Not Your Mama’s Crunchy Granola (A Giveaway)

Years ago I got our family into debt, well, deeper debt than we were already in, by trying to “go organic.” I read some books, thought it made sense, and then I tried to change my shopping overnight.

Kids, please don’t try this at home.

It was a total and complete disaster. Certainly, it was not Organic’s fault, it was mine, not being a good steward with what we had, and not taking baby steps.

When I woke up from the nightmare, hubs and I worked and prayed really hard and climbed out of the hole. We ate more boxed, processed cereal in that eighteen month period than I had in all my life previous. My kids loved it. It was free. It was a means to an end.

In fact, I blogged about this means to an end thing back in 2008. I felt bad that we weren’t eating the best diet. Remember, I had done all that reading. But, I also knew that God wouldn’t have us spend money we didn’t have. So, I banked some hope that someday we’d be able to clean up our eating habits a little bit.

Three years ago, there were not all the great blogs that there are today to help you eat well and spend less. I’ve learned a lot over the years, and thankfully, we’re out of debt.

One book I wish I had had back then is Not Your Mama’s Crunchy Granola by Crystal Collins. The book outlines a 7-week program for healthier living — on a budget.

nymcg300x250banner Affiliate Program

Sounds scary? Yeah, that’s what I thought. But, I love what Crystal says in the introduction:

You have just made an investment in your health! No, wait! Don’t run away! This isn’t scary at all. I’m not going to tell you to stop shaving, wear hemp clothes, and have a unibrow. This ebook will take you through seven weeks on the subject of Healthy Eating, Green Alternatives, Fitness and also Saving Money. Each week speaks simply about steps you can take to gradually change your life. This is all done in baby steps, so that #1 you are not overwhelmed, and #2 you will be more motivated to try.

The baby steps look like this:

  1. Simplify
  2. Water
  3. Fitness
  4. How to Save Money
  5. Raw Foods
  6. Organic Gardening
  7. Green Your Home

When I look back at my life and the lasting changes I’ve made over the years, I realize that change doesn’t happen in one fell swoop. It happens over time and in cycles. Crystal’s book provides a variety of choices to choose from. I don’t need to do them all, but I can pick a few things and test them out. Later I might come back to the list and pick a few more. I like that!

And I like it that Crystal makes the choices clear.

Currently, the book is $5. But, if you order the book this weekend and use the code LAM, you can get the book for $2.99!

Win a copy!

Crystal is also giving away a copy of her book to 3 Life as MOM readers.

To Enter:

Leave a comment on this post: How do you want to improve your eating habits?

This giveaway will be open until Sunday, November 6, 2011 at 8 pm PST. Winners will be chosen at random and notified via email. Please respond within 48 hours to claim your prize. This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to the winners: lecocolate@, Deesselisa@, beburkhart@

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book and am an affiliate for The Thrifty Mama.

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Comments

  1. Heather E. says:

    I want to learn how to give my kids real food that tastes great! Thank you!

  2. I want to start making more food from scratch–I collect tons of recipes, but am too intimidated (or lazy) to try them.

  3. I need to get more veggies in my diet!

  4. Definitely want to cut down on the processed grains!

  5. I would love to find a way to make more meals from scratch that are ‘clean’ and don’t break the budget.

  6. I want to be better at eating what is in season….and I am not talking about Easter, Halloween and Christmas candy ;)

  7. I want to eat more whole foods and cut out the processed foods. I also want to cut out refined sugar, but I’m not sure I can do it.

  8. I want to start phasing out processed foods from our diet.

  9. Less processed and more from scratch.

  10. i want to try and eat more organic meat!

  11. I’ve done better about processed foods, but there’s always room for improvement. I’d love to know how to do it all on a budget!

  12. I would like to buy better quality meat including grass-fed beef. If my husband can get a deer in the next month, we’ll have venison, which would be welcomed! Thanks for the giveaway!

  13. I’m a gardening mom of 5; we eat pretty healthy during the mid-summer thru the fall, but it gets hard financially to keep it up over the winter when most produce is expensive – and my kids could eat an elephant. Would love more tips on how to feed them healthy thru the winter when their immune system needs it the most :)

  14. i need to work on portion control

  15. I’d like to cut back on processed foods and salty snacks.

  16. I would love to learn how to incorporate more whole/natural foods into my famlies diet.

  17. I want to start making my own bread. I already make a lot from scratch, but haven’t really done the bread thing yet!

  18. I would love to learn some more about cutting costs with whole foods.

  19. I need to try to stay away from sugary treats. I make all of our desserts from scratch but I still eat more of them than I probably should.

