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How to Cut Your Grocery Bill by 30 Percent

Whether you're shopping for yourself or for an entire family, your grocery receipts can really add up.

This may make foraging, or learning to grow some of your food, more appealing than spending so much money on your weekly groceries.

Foraging, by definition, is the act of looking for and rummaging for wild food resources. You may think this can only be done in rural areas, but it is possible in urban areas as well. You just need to know where to look.

How can you forage all year round and cut your grocery bill by 30 percent?

Wild edibles forager, JJ Murphy, joins Dr. Mike to discuss foraging and you can use it to reduce your grocery bill.
How to Cut Your Grocery Bill by 30 Percent
Featured Speaker:
JJ MurphyJJ Murphy is a wild edibles forager on a mission to change the understanding of healthy eating. Her goal is to raise awareness of the delicious foods that are quite literally all around us and available for free.

JJ's foraging philosophy is simple: savor the abundance of edibles nature provides us each season of the year. Take only what you need, as gently as possible, doing no harm to the environment.

After earning a Masters degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Kansas, she moved to New York City and began writing about food and the environment. Her articles have appeared in the publications Wildness! Magazine, Outdoors Unlimited, and Spores Illustrated. JJ now writes The Joyful Forager column for the Shawangunk Journal in New York's Hudson Valley and is working on her first cookbook.

Her ebook, Joyful Foraging: Learn How To Feast On The Food Growing All Around You, is available for purchase on her website, Ms. Murphy regularly forages in urban and rural settings with her peers, including television host, Wildman Steve Brill, Gary Lincoff and Leda Meredith. She lives in Highland Mills, NY, at the foot of Schunemunk Mountain.

RadioMD Presents:Healthy Talk | Original Air Date: May 28, 2015

Anti-aging and disease prevention radio is right here on RadioMD. Here is author, blogger, lecturer and national medical media personality, Dr. Michael Smith, MD with Healthy Talk.

DR. MIKE: So, would you like to spend 30% less or so on your groceries? Which won't be so bad, right? And we going to talk about that. We're going to do that through a process called "foraging" and I am really excited to have my next guest come on in. I like all my guests by the way, but even in a just short brief introduction I had to J J Murphy about a minute ago, I can already tell I am going to like her a lot.

J J Murphy is a wild edibles forager on a mission to change the understanding of healthy eating. Her goal is to raise awareness of the delicious foods that are quite literally all around us and available for free. J J's foraging philosophy is simple.

Savor the abundance of edibles nature provides us each season of the year. Take only what you need, as gently as possible, doing no harm to the environment.
J J Murphy, welcome to Healthy Talk.

MURPHY: Thanks, Dr. Mike. So glad to be here.

DR. MIKE: I went on your website, and I think that – well, I think that's where I saw this J J. It was a video of you, I want to say in New York City, and you were just walking around, literally in the middle of Manhattan and you were pointing out edible foods. Was that on your site?

MURPHY: Yes. Yes, it was. And I was in New York City.

Dr. Mike: Can you really do that?

MURPHY: I continue to do that. I happen to live at New York's Hudson Valley. But I go to New York City quite often and there is, as you said in your introduction, quite literally free food all around us. One of the things that I feel is really important is for people to be able to recognize which plants are food and incorporate them into the diet. That gives you the opportunity to savor delicious, freshly harvested food as opposed to something that has been sitting in store for a while. And to stretch your budget.

DR. MIKE: And everybody is looking to do that now, right, J J?

MURPHY: Well, you are right. And one of the things that I've noticed is all of the information out there on stretch your budget. A lot of it when you look deeper, requires you to have a fully stocked pantry or to shop in bulk, like a case of olive oil or something. And even though I live north of the city, I still have very limited space to store that much volume.

And so The Joyful Forager is not only on my website, I also have a book which teaches 10 plants that -- I do everything but personally take you by the hand to show you what they are, where they grow, how to harvest them and how to prepare them. What I've done today for your listeners is I went out -- I created an entree menu that I would consider family friendly or even something I would serve to guests. I will work my Joyful Forager magic on this dinner menu.

