As I wrote last week, I have been forced to eat healthier because of a liver problem. The doctor actually said that I did already eat pretty healthy so this could have been a lot worse. I’m glad that, although I’ve always been avert to veggies, I still enjoy whole grains and fresh fruits and dried beans more than the average person. It may have saved my liver.
The problem was not so much one of knowledge but of money and maybe even implementation.
Open up any cookbook for healthy eating and what do you find? How many recipes are devoid of noodles, gluten, breads/tortillas/crusts/ and so forth? And even when you find a “gluten free” cook book, it’s all about how to eat what you want while getting around the gluten issue while still eating cake. Use rice flour, do this do that. I was supposed to avoid, as much as is possible, all flour products. Well, actually they said, “cut back” but I know me. I can’t say no to flour products, so I just cut it completely off.
There is an ebook coming on this topic by the way. I’ve shared so many of these recipes and meals with friends with rave reviews, I have to write them out now.
Financially, it is more expensive to eat healthy. The rare dressings that don’t contain the liver toxin known as High Fructose Corn Syrup cost twice or three times a much, as do any condiment devoid of sugar, sweeteners, and bad stuff.
So, how do you swing shopping healthy and frugal? How do you add pricier healthy ingredients to a tight grocery budget?
The problem for us was that there was very little flexibility available to us in this regard, but it obviously had to be done. If the doctors had told me I’d be dead in a year if I didn’t, I wouldn’t really have cared, to be honest. But the thought of suffering and being in pain for the next 20 years did get my attention.
So how did we do it? We went a little unconventional at the start.
We started off not trying to save on groceries, but trying to save on other areas of the budget, to free up money while we learned to shop and eat healthier in this new restrictive diet.
I posted a short while ago about saving money on insurance and other areas. You can read that here. Saving on Insurance amounted to a huge savings.
I also worked hard to lower our electric bill. I got it down 200%, spending under $30 to make it happen. ( there will be more on this in a later post..or check out the post on Facebook which generated a lot of discussion)
My main thought here is this: I can work hard (and maybe sacrifice health) to peel off another few dollars from the already tight grocery bill, or I can do some work to lower one of these other bills that keeps inching up.
I’m talking about your heating bill, electric bill, insurance, auto gas, phone bill, TV bill, internet bill, cell phone bill. We lowered our monthly outgo about another $500 a month by lowering those areas. I’ll post in more detail in future posts, but most of my savings came from calling up these places and saying,
“Hey, we appreciate you guys. We’re in a tight spot right now, and we need to figure out how to lower this bill. Can you help me or direct me to someone who can?”
Nearly all of these places very generously looked over our bill and made suggestions regarding services we were paying for that we may or may not use. Caller ID, unlimited long distance, duplicate insurance, deductibles that could be higher, etc. We chiseled away and bought ourselves basically an extra paycheck, which helped us to make room for healthier foods while we figured out a new healthy and frugal shopping strategy.