whole foods

$100 Paleo Grocery Challenge – Rules & Trial Week

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This was the first week of my $100 Paleo Whole Foods Challenge.  I’m going to refer to it as my Trial Week, because it wasn’t as planned as I had hoped.

I got this idea from another website, 100 Days of Real Food.  They chose to do $125 a week, bu included lots of dairy, so I figured I could outdo that.

Since that site doesn’t have to do with paleo, I had to make a new list of rules for my challenge.

What we CAN eat:

  1. Whole Foods:  products of nature and not industry.
  2. Lots of Fruits and Vegetables:  organic when possible.
  3. Seafood:  wild caught is the optimal choice over farm-raised.
  4. Meats:  locally raised, lean and grass-fed is best.
  5. Eggs:  limit to 6 per week.
  6. Beverages:  limited to water, all natural juices, almond milk.
  7. Snacks:  in moderation… dried fruit, seeds, nut & Lärabars.
  8. All Natural Sweeteners:  use minimally, honey, 100% maple syrup & fruit juice concentrate.
  9. Healthy Oils:  Olive, Avocado, Walnut, Flaxseed & Coconut Oils.

What we CANNOT eat:

  1. No Grains.
  2. No Dairy Products.
  3. No Legumes (including peanut butter).
  4. No Starchy Vegetables:  potatoes included.
  5. No Refined Sweeteners.
  6. Nothing Processed i.e. out a box, can, bag, bottle or package that has ingredients you cannot buy, eat, hold in a raw state.  (The other website said 5 ingredients, but some Lärabars have more than 5 ingredients.  I’m saying you have to know what the ingredients are,  what they look like AND they must meet the allowable food standards.)
  7. No Deep Fried Foods.
  8. No “Fast Foods.”

The good thing about going paleo is that you can customize it.  These are pretty much standard paleo rules, however, if you want to allow yourself the occasional grass-fed butter and cheese or whole grains, that’s totally up to you.  I recommend READING multiple books on paleo if you are interested in making the switch.  You have to remember that foods on the NOT allowed list are there for a reason.  You’ll have a better understanding if you do some research.  I have read The Paleo Diet (sort of boring), It Start with Food (only half so far, but VERY good) & Eat Like a Dinosaur so far, along with countless internet articles.

We read “Eat Like a Dinosaur” on Friday night. Harley loved the story and was super excited about eating like a “dino.” He refused “non-dino” food even the next day. Carter was indifferent, but eats anything I give him.  I shared this with the authors, Paleo Parents, and they posted it on their Facebook page!

I will also be making an exceptions list.  While I would love for my husband to drop everything to do this with me, it’s unrealistic.  He has made great strides in moving toward a better diet and I’m very proud of that.   I think switching from Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies for a snack to Bananas is a vast improvement.  We both have made significant changes to our diet, he’s just a little behind me.  I’m going to allow $25 for non-paleo food items, but I’m also going to try to make them as “healthy” as I can.  In time, I’m like to reduce that amount.

Husband & Kids Exceptions LIMITED:

  1. Dairy:  cheese and milk.
  2. Grains:  preferably whole grains, bread, pasta & rice.
  3. Peanut Butter.
  4. Refined Sugar:  for his coffee.
  5. Pop.
  6. Ketchup (Organic, no HFCS).

As I said, he’s moving toward cutting back these things, but isn’t ready to completely give them up.  I’m patiently pushing to get rid of the bad stuff.  I still have trouble with willpower too, I won’t hide from that.

Let’s take a break for a second…

Kid in underwear learning to do a handstand. Awesome.

Let’s get to grocery shopping!  Admittedly, this trip didn’t go quite as I planned.  Mostly because I went to a new city and awesome new stores for part of it (Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s & People’s Food Co-op) in addition to my regulars (Meijer & Horrocks).  Next week, I won’t get to go to the awesome new stores. *sad face*

My cart at Meijer. Lovely and completely covering the yucky pop. 🙂

Let’s go over the non-paleo friendly foods and household products first.

