Am I too poor to have principles?

Following on from yesterdays post I had the “Am I too poor to have principles” thought whilst browsing the shelves of Aldi and Tesco the other evening. I was in desperate need of some tea time inspiration, as although I intend to become Miss Organised, planning out the weeks meals and only buying items that I need and will use, at the moment it hasn’t happened.

Although I did do well when i bought reduced Kindey for 88p and it has so far lasted me 4 meals; two lunches, two teas (N.B: If i shouldn’t be eating cooked Kidney which has been sat in the fridge for a week please don’t tell me -I am very much working on what doesn’t kill me or give me food poisoning will make me stronger and save me money!!) However I toyed with the idea of buying the Kidneys for a long while before finally putting them into my basket and before finally buying them I walked the shelves of both Tesco and Aldi for over an hour putting in and taking things out of my basket.

The fact that I am living on kidneys for the week should highlight you to the fact I am not a vegetarian. I respect people that are, although I do sometimes get on my little soap box about why some veggies I won’t cook meat for a meat eater when they come for dinner yet I have to cook a separate veggie dish, but that’s for another post. However, I do love animals and I firmly think that ANY animal that gives its life should be treated with the utmost respect and compassion, and the end should be as quick, low stress and painless as physically possible! I do not agree with driving cattle across the country to kill, I do not agree with sow crates or battery hens or anything that causes pain and suffering. All animals are more knowledgeable, caring, compassionate, understanding and generally kick ass than we give them credit for. Have you ever looked into the eyes of a cow, sheep, chicken, pig? Try doing that an then tell me these are just dumb animals – they have souls.

Therefore I aim to only every buy cruelty free, free range products. I will never knowingly give any money to a company for a product that is in any way tied to cruelty.

But going around the stores they make it as difficult as possible for you to find out where the meat has come from and what kind of life it had pre-fridge (or maybe it is just me?) So many products didn’t say anything about whether or not the meat was free range and I don’t know what happened to the brilliant free-range budget products that Tesco used to produced as I couldn’t find them for love nor money! Not being sure of the origins I put them back and wrote off meat for the week.

I headed to the tin isle and decided to look at the tuna. Same problem. Most of those tins didn’t advise ‘line-caught’ and those that did were significantly more expensive that the other tins.

When I get more settled, and stop DIYing on the weekends I will start taking advantage of my local green grocer and even source out a good butcher. I have used the green grocer before and not only are the staff friendly, but their produce seems to last longer than the store bought crap, meaning I throw less away. I think all the produce is local which pleases me and it has a proper caring about it’s customer feel. I have on occasion had to resort to buying their last less then perfect carrot or a tiny onion and because the quality is not as high as they would like I have been given the item free of charge – I didn’t ask they just said “we can’t charge you for that and put it into the bag!”. I don’t know about you, but knowing they care means a lot to me as a consumer and gives me confidence that they care about where they produce comes from.

Likewise I feel using a butcher who can trace the history of the piece of meat in front of me means that the quality of lives those animals have had before giving their lives will be of a higher quality, even if all the meat doesn’t carry the ‘free-range’ logo.

I am very aware that I could probably get my meat, fruit and veg cheaper if I bought it all from a big supermarket chain. But I can’t bring myself to do that. There will be occasions when I purchase supermarket meat – in a ready meal for example or when I’m broke and Kidneys are 88p. But I am a firm believer in quality over quantity and I would rather eat a little high welfare something than a whole load cheap crap.

However, branching out alone. Lo0king at the costs of my mortgage, bills, petrol, groceries, tv licences, council tax, water rates…..the list goes on. I am worried about being able to afford my principles.

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18 thoughts on “Am I too poor to have principles?

  1. We understand your predicament but it is a blanking act. Why do we need to eat meat every day? No we don’t and less is more. Quality not quantity but that takes some changes and a lot of pre planning. We are going that route ourselves and more daily shopping for what is needed not what we think we want.
    Have a tremendous Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

  2. You do have to compromise your principles if you want to survive, sometimes. I eat fish but not meat but even fish is pricey now so I look for alternatives. You can’t stick to food you like if you’re on a budget like mine, you have to concentrate on getting your nutrients as cheaply as possible. This means things like swapping fish for beans, cottage cheese and protein shakes. I found out I was really low in protein and the cheapest form is cottage cheese but it’d be hard to eat half a tub daily so I get a casein shake to have at night before I sleep, it works out to about £1 a day. If you want to eat locally sourced or free range meat, keep it as a payday treat.

