Archives For Food

By Eric on February 27, 2015 5

Plateau, boredom, stagnant, comfort… just a few of the words that are coming to mind as we enter the home stretch of our Whole30. I’ll talk about where we’re at with our budget in a minute, but for now, let’s talk feelings.

Favorite Whole30 BreakfastFavorite Whole30 Breakfast

There has been a looming event that has caused a lot of discussion between Kelsey and I over the past week. We knew about it before we started our Whole30, but talked ourselves into starting anyway because… if not now, when? That event is tomorrow… Rooney’s 3rd birthday party (Orange & Pink theme).

Our Whole30 will be complete after lunch on March 3(her birthday is March 2), but the party has been daunting to think about. Not only are we preparing a bunch of snacks, and food that we’re not able to eat ourselves, it’s just so close to the end that it seems it might be easier just to throw in the towel on day 28 rather than sticking it out for the Whole30 days (see what I did there?).

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By Eric on February 17, 2015 5

Well… we’ve done it… We’re half way through our Whole30 and we’ve officially gone over-budget. We’re “OK” with this based on a few reasons.

  1. It’s an investment in our health.
  2. It’s only 30 days. (We don’t have to ever do this again)
  3. We may have overspent on buying meat in bulk.

Whole30 half way

Investment in our health

The education we’re getting in cooking at home, not eating out, grocery shopping, reading labels, etc. is priceless. We’re armed with more information about food, how our bodies react to food, and why we should stay away from ingredients we can’t pronounce.

Until a few years ago, I hadn’t given two thoughts about the food I was eating. Never. I just ate what I wanted, when I wanted. While I know now that getting started eating healthy can pretty much be a second job, it’s worth it.

I’m starting to feel the benefits of feeding my body nutritionally. Yesterday afternoon (day 11) I realized that I actually had energy at 2:30 in the afternoon. Previously, this would be where I hit a wall and wanted nothing more than to take a nap.

I can start to feel myself becoming more productive during the day as well as have mental focus and clarity. All things I hoped to gain from going through this 30 days of no ice cream Whole30.

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By Eric on February 6, 2015 13

On Sunday evening we started our Whole30 that I talked briefly about here. In summary, it’s a 30 day program of no sugar or processed food. Which means three meals a day consisting of a palm sized portion of protein, filling the rest of my plate with vegetables, adding in some healthy fats (avocados, nuts, coconut oil, etc.), and if I’m still hungry, a small portion of fruit to top it all off.



Kelsey has agreed to join this adventure with me, and I’m happy to have the company. We’re already battling the sugar cravings and headaches as we attempt to slay the sugar dragon. Mine started on day 2 but have subsided since, and Kelsey’s are kicking in as of days 3 and 4 in the form of cookie dough fantasies, and longing for a bag of conversation hearts.

My hope in terms of results is far beyond outward visible changes. I’m not looking to lose weight, but my goals in completing the Whole30 are as follows:

  • Better, more restful sleep
  • More natural energy throughout the day
  • Clear mental focus
  • Increased productivity
  • Establish “better than before” eating habits
  • More family time in the kitchen and at the dinner table

I started this journey in a weird way. Kelsey bought the book “It Starts With Food“, and one evening I happened to pick it up, and couldn’t put it down. Most of the book is filled with the science behind the program, how our bodies react to certain foods, why we crave sugar, and what it does to our  minds and bodies.

On the one hand, I wanted to skip over most of the book and get to the Whole30 program (the rules, guidelines, and recipes), but on the other hand, the why behind it all was fascinating. I wore out my highlighter reading the book!

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By Eric on October 7, 2014 17

In preparation for the big job transition, we decided to trim our budget from some of the “luxuries” that we had become accustomed to over the years with a steady paycheck.

It’s amazing how “must-haves” in the budget can melt away when faced with a new goal and new circumstances.

Let me begin with telling you that our food budget is almost sacred territory. It’s fluctuated over the years, but it’s the first category to get an increase when we’ve gotten raises or cut back in other areas.

There are a few reasons for this…

  1. We are trying to eat healthier, which usually means a bigger grocery bill. (Organic fruits and veggies can be nearly twice the price of regular)
  2. We added a toddler to our dinner table and when the expense for formula went away, that money was moved to the food category.
  3. We like to eat, and we like to eat out when we can.

How Our Food Budget Works

Before I tell you about our food budget, let’s talk about the rest of our budget. I’m not going to get into all the numbers, but just know that before the month starts we set our budget based on our monthly bills, non-monthly bills, and savings categories. These fluctuate a little bit from month to month based on what we have going on in the month ahead, but stay fairly consistent.

If you want to start your own budget, pick up a copy of my free budget spreadsheet.

Our food budget

  • We withdraw cash from the bank on the first of the month and the 15th. We keep our food budget in $20 increments so it’s easy to pull it out from the ATM. (Our bank is right on the way to Kelsey’s work, so she does this most of the time, and then Rooney likes to say… “bye bye bank!”)
  • The cash is then split into two envelopes. Half for the first eight days, and half for the second seven days which covers us for the first half of the month. (We split the money into weeks so that we can better keep track of how we are doing throughout the week. When the money is getting low, we eat leftovers and scrounge around the house for things to eat to make the cash last until the next week.)
  • Groceries and eating out is all kept in the same pile of cash. This works for us, because we have overcome impulse spending at the grocery store (for the most part), and keep track of what we need, know how much it is going to cost, and then eat out if there is money left over. (Bottom line, we make the cash we have work. There have been several months that we have run out of cash. We don’t go hungry, and have survived every single time)

I should also say that we do have a separate category for organic grass fed beef that we order from a farm. We love Wallace Farms and fund a separate category for buying ground beef, burgers, steaks, and Nick-sticks throughout the year. We order/pay online and pick up at a church near our house.

Chopping the Food Budget

After being set in our ways with the same $600 food budget for the past year or so, Kelsey and I were both concerned with how we would handle cutting back on our food budget.

In September we cut our budget back from $600 to $500. A 17% cut… and I’m happy to report that we had just enough money in the food envelope to order Applebee’s curbside to go on the last day of the month, which also happens to be Kelsey’s birthday. Whew!

I honestly thought we would be panicking the last few weeks of the month, but again, because we separate our money out on a weekly basis, it’s easier to stay disciplined with our food budget throughout the month. Of course that lesson was learned after blowing through all our cash a few times and really having to scrimp for food in the cupboards a few times.

Sometimes we solidify numbers in our head and convince ourselves that there is no way we could ever live on less, spend less, or save more. It’s been a long time since we’ve had to squeeze our budget like the last few months, and it makes me wonder what more we could have done over the years if we hadn’t been so comfortable…

When was the last time you tried to trim something from your budget?
Was it harder or easier than expected?

By Kelsey on March 28, 2014 5

photo 3 (1)

Exploring a new city is so much fun! Eric and I loved our weekend stay in Omaha a couple weeks ago for the FamilyLife Weekend to Remember conference (read Eric’s recap here). We had never been to Omaha besides flying out of there a couple times. When we visit a new city, we love to tentatively plan our meals before we go, and this time got a lot of great recommendations on our Facebook page, so thanks!

So here we go…the best food in Omaha according to two people who have only been there once for a very short weekend!

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