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Page 4: Living: Food.

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Food and drink costs money. Damn. At Money Surgery, we believe that it is possible to eat healthily AND cheaply. However, it all requires a great deal of planning and thought, especially for single households. Discipline must be applied more than ever when it comes to groceries and food. It is so easy to grab that £2.99 packet of sandwiches at lunch-break, or a "one-off" £3.99 burger meal deal in between shops. Even a 40p chocolate bar should be avoided. What we buy could be affected by three factors:

  • Food and drink that we enjoy.
  • Food and drink that is cheap.
  • Food and drink that is healthy.

We should always find the right balance and control buying too much of what we like, unless its cheap and healthy, of course. Getting to know what you like, what shops are the best value and what good or bad characteristics foods have is valuable information that we have to juggle with when shopping. Here is our very personal list of Money Surgery Golden Rules:

  • We sometimes need to remind ourselves that water from the kitchen tap is free and (usually) clean. It's also preferable to expensive, fizzy alternatives full of additives.
  • Use olive oil at all times for frying. Try to include it in as many meals as possible. One of our Patients reports that his resting heart rate, measured upon waking, noticably falls by a few BPM after a rare meal fried in olive oil.
  • Avoid all fatty foods, apart from olive oil that is.
  • Avoid burgers, sausages, all meat except perhaps occasional fish. Remember that those hot dogs contain everything apart from the hoof, hair and brain.
  • Shop around: Shops have certain goods cheaper than the others: We've gone to supermarkets for cereals and tinned food, corner shops for cheap coffee, local bakery for bread.
  • Eat at least 5 varieties of fruits or vegetables each day. Many guides/countries suggest a target of 10 portions of fruit and veg (that's 100g each).
  • A diet balanced in carbohydrate and protein with minimal fat is still relevant today.
  • Do not eat too much. Eat when you are hungry but eat well. Quality does not equal quantity.
  • Try supermarket own brand soups for lunchbreaks. Many are under 20p per tin and are surprisingly nutritious and tasty.
  • Try supermarket or chinese supermarket noodles at between 8p and 20p per packet. Serving one, they cook in about 2 minutes. They provide carbohydrate and some chinese supermarket varieties have a pleasant Tom Yam kick. Addictive and cheap. But remember, they cost money to cook which is a serious consideration when saving money at all costs.
  • Never forget how useful cans of own-brand baked beans can be. At 9p per can they provide good carbohydrate and fibre for virtually nothing, and can be eaten cold, so no waste of pricey gas or electricity.
  • Fibre is vital, of course. Get a regular source from a cheap outlet to keep your stools regular in terms of both size and timeliness (Hi, Gillian McKeith), and also to keep your lower intestines working and extracting nutrients. Try Bran Flakes once a day. All-Bran might be too much like cardboard.
  • Vitamin and mineral supplements must be a good thing but can be expensive. We like high strength Cod Liver Oil capsules containing multivitamins but you may not need to take supplements at all, so get professional advice.

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We believe that buying a packet of crisps or chocolate bar or bag of nuts is like throwing money away. They have no nutritional value and serve only to increase the risk to your health. This time of fighting against ones debts can be viewed as an OPPORTUNITY to eat less and possibly lose a few pounds. At least maintain your lithe, athletic figure. Spend less = Eat less. Fantastic!

Please read our other pages.

This subject is making me hungry, so before I go to the larder, don't overlook the option of growing your own. Many patients at the Surgery have alotments. Even more grow a few vegetables in their garden. As we say, save the pennies and the pounds soon follow. Its the ATTITUDE that's important.

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Eat Less Spend Less.

(Wednesday 9th February 2005 nnews story)

We've been amazed at some recent stories in the media regarding dieting and how expensive it can be.
Expensive? What are these people eating and where? Ryvita at the Ritz?

Choosing to limit what we eat for flirtatious or fitness reasons gives us the ideal opportunity to save money.
That's what it is: An opportunity.
Think of the rubbish you'll deprive yourself of: No more expensive workday sandwiches. No more pricey garage sweets. No more expensive meals and drinks in restaurants with soft music. No more raiding the larder. No more raiding the fridge. No more pizza deliveries. No more late night takeaways. No more pigging out when you're bored. No more eating a whole packet of choc chip cookies with your coffee. Sorry, that was just me there on the choc chip cookies. However, it is possible to eat sensibly by resisting the expensive and calorific foods and working out what offers good value in terms of cost, nutrition and taste, and from where to buy it.

Fitness foods can often be cheap, natural foods, like fresh fruit and vegetables. Fatness foods can often be expensive, processed, prepackaged, preprepared, convenient, advertised, and in large portions. Supermarkets sell baked beans for 9p a tin, rice pudding for 15p a tin, soup for 19p a tin. That could be a day's food for an adult for 43p. That's 2p less than a packet of wine gums from your convenient lunchtime shop. Not that we suggest that this should be a permanent diet but you get my point.

Health and wealth, hand-in-hand.
What better incentive to diet is there than to save huge servings of cash in doing so, and what better incentive is there to save cash than to be slimming down at the same time? set to dominate in 2002

(Tuesday 1st January 2002 news story)

A leading analyst says Tesco is likely to remain the UK's top online grocer in 2002, despite other retailers' claims to be cashing in on the game. The Sainsbury's to You website, Sainsbury's third attempt at online retailing, had losses of £29m and 177,000 customers, compared to Tesco Direct's £6m and one million customers and Tesco could even reach profitability in 2002.

Tesco was the first to mobilise its online presence and now is in a dominant market position. It has made the effort to really want the business and this domination may be one of the reasons why earlier this year Safeway abandoned its online project before it had even left the pilot stage. For customers who consider grocery shopping a chore may find Tesco's £5 delivery charge very reasonable.

Many of us need a car. We might need one for cummuting, for travelling with children, for visiting relatives and, lets face it, to go to the supermarket. Online grocery delivery takes a little while to set up but can be a breeze to use later, utilising the internet to provide nutrition information and price tables at a glance. Delivery can be arranged within a day and at all hours of the day and week.

This level of service can eliminate the need for a car and save us £3800 a year. The time spent travelling to the supermarket and pushing a trolley through a quagmire of clogged aisles can be spent doing something more rewarding or earning more money. How is that for discount shopping?

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