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Wildly Affordable Organic: Eat Fabulous Food, Get Healthy, and Save the Planet--All on $5 a Day or Less [Kindle Edition]

Linda Watson
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)

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Paperback $13.40  
The Quiet Gut Cookbook by Sonoma Press
The Quiet Gut Cookbook
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Book Description

Buy Green. Eat Green. Save Green.

If you've wanted to eat like it matters but felt you couldn't afford it, Wildly Affordable Organic is for you. It's easy to think that "organic" is a code word for "expensive," but it doesn't have to be. With these ingenious cooking plans and healthy, satisfying recipes, Linda Watson reveals the incredible secret of how you can eat well every day--from blueberry pancakes for breakfast to peach pie for dessert--averaging less than two dollars a meal.

Get ready for wild savings! You'll discover how to:
Ease your family into a greener lifestyle with the 20-minute starter plan
Go organic on just $5 a day--or go thrifty and spend even less
Take advantage of your freezer and freeze your costs
Find the best deals at your local farmers' market or grocery store
Cook easy, scrumptious, seasonal dishes from scratch

Packed with tips for streamlining meals, from shopping and cooking to washing dishes, this book shows how sustainable living is within everyone's reach. Slow global warming with delicious dinners? Lose weight, save money, and save the polar bears at the same time? When you live the Wildly Affordable Organic way, it is possible! Join the movement to change the way you eat--and keep the change.

Editorial Reviews


Library Journal, 4/22/11
“Watson demonstrates realistic ways to cook inexpensively yet healthfully without living in the kitchen. Well written and full of useful ideas and tips…Verdict: With the twin concerns of health and food costs very much on consumers' minds lately, this is likely to be popular.”

Kirkus Reviews, 5/15/11
“A unique addition to the genre, this sustainable take on everyday meal planning is both practical and contemporary.”
Portland Oregonian, 6/7/11
“Most of the recipes are simple and time-saving, offering lots of options for on-the-go people.”, 6/27/11
“[A] strong introduction to organic cooking, offering recipes that will appeal to vegetarians, vegans, and people who just happen to love fruits and veggies. The money-saving and health benefits are added value.”
Tucson Citizen, 7/1/11
“Part cookbook and part shopping guide, Watson gives readers the tools they need to eat well and reduce their impact on the environment without spending top dollar.”, 7/7/11
“Most useful for its shopping information and its well-constructed once-a-month, seasonal shopping lists; these are what elevate it above standard advocacy books and above other cookbooks containing recipes similar to the ones here.”, 7/20/11

USA Weekend, 7/17/11
“Secret weapon.”, 8/2/11
"Try [these recipes], and you’ll see that organics can be an attainable and delicious option for your family.”

San Francisco Book Review, August 2011
“Watson's recipes are simple, her methods make sense, and readers are left wanting to put her ideas into action.”

Curled Up with a Good Book
“Armed with this book and Watson’s tips, strategies, and clear-eyed investigation, anyone with a sincere desire to eat well on a tight budget can easily and quickly transition to just such a healthy lifestyle…Wildly Affordable Organic is something of an epiphany, what with the detailed budget and expenses included and the vast array of possibilities. This one should be required reading in high school Life Skills classes and for every household.”

Midwest Book Review, August 2011
“This book tells how to eat healthy on three dollars a day and packs in tips for healthy organic food preparation on a budget, from menus and recipes to shopping and food options. Health and culinary collections as well as general and homeowner libraries will relish this approach.”

Prevention, October 2011
“The barriers to cooking organic—hefty price tags, hours over a hot stove—vanish, thanks to these quick, delicious meals you can make for less than $5 a day.”, 9/8/11
WAO carves out a neat niche in the crowded cookbook world. That’s partly because it is a smorgasbord: Part manifesto, part food-purchasing guide, part cookbook, part dispenser of kitchen savvy. I’m guessing anyone can find one, if not more, useful feature to the book.”

Energy Times, 10/4/11
“Supplies nearly 100 recipes that will let you eat well organically without breaking the bank.”
Internet Review of Books, 10/13/11
“Useful for somebody new to frugal cooking and healthy eating."