Non-Paleo Foods & Household Products, not all are pictured.
Cherry Dr. Pepper (5) 2 Liters 5.00
Organic Soft White Bread 2.99
Whole Grain Wheat Bread 2.49
Organic Ketchup 24oz. 1.99
Kerrygold Whiskey Cheddar 3.54
Kerrygold Kilarnee Cheddar 2.80
Kerrygold Dubliner Vintage 4.29
Kerrygold Butter (2) 5.98
Lärabar Über Apple Turnover 1.00
Lärabar Peanut Butter Jelly (2) 2.58
Total: $32.66

Went over the $25 food limit for the kids and husband exception, but again, I was at special stores that I don’t visit ever, so it was a little treat.   I bought Kerrygold butters and cheese which come from grass-fed cows in Ireland.  (By the way, Scott tried the butter last night and the first thing out of his mouth was “Oh my God, this is amazing!”).  I also bought whole grain wheat bread for the boys and organic soft white for Scott.  Improvements. Overage: $7.66

And then we have some new household items, which aren’t part of the food budget.

Tom’s Strawberry Toothpaste 3.99
Tom’s Wintermint Toothpaste 3.99
365 Conditioner 32oz. 5.99
365 Shampoo 32oz. 5.99
 Total: $19.96

And lastly, I have a family potluck on Sunday, so these are added expenses like “eating out” would be.

Family Potluck
Carrots 3# 1.99
Brussel Sprouts 1.83# @2.49/# 4.56
Pecans 5.93
Meijer Bacon 12oz. 2.39
 Total: $14.87
Applegate Farms Bacon 3.99
96/4 Lean Ground Beef 1.29# @ 3.99# 5.16
Whole Pork Tenderloin 7.42
Boneless Pork Loin Ribs 4.39# @1.99/# 8.75
Al Fresco Chicken Sausage (4) 12oz. 12.00
Bulk Chicken Maple Sausage 1.03# @ 5.99/# 6.17
Meijer Italian Sausage 18oz. 2.89
 Total: $46.38

I did some stocking up on sale items so I definitely think I can continue to bring my bill down.  Those Al Fresco sausages were $2 off a piece.  I took advantage by buying 4 packages.

Fruits, Vegetables, etc.
Organic Romaine Lettuce 3.69
Radishes 1.11# @ 0.99/# 1.10
Cauliflower (3) 4.87
Broccoli (2) 2.98
Organic Kale (2) 4.00
 Total: $16.64

We are seriously working on trying new vegetables and sadly, I wanted to buy broccoflower that was on sale but it was all gone!

Bananas 2.14# @ 0.49/# 1.05
Golden Delicious Apples 3.58# @ 1.28/# 4.58
Fuji Apples 3.20# @ 0.88/# 2.82
Organic Bananas 5.91# @ 0.69/# 4.08
Comice Pears 1.96# @ 0.99/# 1.94
Strawberries 2# 4.00
Raspberries 3.00
Blueberries 1 pint 3.00
Bananas 2.46# @ 0.44/# 1.08
Organic Fuji Apples 2.37# @ 1.99/# 4.72

This list looks long because bananas are on here 3 times.  I bought regulars at two stores and two prices.  I try to get them in varying degree of yellows/greens to ensure they ripen at different times during the week.  And organic bananas were on sale so I bought some.

Misc. Paleo
Lärabar Blueberry Muffin 1.00
Lärabar Banana Bread (2) 2.00
Lärabar Apple Pie (2) 2.00
Lärabar Carrot Cake (3) 3.00
Lärabar Chocolate Coconut (2) 2.00
Lärabar Jocolät Mint 1.49
Organic Fruit Wraps (5) @ 0.49/each 2.45

And the grand total for Paleo Friendly Groceries… $107.23

I was over by $7.23.

Dang.  The good news is a lot of the bars and meat were cupboard/freezer stock purchases because of sales and new things to try from new stores.  I see what I can do to improve for what I’m going to officially call week 1 next week.

But did you see how much FOOD I bought?  Seriously.

I try to buy things only if they are on sale or REALLY need them.  My ultimate goal would be able to buy meat in bulk from a farmer and buy mostly organic foods.

Do you have any suggestions or thoughts for my shopping trip?


March 5k – Ann Arbor

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Let me start by sending a big thank you to my friend, Angie, for inviting me to invade visit her home this weekend!   She was a wonderful host, cook and chaffeur.  I am in love with Ann Arbor now and seriously jealous of all the health food and fitness stores and walking paths and bike routes.  Oh my gosh, heaven.

