Cook for Good and Wildly Affordable Organic FAQs
Get answers to your questions about the Cook for Good project and healthy, thrifty eating.
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Where do you get your spices so cheaply?
For the green plan, I get spices in the bulk section at Whole Foods. Co-ops and health food stores often have bulk spices too. Spices are amazingly cheap if you don’t keep buying the bottles. Also check out the ethnic groceries for fresh spices at great prices. At the regular grocery store, I always check the international section for good prices on spices.
How do you shop? One big trip a month or something else?
I do big shopping once a month for non-perishables that don’t go on sale (bulk organic beans), then buy weekly at the farmers market and grocery story for dairy. When something is on sale, I stock up. I buy ahead on pasta, for example, since it usually goes on sale about every six weeks. So my actual grocery costs are less than the ones shown in Wildly Affordable Organic because I don’t want to assume anyone has the funds to buy ahead.
How can I live without coffee/wine/chocolate bars/ salsa/etc.?
Don’t! Give yourself a treat! I scrimp so I can splurge on good chocolate and hibiscus tea. Have home-brewed coffee every morning or a bottle of wine a week. Unless you are seriously following this eating plan for financial reasons and need every extra penny, you’ll be able to afford to splurge on something that really gives you pleasure. You’ll have done so much good the rest of the day or week that you’ll still be ahead of the game.
Where’s the beef? And the chicken and fish?
Well, there isn’t any. People sometimes exclaim with shock that we “gave up meat” to do this, but we haven’t eaten it at home for years. In December 2011, my Taster and I stopped eating eggs and dairy, which caused a few holiday kerfuffles but turned out to be the best decision we’ve made. All my new recipes are vegan.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t add some meat. Use meat sparingly as a garnish or as a treat for a special occasion, such roasting a turkey at Thanksgiving. Eat it in social or business situations when there are no other options. Even if you just switch one meal a week from meat to beans, you will be saving money and doing good. If you can, use the money you save to buy meat from animals that have been more kindly raised and not loaded with hormones or antibiotics.
Dessert Every Day? Isn’t that Too Much Sugar?
In 2014, the average American consumed almost 152 pounds of sugar a year. On the Cook for Good plan, a person would eat just 23 pounds of sweeteners a year, plus a little more if eating sweetened peanut butter. And there is no high-fructose corn syrup, just sugar and honey.
The desserts are healthy, too. One day it might be two oatmeal-raisin cookies, made with whole-wheat flour, whole-grain oats, and raisins. Another day it might be a cup cake made with whole-wheat flour, carrots, oil instead of butter, and just glazed with ginger instead of loaded with frosting. In the summer menus, you’ll see a lot more fruit being used. So it’s a taste of sweetness, not an overload.
What do “thrifty” and “regular” prices mean in Wildly Affordable Organic?
The thrifty, regular prices are for goods that you’d find in a standard grocery store bought with thrift in mind. No products contain transfats. Often the fruit and vegetables come from the farmers market and when the price is right, other items such as corn meal are local too. But these products make no claims of being organic or sustainably raised. In the older, pre-vegan recipes, the eggs and dairy have no claim to being hormone free, free range, or the like. That’s one of the reasons that eating a plant-based diet makes so much sense if you are on a very tight budget.
What are “green” prices in WAO?
The green prices are for goods that are bought with health, sustainability, and kindness in mind. The fruits and vegetables are organic or sustainably raised. The beans, flour, grains, and spices are organic.
For the vegetarian recipes in Wildly Affordable Organic and the earlier challenges from before the Cook for Good went vegan, the eggs come from local, pastured chickens who roam around outside and eat whatever bugs or leafy things that they can get, plus whatever wholesome feed the farmer gives them. If these aren’t available, the eggs come from the big suppliers who raise free-range chickens on organic, vegetarian feed. Organic cheese has become more common, so the “green” cheese is at least free from Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), also known as Bovine somatotropin (BST). Cheddar and Mozzerlla are organic.
I found an error on the website. What should I do? Is there a reward?
Please send an email with a link to the page with the error and a description of what you think is wrong. For example, “on this page http://www.cookforgood.com/cocoa-cookies/ you mention vanilla in the ingredient list but don’t use it in the recipe.”
If I agree that it’s an error, not a to-MAY-to, to-MAH-to situation, and you’re the first one to report it, you’ll get a free one-year membership as a Cook for Good supporter, with access to bonus free recipes and more. You’ll also get my thanks for letting me know. I try to get it all right, but there are so many pixels and so little time!