Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Part 3 Journey to a Healthy Life: Live IT on your budget!

If you missed Part 1 and Part 2, go read them now.

In Part 3 I want to give you tips on how to live healthier on your budget. If you know you should be living a certain way you will make it priority and not let excuses get in the way, right? First, it is important that you educate yourself. I hope you have taken the time to read Part 2 because I give several books, films and websites you should check out. This will affirm the changes you need to make and know where your priorities lay.

After you educate you need to make a list of what changes are the biggest priority for you considering your budget. Will you focus on 100% fruits and veggies or will you first focus on the Dirty Dozen list? Will you choose organic meats only or will you choose grassfed cuts? Will you choose organic dairy or choose just hormone free dairy?

Are you going to be making any other changes such as switching to cloth diapers versus chlorine free disposable diapers? Will you choose family cloth/mama cloth over chlorine free versions? Will you be purchasing organic clothing versus slowly changing to organic mattresses and sheets for everyone?

When you have educated yourself you can make these choices a little easier since you now know the health risks or consequences of these and know which ones without a doubt are top priority with your budget.

Our Story!
After educating myself I was totally ready to do it ALL at once. The only part that was going to be a slow process in changing were switching to organic mattresses and sheets and also phasing out all the plastics in our home. If you have read Jillian Michael's book, "How to Master Your Metabolism" you'll understand the wide range of things you should consider changing not only with your diet, but also your lifestyle. I want to change all of these things, but I don't have the means to do all of them right now. However, I will be striving towards this goal.

So where did I start? I focused on almost 100% fruits and veggies, all grassfed meats, free range eggs, hormone free dairy, and almost 100% organic whole grain items. I have several tips to do this within your budget.
  • Do your shopping at your closest health food store (Whole Foods is awesome if you have one!). If not, do some research online and find a co-op. You will generally save money shopping at these places.
  • If you do not have any of these available, that probably means you live in a more rural area where you could definitely save money on local grassfed meats, free range eggs, raw dairy, and local fruits & veggies.
  • Shop in the bulk food section at Whole Foods!! I can't believe how much cheaper everything is in the bulk food section that the packaged goods are in the aisles. You can buy various baking flours to fresh nut butters in these sections.
  • Opt for store brand items. Not only does Whole Foods have their own store brand available in almost every item, but my local grocery chain carries the Organic Best Choice brand as well. Generally the items I purchase at WF are cheaper in the bulk food section, but if I'm running low I can stock up at my local store. 
  • Forget the junk!!!! Seriously this is probably the most important tip I can give you. There is so much junk food you can buy at the health food store. It is much cheaper to make things from scratch at home and they will be healthier. My favorite homemade items are bread, tortillas, graham crackers, granola bars and generally ALL SNACKS. You can save a lot of money by just not purchasing packaged foods. 
  • Eat less meat!!! I did not know until I educated myself that there is just as much (if not more) protein in beans and lentils as there is in meat. Not to mention it is lower in fat and full of fiber. Beans are extremely cheap in the bulk food section. Now me and Ethan's lunches generally are centered around various beans and lentils for our protein. My husband practically demands having meat every night so it has been difficult for us to cut back in this area. However, if you don't have a picky spouse shoot for at least 2 or 3 meatless dinners a week. Homemade pizza (of course with whole wheat crust!) and a breakfast for dinner is a great alternative. 
  •  Be wise and sensible about how much produce you will consume within a week or less. It's true that organic fruits and veggies do not last as long as conventionally grown ones. I'm still learning how much fruits and veggies we will consume in a week. Good thing about fruit when it starts to get too ripe is that I can freeze it and it will be perfect for smoothies or in oatmeal. 
  • Buy frozen fruits and veggies.  Frozen fruits and veggies are sometimes healthier than the fresh versions especially if they have been shipped from a long distance. Usually frozen ones are cheaper as well. I have checked prices many times against fresh and frozen and most the time, frozen is much cheaper. You can quickly thaw out veggies or fruits by running them under water or if you are lucky like me, have a defrost button on your microwave. 
  • Coupons! More and more companies are offering coupons. If you find a brand you like look them up online and see if they offer coupons. I also like to follow as many companies as I can on Facebook because they will keep my in the loop for new products, coupons and promotions.  I believe the more we use coupons the more companies will offer them for us, so use them!
  • Grow it! Plant a garden and you'll save so much money on produce during the spring, summer and fall months. I really wanted a garden this year, but we are trying to sell our home and we will be moving soon so it really wasn't a good idea to do that this year. Next year I look forward to growing several items especially tomatoes. We use a lot of tomato sauce and I plan on learning how to make my own next year. Organic tomato sauce is more expensive to buy at the store. In the mean time we have some neighbors that grow a large garden. Occasionally we get some fresh produce from them which has been wonderful.
  • Watch for sales.  Keep an eye on grassfed meat prices at Whole Foods and stock up when they go on sale. Better yet, look into getting some local grassfed beef from a farm. I do own a small deep freeze and currently researching what is available in my area so I can purchase some after our move. There are some farms who will even sell 1/4 side of beef. You can always ask family or friends to split the order with you. I've heard the grassfed beef from your local farms taste better than the quality you can get at Whole Foods.
  • Do without! Yup, you heard me, learn to do without. What do you usually splurge money on that you can do without? Generally this would mean packaged foods, but since you are eating healthier you shouldn't be consuming many of these to begin with. I'm also talking about more than food items. You can do without paper towels, toilet paper, napkins, disposable items, cleaners, disposable mop pads/dusting sheets, etc. Instead use your cloth dish towels, make some family cloth out of scrap flannel material, purchase reusable/washable microfiber mop heads and make your own cleaners with much cheaper ingredients such as baking soda and vinegar. There are several blogs out there that have awesome eco-friendly ideas and recipes along these lines. Make a list of things that you can learn to make yourself. Then as you have time take a few minutes to google them and see what alternative ideas you can find that would work for you. 
In Part 4 I will be sharing tips on how to get your toddler and children to eat healthier. 
    If you can think of any other ideas on how to live healthy on your budget, please share, I'd love to hear!

    The thoughts and opinions expressed on my blog are my own and are not swayed by any monetary or product compensation. My personal health experiences may not be a typical result for others. The information I share on my blog may not be the views of the sponsors participating in my Healthy Living Event.

    1 comment:

    B.A. Hunter said...

    Great tips! I am slowly trying to incorporate these things into our families lifestyle as well. I wish there were more coupons and sales on organic items at the store though. :-(


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