I'm not discouraging you from eating fresh foods in lieu of boxed/canned ones (I LOVE my new lifestyle/diet thing), I'm warning you about what you might be facing because I didn't think about this when I switched (the switch was SOOO worth it).
YOU WILL NEVER STOP GROCERY SHOPPING. EVER.
EVER, OHMYGAWD. I use to shop maybe twice a month. MAYBE. Everything I ate didn't really go bad, so I could keep from shopping very often. Now that I eat ground turkey on my sandwich, salads, and other fresh, better for me stuff I swear I go shopping at least every 3-5 days, which really should have been obvious in the beginning.
At least I spend less per trip? Spreads out the spending? It IS kind of cheaper because buying a few veggies every week doesn't cost much. The meat is the most expensive part, so I buy it on sale and freeze it when I can or buy it pre-frozen and thaw what I need. It's not the money that's the issue, it's the frequency, though the trips are shorter because you're usually only getting a few things.
YOU WILL HAVE SOMETHING GO BAD IN YOUR FRIDGE.
Part of the reason why you'll start grocery shopping more is because *shock* fresh food goes bad and at some point in time, you'll let it go bad in your fridge. I can guarantee that the fastest way to learn how much you can eat before it goes bad is to let it go bad. After dealing with the nasty food (that you totally paid for), you'll want to stop wasting money and smelling icky food.
Lucky for me I worked in a butcher block so working with fresh meat is easy for me and I know about how much meat I eat and how long it lasts. I still mess up sometimes, though.
YOUR BODY WILL HAVE TO ADJUST. IT WILL BE UNPLEASANT.
WARNING: Potential TMI
If you're anything like how I was, your body isn't familiar with how to process raw veggies. I could eat ANYTHING processed or greasy and be fine (hell, fast food cures my upset stomach). If I ate veggies.... let's just say that I got sick. Diarrhea can occur and yes, it can be green. Fruit use to give me stomach aches because I couldn't handle how acidic it was. It took me about a week or two (possibly three) to adjust and to be able to eat fruits and veggies without wanting to die.
Thankfully, I can eat as many plants as I want now and not get sick (except spinach). However, that being said, my body no longer can deal with junk food or crap food because my body likes to live on the edge (of my sanity). I switched to only good food and now I can't handle the bad food as well. I secretly think that my body hates me and enjoys tormenting me.
THE PREPARATION/TIME FACTOR
You will have to cut up all those fruits and veggies and you will have to cook any meat that you buy, both of which take time. This requires you to have to manage your time in a way that allows you to do this.
I cut all of my plant-food up at once and store it in tupperware so that I can use it as I go. I cook five turkey burgers at once and separate them (definitely freeze them separate) so I can grab them when I want them (five just happens to be how many I can make out of a pound of burger). Doing it all at once makes it way easier to pack my lunch at night and to make meals the rare times when I'm at home.
IN THE END,
I am very glad that I switched to fresh food. I've lost about 12-14 pounds as of this blog entry and I feel a LOT better. I don't know how else to describe it, I just feel... better. I don't get sick as often (I live in a cold, windy, wet place and my body is not down with that) and when I have gotten sick, it was milder (cold season). I feel like I have more energy and the world's a little brighter. My body is getting what it needs and it's quite happy (as am I). My moods have balanced out (hormone crap, don't ask) and I just feel... good. :D
<3 - CFC