Hey, I think you "can" be more naturally oriented, yet still coupon. For me, I do really well when I shop. I have seen the EC show, know about it, and as someone who has couponed since I was like 5 years old (yep, my parents did it ha!) I don't find it too impressive. A lot of these people on the show are also not using them properly...which is disturbing to me...they're using it on the wrong sizes or wrong products. In general, stores are not going to allow you to get insane quantities like they do on tv. I've done it, maybe a few times myself with a product I really loved went on sale. But I think maybe three times in the last 10 years I've special ordered. It's easiest if you have doubles in your area, however there are other ways as I live in a non-doubling area and still do well. A lot of stores take $/$$ coupons in our area. Often times, there are items which are moneymakers/free after coupons...when you combine those items with coupons for $/$$ purchase, lets say $10 off of a $50 purchase you basically will have $10 to play with to buy whatever you really want.
Often times I 'buy things' I don't really care for/don't need but are free after Q's to just to get my total up to the $50. Then I turn around and use the $10 off the basket coupon to buy meat, seafood, vegetables, fruits, milk, eggs, whatever I need. Sure, there is a lot of cheap junk out there with coupons. I generally avoid all that. But, when there is a good coupon on vegetables, cereal, something that is healthier I will use them.
Then, the stuff I don't need I generally donate. Generally use your $/$$ coupons, match up store coupons/sales with MQ and keep a stockpile of core items around. I don't stockpile as much as some. But, I have a stockpile of beans, soups, pastas, peanut butter, tomato sauces/pastes, vegetables, cereals, pickles and spaghetti sauce. I stock up on toiletry/paper products when I can though in my area it's not as easy to get deals as some. If you want to save a ton, when there is a deal you really have to devote a good amount of time to shopping and stock up.
If you use strategies and put the time in you can definitely save 90-95% depending on where you live. However, there is a time cost to this too. I took breaks from couponing at certain times of my life, in particular when I had babies. The time is just too precious. I try to do as little as I can and still maximize my savings. Most weeks I only plan out my trips for a couple hours and then shop for about an hour and a half. However, there are some weeks there is a deal I really want, and will basically allow me to save a tremendous amount (like when there are gas card/gift card deals, etc.) that I will put the work in and 3-4 times that week at multiple stores. Thankfully the great sales aren't there every week. ;) There was one crazy week several months ago where I basically four items I stock up on were free or moneymakers (veggies, pasta, soup, sauce) I shopped a ton that week! I probably made 7-8 different trips over three days and got $1000 or so worth of groceries for $15 or so. When it's like that, really it's like a part time job. The best deals are the gas card/gift card deals. One week I spent around $263--but came home with maybe 5 carts filled with groceries (all on multiple trips at different stores obviously) AND $350 in gas and amex gift cards. Those are great weeks when they have them!
So, the answer I have is, yes--you *can* still have a healthy living and save a tremendous amount on groceries. However, sometimes it is a lot of work. You can still be really thrifty without using coupons. There's deals on produce (organics even) at the warehouse stores. There are co-ops that you can find (have friends who do natural meat and organic veggie co-ops). Yeah, you won't be spending as little as some of us (I maybe spent like $30 on groceries and personal items in the last 5 weeks) but it is less work and you'll still be eating super healthy.
I pass up on a lot of junk food! Trust me, sometimes it is hard. I also pass up on a lot of cleaning products. Though there have been natural ones on the market recently that have had coupons (green works, 7th generation are products I stock up on when I get them free/nearly free). The last deal I had on those I stocked up on the 7th generation liquid...a bogo sale matched up with a manufacturers coupon and competitor coupon meant that I made .50 on each bottle I bought! But, mostly I still use vinegar/baking soda/other natural things to clean with. Some of the cleaners out there are just so obnoxiously nasty I would not touch them!
I think it's all about whether or not you want to put the time into it. It takes time to do all of this. At some times in my life I have not had that time to use...that's when I 'eat through the stockpile' and DH does all the perishable food shopping for me.