Its January, the month of New Year’s resolutions and lifestyle changes. While the idea of focusing on health and wellness is great, the implementation of these new routines and rituals is often challenging. It is incredibly hard to develop new habits at the drop of a hat. By the end of the month many people feel exhausted and defeated. Why would you want to start a new year in that mindset!
Instead of changing your diet, I suggest cleaning up your current diet, just a little bit. I encourage you to eat more — more plants, more fiber, more variety. I urge you to dust off your pots and pans and cook at home, surrounded by friends and family. I want you to reconnect with food and notice how it makes you feel to fuel your body with healthy options, and how fun it can be to eat!
Many people think eating healthy means spending tons of money on pricey supplements, grass-fed meats, pasteurized eggs and organic everything. But here’s the thing – there is a way of eating well that can cost a lot of money, and it is often what you see touted on Instagram. This stuff is popular because, let’s face it, it photographs well and is intended to rack up the likes. However, it is not necessarily the core of wellness.
Let’s start with the basics. As of now, there is no one diet that doctors recommend for healthy living. However, many health professionals do agree on one thing: vegetables. Luckily, veggies are one of the cheaper healthy foods around, especially if you make smart purchases. Yes, organic is better, but often not necessary. Take a look at the 2018 Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen lists. The veggies listed on the Dirty Dozen are usually contaminated with the most pesticides and should always be purchased organic. However, avocados and sweet corn, which are listed on the Clean Fifteen list, usually have little to no detectable pesticides. I also recommend not skimping on the freezer section, which happens to be the biggest bargain in every grocery store. Freezer vegetables are often cheaper than fresh, and because they are frozen shortly after being picked, they retain far more nutrients.
While everyone’s dietary needs vary, I like to recommend Dr. Mark Hyman’s philosophy of using meat as a condiment. I fill the bulk of my plate with vegetables, and then use grass-fed meats, pasteurized eggs or sprouted grains to make up the remaining 20 percent of the meal. This helps to cut down costs quite a bit, while establishing a healthy, plant-based meal. Also, try purchasing less expensive cuts of meat and tenderizing in your crock pot.
Freezers are your best friend when it comes to saving your money by mitigating food waste. Americans waste up to 40 percent of their food, which means you could essentially cut your food budget in half by eating everything you purchase. Greens going bad? Give them a wash and pop them in the freezer to be used later in soups or smoothies. Have a little bit of stock left, or didn’t use all of your veggie broth in your stew? Transfer to an ice cube tray and freeze, using later to de-glaze the pan before cooking your next meal. Avocado too ripe? Dice up, freeze and use for future smoothies. Leftover chicken? Freeze in a Stasher Bag and reheat for taco Tuesday.
Lastly, support your local growers and bakers! I always recommend joining a CSA, such as Cosmic Apple’s farm share in the summer or In Season’s winter bread share. Not only is it cheaper than many organic markets, but you are getting more nutrients per item. Also, stop by the JH Winter People’s Market every other Saturday to get an abundance of fresh, local items.
The bottom line? Don’t buy something because it’s trendy or because you see it in a pretty picture. Eat what feels good to your body, try not to waste anything and watch your wallet and happiness grow.