Tag Archives: budget

So much for that….

So….the other day, I’m all like “WHOO!! I’ve lost 6.6 pounds by changing my diet in this first month of eating whole foods!!”

I have so much trouble losing weight that those 6.6 pounds are definitely an accomplishment. But tonight I noticed that Quinten’s pants were hanging on him and also noticed that those pants were the pants that were really tight a couple of months ago. So I had him get on the scale. Since his last appointment, he has lost 20 pounds! I’m trying to figure out why. I make sure he’s getting three meals plus snacks every day and that his portions are quite a bit bigger than mine. Besides cleaning up our diet, the only other thing is that we’ve stopped the Axona shakes…..but that’s only been for this month.

I’m searching google right now for suggestions but many of the articles talk about weight loss and late-stage Alzheimer’s. He definitely isn’t late-stage. I have, however, found several articles mentioning the fact that weight loss is common. Several of the articles have mentioned the increased caloric needs of Alzheimer’s patients due to their constant pacing. Definitely something to consider as I’ve noticed that he is pacing more.

I feel that I’ve done well in cleaning up our diets, now I just need to make sure I pack as much nutrition into Quinten’s meals as possible as well as increasing his meals and/or snacks. We haven’t had nuts in the house for the last couple of months and he was eating those like crazy for a while. Maybe I need to make up a trail mix for him.

Looks like more food changes for us!

 

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Menu Plan 1

I spent a good part of yesterday planning a menu for the week and making a corresponding grocery list. The plan is so pretty but so, so expensive! There is a good chance that I’ve overestimated costs by quite a bit but–for food only–it came to $494. That works out to be $70 a person a week, which isn’t too bad when you figure it’s for 21 meals and 7 snacks–it works out to be $2.50 a meal per person. But it’s still $144 over what I have to spend for food per week. So, it’s back to the drawing board. This plan may not work for me but here it is in case it will work for you.

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First month

So….here we are nearly at the end of the first month of our attempt at 100 Days of Real Food. How did I do?

  • I am down 6.6 pounds. Wasn’t really the main focus but I am thrilled to finally have the scale moving in the right direction.
  • We officially made it to Thanksgiving before it all started to unravel. It unraveled because:
    • we got so busy in town that we made poor choices (ie, fast food nastiness)
    • we ran out of grocery money before the end of the month

What did I learn?

  • My family eats *a lot*!! Looking at 100 Days, I was feeling bad that just doubling her amounts for groceries wasn’t giving my family enough food. But I started thinking about it. My teenaged girls are in sports and burning through everything they eat and need additional fuel to keep them going. Two of my boys (21 and 20) work physically demanding jobs with long hours and are also burning through everything they eat. And my youngest boy (18) is working full-time as well as going to college full-time and is also burning through everything he eats. In fact, all three of the boys ended up losing weight this month which wasn’t something they were intending to do–one of them has even had to replace his wardrobe!
  • I need to cook more.
  • I need to actually plan menus instead of winging it.
  • I need to start packing everyone’s lunches again–bento style
  • I need reevaluate my grocery spending. I tried to do nearly all organic this month but I’ve run out of money and we still have a week to go. True, it was a holiday month with higher than normal grocery spending for T-Day. True, my washer broke and we’ve had to use grocery money to pay for the Laundromat. Also true, I would have had grocery money had I not had to come up with money for a sports physical as well as for basketball shoes ($110 total there). But that is true any month–the grocery budget is my only flex category which takes up the slack for other spending I need to do. For the next 3 months, it will be for eye exams and contacts for those of us who need them. It’s just how it is and I need to plan for that.
  • I need to reevaluate how I spend money at the health food stores. I had been ordering through their special ordering system where I can order cases of whatever, which saves money. However, I am finding that there isn’t enough grocery money to do that *and* eat well for the week. Ordering this way kept our  fruits and vegetables to a minimum with little variety.
  • I need to start ordering from Bountiful Baskets again. I’ve ordered through them a lot over the past year but it has been their conventional produce baskets. Last time, I ordered their organic basket. It works out to be $26.50 for a box of produce but I think it will provide the variety we need at a good price. This last basket had:
    • an avocado
    • bananas
    • apples
    • pears
    • kiwi
    • potatoes
    • sweet potatoes
    • onion
    • celery
    • carrots
  • I need to figure out when I have the best chance of getting Great Harvest’s whole wheat bread. The last few times we’ve gone in there, we’ve not been able to get the whole wheat. The white bread is tasty but isn’t as filling we’ve found. And I need to keep my people full.
  • Since I’m going to be ordering Bountiful Baskets again, I need to change my shopping days. Pick up is on Saturdays and what’s in the basket isn’t known until you actually pick it up. Not a big deal…in fact, I like that it’s a surprise every week. But in order to use everything, I will need to pick up the basket, bring it home, and then plan meals around what’s in there.