  20. I want to get all Halloween candy out of my house and get back to cooking from scratch. Thanks for the great giveaway.

  21. I want to get my family to eat more fruits and veggies and ideally expand what our likes are.

  22. I want to learn how to feed my family healthier, less processed foods without breaking our budget. Thanks for the giveaway!

  23. I really want to try a grain mill because I bake a ton, and continue to more towards a whole foods diet….not that anyone would mistake our diet for whole foods, but we are trying.

  24. I want to start incorporating more organic items into my diet! :)

  25. Try to find ways to get my kids to try new healthier foods

  26. More fresh fruits and vegetables.

  27. Jen Fitzpatrick says:

    I want to continue on taking the small steps to stop feeding my family as much processed foods. I want them to be able to eat healthier and enjoy it!

  28. I would like be able to purchase more bulk, natural food items. Currently looking into buying better meats. I would also like to do it with flour, etc.

  29. I want to add more and a bigger variety of vegetables to my family’s diet. I always seem to get stuck in a rut on preparation techniques.

  30. I want to eat less processed food and those dreaded “chips” I sometimes buy .

  31. Eating less junk food and making healthier food choices all the way around. Sweets are my downfall. :(

  32. I want to starting cooking more from scratch–homemade breads, etc.

  33. Melinda T says:

    I want our family to eat less processed and fast foods and more of fresh fruits and veggies and home cooked meals that don’t and won’t be costly. I want to set an example for my girls!

  34. I’m trying to improve the level of our eating, but it’s hard when you’re feeding nine on a tight budget. I know we need more fruits and vegetables!

  35. It sounds too good to be true! Healthy without over-spending. I want to know how!!!

  36. We have been eating a lot more of a whole food diet, but I am terrible with seasoning and always fall back to taco seasoning packets, boullion cubes and cream of whatever soups….I wish I knew more, and could season things better on my own

  37. I want to make homemade, wholesome snacks for my family and homemade “take-out”. We do pretty well with meals, but I’m constantly caving to the processed snack industry because I have a son with some food/texture issues. I also spend more money and calories on take-out than I should; I want to learn to duplicate those recipes at home without breaking the bank on pricey ingredients.

  38. I’m actually pretty happy with my eating habits right now – I would just like to be able to eat more organics. My family, however, needs a ton of work in eating less processed and more whole foods. If I could get my hubby on board, it would make getting the kids to eat healthier much, much easier.

  39. LizAnderson says:

    Oh my — we’re in a period of deep financial and health deficit in this family right now. A little encouragement and some direction would be appreciated.

  40. Jennifer Ott says:

    I need a kick in the pants right now during a stressful time not to give up health for convenience…and to save a few pennies!

  41. Less processed food, making snacky foods from scratch, and definitely reducing my portions.

  42. We have a new baby and I would love to be able to eat better without a ton of investment (time & money). Any ideas would be great!

  43. I could use some ideas for snacks, particularly for when I am not home.

  44. I definitely need healthier snacks! I had triplets 7 months ago and was sooo sleep deprived that I fell back on constant sugary snacks to stay awake. Now I’m getting (slightly) more sleep and need to break the habit!

  45. I would love to read this book. It sounds interesting. I have Fibromyalgia and have had 2 surgeries this year as well as Serotonin Syndrome, so now that I am on the mend from all of this I would like to take better care of myself, increase my energy levels, and prevent more difficulties with my health. This book would be a push for me in the correct directions. I really hope I win so I can get control of my health and my life again.

  46. Less sugar!

  47. more veggies, less junk…
    and actually EATING the good-for-us food that I purchase at the store!
    (the kids have NO problem w/ fruit and even some veggies…it’s just DH and I that are resistant!)

  48. I need to cut back on sugar!

  49. need to hubby on board – he is the junker in our house – and a way to find less processed food in our diet

  50. I’m looking for ways to do away with boxed/prepared foods and eat more natural foods.

  51. We need to eat healthier…more raw foods less processed

  52. I think my problem is trying to change too much at once, and getting overwhelmed! I would love to cut back on sugar (personally) and incorporate more raw foods in our family meals.

  53. dawn shelton says:

    Looks like a great book! My story is similar to yours about diving into organic only to retreat. So, still on the path: healthier and simpler.

  54. More veggies, less processed stuff, but without taking too much time to buy, or prepare it. Is it possible?

  55. I need to be consistent.

  56. I definitely believe in taking baby steps if you want to make big changes. I’ve been working inch by inch toward healthier eating and I’d love some new, frugal ideas for meal time as well as greening up our home a little more.

