16 tips for eating healthy on a tight budget
When people think of healthy foods, they often think that they cost more. However, during the Great Depression, some people improved their health because they could no longer afford the luxuries of processed foods, which were made from refined wheat and sugar. With a little planning and armed with the following tips, you really can be healthier while spending less!
1. Go to your local farmers market in the last half hour. Shopping at your local farmer’s market ensures you’re not buying irradiated foods (which are full of toxic free radicals), whereas if you shop at the supermarket, even products labeled organic could be irradiated! Also, talk to farmers: they often use organic methods, but they can’t afford to go through the process it takes to be able to label their food “organic.” Go when the market is about to close, when farmers will often give you drastic reductions. I’ve seen fruit drop from $4 a pound to $5 for everything that fits in a bag.
2. Ask the farmer to bring you a box of weeds next time. Offer $20 for a box of weeds to a grower who uses organic or sustainable (non-toxic) methods. Weeds are usually discarded, but they are more nutritious (alkaline and mineral rich) than the food that grows around them. Use them in salads and smoothies. Dandelions are an example and are very detoxifying for the liver.
3. Go vegetarian or cut down on meat. Meat is expensive; nuts and especially seeds as a source of protein are much cheaper. If you feel you must eat meat, cut it down to no more than the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand, 3 times a week. Buy only meat from the healthiest animals, from reputable markets where you know the animals are free-range and organically fed (grass, not grain). Eating a little healthy food is better, much better, than a lot of toxic food. Other good sources of protein are eggs from flax seed-fed chickens, green vegetables, hemp seed powder, sprouted beans and grains, and kiefer (raw if possible).
4. Eat in, not out. Giving up even cheap fast food restaurants will save you money. Learn some quick and easy recipes packed with nutrients, such as steamed vegetables topped with grated walnuts or flaxseeds, smoothies made with fruits and vegetables, and raw soups.
5. Eat raw. Eat as much raw food as you can. 84% of vitamins are destroyed by cooking. 100% of enzymes are killed when you heat food above 118 F. Minerals coagulate and are hard to assimilate. In cooked foods, due to coagulation, the protein is 50% less assimilable, as shown by research from the Max Planck Institute for National Research in Germany. This means that a person needs to eat twice as much protein if it is cooked instead of raw.
6. Sprout organic seeds, grains and lentils. Sprouting is an inexpensive way to get a nutrient-dense superfood. Just pick up some organic lentils and grains and a jar of sprouts at your local food co-op, then order some organic seeds online. Soak the seeds, grains, or lentils overnight, rinse with plain water, and let the jar sit by a window. Rinse two or three times a day. By the third day, most sprouts are ready to eat and should be refrigerated if not eaten immediately. (You can get sick if you eat moldy sprouts.) Go online for more information. Anne Wigmore, a pioneer in the raw food movement, went to India and taught beggars how to sprout beans and rice. The difference in their nutritional gain was enough to get them off the streets, they no longer needed to beg!
7. Grow your own food. During the Great Depression, this is how many people ate. For those without a garden, hydroponics makes it possible to grow food inside your home!
8. Go to nature! Learn from a local picker how you can safely pick wild berries and vegetables. Find a book that tells you how to choose wild edibles. (Just be sure to read the details so you don’t make the same mistake “Into Nature” made by Christopher McCandless, who died from eating wild foods that were toxic.) Wild foods are actually much higher in minerals than conventional hybrid foods. are. Do not drill in the city unless you are sure the grass or brush has not been sprayed with toxic chemicals. Avoid wild mushrooms, which are too risky and potentially deadly. I know people who ate some, thinking they matched the definitions of edible mushrooms in the book, but got very sick and took a long time to recover.
9. Ask local farmers if you can trade something for food. Trade in labor, or services or goods. Bartering is the wave of the future, although the IRS may not like it.
10. Make everything from scratch. Processed and packaged foods are not good for you anyway. Learn to love whole foods, and you’ll not only save money, but you’ll be healthier.
11. Eat less! Studies have shown that we live much longer if we gradually reduce our caloric intake by 30%, but consume very nutrient-dense foods. You can live on much less food than you think, and eating healthy foods actually decreases your appetite. When you eat cooked, processed and/or junk food, your body is starved for nutrients and you are never truly satisfied.
12. Go to supermarkets and ask them to give you what they throw away. I know some people who binge dive at the grocery store, preferring to eat fresh produce that has reached its expiration date and gets thrown away than cheap cooked food. I don’t blame them, but there is an easier way. Many of the stores routinely throw away perfectly good products because they are bruised or otherwise not perfect. Ask when you could pick up these items before they are thrown away.
13. Join cooperatives. Local food cooperatives offer quality food at lower prices than supermarkets. You can buy organic and sustainable food, bulk food,
14. Buy in bulk. Buying in bulk is almost always cheaper. Nuts, seeds, and fruit can be purchased in bulk and stored in the freezer. Grains, lentils, and beans keep a long time in airtight containers. Ask your grocer for discounts for buying groceries by the box, then split it up with your friends or neighbors.
15. Join a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Go to www.biodynamics.com to find where your local CSA is. On their site they explain: “CSAs are about community. CSAs are often made up of farmers, but several have been made up of consumers. CSAs offer opportunities for people to come together in a different way and address important community issues.” community Some CSAs ensure that The CSA initiative does not exclude low-income families through their pricing policies For example, several CSAs are organized as part of regional food banks, and at least one CSA offers employment homeless Another CSA, formed by a religious group, links Many CSAs take it upon themselves to help re-educate us all on how to change our diets to include more fresh produce when it is in season and how to store or preserve for the winter months. stockholders’ leftovers”.
16. Don’t throw away food! When it seems that fruits or vegetables are not going to be eaten in time, dehydrate them until they are perfectly dry and they will last much longer in an airtight container. Dried fruits can be used in a trail mix, while dried vegetables can be used as a garnish in a salad or soup. If you get a temperature-controlled dehydrator, you can keep the enzymes and nutrients no higher than 118 F. Also, don’t discard the carrot tops, beets, weeds, and leafy greens from the bottom of the cauliflower. All of these are rich in minerals and can be used in soups, salads, or smoothies. The pulp of juiced fruits and vegetables can be mixed with seeds to make crackers in a dehydrator. Anything that isn’t edible, like a banana peel, can be composted in a small bin to enrich the soil used to grow food.