Today is a new start and I’m glad that we’re back to eating healthy. The last few days made me feel gross. I still won’t have grocery money until the 1st but I’m going to try my best to make this week ‘real food’.

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Days 9 through 13

Day 9

Shopping day! Yesterday should have been my shopping day but I’m really trying hard to make one tank of gas last the 21 days it needs to.  I live at least half an hour from town, so my gas consumption is pretty high. Since the girls had dentist appointments today, I adjusted my schedule and shopped today instead.

After their dentist appointments, they were “starving” so we went to Walmart to see what the new store was like. It has been more than a year since I was in a Walmart. I hate the dirty store and how crowed the old store was. There wasn’t much traffic at the new store and I was able to find decent items for lunch. Their prices were much better than Target’s on toiletries and so I’m afraid I will have to start shopping there again.

Besides the toiletries, I purchased:

  • Bottles of water for Quinten and me plus drinks the girls picked out (sugar, color, fake sugar)
  • Individual packets of organic hazelnut butter with cocoa (this was our protein for lunch)
  • Organic squeezable fruits/veggies
  • Olive oil
  • Peanut butter
  • Flour
  • Individual packages of potato chips for Quinten and the girls.

Total including toiletries: $69.60

My next stop was Sam’s and I purchased Kerrygold butter and cheese and a bag of organic carrots. Total spent here: $28.52

Next was my co-op. I spent the majority of my grocery money here. I purchased:

  • Non-homogenized whole milk (6 half gallons)
  • Organic corn meal (1 case)
  • 1 case of baby kale (8 packages. 1 is shown, the others are in the brown cardboard box)
  • 3 dozen local eggs (my soy-free eggs didn’t come in. I’m thinking about switching to the local eggs)
  • 2 packages organic cranberries
  • 3 organic onions
  • 5# bag organic potatoes
  • Bulk maple syrup
  • Package organic cream cheese
  • 1 small bottle castile soap
  • 2 containers organic cottage cheese (fingers crossed they will feed us a meal)
  • 2 packages organic bagels
  • 1 bag organic apples
  • 2 organic lemons

My total here was $140.51

My second-to-last stop was to Great Harvest Bread. I lost the receipt (I always seems to lose one each shopping trip). I estimate the total for this trip was less than $40

  • 1 loaf Challah (this became our snack after I came home from town. 1 loaf of bread divided by 7 equals gone in a flash!)
  • 1 loaf Cranberry Orange
  • 1 loaf white
  • 2 loaves whole wheat

My last stop was one of the other health food stores in town. I purchased:

  • 1 bag nonfat dry milk
  • 1 jar local honey
  • 2 packages crackers
  • 1 box waxed paper
  • 1 box aluminum foil

My total here was $37.80

My total for shopping today was $312.49. I only had $200 really to spend today so I did end up moving money from savings that I will replace in a couple of weeks. However, I am under the $400 goal by $87.51. I am sure I will make up for that savings my next trip to town since we are running low on so many things. I hope we have enough here to make into meals!

Here is what we ate today:

Breakfast:

Pumpkin Muffins using this as a guide. I made them using kamut flour and ended up adding about ¼ cup milk to make the batter thin enough. I also added a bar of dark chocolate that I’d chopped in place of the chocolate chips the girls requested. We also had coffee.

