Whole Foods vs. Trader Joe’s Pricing

04.5.2017 | Wednesday

After 3 rounds of Whole 30 and a year of Paleo, I started tracking my spending and noticed that I was spending quite a bit on food every month, especially in comparison to the days of “regular food”.  My average is about $600 per month, but March was a record high of $900 (I was experimenting with treats and had 2 dinner parties). The $600 includes 1-2 breakfasts, 1 post-workout shake, 1 lunch, and 2 dinners daily – 7 days a week with about 3-4 lunches and 2-3 dinners out per month. This is about $20 per day on average.

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I’m in the habit of reading all labels and only buying Whole 30 compliant items (which often times are more expensive). I shop exclusively at Whole Foods because it is the closest store to me. For this experiment I started comparing items between Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s only. I have no interest in shopping at huge stores like Safeway, and places like Costco are unfair in comparison because you buy in higher bulk which essentially means more upfront and doesn’t take into account any potential waste.

I started this list organically looking at the prices of things I was buying in the past week. It isn’t complete yet, but this is an idea of some of the items I buy on a weekly basis and/or always have stocked in the pantry. All items are the Whole 30 approved versions, and are compared to an item with equal weight/measurement/ingredients list. There are likely cheaper versions of some items, but that isn’t what this is about. I’ve organized by items I should be purchasing at each store.

TRADER JOES:

As I mentioned, the closest Trader Joe’s is about 15 minutes away, but is right next to my yoga studio. So I have to think a little further in advance, create a list and stop in after class, but with the price differences, it is worth it.

TRADER JOES: Whole Foods Trade Joe’s Measurement
Bananas $0.79 $0.49 Per Pound
Green Beans $3.99 $2.99 1 lb
Fresh Basil $3.99 $2.99 1 clamshell
Russet Potato $1.19 0.49 Each
Russet Potato (bag) $3.99 $3.29 5lb Bag
Sweet Potato 0.99 0.79 Each
Sweet Potato (bag) $3.99 $1.79 2lb bag
Yellow Onions $1.69 0.59 Each
Chicken Breast $4.49 $2.69 per pound
Ground Turkey Breast $7.49 $4.49 Per Pound
Prosciutto $6.99 $3.99 4 ounces
Almond Butter $7.49 $6.99 1 jar
Almond Flour $12.99 $7.49 1lb bag
Coconut Cream $3.99 $2.29 1 can
Coconut Flour $5.39 $2.99 1 lb bag
Coconut Milk $2.29 $1.29 1 can
Coconut Oil $6.99 $5.49 1 jar
Coconut Sugar $5.99 $3.99 1lb bag
Olive Oil $6.99 $5.99 Liter
Olive Oil Spray $4.99 $2.99 5 ounce
Maple Syrup (Sm) $7.99 $4.99 12 ounce
Maple Syrup (Lg) $18.99 $15.99 32 ounce
Cauliflower Rice (frozen) $2.29 $1.99 1 bag
Eggs – Cheapest 12 Pack $3.69 $1.59 12 pack
Raw Almond Bag $6.99 $5.99 1lb bag
Cottage Cheese $4.49 $1.49 Medium

WHOLE FOODS:

For me, it will always be easier to shop at Whole Foods so while things are a little more expensive, it is worth it to be able to drop in and buy these items here. I find the produce at Whole Foods to be better quality than Trader Joes, so I’m happy to spend a little more to get better produce.

WHOLE FOODS: Whole Foods Trade Joe’s Measurement
Asparagus $3.99 $3.99 1 bunch
Avocado $1.99 $1.79 Each
Brussel Sprouts $2.99 $2.25 Per Pound
Cauliflower $2.69 $2.99 1 head
Honeycrisp Apple $1.99 $1.29 each
Zucchini $2.99 $2.49 Per Pound
Bone In Pork Chop $7.99 $6.99 Per Pound
Free Range Eggs (12 pack) $3.69 $3.99 1 dozen eggs
Kombucha (GT Daves) $2.99 $2.99 Synergy
Brie Triple Cream $6.99 $6.99 per pound
Frozen Cauliflower Florets $1.99 NONE 1 bag
Eggs – Free Range 18 $5.49 NONE 18 eggs

In conclusion I have found that staple items, pantry items and items with a longer shelf life (potatoes, onions, etc.) should be purchased at Trader Joe’s. Whole Foods will be for items I can’t find at Trader Joe’s (like the frozen cauliflower I use for my post-workout protein shake)  fresh produce, and things I prefer the taste of (like the type of almond butter I love) from Whole Foods.

I’m trying this out and will report back with exact numbers at the end of the month.