DR. MIKE: Nice!

MURPHY: Preparing it would be service for four and, if you like, I'll give you the menu I started with.

DR. MIKE: Sure!

MURPHY: Okay. Baby spinach salad with vinaigrette dressing, sage rubbed grass-fed roast beef with roasted Yukon gold potatoes, and steamed green beans with slivered almonds. And what's going to happen is, I will take you item by item. I shop at Fairway, and Stop 'n Shop and Shop Right. I'm not shopping at gourmet stores or stores that are specialty stores. This is where most of the people I know shop. And I am going to shift out ingredients to include lambs quarter salad with apple in a vinaigrette dressing and mugwort rubbed grass-fed beef and roasted Jerusalem artichokes with olive oil and--

DR. MIKE: Let me make sure I understand this. So what you have done here is you have taken a standard recipe, right? And so what you have done through foraging is you changed the ingredients a little bit and you used them in the same recipe to come up with a dinner for four that has some ingredients right from the city you live in. Is that kind of what you did here?

MURPHY: Yes, sir. That's exactly what I did and one of the things is not only do you save money but the flavor profiles are very, very similar to a store ingredient. But the flavors themselves are going to be more intense and fresher because there is a shorter time from field to kitchen.

DR. MIKE: Yea. Obviously because you're just going out and doing it yourself. How do I know that though, J J? How do I know – okay. So, let's say there is some sage in a recipe -- how do I know what is comparable in a foraging sense to sage? Does your book cover that kind of information?

MURPHY: It certainly does. In fact, all of the plants that I am talking about today are in my book and on my website also, if you are to go there I have, for free, some getting started information that will help you learn where to look, what kinds of environments to look, in urban, suburban and rural locations and the simple tools, most of which you can find around the house to harvest. It's really actually easier than pushing the shopping cart. So...

DR. MIKE: Let's do this -- J J, let's do this. And we only have couple of minutes left in this first segment. Why don't we do this? That the recipe you just described, why not just take one of those foods, one of the things that you are now using from foraging in the recipe. Just tell us about that.

MURPHY: Alright, let me do the Spinach Salad. One bunch of baby spinach would cost you $4. Olive oil at 20 cents an ounce, I am going to use a 4 ounces that's 80 cents. Balsamic vinegar, because spinach can taste kind of bitter to some people -- 2 ounces of that is 57 cents an ounce. That's $1.14.

And the apple will cost you a dollar. Now the lambs quarters, same flavor profile -- better flavor profile -- more like Swiss Chard. I am going to swap Balsamic for apple cider vinegar, that's 14 cents.

DR. MIKE: Okay! Wow!

MURPHY: Olive Oil, the same, and the apples. Your salad from the store was $6.94 and from foraging it's $1.94.

DR. MIKE: That's significant, right? Now, I guess – okay9 here is the problem, though, and I think this is what most -- my listeners are probably thinking right now, J J. That sounds great. That sounds like something that they're interested in but there's two problems. They don't know how to forage, right? And number 2, they don't necessarily even know what they are looking for. So, your book will go through like the how part of this and also what to look for? Because we don't want to pick something that's not good for us, right?

MURPHY: Correct. And lambs quarters has a very, very distinct shaped leaf. There's nothing else like that looks like it. I also want to say I am not hauling plants out of the earth and scattering dirt everywhere. I am taking my scissors and trimming the tender top so the plant continues to grow and it will grow around the base of your house. It will grow on the way to your driveway, around your mail box. It grows in New York City -- I have a spot where I go. It grows in urban and suburban environments. And it is the one plant that I have used to turn a doubter into a believer.

Dr. MIKE: Yes. Well, J J that's definitely part of your philosophy, right? Take only what you need, as gently as possible, doing no harm to the environment. When we come back we are going to continue our discussion about foraging with J J Murphy.

This is Healthy Talk on Radio MD. I am Dr. Mike. Stay Well.