We went to the People’s Food Co-Op, Trader Joe’s, Plum’s Market and both Whole Foods Markets (twice to one of them!).  If you live near a Whole Foods, seriously, GO.  Go now.  It’s AWESOME.  Everything is colorful, beautiful and organized.  It’s OCD, whole food, organic paradise.

Check out those carrots! Someone took the time to fan them out and stack them like 15 rows high. I LOVE it.
Broccoli and greens heaven.

I didn’t get any pictures of the fruits, but they were perfect too.  I only got a few pictures at Whole Foods.

Since it was Saturday, all of the stores were sampling products.  I tried some new things, pretty proud, especially since they were seafood items which I don’t eat all all.  Last week, we tried Ocean Perch fillets and I was a little repulsed.  My hesitation was a little high.  However, I have been wanting to try Salmon for a while.  It looks more like MEAT than the flaky white fish.  I tried a Salmon Spread, Smoked Salmon and Scallops.  YUM!  Smoked Salmon is UNBELIEVABLE, but so expensive.  (My next post will be about the my grocery purchases, promise!)

Maybe my rose colored glasses were on too, but it seemed like everyone who worked there had an appreciation for the food.  All the demonstrators especially were super friendly and really into what they were doing.

Beautiful flower bouquets that were being made at Whole Foods Market. Love!

Saturday evening, we reconnected with another high school friend, Dillon, and did some window shopping before dinner.

Dear Scott.  This pillow cracks me up.  Love, Addie.

Then, we ate at a vegetarian restaurant.  I thought eating there would be fairly easy. Vegetables, right?  Wrong.  Luckily, I looked up the menu earlier in the week and decided what I was going to order or I would have been overwhelmed with the non-paleo ingredients: cheese, beans and breads.  I’m going to go ahead and say vegetarian places are harder to eat at than regular if you are going paleo.   It was even MY idea to eat at a vegetarian place.

Since I never go to Ann Arbor and don’t get to experience these places, I did deviate from completely eating paleo.  I won’t lie.   However, I didn’t go wild (like when I really really wanted the fresh fired pizza at Whole Foods).

Vegan Gluten-Free Apple Pear Streusel Cake at Seva.  This was really good, but I would have liked it to be fruitier.

Sunday morning was race day.  The weather was beautiful and the predicted rain held off all day.  I think the temperature started in the 40s and topped out at 61°.  Glorious.

We picked up my race packet on Saturday to avoid the early morning frenzy.  It was nice being able to roll in about 20-25 minutes before the race.

Practicing my ANTM Booty Tooch… I think it needs some work for next time.
“Can you raise the camera a little higher? Thanks. We’re vain.”

The streets were full of runners, over 2000 people attended.

Made my first animated GIF. Be jealous. (Thanks goes to Angie for taking so many pictures for me.)
What am I doing here?
And we’re off!

This race was the first time (other than obstacle races) that I didn’t run with my phone for music.  I have to get used to not having that luxury because I can’t have it during my triathlons.  Unintentionally, I forgot my heart rate monitor, so I was unable to check my pace on the watch either.  I was running “blind,” but the route was challenging (lots of hills and turns) and there were tons of people.  Basically, lots of things to distract me instead of needing music.

After running up a hill and turning the corner, here I come to the finish!
Almost there. (Check out that guys face in front of me, left side of the picture. Love the intensity, dude.)

My last run was 33:35 and the goal for this race was under 33 minutes.  Well, we thought my time ended up being almost exactly the same as the last when we checked out the race clock at the end.  However, there were so many people, I didn’t cross the start line until a little later than the gun start, so I’m going by the chip time from when I crossed the start and finish.  That time was 33:14!  Not quite my goal, BUT this course was full of hills whereas the last was completely flat.  I’ll take it!  And I have another run at the end of the month, so another chance in March to get under 33 minutes.  As long as I keep improving and moving forward, I’m definitely happy.

Tomorrow or maybe this evening, I will get my grocery list and pictures of my haul from this weekend posted and finally figure out how much I spent.  Pretty sure I went over $100, but I went somewhere I never go and stocked up on some things too.  I’ll get to see what I need to work on though.

Anyone else have a race this weekend or soon?  What are your goals?