By Kelsey on July 31, 2012 25

Food Is Fuel

Having a kid has made me think twice about everything we do. Because I know she is watching, and it seems to matter more now.

One thing it has really made me question is what we’re putting into our bodies, especially because she is starting to eat baby food. So we’ve been making some lifestyle changes over here. (Remember how bad we used to eat and not even realize it? We’ve come SO far!)

Changes We’ve Made
  • We got a wellness coach. We made some changes on our own, but we know we need someone else to keep us accountable. He’s also our chiropractor, so we’ll be seeing him every week for a while, and then monthly after that.
  • We found a local farm that we feel comfortable buying beef (grass-fed cows), bacon and pork from.
  • We buy some organic meat and produce, including chicken, peaches, strawberries, raspberries and apples.
  • Last weekend I made cookies from scratch instead of buying them.
  • We buy local, free-range hen eggs ($2.99/dozen). The label says all-vegetable diet enriched with flaxseed, naturally high in omega-3, no drugs, no added hormones. I have read that there is no proof that free-range eggs are more nutritious, but we’re using our dollars to vote for better living environments for chickens anyway.
  • We’ve don’t drink much milk (typically only in smoothies), but we’ve switched from cow’s milk to almond milk.
  • We got a Whole Foods! We also have a Trader Joe’s. They are both about 10 minutes from our house. We also love our local HyVee (which has a health market). I even emailed them and as a result they will be adding Krema peanut butter (in which peanuts are the only ingredient) to their health market! I can’t wait to try it!
  • We allow ourselves some breaks. Don’t get me wrong. We are nowhere near perfect. We love Dairy Queen, Orange Leaf, the occasional caffeinated pop, eating out with friends, etc. We’re aiming for 75-80% here.


If only I could go back in time and change what I ate while pregnant


Facebook Discussion

Facebook Discussion


I love my husband, my daughter and the Internet.

  1. I think it’s awesome that you two are making proactive decisions to eat healthier! Have you ever read any of Michael Pollan’s books? He’s written a couple on food — In Defense of Food: An Easter’s Manifesto and Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, and a couple others. If I remember correctly, he’s won a few awards for his writing about food, too.

    • I’ve got Food Rules on loan right now from our chiropractor’s library. I’ve only looked through it briefly so far, but it seems like exactly what we need!

  2. Love it! FYI: West Lakes Hy-Vee has 10% off on their health market foods on Wednesdays.

  3. Our chiropractor is also a ‘wellness coach.’ We’re excited to talk to him and his wife about better choices. We are very busy so we do a lot of things out of convenience, but if I can learn to buy and prepare things in advance we might be able to make some good changes as well!

  4. This post seems to contradict your budget minded philosphies. Whole Food’s prices are astronomical, the formula you posted is $102.00 and paying for a wellness coach seems like a huge luxury. I understand prioritizing to meet the costs of more wholesome living, but I’m curious to know if you could talk about what you’re giving up (if anything) to accommodate these extra costs?

    • Hi Alison,
      Our budget is what allows us to do this! We still live on a budget – we just put a little more in the food category now. (We actually haven’t quite figured out how much yet, because our current $100/week food budget continued to work for us the past two weeks. So maybe that will be a separate post for another time…)

      We 100% believe it is worth it, although it will slow us down a bit in our financial goals (paying off our house early). We are debt-free and have a fully funded emergency fund, and have the extra funds to do this. We still have quite a bit money left at the end of each month. We considered making these life changes a few years ago, but it wasn’t worth it to us at the time considering we were in debt. And, like I said, a baby changes everything.

      We don’t buy everything at Whole Foods. Right now their organic strawberries are 2 for $5. That’s 50% off! Regarding the formula, we have a post going up tomorrow that will explain why we switched. Even though Similac is cheaper, its ingredients are astonishing. Our HyVee health market is 10% off on Wednesdays, so I’m hoping to get there more on Wednesday evenings. I also want to make a spreadsheet that helps me track what is cheapest at which stores. Our wellness coach / chiropractor gets paid from our health savings account, so it comes out of our paycheck before we even see the money. To us it’s an investment, not a luxury.