Lunch:

Lunch was purchased at Walmart. We had bottles of water (the girls picked another drink), packets of hazelnut butter, squeezable fruit/veggies, and the girls and Quinten had small bags of chips.

Snack:

Challah with butter and a cup of coffee since it’s so dang cold today!

Dinner:

Roasted Chicken with stir-fried kale (cooked in coconut oil), and bread with butter

Days 10-13

I didn’t keep track of what we ate these days, though they were Real Food-compliant. I am neck-deep in my last class for this semester and valiantly trying to finish before Thanksgiving–one project down and one to go!!

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Day 8

We made it one whole week (plus one day) incorporating the 100 Days of Real Food principles!! No fast food, no soda, no sugar (except in the few things like previously homemade jam and that which is included in chocolate chips and spaghetti sauce), no junk. And, other than the fact that we are at the end of the grocery week and running out of staples, it really has been a good week.

Things I’ve learned this week:

  • We go through * a lot * of food in a week! Holy cow!!
  • I did not buy enough fruit and veggies to last the week
  • I use a lot of onions when I cook
  • My kids have forgotten the thankfulness lessons from when they were younger and need a refresher course. They complained A LOT. Given the fact that the youngest are 15, I am seriously unhappy about that.
  • My kids were eating a lot of junk (turns out mom and dad were too) that didn’t register with me since it was such a common occurrence.
  • I can’t eat popcorn anymore. Even the organic stuff gave me a belly ache.
  • It takes much more time spent in the kitchen to cook this way
  • I am thankful I buy in bulk. I ended up using quite a few items out of the pantry
  • I am more than happy to pay $6 a loaf of bread after reading this. Gross, huh? Given the fact that I am highly allergic to feathers, it’s no wonder walking down the bread isle at the store makes me want to vomit from the smell.
  • It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be

Tomorrow will be a challenge sticking to the plan. The girls have a dentist appointment in the morning and since we are trying to conserve gas this time around, I will be going grocery shopping after their appointment instead of going today. I’m hoping we will be able to find something healthy while in town since we will be there at lunchtime and I am out of bread. We’ll see if I end up with any extra time tonight to make some.

Here is what we ate:

Day 7 (Wednesday)

Breakfast:

Eggs cooked in bacon grease, slice of banana bread, coffee

Lunch:

Peanut butter and jelly, water

Snack:

½ soy-free chocolate bar

Dinner:

Bacon-Wrapped chicken breast (recipe to follow), spaghetti with alfredo (to use up cream that was about to go bad), and a green salad with dressing

Day 8 (Thursday)

Breakfast:

Eggs cooked in bacon grease, slice of whole wheat bread, coffee

Lunch:

Almond butter and jelly, dehydrated organic apples, water

Dinner:

I plan to make this and serve a green salad and dressing with it along with home canned beets that my mom brought up for me the last time she visited.

Snack:

I plan to roast some almonds, allow them to cool and mix with chocolate chips.

Recipe:

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breasts

Oven: 350

4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half

1 (8 oz) package Applegate Farms bacon

Salt, pepper, and smoked paprika

Wrap one piece of bacon around each of the 8 pieces of chicken and place in a baking dish with the ends of the bacon on the bottom so they will stay secure. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.

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Day 6

I still feel pretty good about our first week so far. We are obviously short on fruit and veggies but I figure that will all get worked out as I’m able to add more to my grocery budget. The last few months have been tough but things do look like they are improving—at least on paper.

Picking up where we left off last post:

Day 5 (Monday):

Breakfast:

Pancakes and coffee

Lunch:

I made a simple soup with the rest of the chicken broth I made this weekend plus the rest of my onions, several carrots, and some penne pasta. This was topped with a bit of parmesan and served with cheddar crackers (recipe to follow), Bubbies sauerkraut, fresh raspberries, and black tea.

Dinner:

Pressure cooker roast, quinoa, green salad with dressing

Snack:

Caramel Corn

Day 6 (Tuesday):

Breakfast:

Pumpkin pancakes

Lunch:

PBJ on whole wheat bread

Snack:

Banana Bread

Dinner:

Spaghetti and noodles with whole wheat bread and butter

Recipe:

 

Cheddar Crackers

So many of the crackers in the store have long lists of ingredients–even the ones labeled organic. I found this recipe in my recipe box. It’s been so long that I’m not sure who the author is. My picky girls loved these and have been asking me to make them again.

