What I Eat

Hello, hello!

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I have been laying lots of heavy posts on you guys lately, so I thought it might be fun to take a break and talk about everyone’s favorite topic – food!

Chris and I began the Whole 30 challenge on October 1, which puts us just over halfway through. Living in Saipan is actually really conducive to the program – fresh produce and coconut are abundant and cheap, while off limit items like dairy are quite expensive.

The program in a nutshell:

  • 3 meals per day.
  • Each meal: protein, veggies, fat.
  • No alcohol, legumes, added sweeteners, grains, dairy, MSG, carrageenan, or sulfites.

I’ve outlined below what we eat on a typical day. When I say “veggies,” I mean whatever I can find in the market, which is usually some combination of carrots, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, eggplant, green beans, pechay (a dark leafy green), onions, or bell peppers.

Breakfast – An omelet with eggs, grated coconut, and veggies. We top it with a little kimchi and fresh lemon juice.

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Afterwards, we have papaya from the backyard and coffee.

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Lunch – A coconut milk curry with pork (a chop or ground), and veggies. Afterwards, I might have a banana or more papaya and iced green tea. Lately, I’m really into mashing ripe bananas with a handful of coconut and panfrying it.

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Dinner – A chopped salad with chicken, black olives, and veggies, sometimes topped with a fried egg.

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On the weekends, we’ll spend a little more time in the kitchen and have lemon tilapia with coconut and veggies instead.

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We do our best to follow the plan’s recommendation of 3 meals a day and minimal snacking, but I’ll grab a handful of almonds if I’m still feeling very hungry shortly after eating. I then try to make the next meal large enough to hold us over.

At no point have we followed the rules 100%, despite the plan’s very firm insistence. For example, our sunflower seed butter has a little bit of added cane sugar. While I know this will affect the clarity of our results, I’m still getting a good idea of which foods trigger certain problems like acne and indigestion.

The main struggle that we’ve encountered is diversifying fats and proteins. Residence in a place so heavily reliant on imports means that some foods are prohibitively expensive. Until recently, we had been using tofu as an additional protein, but legumes aren’t on the Whole 3 menu.

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At the same time, I’m also trying to rethink our food budget and our perspective on spending. You know that I’m unapologetically frugal, but did you know that Americans spend less on food than any other country? On average, US folks spend about 11% of income, while folks spend around 43% in Egypt. I track our own budget meticulously and, during September, we spent 21% of our income on food (both grocery trips and restaurant dates).

I think it’s great to be frugal in some areas (technology, clothing, entertainment, etc.), but when it comes to what we put into our bodies, I want to be increasingly conscientious and open to spending more on food than we would on other things.

Do you keep a food budget?

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20 thoughts on “What I Eat

  1. I love this! I try to keep a food budget but it becomes difficult when I am so picky with quality meats and organic produce which can get quite costly but my body deserves the best quality. I guess its cheaper then crazy medical bills. Lots of love C

  2. I can’t get over how gorgeous everything is! I spend roughly the same amount every week. This week I spent a little bit more than normal, but last week I only bought bare necessities so it all evened out!

  3. Mmm, everything looks so delicious! The challenge sounds like an interesting concept, but I’d never be able to do one seeing as I’m not so good with food restrictions.
    I don’t do the food shopping in my home, but I’m pretty sure we don’t have a food budget. :P

  4. The Whole 30 challenge seems so restrictive, but in a good way! I am not sure I could personally do it. I spend about 30% of my income on food, but I eat out a lot and shop at mid-high pricing markets for veggies and food.

    I pretty much splurge on food until I go check my bank account and think to myself, “hmm…time to run a tight ship for the next few days”. :)

  5. Innnteresting. I always love hearing about ways that you keep a frugal household and it makes me want to be more responsible about money! I have an unofficial food budget (I try to keep my weekly grocery bill under $30 and then a meal out here or there) but that’s so interesting to know that U.S. peeps spend less than other people on food!! Is that for real? What are we spending our money on? Is it because we, as a whole, eat so much really cheap junk food? That would be sad. You bring up a really good point though that it’s probably worth spending the money to put good stuff into our bodies. I know that I should buy organic but sometimes when it’s a difference of a $1 cauliflower vs. $3.50…it’s so hard to make the organic choice :/ I guess I should just eat less, but better!

