REAL, FRUGAL, HEALTHY, and FUN!!!
**I’m going to make my next few blogs about keeping your own healthy living costs down. I feel like Money should not hold you back from a healthier lifestyle. The topic is actually quite huge and I want to cover it thoroughly to show you where you can cut costs.**
Financial Stress Will Get You Nowhere
The economy’s not perfect. You need to make every dollar count. It might seem like more money is going out than coming in. Sure you’re worried about your health, but you’re not sure you can afford to make the necessary healthy changes. Don’t make changes that you’re not financially comfortable with. It can backfire in a terrible way. Financial stress can make a person truly ill. Any type of stress, including financial, has been associated with anxiety, changes in weight (not in a positive way), sleeplessness, depression, irritability, and a lack of energy. As you can see, making healthy changes, only for your finances to suffer, would be counterproductive. There is a better way!
Buy The Best That You Can Afford
I got a call from my sister this past week. She was at the grocery store with the intention of picking up some organic produce and grass-fed meats which were recommended to her. She called me when she saw the prices. She asked me the same question a lot of people are asking. Is it worth the extra money? Do I have to get organic, grass-fed, cage-free, and hormone-free to see results? No. Truthfully, if you make any positive changes in your eating, you will see positive results. Swapping your colorful, frosted, nutrient-free, breakfast cereal for eggs, oatmeal, and blueberries is going to give you positive results. As far as the hype about the labels, it’s not black and white. The labels don’t mean what so many people think they mean.
What Does Organic Mean?
Organic farmers use natural pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Natural does not always mean safe for the consumption of mankind. Toxic copper and sulfur are not uncommon in organic farming. In addition to these toxic chemicals which can be found in organic produce are even more truly natural, but still toxic pesticides created by the plants themselves. They are used for their defense against pests and other predators, and they are known to be carcinogenic. Studies show we eat 10 times more natural, toxic chemicals than man-made. Right now I’m sure you’re questioning whether you should eat any fruits and veggies at all. Don’t throw out your salad-ware just yet. The cancer-fighting properties of your produce strongly outweigh the negative aspects of the pesticides. If you can afford organic, great. If you can’t, no worries. Load your cart with whatever fruits and veggies you can afford.
The Many Labels of Meat and Poultry Revealed
Meat and poultry have a lot of confusing labels, too. Grass fed beef is better than grain fed, but if you’re following an overall healthy eating plan, it’s not that big of a deal. Grass fed meat is a little leaner, resulting in fewer calories, and they have slightly more omega-3’s. If you are concerned about the fat of grain-fed beef, trim the fat, and season it with dry rubs which won’t add more calories and fat to it. Cage-free to me, is truly deceiving. Most cage-free chickens are still mass farmed. Although they are not caged, many are crammed in with so many chickens, they have little to no room. Free-range is just as deceptive. It just means they had access to the outdoors. That could mean, they had an itty bitty space on a concrete slab. The benefits of cage-free and free-range aren’t huge either. There’s a few studies suggesting the chickens could be healthier, and once again, they have slightly higher omega-3’s. Hormone-free is debatable. You may consider it a worthy splurge. While the label is meaningless on poultry and pork because hormone use in them is banned, the label is definitely valid in beef. The FDA considers hormone use in beef to be safe. It amps up milk supply, and helps put weight on the cows. It’s unknown how much of these hormones are absorbed by humans. People who oppose the use of hormones in beef suggest that they can be carcinogenic and may cause low sperm-counts in children whose mothers consumed a lot of beef and dairy while pregnant.The debate is inconclusive, so you can determine for yourself whether the label is worth the splurge. Antibiotics in meat and poultry are a legitimate concern. This, to me, is a worthy splurge. Farmers use antibiotics to help with weight gain and to treat infections (many of which are caused by unsanitary conditions). These antibiotics can be absorbed into our bodies when we consume these animals. Drug resistance is a growing problem. The overuse of antibiotics has led to drug resistant bacteria. This means, we are seeing more and more bacterial infections that are unaffected by pharmaceutical drugs. If you have the opportunity to buy your meat and poultry labeled “no antibiotics,” I would recommend that. “Antibiotic-free” does not actually mean the animal was not treated with antibiotics.
Kick Up Your Heels When You Can
Sometimes you go to the grocery store, and the budget is tight. You get the bare necessities. You should probably choose whatever fruits and veggies are the cheapest. Other times, money is good, the bills are paid and you have a little room to splurge. This is when you splurge on things like organic and cage-free. You kick up your heels when you can. The idea that there are 50 shades of grey is hardly accurate. There are infinite shades of grey. Similarly, the spectrum of good-better-best food quality is also pretty infinite. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle. Do the best you can with what you have. Small improvements are more likely to become habitual practices in your healthy lifestyle. It’s like anything, you go at your own pace, work with what you have, and work toward the bigger goal. Don’t sacrifice your financial state over organic apples and don’t buy toaster pastries because you can’t afford organic apples. Buy the regular apples. Even a regular apple a day helps keep the doctor away.