  57. I would definitely love to start incorporating a lot more organic foods into our diets. And learn more uses for my crockpot so I can avoid eating out as much!

  58. My husband and I decided to “go organic” and it is very expensive, we realized that we need to just switch over a few things we think are most important and gradually make the change.

  59. Rachel Jones says:

    I would like to get my girls eating more veggies and fruits. Their brother has a much better diet in part due to his egg allergy – he didnt have the fried choices that they have been allowed.

  60. Wow, this sounds like a great book! I write a lot about real food recipes, and we keep trying to buy organic, and/or locally raised food. I think the struggle is not simply about affording “organic,” but also finding resources locally. I simply don’t have the time to shop all over. I’m still struggling over how to make it happen in a busy schedule.

  61. Meg Thomas says:

    Um, how could my eating habits get any worse? I live on cheese and beef jerky! I don’t want that for my kids, but I don’t think I’ve eaten a vegetable in a week and wouldn’t know where to start.

  62. I love to cook, but I know we don’t get in enough fruits and vegetables around here. I’d like to learn how to do that better (and waste less!)

  63. I am pretty lazy w/ b-fast. We eat waffles/eggs/etc for dinner sometimes but I need to offer non-boxed-cereal b-fast options.

  64. Jessica W says:

    I need to add more nutrient dense foods and cut my sugar addiction.

  65. I feel that we eat pretty healthy, but then when I really think about it, I realize that there is some room for improvement in many areas. Plus, I would like to know how to make granola–and have it not be crunchy. I love granola, but don’t like how expensive it is and how chewy it is. It makes my jaw hurt usually when I eat it. Maybe this wouldn’t. Thanks for the opportunity!

  66. I want to learn how to make yummy side veggie dishes… other than green beans and corn :)

  67. I need to commit to something. Currently, I am mostly organic (pay check dependent), sometimes vegan, sometimes raw (time/check dependent)… but I love reading of others’ great ideas…. every little change helps!

  68. Kristiana says:

    I eat pretty healthy where real food is concerned. I just like my sweets a little too much though. I would like to be less of a sweet-tooth.

  69. I would love to win! We are always trying to eat less processed foods – which means more from scratch foods, which I need to find more time for. Some weeks are better than others.

    I just read your post from 2008, it was great. Every week I try to hit the ideal, but we have been going over budget on groceries a lot lately. I like your way of thinking – a means to an end. In the grand scheme of things, if I feed the kids a not so great for you food for lunch one day because it was free – it is not going to effect their health all that much, although it could keep $4-5 in my pocket. Thanks!

  70. I want to go more organic with my fruits and veggies, but the price KILLS me!

  71. Cut out white flour and sugar!

  72. eat a diet based mostly on natural, non-processed foods

  73. with my first child, I made all her baby food from scratch and vowed to feed her nothing but “good foods.” the problem was, my husband and I were still eating all the awful foods we always did. somewhere along the line, my toddler ended up with a steady diet of chicken nuggets, mac n cheese, and hot dogs. Now my youngest is started to eat solid food and I want to learn from my mistakes. I want to lead by example so my daughters can learn what I never did.

  74. Getting more veggies in the kid’s diets!

  75. I would love to be able to eat less sweets and sugary foods. I have such a bad sweet tooth!

  76. vera gorchakov says:

    we need to eat more veggies

  77. I would love to learn anything this book can teach me! I am always looking for ways to be healthier while saving money!!

  78. I want to start….one kid at a time! I have 3. 2 out of the 3 won’t touch a piece of fruit if you threatened them with death! 1 out of the 3 will not even look at a vegetable. The other 2…will only eat corn. Desperate times call for desperate measures! I’m not ashamed to mentioned that I’m at the point of sneaking good, healthy, organic food into their diet!

  79. We eat pretty well already but I could stand to eat just a little less sugar!

  80. I would like to replace with organic produce and eat less meat.

  81. We have been baking/making more foods from scratch because of our daughter’s allergies. We are slowly switching to organic foods.

  82. add more fruits and veg

  83. Want to start trying some different grains and adding more veggies. Mix it up a little…my meals are getting too boring & predictable!

  84. I’m trying to do more from-scratch cooking, and not rely on processed foods and snacks.

  85. I want to eat more locally grown food.

  86. Cooking from scratch most days is a great way I provide healthy meals for my family of five. We stay away from processed foods and try to eat our veggies:)

  87. Got to get a handle on my sugar-cravings.

  88. Angela Loberg says:

    I would love to start freezer cooking – or at least planning in advance more effectively than what I do now. I have started to double-up recipes as I make them, so that has helped somewhat. But, we surely need a change. Thank you for your encouraging & motivating posts!