    On another note, I’m starting the Jamie Eason LiveFit plan!! I remember you talking about it months ago and I really do want to try to build muscle instead of being a slave to cardio so giving it a try! I’m going to go back and read your old posts, but let me know if you have any tips! I’m a little nervous :/

  6. Well, I am prettyyyy jealous of all of your coconut consumption. Oh my yum. And, papaya in your backyard?! Just eating papaya in my backyard would be amazing right now haha. I think panfried banana + coconut sounds so good, too.

    I agree with you on being frugal in many areas, but also being a lot more open to spending more on things that are nourishing!

  7. These look like some wonderful eats, and I am totally digging all of the beautiful fresh produce :)

    I don’t have a budget when it comes to food (at least not strictly) though I do try to spend the same amount on my personal groceries each week as a supplement to what my parents buy for the household.

  8. Oh those papayas look amazing! I wish I had fresh, tropical fruit in my backyard! I love papaya and guava flavored anything :) I think I’m not the typical American because I spend A LOT of money on food. I guess I don’t spend much on things like entertainment or alcohol, but I do definitely spend my fair share at Whole Foods and other grocery stores :)

  9. I have been waiting for this post!!! I wanted to know what you’ve been eating and how scavenging for local and economical produce has been. Are you enjoying it? Getting the hang of going with the food flow?
    Since the Hubby’s new full time job is school, in a different state, our income level has changed dramatically. Think 2 incomes with 1 household is now 1 income, 2 households and education expenses. This means I’ve approached food differently. Outside of the basics and the CSA, I try not to buy cool or crazy ingredients. Instead I make a lot of substitutions with what’s on hand, Costco trips have become a necessity and non-organic is sometimes all I can afford. So yes I’m with you on food budgeting. It’s been interesting and a huge learning experience. I’m sure you can say the exact same thing. :)

  10. First off- love all of the coconut that you incorporate into your meals!

    I need to have a stricter budget than I do now, admittedly. I’m aware that I do spend quite a bit of money on food, though…and I’m just shopping for me! Trader Joe’s has been my savior these days. But like you said, it’s something that’s extremely important to me and I think it’s a good investment to make. It’s funny…I used to spend a lot of money on clothes, makeup, and other random things that in hindsight, I probably didn’t need. Now…most of money goes towards food and my gym membership! Funny how priorities change.

  11. I’m not sure I agree with the only three meals a day bit- but other than that I think it’s a great thing to focus on whole foods. And the spending thing is fascinating. I always spend the most amount of money on food compared to most of my spending and I was always kind of self conscious about how much more I spend than the average person- but I’m buying healthy food and I’m conscious about what I’m shoving down my pie hole.

  12. I love seeing what you are eating over there!! How cool is it that you get to eat fruit from your backyard? We probably spend 15-20% of our income on food each month- I try to keep it as low as possible but at the same time you’re right, it’s our bodies and it’s essentially an investment in our health so it’s totally worthwhile and necessary to spend a little more to give our bodies the nutrients it needs.
    I always look forward to hearing about what you’re doing over there, glad you’re enjoying yourself!

  13. Great post! I recent sat down and calculated my budget, and no joke, at least 60 percent of my income goes toward groceries (and eating out, which happens maybe one every two weeks). Not only is healthy food ridiculously expensive, but I’m also a stickler for what I put in my body like you, Alex. Personally, it makes more sense to forgo shopping, getting new clothes, etc, and spending that money on food because it’s that important to me. After all, it’s an investment in your future self!

  14. I totally agree about being frugal in other areas but being more relaxed when it comes to food. I’m on a really tight budget, but I didn’t want this to affect my food. So to be smarter I shop in different stores. I buy basics in cheaper stores, but spend more money and shop in better places for things like dairy products or meats, and also buy these more sparingly. Additionally, I take the effort to shop more frequently so I am sure to use up everything rather than having a huge shop once a week and wasting half of it.

    I love that you are able to get fruit just from your back yard! It looks gorgeous!

  15. Food is a lot more expensive in Australia than the US, I easily spend 25-35% of our budget on food. Sounds incredible to write it out, but it is true. And I would say I’m pretty frugal with food expenditure. I love your diet, it looks so colorful and sounds do tasty! I think I’d do better with whole 30 somewhere tropical with beautiful fruit and veggies. That papaya looks AMAZING!!!

  16. It’s weird, but I spend about the same on food each week and now its just the two of us! But, because our kids didn’t like scallops when they lived at home, I didn’t buy them. Now that its just us, I splurge on items I normally wouldn’t have spent $ on when they were home. I spend about $90 a week for the two of us, but we don’t eat out that often – maybe twice a month?

    You look so happy in that last picture – hopefully that dog is nice!

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