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Shifting Priorities and Absorbing Costs…

As I mentioned in this post, I am trying to improve my health.  I’m 37, but many days… maybe even most days… I feel more like 87.  Since I’m not getting any younger {as evidenced by the growing number of grey hairs I noticed today!}, I figured it was time to grab the bull by the horns and do something, or a lot of somethings, to take better care of myself.

The first beast to slay is my addiction to massive amounts of unhealthy food.  I love to eat, and I love to eat unhealthy food.  In fact, eating is basically my favorite thing in the world.  I often lament this fact, but there it is.  Obviously when you combine eating a lot with eating junk, you get a really bad result.  Some people eat a lot and stay healthy, some people eat junk and stay {relatively} healthy, but very, very few people do both.

When I started seriously considering changing the way I eat, I started to think about it in relation to living frugally.  In the past, it’s been one or the other.  Either I eat healthfully and spend a mint… or I eat frugally and the food quality is pretty terrible.  I knew I had to strike a balance this time because I need to be both healthy AND frugal.  I can’t afford to ditch one in favor of the other.  My health isn’t going to get any better on it’s own, nor will my savings account grow if I don’t keep some money to put in it.

My plan of attack this time started out really simply — Just eating some produce.  And from there, it has grown to eating more produce.  And honestly?  That’s my plan.  To eat lots of healthy, good for me produce, to help give me the volume of food I crave, and give my body the nutrients it needs.  It’s a win-win.  And after only about a week and a half, I’m seeing some benefits already.  The biggest one being that the psoriasis on my scalp has improved.  NOTHING has helped that, and after a week and a half of eating lots of produce, I’m seeing {an unexpected!} improvement.  And, of course, the foods that accompany the fruits and veggies should be good for me too.  Not to say that I won’t have treats, but the mainstays of my meals should be healthy foods as well.

So now comes the question — How does one AFFORD these things?  It’s no secret that fruits and veggies aren’t cheap unless they are in season AND on sale.  I know in some places, farmer’s markets have better prices on produce than supermarkets, but that is not at all the case here.  It does, however, taste many times better, so I have treated myself to quite a bit of produce from the markets the past couple of weeks.  There’s no better motivation to eat fruits and veggies than when they taste completely amazing!  The foods I either can’t get at a farmer’s market, or don’t feel it’s worth paying farmer’s market prices for {looking at you, broccoli}, I get at Aldi or Fresh Thyme.

The other foods are considerably easier to find for a great price.  Beans will be a mainstay around here, and they are super cheap.  I just made a big bag {much bigger than I realized, actually} that made 3 meals for us, plus a bag for the freezer that will make at least 2 more meals.  The beans were cooked with herbs and spices, then served with various veggies, rice, and sprinkles of cheese.  We just bought this 10 lb sack of brown basmati rice from Costco, which I am sharing a photo of for the simple reason that I love the cloth bag it comes in…

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So I’ve talked about fruits, veggies, beans, and rice… but what, you ask, about meat??  Well… such is the conundrum.  Every frugaler knows that meat is expensive.  Even when you flex all your frugal muscles and get it at the very best available prices… which, I admit, I didn’t always do… it’s still not cheap.  Cutting out meat entirely would result in a hasty divorce, however, so that is certainly not an option.  Therefore Hubs and I have reached a compromise:  I cook dinner at home 6 days per week, therefore 3 days per week we will have meat, and the other 3 days per week, we will have vegetarian meals {with eggs or cheese, possibly.}

I won’t lie and say Hubs was exactly thrilled about the plan, but he understands.  He can do the math as well as I can — buying more expensive produce + buying lots of meat = a grocery budget we can’t afford.  And he knows I need to eat better for my health.  {Won’t hurt for him to eat healthier food either, but thus far he has been blessed with very good health.}

So that’s where we are right now.  It’s still a work in progress to figure things out, but I think that will always be true.  One day at a time, one decision at a time, trying to make the best one we can, for our health and for our bottom line.

Do you have any great frugal health tips?  Or healthy frugal tips?

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