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Different Perspectives

01.28.2017 | Saturday

A few years ago my world shook and I was forced to take a really good look at every facet of my life. Over the past 2 years I’ve been on a journey of self-discovery as marked by several different periods – depression, more depression, bargaining/trying to fix, intense anger, numbing, de-cluttering my environment, food and fitness, diving into my beliefs and feeling empty when I realize there wasn’t much left to stand on, realizing I don’t know what my values are, realizing I have no idea who I am independent of what I’ve been told to be my whole life, and slowly, very very slowly, starting from the very bottom and building up a foundation that I can once again stand on. And at every step, I doubt. I question. I think I’m wrong. I want to believe. I’m desperate to believe.

So that is the back story. And as grim as it might sound (and believe me, it gets really hard sometimes), it has been one of the greatest adventures of my life. I’m very much wading through the messy middle of all of this, but the perspective that I bring with me through this phase of my life is that of discovery, of knowing we all believe different things, and knowing that is ok, and just trying to find a little more common ground and compassion among all the craziness. One day this will be my superpower, but right now it feels like anything but. Starting over isn’t easy; I feel like I’m ten steps behind all the other people who have somehow figured it all out so much faster than I have. But that is the honest truth of where I am, and I’m content with that.

Recently I’ve had a lot of questions surrounding the concepts of what and when to believe, how/when/who to trust, and being wrong. I find myself in the middle of all these opposing ideas and conflicts, and in those moments, my thoughts float to these types of questions. I know it might all sound naive, and in many ways, I am very naive at the moment, but that is the feeling of not being able to trust yourself or anyone around you. It sucks, but I know in the end, I believe it is what is going to lead to my breakthrough.

I am constantly seeking new information, stories and perspectives to help me sort through all these topics. I love gaining a new perspective, hearing an opposing idea that moves me away from a fixed view, or gaining more knowledge around a given subject. The very best part of this whole process is finding different ideas, learning about people, trying on different views, and seeing the world through as many sides as possible.

The Power Of Doubt:

“And we hardly realize the human price we pay when we fail to question one brick, because we fear it might shake our whole foundation.” Everything about this quote resonates with me and made me want to watch immediately. I keep coming back to this one again and again.

On Being Wrong:

“Trusting too much in the feeling of being on the correct side of anything can be very dangerous.”

Every day I asked myself “What if I’m wrong? What if there is something I’m missing? What if I’m not seeing the whole picture? What if, what if, what if.”. I see the importance of constantly checking yourself. I see the value in asking the tough questions, and allowing yourself to at least sit with it as an option. Questioning biases and digging deep enough to examine your truths can be extremely challenging, but also extremely powerful.

I haven’t been able to write in a long time, and I miss it very much. So this is my less-than-perfect attempt at starting this back up. I’ve lost my voice and I’m ready to find it again, even if it isn’t perfect. I’m not ready to share the details of my whole story publicly, but I need to find a way to move through it, and writing has always been that path for me. My hope is that one day this will all make sense (and that one day maybe I’ll make sense of it all for myself).

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Favorite Weeknight Paleo Dinner Recipes

12.8.2016 | Thursday

These are a few of my favorite Paleo dinner recipes, all of which are quick and easy for weeknight meal planning, and they save well for lunch leftovers (which is just about my favorite thing ever). All of these have a fair amount of veggies in them, but a little side salad never hurt anyone.

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Chicken Fried Cauliflower Rice - One of my current favorites. Incredibly easy recipe that can be saved and eaten for days to come! I pretty much follow this recipe with the exception of omitting cornstarch (using tapioca flour if you want a replacement, but I don’t think anything is needed) and use Coconut Aminos instead of the Soy Sauce. I add Peas (up to you if that is part of your Paleo diet) but up to you! You can get frozen cauliflower fried rice at Trader Joes/Whole Foods in the frozen veggies section (SO much easier than trying to grind your own!)

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Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti - One of my favorite recipes. It takes over an hour due to having to roast the spaghetti squash, but it is a great one to make in large batches and even freeze. I roast half of a spaghetti squash and wrap/freeze the other half for another time. It actually makes the squash a bit more moist.

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Shrimp + Sausage Paleo Skillet - Oh man, THIS. (Apparently I have a lot of favorites…) I use Spicy Italian Pork or Chicken Sausage from the Whole Foods meat counter (it is delish and compliant) but any sausage will do (just check those ingredients, a ton of sausage has sugar and a bunch of other random stuff in it). If you save this for leftovers later, just make sure you eat all the shrimp, it doesn’t save as well.

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Chicken Piccata - Easy weekday recipe with so few ingredients. This is one of those that I can often make quickly because I already have everything the house. I use the chicken in my salad the following day for lunch. It might be even better cold.

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Salmon – We have salmon a couple times a month. I use a dill + salt  + ghee (or butter….) and put it in the oven for about 20 minutes. I roast some brussel sprouts or asparagus (you could add cauliflower fried rice or potatoes if you want more). We don’t eat too much fish, but it is great to have in the rotation due to the health benefits and how simple it is!

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