Jonathan: Hey everyone. Jonathan Bailor back. Very excited today this is going to be a unique experience.
We have a wonderful guest with us today, a friend of the show. Someone who’s been on before. I’m sure you enjoyed that conversation as much as I did. We have the clinical nutritionist, the holistic health counselor and Whole Journey founder/owner. She’s a delight. I’m so happy to have her with us today. Christa Orecchio, welcome to the show.
Christa: Thanks, Jonathan. Super happy to be here.
Jonathan: You exceeded expectations here on our pre-show planning and you provided me with just a ridiculous – we usually just go a little crazy on these shows but you’re like boom, bulleted list of stuff you want to cover and it’s awesome. I’m just going to let you rock and roll. You’re going to tell us how to eat healthy on a budget, right?
Christa: I thought we could talk about that. When you and I were talking last week, that’s a very real issue for a lot people that want to eat healthier but they’re just not entirely sure how to make that happen within their budget and so as a nutritionist, I’m getting that question all the time and we’ve got to make this work in people’s lives.
Jonathan: I love it. It’s always really easy, I think, for people like you and me who like to geek out on this stuff and we just like it to – it’s fun for us to find the optimal solution and always we want to recommend the optimal but then as I’m sure you’ve experienced in your practice, sometimes it’s about progress rather than perfection.
Christa: I think it’s always about progress rather than perfection because life happens and life is busy and if people feel they have to be perfect then they’ll never get started, and so I couldn’t agree with you more.
Christa: Not the steps, doing better than you did the day before.
Jonathan: I love it. I know you have some wonderful tips and tricks for us, so shall we just start from the top?
Christa: Yeah, let’s start from the top.
Jonathan: Alright, number one tip and trick to eat healthy on a budget from the Christa Orecchio is…
Christa: You have to get comfortable with the bulk section.
Christa: That is really important. A lot of people they just kind of run right by it because it looks a little bit intimidating but the that is the place where you can save the most money and you can buy if you’re just one person or two people that makes sense. You can buy the amount that you need for yourself or if you’re a bigger family, you can still save the money on packaging and marketing.
Jonathan: I love it.
Christa: You just get comfortable.
Jonathan: It sounds like buying in bulk to avoid becoming bulky is a good – is that fair?
Christa: Buying in bulk is part of the Smarter Science of Slim. Yes. I buy for example my brown rice pasta in the bulk section and my brown rice, quinoa, and can go bad fairly quickly. I would buy them in the bulk section so that I can get a smaller amount just what I’m going to be eating that week or two weeks max, so I love the bulk section for that. You can get things like Xylitol, natural sweeteners.
You can buy nutritional yeast, [indiscernible 03:50] which I would say taste just like parmesan cheese for vegans, vegetarians – loaded with B-vitamins, just enough. All this stuff is the third of price then if you bought it in the aisles so get cozy with the bulk section. Then, most whole foods have this little guide to the bulk section which I love and they will even tell you how to make whats in there and all those kinds of things.
Jonathan: I cannot agree with you more in terms of that buying in bulk, and finding those key staples and depending on – like for example in my house, I know we eat a lot of mushroom, kale and spinach and salmon, and we buy a lot of that stuff and it’s helpful. I know a variety is important but for me having these core staples that I can go to and just every week, I just restock in bulk really helps to simplify and to save money.
Christa: It does and to that point when you mention salmon you made me think of Costco. The Costco actually has a lot more healthier products than they ever did that you can buy in bulks so I will buy my wild Alaskan salmon frozen at Costco and they also have Mahi-Mahi. That’s 25 percent less expensive which is awesome, and now nationwide at Costco, they have the Nutiva coconut oil for $15. To get that from coconut oil would be $50 in a regular grocery store so this is start to hunt and peck and look for things.
They sell almond butter. They sell free range chicken at Costco. They have gluten-free crackers, [inaudible 05:23] so you got to kind of look, and if you have a freezer that’s big enough – I wish I did. I think I might order one just for this. US Wellness Meats, I’m sure you’re familiar with them. I have friends that order their entire winter’s worth of meat clean, organic, natural-pasture raised meat from US Wellness Meats and it’s no more expensive than the poor quality meat in a conventional grocery store.
