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Macro Monday: Checking in / Markets / Grocery budget chats.

Hi there friends,

It's been awhile since the last Macro Monday! But now it's June, and June is a lovely month. So Happy Macro Monday!

I've been feeling more inspired by cooking again lately, and am working on a few recipes I'd like to share with you soon.

One of these is a vegan lentil bolgonese sauce. I have a bit more tweaking to do, and then I'll send it your way.  

And another recipe in the works for you is the lovely vegan wholegrain carrot cake I made at Easter. It had a lemon cashew icing, and was delicious. If you follow me on instagram (here's the link!), you may have already seen it. This carrot cake was super healthy, hearty, and very much like what I imagine baked oatmeal would be like. I enjoyed the leftovers for breakfast.

Other than that, I have been doing some gardening, and have already enjoyed eating kale and komatsuna from my little container / pot garden on my balcony. The weather has been fantastic, and T & I have been spending as much time as possible outside. 

GROCERY COST / BUDGET CHAT

I have been doing the larger part of my produce shopping at my local market again, now that it's open at full capacity. This has gotten me thinking a lot about grocery budgets. If you've seen my instagram posts, you'll know that I love sharing pics of my weekly grocery haul. Sometimes I just get a few things, but usually I get a large full basket full of a variety of produce, and while the berries are in season, lots of berries. I try to make this my only produce shop for the week, and this usually works just fine for T & I.

In my experience, at least here in Victoria, despite what many people think, this is much friendlier to our grocery budget, than if I were to buy the equivalent organic things at most grocery stores. And sometimes, I feel like it's even better priced than some of the conventional produce. I know that Vancouver Island has an amazing growing season, but I just can't get over how fairly priced the local and organic veggies are.

In case you're interested, I'll list a few items I regularly buy, with the market price listed first (M), and then a common grocery store (GS) price after:

DAIKON - $2 - 4 M // $5-10 GS (side note: perhaps cheaper in china town).
KALE - $2 -3 M // $3-5 GS
SPROUTS - 2 packages for $5 M // $3-5 per package GS
STRAWBERRIES  - $4-6 M // $5-7 GS (on sale perhaps you can get them for $4).
Fresh BASIL -  $3 giant bunch M // $3-5 GS for a smaller container
Mixed SALAD GREENS - $3-5 M // $4-7 GS 

Here's my giant basket-full of veggies from this weekend:

In case you're wondering, all these vegetables are local (duh), and organic. The quality of these vegtables are MUCH higher than anything I can find at the grocery store. The daikon alone is about half the price of what a similarly sized organic daikon would be at any store, and it is of such higher quality I can barely even compare the two. (most daikon I find at stores is either limp, spongy, or worse yet often moldy!).

This Saturday I packed my basket full of: komatsuna, broccoli, daikon, sprouts, green onions, radishes, collards, salad turnips, the most beautiful green leaf lettuce, basil, mixed kale, baby summer squash and the most tasty little strawberries. The hummus I bought from a local shop on the way home so I haven't included in the price. The total for all these vegetables was $37 CAD. Now, I'm definitely no financial wizard, and perhaps I'm crazy, but this seems like a STEAL of a DEAL! Also considering both the turnips and daikon are sold with their beautiful tops - you can eat these like any other leafy green. I'm all about the 2 for 1 veggies.  I am fairly confident that had I chosen to buy all of these things at a health foods store, I would have paid much closer to, if not more, than $50 CAD. And perhaps more like $40 - 45 for the organic versions purchased at a conventional grocery store.  

I would say this is likely the average amount of produce I buy weekly at the market (some weeks more, some weeks less), but when the berries really start to roll out, my weekly produce price will increase as berries are my fav and are our ultimate summer treat and I will be adding those along to my regular veggie haul.

How much do you spend per week on produce? What do you think - especially fellow Canadians - does $37 seem like a reasonable price, expensive price, or good price for this basket full of organic produce? I'm honestly curious here and welcome your opinions. If you think I can do better, I'd love to know how! (other than growing all the veggies yourself, as I'm doing the best I can at the moment with my balcony garden). 

It makes you think and realize - if you stick to eating veggies, and then items from the bulk bins (whole grains, dried beans, nuts and seeds), with the occasional detour for things like tempeh, tofu, fish, high quality bread, oils, etc., healthy groceries can definitely be affordable.

