The real bottom line for a lot of us is wherever the seams of our pockets are. Those who strive to eat healthy foods often find their first roadblock is written on the price tag of a cantaloupe, or some other such whole food. Add the word 'organic' and you've nearly doubled the cost. So how can one eat the stuff that's good without going in debt to do it?
Well, I can't yet say it's easy, but there are ways to at least improve, and I was happy, very happy, to find a section in Nourishing Traditions that covers that. I have since found some online resources for the frugality issue, as well.
I have believed from the first time I was overwhelmed by the information in Nourishing Traditions, that this is something that needs to be done in baby steps. And some of the things there, I may never do. Some of the recipes, I know I will never cook. But there is the idea and there are basic concepts. With them, I do believe 'better' can be accomplished by just about anyone.
After studying the 'why's and wherefore's' given in the book, (and believe me, there are tons of them), you may love the thought of drinking raw, whole milk, of using wonderful oils such as coconut, of eating grass-fed meats, organic and fermented fruits and vegetables, of drinking fermented beverages like kombucha and beet kvass...But when reality sets in , you may find that your budget cannot handle all that. Well, let's discuss some of the things it just might be able to handle that you're unaware of as yet.
Eating in costs less than eating out. I know that on average, a meal out for dinner anywhere except a fast food restaurant is going to average between $15. and $20. dollars/person at the less expensive restaurants. For that amount, you can get the highest quality ingredients for home cooking and wisely divided, they can make as many as four meals.
Remember, too, that unless you've done some good homework for places that cater to the health conscious, (and that doesn't mean vegetarian/vegan conscious), the meal you eat out will not be nutrient-dense. Nutrient-dense eating makes the most of all the nutrients within a given food through every phase from farm to table, not excluding the very important step of preparation. Nutrient-dense eating supports the immune system as well as all the other systems of the body. It's wise to remember that over time, this will mean a decrease in doctor's office and even emergency room visits...More money saved.
The meals we eat out are generally full of the types of fats, seasonings and fillers that hurt the body. If you're not a complete purist, and I'm far from it, such meals can be enjoyed from time to time without doing the body a lot of harm...IF the majority of the time, there is a dedication to 'rightful' eating habits.
It is a shame that once we start to understand what is needed or not needed in our food, we also start to understand that the manufacturers are a step ahead. Decades of infusing 'stuff' into our food that we were unaware of has turned things so topsy-turvy, that we now have to pay the processors extra money to get the food without all that added 'stuff'. They know many of us are passionate about not consuming toxins in our food, so in addition to anything they might reasonably charge for supplying food with less additives, they gouge us for more based solely on the knowledge that we want it.
My husband works for a contractor. As with many contractor positions, there is uncertainty about whether or not tomorrow holds a job for him where he is now. It makes me think, daily, about what we would do should we suddenly find him jobless. There are a lot of areas where we would cut back. But we don't want our health to suffer, so we would really like to continue doing as much as we can along the lines of nutrient-dense eating. Although I believe we would have to forfeit some of the foods we like, I don't believe we'd have to give up altogether.
In the back of Nourishing Traditions, there are several great resources. One of the best of those resources is "Appendix A: LIMITED-TIME LIMITED-BUDGET GUIDELINES". I was so impressed by this section, that even though I didn't have to use it at the time, I decided to sojourn further into traditional eating methods by incorporating some of the suggestions found in these three information-packed pages. I use them now, am thrilled at their flexibility, and I will begin to share more about them in the next post.
In the meantime, keep this term in mind...'nutrient-dense'. If it were money, we'd call it counting pennies. Each and every one has value that, when added together, contributes to the whole. If we drop pennies, the value of the whole is affected. Likewise, when it comes to overall health, every nutrient has value that when working together, contributes to the whole. If we drop one nutrient, the value of the whole is affected. But unlike the dollar bill, our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made. When a system of the body is affected adversely, another system will do it's best to kick in and fill the gap. Often, this works for a time, but eventually, the overworked system will start to falter, and then perhaps another system will try to kick in...Over time, system after system will become overstressed and we will reap the unhappy rewards of ill health...and the related financial costs.
All because of nutrient-poor eating? Obviously, not always, but yes, often. The dominoe effects of malnourishment have been well-documented ranging in everything from rickets to behavioral disorders and mental illness, to starvation.
Nutrient-dense. It's what our bodies need and want. And there are some very good and affordable ways to supply this bottom line without damaging your financial bottom line.
Places to look: The Healthy Home Economist, Mom's Frugal