      You are right – it costs more to eat healthy. I hate that, but I just can’t ignore it anymore.

      • I read this financial ebook once that wasn’t great overall but something that stuck with me was spend little money now on food (boxed mac n cheese, fastfood dollar menu, etc…) spend a lot more medically when your body is out of wack and your health is poor. Like you we are on a tight buget esp. now that I am a SAHM but its worth the extra $50-75 in our grocery fund to eat right now and not have to literally pay for it later. has really helped me learn how to do this and save money at the same time. Great post!! :)

      • Kels, I agree 100% that wellness is an investment, not a luxury! Especially for sweet little babes. It has made a world of difference for our family and we make sacrifices in other areas of our budget to include chiropractic care & make nutritious, whole food, choices.

        I think there are give and takes as well. I would love to take my boys to the chiropractor twice a month, but we have them go once per month (unless otherwise necessary). I would love to eat ALL organic food, but at the rate we go through produce, we wouldn’t be able to afford a roof over our head ;) But, I also tend to avoid preservatives, ingredients I can’t pronounce, and food coloring (though, I still have an M&M problem ;)).

        Here is an interesting article on “The Dirty Dozen & The Clean 15″ as it relates to organic foods…

        Also (sorry for the novel here), another change we made in the last year is to clean our home chemical free. So, while our Norwex products were up front a larger expense, they have saved us a good deal of money on cleaning products and help to reduce exposure to toxins.

        Check the ingredient list on baby wash, too. I read a disturbing article about toxins in Johnson & Johnson baby products:

        It can be overwhelming to overhaul your lifestyle overnight. But little changes here and there and suddenly you find yourself in new habits.

    • Believe me Alison, it was a hard pill to swallow making this decision. We totally look at it as an investment in our future health. It’s almost an additional baby step for us. Kind of like funding our retirement account, only we are investing in healthy living.

      I grew up going to a chiropractor and fully believe it contributed to me not being as sick as other kids. Hopefully we will save on medical costs in the long run.

      Whole Foods prices make me sick as well. We’re scouring for alternatives!

      • You guys should consider doing a CSA share next summer! We’ve been researching too and it seems like one of the most cost effective options for organic, it helps force you to think out of the box recipe wise…because you have to learn what to do with things like garlic snapes and kale. :)

    • It may depend what you’re buying at Whole Foods. I don’t purchase all of my grocery items there, but they’re often similar prices or cheaper than items I can get at my normal grocery store. (I also live in the middle of three farms and it takes me 20 minutes to get to a grocery store, so there are only two grocery stores near me.)

      I also have insane food allergies. We’re talking no nuts, no fruits/veggies that do not have a thick peel (like bananas, of if they don’t (like apples, peaches), they have to be cooked before I can eat them. I can’t eat anything raw- everything has to be cooked, and minimal dairy.

      Whole Foods, for me, offers the best alternative options that I can eat/drink and not end up sick or in the hospital.

      Kels/Eric- you may want to consider your own veggie garden next year. They’re really easy to maintain. We have a 1/2 acre one for my work, and when I finally get into my house, I’m putting up a year-round greenhouse so I can have fresh veggies that I can eat all year.

  5. What a great step you guys are taking!!! Even though it´s more expensive, you are investing in your health and life!!! Look forward to follow your road towards healthier life! :)

  6. WAY TO GO!!!!!! Choosing to eat healthy is a huge investment in your health and quality of life. You will feel better now and in the future years to come. It is worth every penny. Looking at the statistics of how big an impact is has on disease prevention and quality of life, just shows how important this is. And a great example for your child(ren). It hurts my heart when I see parents feeding their kids fast food and junk because that’s what they prefer. SO SAD.