Jonathan: Wow. Just to give a concrete example of how this smart shopping for high quality foods because this blew my mind a bit. I live here in Seattle so it’s easy for us to get good seafood but I know it’s not always possible other places in the country but at Costco they have these salmon patties which are wild caught Alaskan salmon patties and if you actually break down the cost, it’s sub $5 per pound for wild salmon.
Christa: It’s the least expensive you can find in the nation.
Jonathan: It’s super convenient and easy because they are already little patty things and they’re five ingredients, mostly just seasoning and they do have some, I think, canola oil which is not my favorite oil but progress rather than perfection, right?
Christa: Exactly, yeah.
Jonathan: Well, I love it so you have some specific, I think, you call it the ‘dirty dozen or clean fifteen’ that kind of fall into this category. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Christa: Sure, and that’s a hand-out that I’ll have you post with the blog. You have fruits and vegetables that are inherently stronger and more resistant to pesticides so they can use less pesticides and so those are not as important to buy organic. If you’re on a budget you kind of want to know what you should buy organic and what you shouldn’t, and we’ve got the clean ones and we’ve got the dirty ones. I’ll just tell you right now that the dirty ones. Apples, celery, absolutely need to be bought organic. Strawberries, peaches, sweet bell peppers need to be bought organic. Corn because of the GMO issue should absolutely always be organic.
Grapes, blueberries, lettuce, most potatoes except for sweet potatoes and then your leafy greens. You really have to think of anything that could be a sponge essentially and soak up pesticides. You got to buy those organic because it’s kind of a buy now. It’s ‘pay now or pay later’ type of a thing. When you eat these healthy fruits and vegetables because they have anti-oxidants and they’re alkaline forming and they can fight cancer but if you take that inherent property and you put acidic pesticides on something like that then you’re changing the nature of it. It’s not even worth eating in my opinion.
Jonathan: Wow, so that’s a list and we’ll provide that list written for folks on things you would say are – you might as well if you can’t do organic, so what’s on the other end of the spectrum which if you can’t do organic, don’t feel bad about it?
Christa: Yeah, don’t feel bad about buying mushrooms non-organic. They’re fungus. They defend themselves. Ripe fruits, avocadoes, onions, cantaloup, pineapple, mangoes and cabbage, kiwi, eggplants and then watermelon obviously, the skin is so thick, and sweet potatoes. Those are the ones that you really don’t necessarily need to buy organic, and the most of the root vegetables, you don’t need to because obviously, they grow underground and they’re protected. Carrots, I would put on that list even though it’s not on a conventional list.
Jonathan: Christa, what about sources of protein? For example if I am either going to not eat salmon because I can’t afford it or whatever or I don’t have a Costco, or I’m going to eat farm raised salmon or I’m not going to eat meat or I’m going to eat conventional meat, what should the choice be in your opinion?
Christa: If you’re going to eat conventional meat? Well, I guess probably the most important thing is to buy a hormone and antibiotic-free meat and eggs. You can just do catastrophic damage to your digestive health and your hormonal health. Think about if you’re on a low grade of antibiotics every time we eat that is going to basically thrash our immune system and it’s what happened to the country and we just have to go back to basics.
If you have the budget for pasture-raised eggs that’s – most people if they have an egg sensitivity, they’re fine with pasture-raised eggs where the chickens ate bugs and worms and flies and grass, not corn or soy. I think that’s really important. Choosing wild fish. Wild salmon can be really expensive but wild white fish isn’t as expensive so halibuts, snapper, cod is less expensive. Those would be three really high quality choices that you can make.
Jonathan: Awesome. One thing I wanted to mention to the listeners I’m sure you’ve experienced this too in your practice in terms of ways to save money. I’m also a big fan of amazon for non-perishable things, Amazon.com. For example, coconut is probably the number one source of calories in my diet. Probably, I just love coconut. I get – let’s do organic cream coconut and shredded coconut and basically every kind of coconut you can imagine and it’s all in amazon. It’s all subscribe in save so I get it for some ridiculous price delivered to me every month at a 15 percent discount. It’s pretty amazing.