  89. Buy more raw without going over budget!

  90. My fsmily is in the process of eluminating processed food due to my daughter’s newly discovered food allergies, mostly found in processed foods. Unfortunately, in order to help her, our diet is very limited. I would love ti be able to have more healthy variety in order to help my daughter. Perhaos she would not view this sudden drastic change as a a negative.

  91. I really want to make more from scratch so I know exactly what I am giving my children.

  92. I want to learn how to focus more on organic and unprocessed foods and give up refined sugar.. I want to learn how to incorporate fitness and health into my daily routine.

  93. I want to incorporate more raw foods and less sugar.
    Thanks!!

  94. I need to eat more fruits and veggies, and also remember to drink enough water ;)

  95. I shopped at Costco and while checking out they commented how much for I got for low price. I told them it was all unprocessed that is how you save money! Make it yourself!! Of course when I got home I had to start cooking!! I hope it learn more tricks how to eat well and save money!

  96. We’ve been cutting out processed foods slowly and I would love to start making more convenience foods from scratch to have stocked up so we’re not tempted to eat out or grab snacks last minute.

  97. Tori Palmer says:

    I would LOVE to win this book! I am just learning to cook from scratch and can use all the help I can get.

  98. Karin Alvarado says:

    Eating Better, Meal Planning and couponing are my main struggles.

  99. Heather A says:

    My kids and I need to eat more fruits and veggies.

  100. I just started working again the evenings, so my kids have been eating A LOT of fast food. I would love to have a stockpile of fresh, homemade foods for my family on the nights I have to work.

  101. I want to improve my eating habits by having more good-for-me, protein based snacks on hand. I confess… I’m a nibbler!

  102. Eat more veggies.

  103. Jennifer M says:

    I would like to learn interesting ways to incorporate more raw foods into our diet.

  104. Love the idea of doing this in steps! I am looking forward to making healthy changes for my family and we have made great strides just by not buying ‘hamburger helper’!

  105. More vegetables!

  106. I want our family to cut down on processed foods.

  107. our family is on a personal mission to change our diets and lifestyle since cancer seems to be so prevalent in our lives.I believe any tip in this area could be benefited…would love to win…

  108. Denise Taylor says:

    I’d like my family and I to cut back on processed foods and eat more whole foods

  109. I’m always up for learning more about improving our family’s health. There is always the struggle between health and the financial cost to not just eat cheap. Often cheap isn’t the healthiest.

  110. We’ve added a lot more green vegetables to our diets, but we need to make more changes. I still buy far too many processed foods, and need to start making more from scratch!

  111. Jen Logan says:

    The sugar has got to go!

  112. I want to switch to drinking water (away from soda and tea in other words).

  113. I want to eat more veggies!

  114. misty gorman says:

    i need to cut out the processed sugar in my diet.

  115. I want to get safer meats.

  116. We need to cut out the processed snack foods again.

  117. I have gotten good at passing up the processed food in the store (even when on sale!) saying I can easily make it from scratch, but the actual making processes hasn’t happened as planned.

  118. Would love some help in getting my family on the bandwagon on being healthier without the money crunch!

  119. Thanks for the giveaway! We’re currently in one of those no-monye-what-so-all seasons of life so a free book on how to save money would be just about perfect.

  120. I’ve been making a fair amount of our meals from scratch but know that there are still things that could improve.

  121. We grow a lot of our vegetables and buy organic fruit at stands or on sale at Whole Foods. We also trade with others.

  122. I want to find recipes which use healthier options and use less refined foods. I need to lower my cholesterol so I have begun cooking fish at least twice a week. I am also cooking for a diabetic so I need recipes which are diabetc friendly.

  123. I saw a nutritionist a few years ago to get myself on a healthy eating plan. I threw away all the bad stuff and started buying all the healthy stuff. But it was very expensive. Especially if I purchased something and no one in my family liked it, I was throwing money away. Needless to say, we haven’t been eating as healthy as we should cuz I don’t know what tastes good and what doesn’t and I can’t be throwing money away like that….this is a dilemma for me, the regular grocery stores don’t sample the organic or healthier items…they usually sample their store brand, or national non-organic brands.

