The issue arrises frequently when chatting with people about making healthy changes. The limiting factor in determining how healthy you can be seems to be money. This saddens me for two reasons. Number one, feeling limited to a lower degree of health merely because you don’t have extra money floating around is quite depressing because…well…it’s not true. Number two, if more people felt empowered to take control of their health because money wasn’t an issue we would have a highly more sustainable, responsible, and accountable culture.
Our current “culture of convenience” has trained us to believe that health comes from a bottle and food comes from a shelf. The foundation of healthy living is not through new products, supplements, and the latest healthy “superfood”. The foundation of healthy living is getting back to the basics, going old school, and cutting the crap. I mean that literally. That is also the foundation of this blog. Baby steps are good…noone has to make drastic changes all in one day…it is a learning process and an experience to say the least. One must be open to a shift in thinking…a shift away from convenience and into accountability. By limiting yourself to the options in your local pharmacy and on the shelf of the grocery store I can see how the thought of health would sound expensive. It does to me too. If it has a barcode, put it back. Shop peripherally, in the outermost areas of the store–the produce, the meat, and the dairy. When you venture to the innermost areas of the supermarket your choices become deadly (financially and physically speaking). It is there, like little flags signalling caution, that neverending rows of barcodes adorn processed products that aren’t worthy of being called food. Do you dare pay the hidden price of convenience these items promise?
If you don’t know how to cook from scratch using a few simple ingredients, that is where your journey should start. Know what to do with actual food, i.e., a whole chicken, butter, vegetables, herbs, and other unadulterated treasures. If you don’t like (or, more likely, you only think you don’t like) the taste of actual food, that is your second battle. Get rid of addictions, cravings, and the idea that green stuff is yucky. Overcoming these two challenges will get you two results: health and a smaller grocery bill. Until then, you cannot tell me that being healthy is too costly.
Once you have rescued your tastebuds from the barcode barrage and can taste real food again your new, healthy lifestyle is within your grasp. Some things may seem more costly–particularly meat and dairy products. Personally, I choose quality meat, milk, and cheese over candy, soda, and chips. Compared directly the healthy choice is more expensive. But it’s also more nutrient dense. More nutrient dense=less snacking. In addition, real food lasts much longer than the bag of potato chips that disappears fast enough to make you do a double take. No one can argue that soda is cheaper than water. And energy drinks can easily be replaced with coffee and tea. A commitment to real food also opens the door to all kinds of wonderful home brewed concoctions like homemade juices or kombucha.
Don’t get me wrong, sacrifices must be made. And it’s better to make sacrifices while you are still well enough to put in the effort and brain power. I never said it would be easy. Nothing worthwhile ever is.
From my previous posts I hope you have concluded I am not a trend-dieter. It is the scourge of fickle fads that will drain your pocketbook. I am a food tradionalist. I believe in home cooking–grown and raised at home where possible. My meals are stuffed with meat, dairy, vegetables, roots and fruits, and sprouted grains. You will notice I order the importance of my food groups backwards from the USDA. (I believe the USDA Food Pyramid is just another trend-diet foisted upon us by our government.) But that is a topic for another time, I digress. I simply want to show that living healthy doesn’t have to break the bank.
Here’s where I spend: Good quality grass-fed meat and dairy, organic and local produce, high quality fat (ghee, butter, coconut oil, etc.) and good wine.
Here’s where I save: I literally cannot find anything to buy in Safeway besides toilet paper, paper towels, one brand of butter, and a relatively small amount of organic vegetables. If you can successfully load up a cart full of groceries in Safeway, you are spending too much money on things you don’t need. I can’t find a face cream that works better than coconut oil. (I am using a $10.99 jar that has lasted me so far four months and it’s only halfway used) I can’t find a bar of soap that works better than a 99 cent bulk end of handmade soap from the co-op. I can’t find a better facial scrub than 0.03 cents worth of baking soda. I can’t find a healthier more refreshing drink than home-brewed kombucha. I can’t find a better frozen pizza than the one I can make from scratch at home. I can’t find anything better than butter. (Yes, I can believe it’s not butter. And it should be called DumbBalance.) I don’t eat pre-baked cookies and cakes that you could make yourself for a fraction of the cost. I don’t buy snack food.
I have plans to transition to making my own toothpaste, shampoo, and deodorant. And trust me, it’s not hard. You just have to make the time to do it. It will save you gobs of green. Here are some links:
I hope you feel somewhat enlightened and empowered by this post.
Did I forget something? Let me know!
This post is linked to Simple Lives Thursday By Gnowfglins.