And one more thing: I understand if organic produce is not importance to you, but it is to me for a few reasons. Firstly, TASTE! Not always, but most often, organic versions are tastier. Seriously. Especially local and organic veggies - so much PRANA! Secondly, the nutritional content issue. Most organic versions of food are higher in vitamins and minerals. Usually, they are grown in better soil yielding more nutritious crops. More nutrition bang per bite. And lastly, obviously, the potential chemicals used in conventional crops are a bit scary. I know that many big organic chains use "organic" pesticides that are supposedly better (they may or may not be), but in my own experience, I have never had organic strawberries that tasted like chemicals, but I have had regular ol' strawberries that do. And ditto that for grapes and all other berries. YICK. 

I'm not completely rigid over organic - I do tend to follow the dirty dozen / clean fifteen guidelines whenever buying 100% organic produce is not possible. And I will try to choose local foods with equal importance as organic because I believe it is the most responsible thing to do environmentally speaking, but I also understand reality and budgets, and I do realize that often organic foods can be more money.

That is why I'm SO EXCITED when it's market season, because my grocery bills usually drop! 

So to wrap up please, tell me about your healthy, perhaps organic, grocery budget tips and tricks!

Check back soon for those recipes <3 <3 <3 

And I'll leave you with a beautiful article written by Phiya Kushi that I found to be extremely inspiring.
 

Hiya! Updates + It's almost Spring.

Hi Guys,

I've been laying low these past few months, busy with work and other things, and have been feeling like I've been in a bit of a funk.

When I stop to think about why I have been feeling this way, a few things instantly jump out:

1. My sleep schedule has been alllllllllll over the place. Late nights / late mornings combined with feeble attempts to get back to my beloved early bedtime. This does not work well for me. Some of this has been out of my control (noise disturbances etc.), and some of it has been my doing - such as just giving in, and staying up late even though I know it's not good for me.

2. Of course, having an erratic sleep schedule has led to me having an erratic eating schedule. This too, does not work well for me. I like to eat at the same time, every day. Call me boring. I don't care. Eating at random hours feels way too cray cray for this little guy (me).

3. Erratic eating schedules also lead to erratic eating choices. Poor sleep + inconsistent meals times = plenty of snacky snack snacks.  I would say that I'm always fairly consistent in eating vegetables and high quality natural foods, but I have definitely been eating a bit "wider" on the Macrobiotic spectrum these days, mostly because I've been eating out more than usual, and I've been feeling very carefree. Hello red wine! yee-haw! This for sure can be good every once in while. But, my body is telling me that it needs a little re-centering.

4. It also makes sense that if I haven't been getting proper sleep, and proper fuel, that I might also overlook the self-care routines and practices that make me feel so good. No matter how erratic my days are, I am always good at taking a few moments to sit in the sun and enjoy a cup of tea. But self-care goes beyond this. It means finding the right balance between social obligations and alone time. It means being consistent in the practices that improve your life. It includes processing emotions and feelings, and taking time to breathe, and to meditate [if you don't meditate, then contemplate ;) ]. And sometimes, self-care means a hot bath and a green sea monster face mask.

Self-care, self-love, and creating a happy and healthy life require diligence and maintenance.

I always appreciate these down phases and feel-like-i'm-in-a-funk periods because they remind me that a good life doesn't just happen to you ... you have to create it! Each person is different, and will require different things to live a big life.

I wouldn't say that it's unusual to feel in a funk in January / February. These are generally considered to be two of the hardest months of the year. But, Spring is in the air (at least over here!) and I'm already feeling my energy shift.

Spring energy is upwards moving. It is invigorating, and motivating, and I'm definitely tapping into that. Think about the colour green. Fresh new buds and sprouts. Right now, there are a billion cherry blossoms and magnolias. Every single time I step outside, I am instantly grateful for this.


So, I know what I need to do to shift back into feeling lovely and balanced! It's always about the simple things for me. Consistent sleeping schedule, regular meals, and lots of cooking at home. In fact, I am already dreaming of the beautiful produce that will soon be in abundance at the market!

So friends, please share: if you're feeling off, what do you do to shift yourself back into balance?

Much love and pink cherry blossoms,
Jess