Christa: That’s a great point, and a lot of our clients in the Midwest we have them ordering these things off of Amazon and if you do their, I think, $79 a year for Amazon prime and you get free shipping all year. Free two days shipping all year so that’s another great way. Then, if you buy in bulk, like I’ll have people buy gelatin in bulk.
Jonathan: Awesome, so you have some tips around – we talked about getting certain kinds of produce organic, some not as important but for all of our produce, you have some tips on what to do with it once we bought it and brought it home.
Christa: Yeah, so here’s the catch. How many of us are busy? We go to the grocery store. We throw everything in our fridge. We move along about our day, and you’re getting ready to cook dinner and you see that kale all wrapped up and you think “I don’t feel washing that or cutting that. Forget it. I’m not going to eat greens tonight.” If that happens, it all goes bad. Throw it away. You buy it again the next week, so this happens to me. It happens to my clients so you have to budget 20 minutes.
I’m telling you it will change your week if you budget 20 minutes when you get home from the grocery store, wash your produce. De-stem the kale or whatever it is that you’re buying, collard green something like that, and just have it preped in the fridge. In that way, if you’re making eggs in the morning, great, you can just throw some greens and some chopped vegetables in there and you can throw into a salad. You can make it into a stir fry and you will be able to have ten minute meals all week if you just do it all at the same time. I say light a candle, turn on the music, try to have fun with it and prep your food.
Jonathan: I love that. It’s not only are we then buying in bulk but it’s doing a bit of bulk preparation and we have four hour work week that little [indiscernible 12:23] love where it’s just batching. There’s an amount time we get the sink cleared out so we can wash stuff and get the cutting board out and sharpen the knife. We only have to do that once and then you just dominate for an hour as you get everything ready for the week. That’s going to save you time too than having that fixed cost over and over.
Christa: Exactly, so our most popular cooking classes are called ‘cooking for convenience, the art of cooking once and eating all week’.
Christa: To that point, I would say your root vegetables, we are in fal now, get a butternut squash, get an acorn squash, a few sweet potatoes, those are all going to be really economical. Baked them all at once while you’re chopping your veggies and then they’re done. You could make a butternut squash soup with some turmeric and ginger and coconut milk in the blender with that with superfast for dinner, or you could cube it up into a stir fry and add some cumin and cilantro and make a Mexican type of a dish.
These are the things to think about where I always say if you’re going to be making grains, brown rice or quinoa, make enough for the next day if you make it for dinner, and then put a little coconut milk and maybe some protein powders, some sea salt, grass fed butter and have it as a porridge the next day so just kind of always be thinking ahead.
Jonathan: Christa, I have to ask you. I know you are friends with our dear [inaudible 13:44] for the show, Sean Croxton.
Jonathan: You’re really plug into the internet nutrition community. You’re plugged into the traditional dietetics community and you’re plugged into the ancestral nutrition community. I’ve noticed you brought up grains probably three or four times already in this conversation and I know a lot of folks in the Paleo movement and myself included, are not fans of grains. It’s all good. I’m not ‘rawr grains.’ What’s up with all the grains?
Christa: What’s up with grains? Okay, so I am what I would say ‘dietary agnostic’ and I’m not a Paleo proponent. I’m not a vegetarian proponent. I’m just a proponent of clean eating and so I find that if you soak your grains overnight then you removed all of the acidic acid and so you can therefore make them much more [inaudible 14:36]. I have people who will soak their brown rice or quinoa are find – whatever it is.
I’m a fan of grains as long as your digestive system is to position where I can handle it because see, at my little thing as a functional medicine spin and if I get your digestion handled and heal the leaky gut and the wrath of whatever has happened anybody can handle grains. They can access all the B-vitamins. They can access all the fiber, so I would say soak your grains overnight. Rinse them. I have people cook them either in bone broth or if they’re vegetarian, in water and they use a three inch strip of kombu, which is a sea vegetables, super high in iodine that will mineralized the grain and then you can access a lot more minerals from it.
Jonathan: Wow, fabulous. Are you recommending that folks go out of their way to eat grains or is it kind of like if you really like grains, don’t feel like they’re sworn off forever. Just do the approach you just recommended.
Christa: Exactly. If they work for you, that’s your approach and if they don’t work for you obviously, I would say yes, don’t eat them.
