Monday, February 22, 2010

Eating on less than $3.00 per day.

Not long after I started following The Maker's Diet, I began to consider ways to improve the quality of the food I was eating without incurring too much added expense.  The fact is that good food costs more than the processed junk that we have grown accustomed to eating.  For instance, raw whole milk from Deerfield Farm is priced at $6.75 per gallon as opposed to about $3.50 per gallon of pasteurized/homogenized milk from my local grocery store.

One thing that I had considered doing was a modified 'egg fast' for a period of time.  For this fast, my plan centered around relying on eggs as my primary source of nutrition.  Eggs are praised as a source of nutrition as often as they are vilified.  Opponents claim that the fat and cholesterol in the yolk is detrimental to good health and should only be consumed in moderation while proponents claim the egg to be the perfect food.  In the right circumstances, both schools of thought can be correct.  The problems with eggs generally stem from the way that they are produced.  Most of the eggs we buy in the grocery store are produced by 'battery farms.'  These farms cage their chickens and feed them a controlled diet usually consisting of soy and other vegetarian feeds.  The chickens are not allowed to forage on their own and are raised entirely for the purpose of laying as many eggs as they can in as little space as possible.  This is neither good for the chickens nor the people that consume the eggs.  Chickens are omnivores.  They need to be allowed to consume not only vegetables and grasses but also meat - usually in the form of insects and worms.  Free range chickens are able to do just that.  As a result, the eggs that they produce - though quite possibly fewer in number - are much more nutritionally complete than those from battery hens.
For further information about eggs, I recommend reading "Eggs: What Health-Conscious People REALLY Need to Know about One of the Most Controversial Foods."

One reason - probably the biggest reason - why I didn't immediately set out on the egg fast was lack of variety.  The old phrase, "variety is the spice of life" tends to apply to my eating habits as much as any other aspect of my life.  It is easy to grow tired of something when it is all you eat.  Another reason was my initial sense of 'sticker shock.'  Free range eggs - as mentioned above - are more expensive than standard, battery eggs.  My knee-jerk reaction was to avoid buying more eggs than I would normally consume due to the added cost.  Plus, like the raw milk, I need to travel a longer distance to get them.

I am a very stubborn person.  When I think that I have an idea that is good except for a few obstacles, I tend to think about ways to make it work.  As such, I just simply could not get away from trying to work out a feasible and beneficial way to follow the egg fast.

A couple of days ago, I registered with the website, The Douglass Report, and began receiving The Daily Dose email newsletter.  In yesterday's email, Dr. Douglass discussed the many benefits of eggs.  This was the final straw for me.  My desire to come up with a viable egg fast was renewed and I set myself to that very task.

Today marks my beginning of my egg fast.  I will be using only free range eggs and raw, whole milk as my staples.  With some variations, my daily plan is based on the following:
  • Breakfast:  Two eggs, 1 Tbsp. flax seeds, 1 slice Genesis 1:29 bread.
  • Lunch:  6 oz. yogurt, 8 oz. milk, fruit
  • Dinner:  Two eggs, veggies, 8 oz. milk
I intend to add various fruits and vegetables as well as properly prepared nuts and seeds on occasion, but this will be the basis of my diet for the next couple of days.  I will vary the way that I prepare the egg meals - scrambled, omelet, fried, etc. - and the yogurt will be only that which I make myself.

This plan takes care of a number of issues that I have been facing.  First, it addresses the cost of healthy foods.  Eggs - even free range ones - are still one of the most affordable foods available.  Deerfield Farm sells a dozen free range eggs for $3.50.  At two eggs per serving, this comes to $0.58 per serving or $1.16 per day.  At four eggs per day, I will consume 1 doz. eggs over the course of three days.  Second, it gives me an easy-to-prepare meal to make alongside the meal that is being prepared for my family.  While I would really love it if my family would join me in following The Maker's Diet, it is taking time to turn them around.  I am hoping that, once I have fully adapted to the plan and have managed to make it more affordable, they will join me.  As it stands, I am constantly faced with preparing two meals - one for me and one for them - or I am forced to partake of the same foods that they are eating.  Occasionally, they are also eating acceptable foods, so it isn't always a problem.  Third, I can develop a better mind-set.  One problem that I have is a lack of fore-thought when it comes to meals.  I tend to just throw a meal together based on what I have on hand.  Sometimes, the results can be less than desirable which can lead to frustration.  Because I am committing to a narrow selection of nutritious foods for an extended period of time, I can deal with the lack of variety.  Truth be told though, there are a lot of ways to prepare eggs to avoid boredom.

The basic meal plan that I described above comes to a grand total of only $2.74 per day.  Adding some fruit or vegetables will modify that cost upwards, but that is a pretty good starting point.  Here is how it breaks down:
  • Eggs @ $3.50/dozen.  2 eggs per serving yields 6 servings per dozen @ $0.58 each times 2 per day.
  • Genesis 1:29 bread @ $6.49/loaf.  1 slice per serving yields 20 servings @ $0.32 each.
  • Flax seeds @ $6.98/bag.  1 Tbsp. per serving yields 74 servings @ $0.10 each.
  • Milk @ $6.75/gallon.  8 oz. per serving yields 16 servings @ $0.42 each times 2 per day.
  • Yogurt (made from milk) @ $6.75/gallon.  6 oz. per serving yields about 21 servings @ $0.32 each.
My plan is to maintain this fast for 3-5 days. After that, I will switch out one of my meals.  I intend to repeat the 'fast' 2 or 3 times per month.  Whatever I do, I certainly intend to use eggs as a major part of my plan.

No comments: