One Family’s Journey

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Sarah of Renaissance Mama.

Hi, my name is Sarah and I blog at Renaissance Mama!

Today, I’d like to share my story with you in hopes that it will inspire and encourage you!

As we’ve been on our journey towards living a healthier, more natural lifestyle, I’ve been excited that our need for the grocery store (and other stores) has drastically reduced!

You see, I used to be a super coupon clipper. Every Sunday, I would eagerly dash down the stairs of my apartment to get the latest paper, and comb through the inserts. Then I’d pull up my grocery store match ups and make my list of all the items I was going to get a great deal on. A trip to the store soon followed, and I had a blast sharing all my great deals with my husband! It was such a rush saving over 76% on food items!

The problem came when I began to learn about the lack of nutrition in the vast majority of what I was buying. Boxes of breakfast cereal and pre-made meals didn’t translate to a healthy diet. My husband struggled with allergies and I became seriously overwhelmed after he came home from an allergist visit with a LONG list of foods he was allergic to.

I sat down with a friend who was training as a naturopath and asked for help in menu planning. She began by asking about our diet, and sent me home to watch Food, Inc. My friend and the documentary explained about all the chemicals and genetically modified ingredients that are found in our foods. Our bodies can’t digest any of those things, and the lack of nutrition makes us sick. Since mostly eliminating processed foods, my husband’s allergies have almost completely disappeared.

Our grocery bill has also gone DOWN. How can this be, since I was saving 50-76% on most of what I was buying? It seems to be a fact of life, at least in my house – junk food disappears quickly. A bag of chips is consumed much quicker than a pound of grapes. When I quit buying junk food, and started making meals from scratch, it really helped our food budget. Granted, we don’t eat gourmet organic food by any stretch of the imagination. We eat simply. And we’re healthier than we’ve ever been. My kids haven’t been sick yet this winter. Yay!!

I still clip coupons and look for deals on organic and natural products. I also buy only a fraction of things at the store that I used to. Instead of bags and bags of groceries, I’ll come home
with only one or two.

Now, we buy a lot of our food locally – from local farmers. I love knowing where our food comes from and supporting our local economy.

1. We buy our raw milk from a local diary farmer and it’s the best stuff I’ve ever tasted.
2. Some of our eggs come from a local bakery or a friend when she has enough. The rest still come from Walmart but they’re organic and free-range.
3. I’m learning to make my own sprouted grain bread, or get it at the aforementioned organic bakery. Costco also has a great sprouted wheat bread that we love.
4. We’re part of a meat co-op and we also share a deer with our neighbors.
5. I was part of a veggie co-op for a little while, but we haven’t found the right fit there for us. Still working on locally sourced fruits and veggies!

We have an ever-expanding list of things we want to implement soon, to help us live a healthier and simpler lifestyle.

1. Make and drink water kefir, a healthy probiotic alternative to soda.
2. Use a Berkey water filter to eliminate fluoride, chlorine, and other junk from our city water.
3. Learn about aquaponics, an incredible system of using symbiotic relationships between fish and vegetables to grow food (and hopefully gain skills we can pass on to others).

aquaponics harvest

Aquaponics & Earth

Share with us in the comments your tips for saving money and living better?


  1. We really like eating local food and lowering the amount we buy at the grocery store. We found we went in stages, starting with local meat, then local veggies, then hygeine and cleaning products, now baking. While we always did all our own home cooking and baking, I recently added a grain mill to my kitchen and I love it! We are blessed to live in a community where local food is readily available.

    I really want to try water kefir, thanks for inspiring me!

  2. I too was heavily into coupons until recently. I still use them but try not to be tempted by the “junk”,which , as you point out is eaten quickly but does our bodies no good. We grow a lot of our own vegetables and try to buy all we can locally. In season, I freeze or can as much as I have time for since I also work a full-time job. We have cows and pigs and chickens on our farm and have put four deer in the freezer this season. I bought a 20 pound bag of rice yesterday, 10 pounds of sugar (for sweet tea!) and a few other things I can’t grow or make and hope I won’t need to return to the grocery store for quite a while. Looking forward to the day, hopefully soon, that I can make “home” my full-time job! Love to read your blog and am truly inspired by it!

  3. Your story is almost identical to mine! Nice to meet you. 🙂

  4. How do you find out about meat and vegetable co-ops in your local area? I’ve never heard of it before.

  5. I have been on a similar path. Our health issues was obesity, which was leading to high blood pressure and diabetes. I’m happy to say we are now medication free, and are much more active. Each year I add to my skills. My gardening has been so successful, I’ve been canning and freezing wonderful things for the cold months. I will be learning to make my own pasta and bread this year. I’ve made bread in a machine, but it has been limiting. I’ll also be learning to make yogurt, when I’m comfortable with that I’ll be looking into fermentation type drinks. This year I’m also expanding the fruit trees in my garden and will be getting 5 laying hens. Food Inc. and all of Michael Pollans books have really helped keep me on target. It never stops amazing me how everything is connected, our health, the environment and our food system. I love reading posts like these to know that I’m not alone in my quest for quality over quantity.

  6. Lovely to read your story Sarah. Seems like we are at a similar point in our real food journeys. My eldest child goes to school & was the only one in her class not to get a horrible stomach bug before the christmas break. It really re-enforced to both my husband & I that we are most definitely on the right path. Looking forward to reading your blog.

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