Christa: To find their own balance but…
Jonathan: Well, I really like that. We always try to find ways on my end. We call it ‘sanetizing’. Let’s play on the word sanitizing food and it sounds like you’re saying, correct me if I’m wrong, where if you choose to eat grains, this is a way to make them better for you than conventional approach to eating grains.
Jonathan: I love it. Alright, well, one more thing I want to cover today because I know your time is super valuable and that is the many ways to roast chicken. I’m going to be a little of a naughty boy here. That sounded a little weird.
Christa: I’m nervous.
Jonathan: Okay, I’m going to confess my sin here. My sin – I haven’t done this for a long time but I think other people are doing it and I’m curious to get your thoughts. I know you’re a fan of roasted chicken and you can use roasted chicken for all kinds of fun stuff but while you’re at Costco, they got this $5 monster roasted chickens which I can imagine are probably not the best roasted chickens in the world but they are so good and they’re gigantic and they’re inexpensive. Tell us about roasted chicken and tell me how bad I was when I bought one of those or if it’s kind of one of those ‘it’s okay things’.
Christa: That is all about sourcing so I don’t know where they get, how they make those, do they make those chickens, are they pumped full of hormones so that they get bigger than their britches within six weeks. I’m not sure. Do they use canola oil because it is so cheap to roast it in? I don’t know if I can necessarily answer that question but I think that I’d say there’s two types of animal protein or meat, it’s either clean or it’s polluted. If you’re going to eat polluted meat per se, I would rather when I eat out, I choose fish over chicken. chicken if it’s not organic is probably the most polluted part of our food supply.
Jonathan: Wow Okay, so maybe just ask about that. We’re a huge fan of seafood over here so just when in doubt air on the side of get it from the water versus get it from the land.
Christa: If you live in a place close to water, yes.
Jonathan: I don’t mean actually go out into the water and procure it yourself but I do to spear it up but you know.
Christa: No, if you live in Illinois or Iowa, I don’t know. Might get the sushi.
Jonathan: No, that’s totally fair.
Jonathan: Christa, this is brilliant. I know you got some exciting things going on in the works right now. Can you tell us what’s next for you and where we can go to learn more?
Christa: Sure. You can go to TheWholeJourneyOnline.com to learn more. If you like what you’re learning here, I put together a free video series that is only out for one week. It is just launching and it’s about an hour and a half full of video that breaks into three segments and in that, I talked about the four changes anybody can make to feel 30 to 50 percent better right away because I know that’s important in having clients how to get people feeling and noticing quickly that they feel better so that they have the wherewithal to continue.
Then, the next one I talked about how to heal your thyroid and adrenals naturally because so many people are struggling with both of those glands in their body and the greatest nutritional myths of all time is how to prevent cancer through food. I’ve got lots of success stories in there which is really rewarding to have worked with a lot of different cancer patients that heals themselves naturally. If you go to TheWholeJourneyOnline.com and those videos will be delivered into your inbox and I would really recommend anybody that does it treats it like a class where you are taking notes and you’re going to take this info into your life and start living it so that you benefit from it.
Jonathan: Awesome. Well, Christa, thank you so much for the time today for providing these wonderful resources to folks free of charge. That’s always cool. Then, I know you got some premium stuff they can check as well so they can listen here, and if they like that, they can check out the free stuff, and they like that. They can just keep getting deeper and deeper into the whole journey with Christa Orecchio.
Christa: The whole journey, yes. We got a three-month e-course coming up that has been my labor of love for the last year and it models the exact way I worked with private clients and that’s kind of what I’m so excited about right now.
Jonathan: Awesome. Well, Christa, thank you so much for joining us today. I know our listeners will very much enjoy those online resources and I hope you have a delightful rest of your week.
Christa: Thank you. You, too. Hey, happy anniversary. Have a good weekend.
Jonathan: Oh, thank you so much. Listeners, I hope you enjoy this wonderful conversation as much as I did. Obviously, Christa Orecchio, our guest today is a very knowledgeable individual so check her out online at TheWholeJourney.com, and remember this week and every week after, eat smarter, exercise smarter and live better. Chat with you soon.