Is living a healthy life more expensive, and is it worth it to you?
|December 26, 2011||Posted by under Frugal Exercise, Health & Beauty|
As I have changed things in my life over the years to make it better, I often contemplate what makes other people happy and healthy and what a person is willing to do to get there themselves. We all have different desires, needs and wants but which ones are really worth your money, time or effort? Which ones are dragging you down?
THE COST OF BEING HEALTHY
Health should be something we all see as a priority but seeing what goes on out there, I believe that many people are still in some stage of denial regarding their health (obesity epidemics have sprouted in many western cultures in recent years!) or just don’t care about it at all. There are different ways of achieving good health but the basics are pretty much this: Eat nutritious vitamin packed foods and less of it and move around whether that be running, walking, yoga or any type of physical activity.
If you’re a real keener and want to be even healthier, you should balance your mind, body and soul and keep all of them happy: Not overworked, stressed out or overly busy either. The key here is balance.
I used to remember the days when a Dairy Queen Blizzard made me the happiest woman alive. Now my insides would reject these types of chemical-ridden foods. So if you’re really struggling with making the right food choices, I completely understand, trust me. I used to think it was o.k. to eat this stuff but it’s not! Changing our entire diet takes a long time but the results are well worth it for your mind, body and soul. You won’t crave any of the unhealthy foods you used to eat at all. (well, maybe once or twice a year!)
You’d think this would be easy for people as it seems simple to do, but sadly it isn’t. I should know, it took me years to lose all that weight & achieve a healthy body and it’s the best present I’ve ever given myself.
Not only can healthy foods be expensive but so are gym memberships.
At almost 42 years old, I feel better now physically than when I was 22. I was overweight at 25 and over-ate. I made some good food choices but some other not-so-good ones as well. I was vegetarian but in those days it was tough to feed a vegetarian on a budget therefore I ate a lot of breads, pastas and probably too much food as well. Over the years, I trained my body to only want foods that it needs. This is not to say that I only eat to survive. I am a real foodie yet I can satisfy cravings with just a taste of something! If I want a snack, I eat an apple or popcorn with nutritional yeast, not chips or that foul chemical microwave popcorn. Truth is, if I ate greasy chips from the grocery store I’d feel horrible. I don’t want to feel that way so I don’t eat them. And if my hormones get the best of me (hello PMS!), I will eat some of Barbara’s White Cheddar Cheese Puffs from the health food store or some popped corn with nutritional yeast. Hits the spot and there are no chemicals in there!
Sadly, so many people see a change of diet as food deprivation.
But over time, your body just tells you what it wants. Sometimes I crave an entire stalk of steamed broccoli, how weird is that? And yes, sometimes my body does want a big fat piece of fatty cake but that might happen a few times a year for me at this stage. I spend more money on nutritious foods because it’s worth it to me. I don’t have ANY kind of indigestion or heartburn pills in my house because I never need them. I am rarely sick apart from a common cold in the winter and don’t get stomach aches, no headaches or heartburn either. This means no doctor visits, no missing work days and no pills to take which in turn means some saved cash!
As far as exercise, I have done all kinds over the years. I used to attend free and cheap community yoga classes a lot before my 2 foot operations. Now I try to walk 30mins a day but since my foot is healing nicely I have purchased a Groupon type coupon for 10 yoga classes for $3 a class. So on cold days when walking isn’t very pleasant I can head to yoga instead. You don’t need fancy equipment or expensive gym memberships to stay fit. Try swimming at a local indoor pool or perhaps partake in some seasonal activities such as skating, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Cities usually have free outdoor skating rinks in the winter if you live in a colder climate like myself.
I find it interesting that people will justify spending $100 a month on a cable tv subscription but think that spending more on good local and organic food and exercise is out of the question. It’s about priorities though isn’t it?
Sitting in front of a tv for hours a day will only lead to bad things such as overeating and training you to be a couch potato! Who wants that? Well, maybe you do…
The best and cheapest way to eat healthy nutritious foods is to:
- Try and stay out of large grocery stores. That’s where you’ll find all that processed food. Even their supposed fresh-baked bread is not good!
- Shop at farmer’s markets, health food stores and smaller independent places such as ethnic grocery stores & bakeries.
- Eat seasonal so you can get the most vitamins out of your produce.
- Try to grow your own produce in the summer months and herbs indoors year round. If you live in an urban area with no back yard, check out this book: Apartment Gardening. I will be getting this once I move.
- For non-vegans: Don’t ever buy processed dairy products (no, not even that plastic orange sliced cheese…ewwww!) or meat at a grocery store either! (full of icky hormones). Buy locally made cheese if possible. Organic local meat without hormones is expensive but your body actually doesn’t even need meat more than a couple of times a week, contrary to what most people think! Cut down on meat (3 oz is all you need in one sitting – it’s one portion according to food guides) and dairy and up the quality of these foods. However, NEVER EVER drink milk! EVER. If you drink milk, you are really really insane. Here’s why: THE MILK DOCUMENTARY
- Don’t buy anything processed if possible. Look for foods with sodium less than 10% and if you can’t read most or even some of the ingredients of what you are buying, leave it on the shelf. If you can’t pronounce what’s in there, it’s probably a bad idea to eat it.
- Avoid canned foods as much as possible (check for sodium content and preservatives). I do buy some organic canned tomatoes when local produce isn’t available but it has no salt or added chemical preservatives to it.
- Cook & bake from scratch. Leave those frozen prepared meals & desserts at the grocery store. Eeeek!
- Buy dried beans and legumes. Not only are they cheap but very nutritious.
- Avoid buying pre-made snacks. Make your own popcorn and avoid the microwave stuff which is full of salt and chemicals.
- Ditch sugary beverages! I don’t like pop and I have given up on juice unless it’s fresh. If I drink juice it’s because it was freshly pressed. Even the tetra juice packs aren’t great. Opt for water or mineral water with lemon, lime or other fruits. Cucumber in water is really refreshing too.
Like any new habit, doing this may seem tedious and time-consuming at first but it becomes part of your life and you actually start to enjoy living like this. I don’t even notice it anymore, it’s just automatic for me now. Perhaps you’ll spend a little more eating this way but if you ditch that useless TV cable subscription you’ll have extra cash for yummy healthy foods, TV is so old-school anyways.
Some of you will read this and continue to eat your chips, pop and Twinkies and that’s o.k if that’s what you want to do. Though I am hoping that more of you will realize that putting your hard-earned dollars on your health is a great investment for your physical and mental well-being. And it will save you money in the long run. Not only do I never go see the doctor but my skin is baby soft (even my face!) and I look 10-12 years younger as I have few wrinkles. Invest in your health and you’ll never go back as you’ll feel and look better.