This will be the final entry in my Paleo series, and it will deal with how my wife and I have tried to implement the Paleo diet into our lives now that the 30 day challenge is over.
After eating like the Flintstones for 30 days, we felt better than ever. We decided that we definitely wanted to keep eating this way.
Then we crashed into fiscal reality.
My wife – who was even more excited about the results than I was – sent me an email entitled, “I’m having second thoughts about this whole paleo thing…” The substance of her angst was the fact that our grocery bill had more than doubled during challenge. We simply could not keep spending that amount on groceries – it interfered with other key values we hold – notably thrift and generosity.
Incidentally, we decided that there had to be a way to eat healthy within a budget, and that it was worth our best efforts to experiment and make it work. Practically, this meant that we would only buy one jar of almond butter per week. We would use regular honey instead of raw honey. We would set a limit on the amount we allowed ourselves to spend on meat. We would use frozen fruit whenever we could.
But the point here is that while we value healthy eating, we hold that in tension with other important values. Some are simply more important.
When our commitment to health interferes with our commitment to enjoy and serve others, the latter commitment has priority. This means that when someone invites us to dinner, we eat whatever is set before us.
(For me, that meant eating blueberry cobbler last night.) When out at a restaurant with friends, our most important value is our friends.
Finally, we have tried to build the Christian value of feasting into our lives. As I mentioned in the last post, feasting is not about gorging yourself at Old Country Buffet but about tasting and enjoying and thanking.
I try to practice Sabbath. What this means is that I work as hard as I can six days out of the week. But I set one day a week aside to rest, celebrate and enjoy the gift of life.
I’ve begun to think of other areas of my life the same way.
For example, I want to keep a strict budget – to spend minimally and to save wisely. But I also want my life to be characterized by instances of outrageous generosity. There should be times (and will be soon, hopefully!) when I take my wife on a cruise even if it doesn’t make financial sense.
Similarly, I want to eat as healthy as possible. But I also want to feast like one who believes that God made the world, made it good, and made it that way so that its goodness would point us back to him.
Six days a week we try to eat Paleo pretty strictly. We enjoy it.
But one day we don’t even think about Paleo. I refuse to call it a cheat day. It is a feast day.
Question: Any tips for eating healthy on a budget?