Search & Replace Episode S01E12: Jazz Glastra

Would you believe the solution to shrinking your waistline can be found by balancing your budget? When Jazz Glastra added up the monthly costs of dining out, she was shocked to learn she was spending more at restaurants than on rent! By making smarter, budget-friendly and healthier meal preparations at home, she and her husband saved money and shed unexpected pounds in the process

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Announcer: [00:00:00] Support for the following podcast is provided by the user experience specialist at Johns and Taylor, more information follows this episode. 
Joe Taylor: [00:00:11] What if there really is one weird trick that can shrink your waistline and fatten your wallet? I'm Joe Taylor, jr. This is Search and Replace.
You've probably seen all those internet ads promising that one weird trick can solve all your problems. And it turns out they're usually just selling placebo pills full of gelatin. Most of the time, the solution to a lot of things is a lot closer than you'd think. Jazz Glastra was trying to solve a math problem; what were she and her husband spending all their money on every month. 
Jazz Glastra: [00:00:49] Essentially, we were not too far out of college and trying to get our lives together. And we just hadn't really prioritized how we were eating. And so we found ourselves going out restaurants a lot, or just picking up takeout or ordering a pizza.
Essentially doing a lot of anything but cooking, which is ironic because I love food and I care a lot about where my food comes from. But I think I just didn't realize at first how much we were buying our food retail, as opposed to actually putting in the work in and cooking it ourselves. And I believe it was actually, when we started talking about getting married, we were just dating at the time, but we did an evaluation of our monthly budget, starting to talk about how to combine those and were horrified to discover how much money we were spending on our food. It was by far the biggest part of our budget, way more than rent. And so that's how this all got started is just that horrifying realization of how much it costs to eat out for dinner regularly.
Joe Taylor: [00:02:01] So as young professionals they dug into their numbers, discovering that a lot of their food spending was coming from meeting up with friends at restaurants or from picking up takeout after long days. So Jazz says she got sharper about planning their budget and their pantry. 
Jazz Glastra: [00:02:18] After we got over the shock of where we were, I think the first thing we did was set some goals around what proportion of our food budget each month would go towards social eating out, special occasion and what proportion we wanted to spend just on go to the grocery store and cooking our own food. And that definitely was an evolution because we had never really given it a good try of doing a weekly shopping list, planning our meals ahead of time, et cetera. So that evolved. But I think the biggest tactic that really made it doable was planning out our meals at the beginning of each week, usually on Sunday evenings. And then doing that weekly shopping trip so that we had everything in the house.
And so you could come home, look at the list, see what we were supposed to have for dinner, and then just do it. There was no thinking there was no decision-making involved. 
Joe Taylor: [00:03:14] And while Jazz and her husband set goals around saving more money, they also noticed another side effect. 
Jazz Glastra: [00:03:20] This was not part of our original plan, but it turns out that restaurants put a lot of fat and salt and sugar in their food. And that is why it tastes amazing. And that was not kind to our waistlines. So neither of us were really in a place where we were unhealthy, but we had definitely put on weight and it just happened slowly over the course of a year or two.
And when we started cooking everything we naturally gravitated towards healthier recipes, just because both of us, we both love fresh vegetables and we love lean meats and you just don't cook the same way that a restaurant chef does. And so we actually, over the course of a couple of years, both lost about 15 or 20 pounds. 
Joe Taylor: [00:04:12] Planning out each week's menu also lets Jazz align her spending with other goals that are important to her. 
Jazz Glastra: [00:04:18] I was involved professionally in sustainable agriculture and community food movements for several years. And so I've always really valued being able to get as much as we can from local farmers directly or at farmer's markets, which is another way of direct shopping from the producers. That when we can get things locally, we try to shop the organic sections at grocery stores. Most grocery stores have them now, even if it's not more of a specialty place, like a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. And so that usually does mean that our food is a little bit more expensive, but because we vastly reduced how much we were going to restaurants, we were able to afford that. Having the amount of time that we do and being able to sit down together for a meal most nights is, I recognize, coming from a place of extreme privilege.
So I don't want anyone to think that people should feel badly about doing what they have to do to get their family fed. But I hope that someone might take a little bit of inspiration from what happened to us, and we made a really drastic change, but I think there are ways to integrate little bits and pieces of what we've done and improve life around the margins a little bit. 
Joe Taylor: [00:05:35] There's one more big result Jazz and her husband got from their shift, and it's one that those internet pills often promise but never quite deliver. 
Jazz Glastra: [00:05:44] We've been able to find joy and comfort in the routine of making meals together. Over the process of a couple of hours of getting everything prepped and eaten and cleaned up, that is time when we're working together on something, we're talking about what happened during our day, we're maybe having a glass of wine. And so I think it has brought us together as a couple in a way that you don't get when you're just sitting across from one another at a restaurant and you, kind of, think okay we already talked about what happened today so now what. It's just a new way to bond with your partner. 
Joe Taylor: [00:06:24] That's Jazz Glastra, who's worked with food and environmental non-profits and now helps college students in Ohio chart meaningful career paths. We've got links to Jazz's profile and more food facts over on our website at 
Search and Replace was produced by Nicole Hubbard with support from Christine Benton, Connie Evans, Amelia Lohmann, April  Smith, and Executive Producer Lori Taylor. Our theme music was composed by Alex ReFire. I'm Joe Taylor, Jr.
Announcer: [00:07:04] This has been a Podcast Taxi radio production. Support for Search and Replace is provided by Johns and Taylor, user experience specialists serving media and technology companies that want their websites to work. Learn more about how top performing businesses eliminate barriers between customers and their goals at

Joe Taylor Jr. has produced stories about media, technology, entertainment, and personal finance for over 25 years. His work has been featured on NPR, CNBC, Financial Times Television, and ABC News. After launching one of public radio's first successful digital platforms, Joe helped dozens of client companies launch or migrate their online content libraries. Today, Joe serves as a user experience consultant for a variety of Fortune 500 and Inc. 5000 businesses. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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