  124. jessica b says:

    my family is turning to healthy food as an everyday life style change. while its not all organic, i do get a few things here and there. my 2 year old has posed to be the challenge to healthy eating. darn those kids that won’t try veggies, fruit or anything that remotely “looks” different. :)

  125. I try to serve (and eat) 2 veggies with every meal and fruit with breakfast and afternoon snacks.

  126. I would like to be able to feed my children healthier foods without them realizing it. Thanks for the opportunity!!

  127. I need more healthy snacks and pre-made (by me) foods at home. “Real” food suppers are no problem, but my other half feeds the kids typical process junk since he’s not a cook.

  128. Nichole Reynolds says:

    Wow, where do I start. There are 6 of us in this awesome family of mine. Two teens and two picky eaters. Between trying to be more organized, decluttering, being more frugal and eating healthier I’m a tad overwhelmed!! I’m starting with eating better…..making sure I have things on hand so I don’t end up blowing the budget(and my pants zipper) on take out . As parents we have to be more proactive in eating better so we feel our best mentally and physically. It’s not easy being a kid( as I’ve heard many times) but some days it’s can be pretty tough being a mom and dad too!! Although I wouldn’t change a thing….. I could use some help!! Thanks for your honest and awesome blog!!!!!

  129. I want to figure out how to get the refined sugar out and cook with “natural” sugars.

  130. I want to improve our eating habits by creating “meals to go” (that are actually healthy) for our busy evenings instead of drive thru meals…ugh! Thanks!

  131. I want to eat more raw foods including greens.

  132. More healthy, filling foods like veggies without breaking the budget! I also love to buy local but sometimes it can be so pricey (particularly with meats) and would love any pointers!

  133. I think this book sounds amazing! I want to try to feed my family and eat more produce; after we’re eating it more consistently, I’d love to buy organic, at least for the dirty dozen! =)

  134. I want to cook more from scratch.

  135. I would like my family to start eating more healthy and natural foods.

  136. I feel like I’m always trading off one thing for another – either it’s healthy or it’s quick or it’s inexpensive and I know there’s a way to do it all… just haven’t figured out how to do so in this particular season of my life (deployed hubby, four kids, four animals, full-time job, blah blah blah we all have full plates).

  137. I struggle with moderation- boy, I just love to eat!

  138. Christina says:

    would love this!

  139. I have been trying to gradually change our eating habits. I haven’t bought pop-tarts or cheez-its in months, however I have fruit loops and several other “not very real food” foods in my kitchen. I would love to learn how to improve our eating and on a budget!

  140. I’d like to teach my kids about healthy eating, and so I want to make sure I know what I’m talking about.

  141. I want my family and myself to eat healthier
    Thanks

  142. i’m pretty good about making most things from scratch, but i want to cut out some refined sugars and white flour.

  143. I am going to get healthier by buying and then eating more fruit. More suggestions from the book would definitely be helpful.

  144. I want to add more whole grains and a greater variety of recipes overall. And less processedfoods.

  145. i need to cut the soda(and afternoon snacking)

  146. I would love to win this book

  147. Krystal Aust says:

    Stock my freezer with made from scratch organic meals. Also start an organic garden to save money

  148. I want to learn more tips on saving money while eating healthy.

  149. I would like to have more fruits and veggies in our diet. I also want to have a veggie garden.

  150. This sounds exactly like what I’m looking for! Simple steps…a road map for getting my family to eat & live healthier! No huge overhauls, just baby steps :-) Brilliant!

  151. My husband and I eat pretty well, but I’d like to get my kids eating more veggies and less processed foods.

  152. I would so love to win this book as I need all the help I can get in eating healthy

  153. I want to learn to use healthier ingredients that still taste great!

  154. I’ve switched to organic milk (baby steps!) but am not sure how to convert our meat to organic without breaking the bank.

  155. This book sounds really good! I want to increase our organic purchases (beyond apples, which is one of the few organic that we buy right now) and learn how to make *faster* healthy foods so I don’t give up and give in to faster unhealthy, if you know what I mean. :-) creedamy [at] yahoo[dot] com

  156. Less reaching for the box and more thoughtful.

  157. i’m actually pretty happy with our lifestyle right now…at least mine! i overhauled my eating habits after my baby was born and eat very clean and drink only water and decaf tea. my hubby still needs work though and is very resistant to fruits and veggies at times. my little one does pretty well though!

  158. Kim Vojacek says:

    I so need to work on providing healthy meals for my family and cutting out sweets.

Thanks so much for participating in this conversation about "a mom's life."

This is a place where moms can be themselves. Remember that each mother's path looks a little different. Please keep your comments respectful and kind. Reasonable minds will disagree in a nice way.

So let's talk about it, using "our big girl words."