About the Author

Linda Watson, the founder of, created her wildly affordable cooking plans after being inspired by a national challenge to eat on a food-stamp budget. She credits her background in project management helping her to not just survive but thrive on just a dollar a meal per person. Her 2013 SNAPcut Challenge used WAO recipes to cook organic and local even on the newly reduced food-stamp budget. Linda has a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from eCornell and the T. Colin Campbell Foundation. She's had a wildly varied career so far, including developing a top-secret expert system, working with Tom Clancy and Douglas Adams on computer games, and riding the dot-com wave with Today she teaches cooking through classes, books, and videos. Watson lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with her husband.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1492 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books (May 31, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,202 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
158 of 163 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Recommended But Not For Everyone September 15, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had hoped to find this book in a store so I could give it a once over before purchasing it. Alas, every single bookstore I went to did not have it in stock and my library's two copies were checked out!

Now that I've purchased my own copy, I'm a little disappointed in the book. On the whole, the author does accomplish her mission of proving your meals can be almost 100% organic on a very simple budget. However, the scope of her experiment is not entirely adaptable to everyone's lifestyle (though I don't think anyone ever promised it was). My chief complaint about her meal plans is that they are very monotonous overall. If you choose to follow one of her plans, you WILL streamline your kitchen work; you WILL have wholesome, nutritious food on the table; and you WILL be subsisting on beans and pasta for the rest of your natural-born life! Sigh... it's not exactly what I had in mind. [I was also very surprised that one's "breakfast" while following her plans is -- more often that not -- a mere slice of bread smeared with peanut butter. Homemade bread or not, friends, that's not a breakfast, in my book! I'd be hungry well before lunch!!!]

I love to cook and I'm an adventurous eater -- it's why the premise of the book grabbed my attention. I currently make out weekly menus for our household and shop accordingly and we do have a food budget. I already know how to use our freezer to boost that budget and save time, and it's no great revelation to me that processed foods are the enemy of any budget. We do limit our meat consumption and have also a few vegetarian meals each week, but we are not willing to go completely meatless.
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book! May 21, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I live in the same city as the author, and have followed her work ever since she was featured in the local paper. Previously she had e-books which covered much of this same material. However, I was excited to see she was finally publishing. Reading about how the project evolved was fun -- it was not easy at first but she figured it all out and passes it on to us. She lists what brands to buy, and how to organize your cooking to minimize time in the kitchen.

If you are a vegetarian who likes beans, this is a great book. She has adaptations for vegans. If you want to learn to make no knead bread, this is a great book. My husband liked it the first time I made it and he is a meat eating man who has never liked my bread before. Even I did not like my bread before.

The book is hugely practical, and rest assured, you really can do it for $5/per day/per person. The author regularly shops the local stores to see what the current pricing is. You can do it for less if you go non organic.

In posts on her web site, Linda talks about buying all the equipment needed for cooking (basics: pans, knives, etc) for less than $100. I would like to see Amazon package the collection plus the book for persons starting out in their first home. Page 55 lists the essentials.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I recently re-discovered this book. I purchased it initially in May of 2012, when I had a one-year-old and was still trying to figure out the balance of being a new mom, purchasing/making healthful and affordable (!) meals in a manner that is manageable with a one year old.

I was totally sold on this short book at the time. I read it quickly and that weekend I decided to implement it immediately. I was okay, at the time, with it being "flexitarian", though I feel that is a mis-leading description. This book is vegetarian (with the minimal use of dairy and eggs). In fact I would say 75% of the plan (and if not, at least half) are totally vegan.

Anyhow, I went out to the grocery store and went full force. This book relies heavily on the ideas behind Once a Month Cooking (freezer cooking, where you cook a large batch of many meals at one time and then eat them throughout the month). Naively I **knew** I would love it all and made huge batches of food.

And then I took my first taste test of the food and began the following few bites into utter disappointment. The best of it we found to be bland, the worst of it was completely tasteless to us. The whisk bread didn't work for me (although, being 2 years ago now I cannot remember what exactly didn't work). And I had huge portions of food we didn't like at all.

I immediately became disillusioned with the book totally, deleted it from my Kindle, and moved on. I read other books about eating healthfully in an affordable manner that is practical for busy families. My budget and our eating practices leveled out.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Provides the How-to October 30, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My Dad once criticized a family friend's food spending by saying that a person in the US should be able to eat on a dollar a meal a day. That was in the 80's and I heard it frequently during my own college career. Thing is; we didn't eat on $3 a day at home and my dad could never really tell me *how* -- this book provides the how.