    Anyway, to save money, you can join a co-op where you buy in bulk at discounted prices. There is a major co-op based out of Iowa (I’m in northern Missouri), I am so sorry I cannot remember what it is called but you order and they deliver once a month. Also, Amazon has AMAZING prices on many natural pantry items. Aldi has the cheapest produce around, and it’s usually good quality (although not organic). Buy everything you can at these places and Trader Joe’s. Then use HyVee Health Market and Whole Foods to supplement. That’s what we do. Just an idea. :)

  7. I just remembered the co-op is called UNFI or United Natural Foods Inc. They distribute to places like Whole Foods, HyVee, and other natural grocers. You can buy in bulk from them through a buying club (there are no fees and you do not have to place an order every month) at cost. Here is the site to find the nearest buying club near you .

  8. That’s so exciting! Good for you guys! Another documentary I would recommend is Hungry for Change. So good! Also, there is definitely proof that free range eggs are more nutritious. Check it out:

    • I just watched the trailer for that documentary. I wish it was on Instant Netflix! It looks really good.

      And thanks for the link! I’m off to check it out right now!

  9. Eating fresh food doesn’t have to be more expensive! We are part of a great CSA with reasonable prices, shop at the Farmers’ Market regularly, and go to the grocery store for the rest. Don’t buy organic unless it’s something (like greens) which pesticides stick to. Fruits with peels aren’t as important. Asian markets are great sources for cheap food too. A favorite meal of mine is a bunch of veggies sautéed in curry paste and coconut milk – cheap, tasty, and very good for you. I use paleo recipes for inspiration to help me eat more fresh, unprocessed foods. Check out and for some great meat and veggie recipes. Have fun in your food journey!

  10. So happy to hear you guys are making better food decisions. It can be a hit to the wallet but like other posters mentioned, there are ways to do it where you aren’t spending an arm and a leg. Plus, it benefits your health. That’s a major win in itself!

  11. We used to shop at Super Walmart until we watched Food Inc. Now we shop at Trader Joe’s, and honestly we don’t spend that much more there. Trader Joe’s organic produce selection is limited, so we buy produce from Earth Fare (similar to Whole Foods). It is a little bit more expensive, but I agree with you that we would rather spend more and “vote” for healthier foods with our dollars. There are lots of ways to eat healthier on a budget. It’s all about balance, and as you said baby steps!

    I do think our country has a lot of work to do in order turn our food system right side up. Poorer people tend to eat unhealthier foods because you get more caloric bang for your buck in processed foods. To me this is a justice issue. Chips and sodas should not be cheaper than fruits and veggies. I think foods containing GMOs should be labeled. I’m so thankful for stores like TJ’s who do not use ingredients containing GMOs in any of their TJ branded foods.

    Personally I am signed up to get email updates from organizations like the Environmental Working Group and Organic Consumers Association so I can be aware of what legislation is being passed in regards to our farming and food system. They keep me informed and provide the opportunity for me to contact my representatives about these issues that otherwise I wouldn’t be aware of.

    We are praying that breastfeeding will work out for us, but if it doesn’t I will absolutely spend more money on organic formula. If baby led weaning does not work for us, we will be making our own baby food. It’s cheaper than buying the organic stuff at Earth Fare, and it will be much healthier than buying the regular stuff at the grocery store.The article below talks about the shocking amount of pesticides found in baby foods. So scary!

    Sorry for the long comment! I feel very passionate about this subject, and I’m so glad you guys are talking about it!

  12. This is so great! I am starting a spreadsheet comparing all the organic prices at WF, TJ’s, and Hy-Vee – I can pass it along. At first it seems so expensive, but it is an investment. The way we look at is – pay a little more each week now, or pay massive medical bills later. And let’s face it, food prices are going up all across the board. However, when you are giving your body the nutrients it needs through healthy, organic foods, you have less cravings, you are less hungry throughout the day, so consequently you don’t eat as much. A big reason people overeat is because they aren’t getting the nutrients in all the processed food, so they are always feeling hungry when really it’s the body craving nutrients! We see Tyler, too – he’s great! I am a Dietitian and health & wellness coach myself, so if you ever have any questions, let me know.

  13. Those are phenomenal changes! It does cost more to eat healthy, but it’s totally worth it! Good for you three! :)

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