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Breaking My Co-op Cherry

lovetoeat

How great is that sign? I saw it on Pinterest, and now I know I need MUST make one for my kitchen!

When I first started my journey to eating healthy, I convinced myself I would become a juicer and go on a juice feast and lose tons of weight. Looking back, I can see how laughable that was, knowing myself and how much I love food. So instead of juicing, I started mega food restriction and ate maybe once or twice a day. How bleak life was. Even my guy was becoming depressed with our eating habits, even though we were technically losing weight.

One day it hit me, that it was time to fall back in love with food, except this time I would date the good foods and not be tempted by those “bad” foods as so many other girls (and guys) do!

This is still probably one of the most important things I have learned. For me eating is now about the love of preparing my own dishes (whether they end up good or yucky) from the freshest, natural ingredients whether that be breakfast, lunch, dinner, or desert!

Sometimes when something tastes “blah” I have to remind myself that I am just used to the greasy, salt covered version and it will take time for my tastebuds to love the natural flavors!

I didn’t know that Co-ops even existed, which might sound crazy to some people. But when you live off frozen food mutations and restaurants, did you really expect me to? So when I stumbled upon I was excited and leery. I spent weeks “filling” up my online basket with extras and goodies, only to never submit them before the deadline. After picking up my basket this morning, at the awful time of 7am on a Saturday mind you, I wonder what took me so long to hit submit!

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First things first, what I received (keep in mind these change):

Fruit/Veggie Basket ($15) (All organic option also available for $25): Pineapple, mini watermelon, cantaloupe, 6 bananas, 2 avocados, 1 pomegranate, 1 celery bunch, 2 onions, 2 heads of butter lettuce, green beans, 5 tomatoes, and a package of whole mushrooms. (you always receive 6 fruit and 6 vegetable items, but as you can see one item like bananas or tomatoes will contain multiples but still count as 1 fruit item.)

Mexican Veggie Lover Pack ($8.50): 1 bunch of cilantro, green onions, 3 onions, garlic, 4-5 jalapeƱos, 4 Anaheim peppers, 5 limes, and 12-13 tomatillos

Bread Pack ($10): 2 loaves 9-Grain bread, 2 loaves of english muffin bread, and 1 baguette.

A $3 basket fee, that is one time only (your first time)
A $1.50 processing fee for payment (always pay because they only accept credit/debt)

Total $38.00

So by going through my local weekly ads and some estimation along with weighing some things at home I estimate this would have all cost a little more than $50 at the grocery store. Subtracting my fees and counting just food, I saved 33% on my food. The best part is the bread will more than like last us all month since its 4 loaves. But for me this isn’t all about the savings per say. It is also about eating local, fresh ingredients.

Note: On their website they estimate the fruit/veggie baskets are worth about $50 grocery quality food, so either I’m under estimating, or they are over estimating. Either way, in the end it is cheaper!

They also offer a variety of extras every week/season. Things like coconut oils, bulk (around 25lb) fruits/veggies, bread packs, tortillas, italian packs, mexicans, and many more!

Literally the only downside is that you never know exactly what you are going to get. Like this week I received fruits and veggies I would never buy/eat. But I am taking the opportunity to try new things and cook new recipes. Or you can always donate the items to another family or local homeless shelter!

Okay, maybe waking up SUPER early on a Saturday is another downside, but I could drive like 30 mins to another city to pick up a basket at noon, or save the gas and time and suck it up!

Next I want to check out another local co-op called Earthwise Gardens. They have (what I think to be) a slightly high monthly membership fee of $100 for only 8-9 produce items a week. But I hear they have a store so I might have to check it out. I am still looking for a great place to find fresh eggs to use my super cute dishes.

Here is a picture of the “space wasters” as my guy likes to call them. I picked them up at World Market for $6 each! They are ceramic and come in white and yellow (that I could find!) and hold 12 eggs. (These are just organic, cage-free eggs from my local natural food store).

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I then later reorganized my fridge (and still working on the pantry) so the eggs “wasted” less space. But the first picture shows them better!

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And speaking of eggs….

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It’s not that most beautiful omelet but I did run straight home and use some of my mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, garlic, cilantro and spinach (that I already had) to make us a nice fresh breakfast! Later we had grilled peanut butter and honey sandwiches from the 9-grain bread and local Texas honey and organic 1 ingredient [crunchy] peanut butter, yum!

Happy Eating!
-Ellie

Preface

This is my first attempt at blogging, so I hope I can get the hang of it and share all the important information I would like to efficiently! I already said a little bit about myself in the About page, but just to recap: This is a place I would like to use in order to share my journey to clean eating, becoming healthy, some hopes of weight loss of course, and loving myself completely. Of course I may throw some random creative things in here and there because I am an artsy, creative person! I just hope to really organize and discover myself through this blog and maybe answer some questions or give support to others!

-Ellie

Edit 10/05/13: I have been doing this for a little over a month now and I feel like this blog and other things I am doing in this life have really helped me grow! I have really enjoyed not only writing about eating educated, but reorganizing my entire life/home, saving money with coupons, and starting to make my own products such as beauty, bath, and cleaning supplies. I hope to be able to expand my scope of interest through this blog and reach the broad audience of followers who are seeking to save money and live more naturally. Sometimes my guy says it makes me sound like a hippie, but honestly I just want to know what I am put on my body as well as what I am putting in it. I can’t wait to see what else I discover through this blog, I am now playing with the idea of starting my own business!

Please share and pin anything you love. I want to reach all around the world, but I do not have many resources to spread the word.