How #1 -- a go-to core of recipes that are made with basic ingredients. No longer do you need to buy bread and biscuit mix and pancake mix and cake mix plus the baking soda/powder for cookies and quick breads. Instead buy 5-10 lbs of great flour, fresh baking soda/powder, and learn to make all the rest with variations on the basics.

How #2 -- when you cook, make some for later. By doubling stews/bean/breads when you cook them, you have quick meals ready for busy nights or times when you want a fast dinner so you can cook something else.

How #3 -- eat more beans. As another reviewer pointed out, this book has a lot of bean recipes. It also has a lot of nuts, whole grains, and high-protein pasta. The author has a good reason for this: peanut butter and conventional beans cost about 2 cents per gram of protein, half the cost per gram of the cheapest, factory-farmed cuts of meat you can buy. That makes plant-based protein a great place to save money (even if you spend some of that savings on occasional meals of better meat down the line).

How #4 -- have a system. This is where the book truly shines. Starting with investing 30 minutes a day you can accrue quick meals in the freezer for busy nights; healthful breakfasts, lunches, and dinners which are nearly all organic; and save money over the conventional American diet.

This is a great book for anyone who is ready (or needs to) make more of what they eat, eat healthier, or save money on food. It is also a great companion book for food justice books such as the More-with-Less cookbook or Diet for a Small Planet.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT! Not only does she eloquently support a ...
LOVED IT! Not only does she eloquently support a high-fiber, bean diet-- her menu planning and recipes are inspirational and easy to follow. Hope to see a future cookbook!!!
Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A great start for someone new to organics
This book had a lot of good information in it and I believe someone could eat organic using this approach. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Dallas
5.0 out of 5 stars Meets all my criteria for good food
This is fabulous. It meets all my criteria for good food: tasty, healthy, inexpensive, easy to cook. That's four stars. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Marla J Easter
5.0 out of 5 stars Great practical advice on how to eat better for less
Just finished this fabulous book. Great practical advice on how to eat better for less. She has shopping lists and lots of options for every meal. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Elizabeth Frederick
5.0 out of 5 stars Good advice!
Some of the changes can be a bit extreme but if you implement the tools and methods laid out here you will save money. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Sara D.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read on how to keep an organic household within budget.
We are already an organic household, but keeping to budget is always the goal.
We knew some of Linda's tips and tricks, and learned a few new ones. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Colleen Schaffernoth
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended!
Great information!
Published 1 month ago by Nora Courtney
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book. Highly recommend to those who are trying to do more...
QLoved this book! Found out about it when it was referenced by FoodBabe's new book on healthy eating.
Great personal study of how to eat great while minding your resources. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Edmuncm
5.0 out of 5 stars Yum - I didn't know that I liked beans so much!
We've been having a great time picking out recipes and following the meal plans. My other half has lost over 25 pounds in a month by switching to a better, organic diet and not... Read more
Published 3 months ago by polopanther
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative
Very informative book.
Published 3 months ago by Camille Cutler
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More About the Author

Linda Watson is a food evangelist who lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, a veritable hotbed of sustainable agriculture with an inspiring ethnic mix. She started the Cook for Good project after being inspired by the national Food Stamp Challenge: living on a dollar a meal per person for a week. Her three-week experiment became a lifestyle, the website, the book Wildly Affordable Organic, and now the Wildly Good Cook videos and teachers' training program.

Her ears perked up when she heard that Fifty Shades of Grey had outsold Harry Potter. Why not write a funny book that combines romance and recipes? One that celebrates sustainability and the fiery potential of women old enough to have hot flashes? The result is her new book Fifty Weeks of Green.

If you and Linda wound up sitting next to each other on plane, you might find out that:
* She really believes in the power of cooking a pot of beans every week
* She wants to help you live your dreams by using the skills you already have
* She's lost 20 pounds since becoming a cookbook writer, just by eating real food cooked from scratch
* She's battling ivy in her garden to establish an edible forest garden
* She's taken improv and stand-up comedy classes at Dirty South Improv Comedy Theater
* She's the inventor of the Rudeness Index, used in the language engine for Douglas Adams' computer game Starship Titanic
* She's an optivore and a flexitegan, not a food Nazi, who knows you don't have to do it all or all the time to make a difference

Linda might be on the way to teach a cooking class or give a talk on organic cooking, thrift, sustainability, or creating an amazing life.

Not on a plane? Find Linda online on her site, which features free weekly recipes and food news. She also writes for The Huffington Post, the Organic Trade Association, GoodVeg, and

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