#1. Eat real food instead of taking supplements.
Vitamins can be expensive. Instead of buying multiple bottles of essential nutrients, eat foods containing them. Harvard Health, has put together a comprehensive and easy-to-follow list. Check it out. If you'd still like a supplement, just get one multi-vitamin.
#2. Cook at home.
It’s fun and rewarding to challenge yourself making new recipes. (If you need inspiration check out the terrific, diabetes-friendly options here!) When you eat take-out, get food delivered or frequent restaurants, you don’t know what the fat, salt and sugar content is and have no control over other unhealth ingredients.
# 3. Join a food coop or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).
You can do this a few ways. I know people who join a farm share and for a small fee each month get a huge basket of fruits and veggies. In New York City, where I live, I've purchased fresh CSA food at a grocery delivery service called Fresh Direct. Each month you can choose the price and size of the CSA order within your other food in the "shopping cart" and receive a surprise basket of the freshest, most seasonal produce. There's also an option to add organic, pasture-raised eggs and farmer's cheese. It’s cheaper than buying each item separately, plus you're supporting a local farm.
#4. Buy the whole animal.
If you eat meat, sharing the cost of a whole cow, pig, or other farm animal, purchased directly from a local farmer can be a smart way to save money on protein. You'll need a large freezer to store it but some families can eat for several months from one purchase. Another benefit is that you can feel confident it was raised humanely, organically and didn't spend it's life in a small living area. You are what you eat. Don’t eat an animal’s fear and torture. It's also another way to support local agriculture and save money on food.
#5. Shop for produce at local farmer's markets.
There are so many reasons why this option makes sense.This is a great way to get to know farmers and sample products, buy unprocessed foods and reduce food waste. Since many farmers don't use preservatives, you'll be less tempted to stock up on food that won't stay fresh if it isn't eaten right away. My favorite reason to shop at the farmer market though is for flavor. Locally grown and harvested food tastes so much better than food picked in places many times zones away and allowed to rippen during shipping.
#6. Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen.
You can save money by buying a regular avocado so you can spend more on the organic apple. Get to know the list of the “Clean 15” —foods, like bananas, that have thick skins so spending more on the organic variety really doens't make sense. The “Dirty Dozen” lays out the foods (many varieties of berries) that make sense to buy from the organic aisle. Certain foods absorb more pestsides and other chemicals. When you eat them, you do, too. Save money buy knowing which organic products justify the extra spend.
#7. Alway cook more than you need.
In many cases it takes just as much time to cook for 8 people as it does for 4 people. Freezing leftover portions that can be taken out to defrost in the morning saves you money when you pressed for time and would otherwise opt for less healthy take out.
#8. Prioritize healthy eating.
Aim to spend less money than you normally do on clothes, gas and entertainment and spend more on good quality nourishment. Less external spending, more internal spending.
#9. Shop daily or every other day.
If you shop for only what you need each day, you won’t end up wasting money on food that went bad.
#10. Buy seasonal.
Not only is it better for the freshness of the food and the environment, but also certain foods contain nourishment that your body needs at the same time of year that they are in season.
To change your life you need to change your priorities
For thousands of years, acupuncture has been used by Chinese and other Eastern cutlures to restore, promote and maintain health. According to traditional Chinese medicine, an energy force called Qi (pronounced "chee") is circulated through the body in a network of channels. When it is blocked or interrupted by factors such as stress, physical injury and poor diet, acupuncture practitioners believe you can develop physical illness. A smooth flow is essential for good health.
While limited studies have been conducted on acupuncture and diabetes, studies do show that acupuncture can be a weight management option. Many people also try acupuncture for pain management, fertility, depression, cancer treatment side effects and allergies.
I tried acupuncture for the first time this week, not because I was feeling any particular ailment or chronic condition, but simply because I always wanted to learn more about it. I tried it lying facedown so that the needles could be inserted into my back. (I do have chronic knots and bulging discs that flare up a few times a year.) I felt the needles—some more than others—when they were inserted into tight areas. In my case, the practitioner inserted the needles and left the room. When he returned several minutes later, he turned them and that felt slightly uncomfortable. The entire session took about 30 minutes.
Afterwards, I did feel a looseness and relaxation in my back when I walked the 10 blocks home. It was a nice feeling, and I'm looking forward to trying it again when I'm feeling physically sore. I'm also curious about the claim that acupuncture can relax facial muscles to help you look younger so I may give that try in the future. The best part? My insurance covers 17 sessions after you pay out of pocket for the first three ($80 dollars each visit in my Manhattan neighborhood).
If you'd like to check out this ancient healing technique, contact your insurance company to see about coverage options. If acupuncture isn't covered, consider using the extra money you'll have from learning to shop smarter and eat healthier! See you at the Farmer's Market.