How to Ball on a Lean StartUp Budget

“How to Ball on a Lean StartUp Budget”

Chapter 1: Grocery Nutrition – Fuel The Fire

By Chris Brodhead


When I made the decision to become an entrepreneur I knew my success hinged on my ability to live cheaply.

Nice Apartments/Fast Cars/Fast Women = High Life Overhead = High Work Time Requirements = Being Deep in Debt to the MAN = Not Having ANY Say Over Where/When/What You Do with Your Time/Life = Not a Happy Chris or Anyone as far as I can tell.

This equation is true in running your business and in running your life (at least until you sell or go public).

After you find a decent deal on a centrally located apartment the next biggest importance is how best to fuel your desire ie FOOD!

Let me explain the importance of nutrition and health in an entrepreneur’s world.  As an entrepreneur you must wear many different hats; manager, sales, accounting, pr, hospitality, disciplinarian, copywriter, marketer, yellow hats, big hats, cowboy hats, and so on.  In order to have the energy and fuel to power your endless determination you must have a well balanced diet consisting of protein, fat, and even a carb or two.

After studying nutrition (Reading countless books, studies and “The 4 Hour Body” by Tim Ferriss; my idol) and self testing my reaction to a wide variety of different food combinations over many years I came to the conclusion that fresh, healthy, non processed, low carb, high protein, high good fat, was the way to go. Sorry ramen and mac/cheese you turn my brain into mush. #YouAreWhatYouEat

I knew what I wanted to regularly eat but now I needed a variety of meals that were quick, easy, and wouldn’t make for a 6 time per day tough decision.  I would simply let my gut decide.  President Obama said he never decides what he’s going to wear or eat because he doesn’t want to waste a decision on something trivial.  Intimating that we only have so many important or otherwise decisions we can handle in a day.  This rings true to me.

At first I experimented with your run of the mill grocery stores where organic food prices are outrageous and selection is severely limited.  I set a grocery budget for myself of $50 per week.  Which was easy because $50 per week was all I could afford.

It went ok for a few months.  It wasn’t really possible to stay within budget and still live by my healthy food fuel philosophy.

That is until I discovered Trader Joe’s.  Oh Trader Joe’s.  The depth of my love for thee is on par with the deepest trenches of the ocean and the highest peaks of Mount Olympus.  Such love for this wondrous food center that I erred on the side of daily visits.  I even met the love of my life right there in the dairy section (though that magnificent diatribe will have to wait for another time).

After I discovered TJ’s I was able to successfully live within my $50 self inflicted weekly healthy grocery budget.

I even created 6 regular meals, using only Trader Joe’s ingredient, that I could make relatively quickly and fell under my “OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) like” list of food requirements.  I will explain in DETAIL the value and importance of two of these six meals and include their “Regular Name” and “Fancy Name”.

First Meal:

Regular Name: Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwich with Milk
Fancy Name: Unsalted Natural Peanut Butter and Organic Honey on Sprouted Wheat Bread with Organic Fat Free Milk

photo 5-Creamy Unsalted Peanut Butter; The ingredients on the jar say “DRY ROASTED PEANUTS”. That’s the only ingredient you need. Anything else should be considered an a pox on your family.   PB is also high in Poly and Mono-unsaturated fats, protein, and fiber. Mmmm Mmmm Delicious!
-Organic Honey; Preferably the kind that you can’t see through; why? cause it’s better for you.. duh!
-Sprouted Wheat Bread; this is the most ridiculous bread I have ever come across. Firstly, it’s delicious. Secondly, per slice it has 5 GRAM’s OF PROTEIN! Thirdly, it has 3 g of Fiber. And Lastly, only 7 g of Carbs!!! WHAT??? Bread with only 7 g of carbs! THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE! el9
-Big Glass of Fat Free Organic Milk.  These two pair beautifully

The inimitable “PB and Honey Sandwich” is probably my favorite food in the world. I will eventually write a “Future Noir” memoir based around this sandwich entitled “My Favorite Last Meal” in which I am continuously reborn from the past to the future for the sole purpose of imbibing more delicious Peanut Butter Honey Sandwiches…. So good!

The next meal I will describe is my morning protein shake.