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (I used Kerrygold)

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp smoked paprika (my addition, the original recipe called for a dash of cayenne and skipped the hot pepper flakes. I like both)

dash Aleppo pepper (or hot pepper flakes), to taste

3/4 cup flour

Mix the butter and cheddar together. Stir in the remaining ingredients until a dough forms. It takes quite a bit of mixing to get all of the ingredients incorporated. Shape into a log that is 1-inch in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled (approx. half an hour). Remove from refrigerator, unwrap, and slice into thin slices. Bake on a parchment-lined cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until just starting to brown. Cool before serving.

 

 

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Day 4

So far so good for the most part I think. The kids are complaining about the lack of food—but it’s really just the lack of junk food that they are missing. They can be found rummaging through the refrigerator and pantry often but when offered a piece of fruit or leftovers, they say they don’t want those. The girls, who are 15, have complained the loudest. They say teenagers are often like toddlers and I’ve experienced my fair share of tantrums and refusals to eat what is served for meals so far this week. {{Eyeroll}}.

I spent the weekend cooking. The girls have a 4-day school week so our Fridays count as part of our weekends. On Friday, I pressure cooked 2 stewing hens and used half of the broth for butternut squash soup. I used a variation of this recipe, blending the squash first and leaving the onions in pieces and adding in different spices.  I doubled (or tripled) the recipe. It was enough to feed us for dinner that night, lunch on Sunday, and individual portions for all seven of us which were placed in the freezer for another day. I used the meat from the chickens for sandwiches on Saturday. Since they were stewing hens, there was little meat.

While the squash was roasting, I made up some creamer for our coffees. Making homemade creamers was something I hadn’t thought of until I saw the idea on Pinterest. I loosely follow this recipe, using ¾ cup each of milk and cream (all organic), a little homemade vanilla (the rum bottle is actually vanilla), a pinch of sea salt, and 2 TB honey. The mixture fits into a pint-size mason jar.

Here are our meals and snacks for the last couple of days:

Day 2 (Friday)

Breakfast

Pancakes with coffee (extra pancakes were frozen).

Lunch

Peanut butter and jelly with carrots

Snack

Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies made with honey. We all thought the cookies were too sweet so I’m not going to link to the recipe. I will keep searching though.

Dinner

Butternut Squash soup with biscuits

Day 3 (Saturday)

Breakfast

Pumpkin Pancakes (I used this recipe but skipped the cinnamon roll swirl. I’ve tried a lot of pumpkin pancake recipes and this one is by far the best—even without all of the sugar in the swirl. I doubled this recipe and used organic ingredients, subbing coconut oil for the canola oil, pumpkin pie spice suggestions at the bottom of the recipe but doubling the cinnamon, and maple syrup for the brown sugar. I’ve always had to add at least a quarter cup more milk to the batter to get them to turn out. I doubled this recipe and froze the rest)

Coffee

Lunch

Chicken salad sandwiches. Our mayo is awful but I am going to use it up instead of throwing it out and buying something organic.

Dinner

Stir-fry using some of the round steak I picked up on Thursday. It was *awesome*! Usually round steak from the store is often like chewing shoe leather once it’s cooked but this one was nice and tender in the stir fry

White rice. I try to limit our consumption of rice products after news reports show that rice has high levels of arsenic in it. One report I read said that brown rice actually has higher levels of arsenic than white. I need to research it more but white rice is what I have on hand at the moment, so it’s getting used.

Snack

Chocolate chip cookies from the day before.

Day 4 (Sunday)

Breakfast

Eggs with bacon (Applegate farms) and a bit of the Kerrygold cheese I picked up from Sam’s Club. Coffee

Lunch

Butternut squash soup with toast and homemade plum jam (contains sugar)

Snack

Veggie smoothie

Dinner

Baked chicken with quinoa and green salad and an oil and vinegar dressing

Dessert

Caramel Popcorn (recipe coming soon)

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