they can give you the name of the drop organizer that is closest to you, and then you can contact that person to see how you can be included in their order. Every few months I will put in an order for things like organic olive oil, shredded coconut, apple cider vinegar, coconut aminos, sea salt, baking soda, epsom salts, herbs, essential oils, and other things that my family eats that I don’t (organic nuts and seeds, honey etc). They are the only source I have been able to find of organic, non-irradiated almonds from California, so if you have a nut-eater in your family that could be helpful. They also sell bulk organic produce, and I have had good experience when in season and timed right (I bought a ton of cabbage and carrots once to make a couple of batches of saurkraut). You can also buy things that store well like onions, sweet potatoes, and squash.
I also use Amazon and Vitacost occasionally to buy food items, usually coconut oil. I don’t know why, but that is the one thing I have not found Azure to have the best price on. Currently I have an auto-ship setting on the coconut oil for amazon and they send me a couple of giant tubs every few months or so. Two companies I have heard of but have never ordered from (I have always been able to get similar products at a lower cost elsewhere) are US Wellness Meats and Tropical Traditions. There is usually some Paleo blogger out there offering a discount or coupon code for one or the other, so if you keep your eye out you may be able to find a deal to make their products more affordable. Lastly, I order my dried herbs to cook with as well as the bulk goods for personal care products from Mountain Rose Herbs.
By writing this series, I hope I have given you some tools to make your task in budgeting for the autoimmune protocol a little easier. Instead of paying full price at the grocery store, there are many things that we can do to bypass the way that we have traditionally obtained our food and become healthier and more empowered in the process. Producing a little (or a lot!) of your own food, buying meat in bulk, and buying in bulk and online are all good ideas to help save money. Like I said in my first article, eating this way is not cheap and I am not trying to create an illusion that I have magically figured out how to make it inexpensive, but these strategies have helped me a great deal in my journey.
Implementing these tips along with a little change in mindset has made all of the difference for me. I have begun to see feeding myself well as an investment in my health and insurance against having to spend money on medical bills in the future. Like I mentioned in the first post in the series, 2011 was a horrible year for me health-wise and I spent thousands of dollars over the course of my illness. The pursuit of continuing to feel the way I do right now is motivation enough to shift some of my family’s spending priorities – we don’t take expensive vacations, we share a vehicle, and we live with roommates to cut down on rent, among other things. If you are currently struggling with how to afford this lifestyle, I hope I have given you some worthwhile tips and encouragement along the way.
How do you deal with the high cost of this lifestyle? Let me know if you have any tips that I have missed!