Protein Shake consisting of:
-½ of an Organic Banana (preferably more on the green side so as to keep the sugar content lower)
-Kefir; This may be one of the most important discoveries of man kind’s reign over this fertile vessel. Kefir is a milk based substance that contains a GUT LOAD of Acidophiles.  Acidophiles is an extremely important part of your body’s ability to maintain homeostasis, digest food, keep your gut healthy, produce 95% of your body’s serotonin (the hormone that keeps you even tempered and happy), and basically keep you happy, healthy, and depression/anxiety free. Apparently it also significantly helps your immune system. #EatIt photo 3
-Ground Flax Seed; This is PACKED with Omega-3’s. Which are of paramount importance if you want your brain to function at it’s highest level while simultaneously healing itself from years of hard drinking in college. It’s also quite high in protein and fiber so get ready for some satisfying movements! photo 1
-Peanut Butter; If I could eat peanut butter with every meal I would…. and I do. Peanut butter is a flat out super food that is filled with Polyunsaturated and Monounsatured fats (good fats) and PROTEIN!
-Frozen Pineapple bites; Don’t go overboard on these as they are high in sugar but I feel, and this is entirely based on personal experience with no science to back me up, that pineapple makes you smell better… Weird right…
-Protein Powder; I used to use the run of the mill “PROTEIN POWDER” until I started reading the label’s ingredients. What the hell are all those 8 syllable ingredients? And what the hell is that chemical aftertaste? I don’t know and I don’t wanna know. That’s why I use Whey Protein Isolate that has 2 ingredients!
Protein powder is a must for the mornings. I have read studies whereby simply consuming 30 g of protein within the first hour of waking up can kick start your metabolism and help you to lose weight without any other forms of dieting or exercise. #DoIt photo 1
-Organic Tuscan Kale; This is a relatively new but highly welcome addition to my morning protein shake. Study after study continuously touts the amazing health benefits of leafy greens. Everyone seems to agree, saying “that makes sense” while making no effort to consume more leafy greens. Well throwing them into your protein shake certainly makes it easy. It’s also delicious! photo 3
Fun side note: There are basically two warring factions of bacteria in your gut. One is the happy, healthy, high level of self esteem and accomplishment Flora and the other is the mean, selfish, hate filled, fat, bloated, unhealthy bacteria. And guess what each one likes to eat. If you said leafy greens for the fun one and refined sugar/processed foods for the bad one GOLD STAR!! Which could lead you to believe that refined sugar is the worst thing you could possibly ever eat… and it is. #YouAreWhatYouEat #BeKale
-Room Temperature Water
This is an odd ingredient I admit but I have read studies that the ice in water stuns your stomach acid and make digestion much more difficult. Thereby lowering your nutrient absorption rate and increasing stomach related discomforts.
I accomplish this feat by leaving our Brita Water Filter on the counter top right next to the sink. Simple easy and you can refill it in a snap.
Side Note: Drink water. I can’t imagine a worse thing to put in your body than carbonated soda or fiber-less fruit drinks.  These are both nothing but sugar.  They spike and then crash your blood sugar while feeding those angry serotonin destroying bacteria in your gut. #DRINKWATER!

I’ll blend that bad boy up in a blender and drink it while I walk my dog in the morning.  It’s delicious, with a low glycemic index number (so it doesn’t spike/crash my blood sugar), and offers sustained energy into lunch.

The other 4 meals will be discussed in a future blog post.

Until then I think you should stay awesome and see how much serotonin you can get your gut to produce.  Make a contest out of it. I’ll challenge you in fact!

<-Picture 1: photo 4What a protein shake looks like when you are finished.

Picture 2: photo 5What my high serotonin producing gut makes my head feel like ->















  1. I too share the same love of minimal ingredients and as few processed foods as possible. And I too have an unhealthy but healthy relationship with TJs. It is my home away from home. Sometimes when I walk in, I just inhale to smell the sweet stench of awesome. If I could have Trader Joe as a member of my family, I would bring him a plethora of gifts and build a shrine dedicated to him. Instead, the shrine at my home is my pantry and fridge stocked full of TJs goodies. Have you tried the Masala Veggies Burgers yet?

    I say to you: Get them, the mango chuteny, some garlic Naan bread, and spinach. And make yourself a little bit of a heaven burger.
    You can thank me later 😉

    Glad to see you’re being so healthy!

    • cjbrodheadsays:

      That’s amazing! I am glad to hear you also share this deep love with Tj’s. I will def check out the Masala burgers. I think I was looking at them the other day.

      Thanks Callie!

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