Can You Afford It?

An extremely important component in learning about your individual health needs and getting to know how your mind and body works; is becoming your own healthcare advocate. You can read it here.

I’ve written about my thoughts on why it is so difficult to be and stay healthy. You can read it here. I’m expanding on each of the eight points I made, because I have a lot to say. What I write about, comes from my own personal experiences and observations. As individuals–our health–needs to be approached as such.

4. It can be expensive, the fruit and vegetable isle. Low income presents a huge problem. Depending on our location, we could grow our own gardens, freeze and can the food for winter. That is time consuming, and if someone has a long commute, or has to work two jobs, when would they have time to garden? Or could they have a garden, if they lived in an apartment building, in the middle of a busy city? Would there be enough fresh food to sufficiently feed a family of four or more? It seems that there is always a sacrifice of one thing for another. Depends on what you most want, what is most important to you. It’s the ‘get out of your head’ thing again. New study confirms that eating healthy does indeed cost more…  Even if we eat healthy food, we still aren’t getting all the nutrients required; enter supplements. Even a really good multivitamin is not going to help meet those needs. If you are going to take supplements, choose ones that will address your individuality. –and yes, supplements add an extra monthly expense. Yay!

money jarI consider myself a very organized individual. However, when it comes to being a savvy, grocery store shopper, I’m severely lacking. Maybe it stems from my issues with food, (not an excuse, just an observation).

So, I know I should be checking the paper for sales and clipping coupons, because it is a great way to save some money. Now that doesn’t mean that you buy all the stuff that’s on sale, a large portion of which is unhealthy. If you check regularly, you will probably find a bit of a pattern with the sales and then you can plan ahead. Coupons may have a use by date that is further away, increasing your planning time.

Planning ahead is key for saving your hard earned pennies, on food. I’m a planner; doesn’t mean I always follow through. In my case, as in most, that is indicative of an emotional crutch preventing forward motion; similar to a rubber band that allows you to take a few steps forward, but then pulls you back before you are successful. I like to call it a ‘work in progress’. Planning involves spending some time, perusing recipes, meal plans, scanning sales, clipping coupons, having a file system and making lists. The idea is to then take your list to the store.

Without this plan in place, I generally shop once a week and pick up extras as needed. Using up all perishables will ensure you savings; you are not wasting the food or your money. Again, meal planning is essential to know what you will or won’t need in the week/ weeks to come. I love looking through recipes, and if you’re like me, the simpler they are the more chance you will use them. Making lists is a favorite pass time, but then what? It really is productive if you can follow a weekly meal plan, honest! I have done it before, and noticed that it even saves time when it comes to cooking. Knowing what your meal will be each day of the week, prevents the hunched stance and glazed eye stare, while releasing all the cold air from the fridge.

Buy fruits and vegetables when they are in season, and grown locally if possible. If the produce is readily available, then it should be cheaper. Farmer’s markets are great for in season produce. Note: not everyone has the funds for organic, but don’t worry, regular produce will still give you vitamins and minerals. Yes, there is the issue with pesticides and such, but if you don’t have the money, you don’t have the money.

When you hit the grocery store, make sure you buy ONLY what is on your list. Huge savings there! I don’t think it’s fun, but some people enjoy wandering up and down each aisle, browsing at all the new stuff. If you want to save money, keep your head down, your list in front of you, and make sure you have eaten prior to going to the store. Wanting to try some new things? Check out some new recipes, make your list, and purchase the new items. No brainer.

Why Are Food Prices So High? –This was written March 2012, but there’s probably not much change.

Another option; grow your own veggies. There are some very unique and space-saving ways to have a garden. I love the idea of a container garden; does not mean I have one. This is another area that I love to dream about and plan, but that’s where it stops. Maybe one day. The rest of my family all grow stuff in their gardens; what happened to me? FYI: I’m always here if you need someone to plan, strategize and organize your future container garden. I’ll even draw out the plans for you with lovely descriptive paragraphs on the veggies and how they should be arranged and what they should be planted next too. I researched and designed a six by six foot veggie garden with companion planting and it was amazing! I think I still have the drawings…lol.

Bottom line, start with one or two pots, see what happens. You will never know until you do it. Every little bit counts towards some savings, and you know you are growing organic. Bonus!

There is so much information out there on container gardening, and some very unique designs that could be lots of fun. Here are a couple links to get you started.

Vegetable Container Gardening; Getting Started

Container Gardening For Vegetables

The Great Global Food Gap  –This is just fun to see what other people are eating. You may even notice that you are eating healthier than some. Boost to the ego!

What I’ve learned about supplements:

Some individuals’ bodies do not absorb certain vitamins and minerals as easily as others. There could be a physical ailment that works against absorption. The diet simply may be lacking. When it comes to vitamins/ supplements, I believe that we are all individual. We are all unique in what our own bodies need. Yes, there are the general vitamins such as vitamin C, D, and iron, that we all might need a little extra of. I’ve been taking iron supplements for over twenty years, being borderline anemic, due to other crap. Luckily, iron is not too expensive. If you have a deficiency, then it’s important to address that.

In general, those who might want to add some supplements to their diets are:

Vitamins/ supplements come in all different shapes and sizes. How quickly they dissolve in your stomach acids, will give you an idea of their potency and effectiveness. If absorption doesn’t take place in the proper area, then how beneficial are they? Probably a waste of your money. Buy a couple different brands of multivitamins, some apple cider vinegar, and you’ve got yourself a home test. Apple cider vinegar somewhat resembles the stomach acids with regards to breakdown times. Add a vitamin to a small cup of vinegar, and time it to see how long it takes the vitamin to dissolve. Shaklee brand has come out on top with this test, being broken down quickly and therefore absorbed in the most effective area of the body.

Shaklee Vitalizer Multivitamin Review… I chose this one as I am a fan of Shaklee products, but there are others as well that rank high on the list.

If you have a reasonably well-balanced diet and no blatant deficiencies, keep spending your money on the healthy food you are eating. It is better to purchase healthy food, cook with limited salt, fat, etc., than to spend money on vitamins/ supplements in an attempt to reap amazing benefits from them. They are only meant to be used as a complement to regular diets, not a replacement. That also goes for all the meal replacement shakes and bars, while in a pinch they can satiate, but real food simply can not be replaced.

Knowledge is always power. It gives you options and the ability to make choices for the health of your body and mind.

 Any other suggestions? Comments are welcomed and encouraged!

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