Healthy Living on a Budget

I was diagnosed with and cured of cancer this spring (hooray!), which has made me more aware of my health and body than ever before. Before I get into the details of my life changes, here are some things I will ask you to consider:

  • It is easier now than ever before to have health insurance, regardless of your health status. If I had been diagnosed just a  year or two earlier, I would have been in debt for the rest of my life. I am 29 years old, otherwise healthy, and never expected to have major health problems. It feels super crappy to have cancer, it feels crappier to have cancer and then have to pay it off for the rest of your life. Get good health insurance.
  • Remember how I believe in giving back? Many, many people have been touched by cancer. Consider making a donation to the American Cancer Society this year- tax deductible and you never know whose life will be changed.
  • If you can’t afford or choose not to give money to the American Cancer Society, consider registering with the National Bone Marrow Registry. It’s a painless cheek swab, and you can save someone’s life- imagine what a wonderful relief it would be to need a transplant and then find out there is a generous person who is your match out there.

Ok. Now that my pitch is out of my system….here are some of the changes I have made and how I have been financially savvy about making them!

One of my hardest guilt struggles is with produce. I almost never buy organic produce because it is SO pricy in grocery stores (especially when compared with nonorganic prices) but then I generally feel guilty about eating pesticides and supporting a system that just isn’t what I root for (hehe, get it?). I work in the environmental field, I make choices every day that line up with my values- I drive an electric car! But for whatever reason, I just cringe when I see a steep grocery bill and couldn’t make myself go for the $3 apple. But I am trying to help my body recover as much as possible, so if I am ever going to switch to organic, now seems like the perfect time.

We also just moved from our super expensive city to a much more affordable part of the country, and as part of my goal to live healthier and also to live more in line with our values, we decided to actively try to up our intake of organic produce. Our rent is cheaper, so our grocery bills can be higher. But….so far, they haven’t been! Here’s why:

-We joined a CSA that delivers a huge box of organic product TO OUR DOOR once a week. It’s $30 and honestly we have to work hard to eat it all before the next batch comes in. It is just gorgeous. We also have been learning about new foods and new recipes, and haven’t had a loser yet!

-I have a garden now. I found amazingly cheap seeds at Goodwill (?) that have grown (?!?) so I have the world’s most beautiful and inexpensive garden. Also organic because I know what goes in it!

-I got a juicer. Here is the story behind this juicer- I know they aren’t as healthy as say, an amazing blender (because you are removing fiber), but I have ALWAYS wanted one. I got this juicer for $5 shipping because I joined a goods trading website called Yerdle (shameless plug, you get $35 Yerdle dollars and I get $10 if you sign up through my link). I got rid of stuff I don’t want anymore, and I put a “wish” for a juicer in, and when one came up I got a text alerting me that a juicer was available and I got it! The only real money spent is for shipping. I’m pretty into it.

Anyway, juicers have such a bad rap because they will gobble up your entire produce drawer….but not mine! I have been saving the parts of produce that you don’t eat normally (broccoli stalks, cantaloupe seeds/goop around the seeds, melon rinds, carrot ends and tops, mushy fruit) and once or twice a week I juice them! I then use the leftover pulp to feed my compost worms. It’s also a great way to get use out of fruit or veggies that are alllllllmost not good anymore.

So there you go. I am eating healthier, wasting less, and not breaking the bank!

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