    Never buy ready meals, they are expensive and have little nutritional value.

    Udon beans or chickpeas are my favourite beans now and I never thought I would like eating beans but needs must. Its amazing what you get used to when you have to, and its been an educational journey for me, finding a way to survive and still stay alive – I’m sure I could call myself a nutritionist now!!!

    I’d love to shop at farmers markets but my budget only covers Aldi, but I do grow veg in my garden, an immensly satisfying hobby. Salad really packs out a meal and leaves you full up and ive got pak choi and rainbow chard in my garden right now. Much cheaper and nice than a quid a pack from supermarkets.

    My plate mostly looks like; one half salad (leaves, half a pepper, onion, five small tomatoes (equals one portion, no money to go over!), maybe half an avocado, maybe some sweetcorn, at the moment mangetouts from the garden. Then a quarter carbs (brown pasta/brown rice/potato (brown fills you up longer), then ideally a quarter protein (but often under, expensive!!).

    That plate fills me right up and puts a smile on my face 🙂

    You can do it, its hard but you will do it xxx

    • I am going to try eating smaller portions and bulking stuff out. I am sure I will be fine, and I am very lucky that my dad taught me to cook so I can make stuff for scratch. Plus I’m going to cut down on driving and will be walking or on my bike.

      Give it 6 months and you won’t recognise me!

  3. Wow…this is me exactly as of late….I feel as if I could have written this post. I feel the same way about the meat and where it comes from, but like I commented on your last post, things have been getting tighter. We do eat a lot of beans here too, and are not vegetarians either, but it goes a long way for a small price. Sometimes I find I have to relax my principles a bit, (especially if we do go to a restaurant or a friend’s home), but I do try hard to buy humanely raised/treated meats whenever possible. Like you said, they are often hard to find and/or determine if they really are treated the way they claim. I also try to buy organic and non-GMO products when I can, but I find it easier to relax my principles on how my veggies were treated/grown than how my meat was. Especially cows. Damn them for being so cute. I feel for you. Good luck sorting it all out.

    • Only had you written it it would have flowed better :0)

      I think I will have to keep doing what I can, cutting down, growing my own stuff (so excited to start growing my own veg next year!!) and keep treats to something occasional when needed!

      • I don’t know about the whole “flowing better” thing. I tend to ramble when I get onto subjects like that. LOL!

        Growing your own veggies definitely helps, we’ve got a garden too and it’s always nice to know how things were grown…and can’t beat the freshness!

  4. One of my bipeds is vegetarian, but she does cook meat for the rest of us! We try to be careful about the things we buy, but it is difficult.
    If you’re prepared to go without meat some days then you could try lentils. You can use them in almost any recipe where you would used minced meat.

    • I don’t have to and don’t eat meat every day. (A few people have made that comment, perhaps I should have made that more obvious!) My plan is to buy something like ‘half a pound of mince’ but then add lots of tins of tomatoes spag bol one night lasagna the next, then add some kidney beans and spices and turn it into chilli, and have it with rice one night but then as enchiladas the next night perhaps on a jacket potato to end the week. I think it will be a case of having a little bit of something good!

      I have some vegetarian mates and they will all cook meat for the rest of their family. I think that having your principles is great, but don’t force them onto someone else – does that make sense?

  5. Here in the US, if the food is not labeled as free range, then it is not. The labels here are very clear and no one can label their food as such unless they meet federal requirements. We have some relatively inexpensive free range brands for meat because people here in the US are more demanding of it. The higher the demand, the lower the prices tend to be. But it is still too expensive for people who really have to watch their budget. Even fruits and vegetables are more expensive than ready-made meals. It sucks, but the fact is that healthy and humanely raised food is more expensive.

    By the way, we’ve recently turned vegetarian. It is a challenge to try to come up with interesting meals that fulfill all our nutrition needs. And in some cases, the vegetarian ‘meat’ is more expensive than free range meat! Luckily, though, we are in a financial position that allows us to eat this way.

    • If you’re interested I have some brilliant veggie pasta dishes I can share with you?!

      Here the labeling is just so confusing and rubbish! I know a guy who wanted to go organic. He had been for ages, using only natural products but to get the official ‘stamp’ he had to pay out hundreds of thousands of pounds to have reports made, and tests ran and in the end it wasn’t worth it. Also he was advised as to a load of ‘hacks’ which could have got him a rating when he wasn’t really. Turns out, as with everything, ‘organic’ isn’t as good as was originally thought!

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