The following is a guest post by Ally, from Home Loan Finder. Ally approached me with an idea for a guest post and after reading it over, I saw a good message to take away from what she is saying. You’ll find Ally’s information at the bottom of this guest post.
Is It Possible To Live a Healthy Life On a Budget?
One of the biggest misconceptions to eating healthy is that it is expensive. I think the fast food industry is somehow in on this fallacy. Good food is just as inexpensive as junk food is, although the long-term benefits are much more positive.
Think about the numbers of people with serious illness, one in two people get heart disease; one in three have cancer; 26 million people have diabetes and a whopping – one in three Americans are overweight or obese. These numbers are astronomical, especially if you look back into the 50’s and 60’s and see what they were then. What happened? McDonalds opened its first store in 1940 and its first franchise in1955, Jack in the Box followed closely behind in 1951, and all of the others followed suit. Obesity was not an issue until fast food, and similar restaurants began to invade our countryside.
The percentage of these diseases that are caused by diet are tremendous – many studies have been completed in an effort to relate diet to disease, and many have proven, beyond a doubt – that what a person eats, affects their health.
So, in my estimation – even if eating a healthy diet costs more, the long-term benefits would be well worth the extra dollar or two. Eating healthy does not cost more, but the costs for the treatment of disease in the U.S. are at an all time high – diabetes – according to the American Diabetes Association, cost American’s $218 billion in 2007. Not to mention the premature deaths, blindness, loss of limbs, children with adult-onset diabetes, and all of the other horrors attributed to this wide spread disease, which is primarily diet related. Remember – we are talking about just diabetes. The numbers for cancer and heart disease are just as alarming.
Eating healthy can create a quality of life that emanates health – that is disease free – and increase the life span of you and your children – and, save you a bundle in medical costs. When it is as simple as consuming healthy food to avoid most of these dreaded and fatal diseases, doesn’t it make sense to do so?
A good rule of thumb in eating healthy is sticking to food that is closest to its natural form. Anything that has been processed, fried or comes in a box, has an ingredient list that is excruciatingly long and has words you cannot pronounce – is not healthy. The most healthful diet concluded, in scientific study after study is the vegetarian diet. Even Albert Einstein said: “Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
Eating mostly vegetables and fruits sounds boring, I know. But when you think about it, what do you season meat with? – Herbs and some component of vegetables. Veggies are much tastier than meat and there is a treasure trove of recipes out there, guaranteed to fill you up, and keep you satisfied.
Being a long time vegetarian and now vegan, I have this down to an art. Last night, I made black bean tacos. They were so delicious that I have made a promise to make them weekly. Nothing was fried and the fat and cholesterol content was zero. I filled them ½ way with romaine lettuce and fresh cut tomatoes. The black beans were stir fried in veggie broth, with onions and other seasonings, and they came out crispy and tasting better than any meat taco I’d ever had.
Beans are a staple that should be in everyone’s home. They can be bought in bulk and weigh out cheaper than any other food on the market. Beans are an amazing little treasure of health. They have more fiber than any other vegetable. They are loaded with nutrients such as potassium, iron, manganese, magnesium, copper, antioxidants, and are extremely high in protein. They are naturally cholesterol and saturated fat free. And in research, studies show that they can help prevent diseases such as cancer, heart disease, controlling blood sugar and managing weight.
The varieties of beans are so extensive that finding and keeping your favorite type on hand is easy.
Brown rice is another staple I always have on hand – it is very inexpensive in bulk and brown is superior to white rice for so many reasons, but the most important is that it has not been stripped of its healthful ‘hull’ and processed until it is white. If you’re going to eat rice, you might as well get the benefits.
Between the beans and rice, meals can be concocted from these two items in so many variations that you would be astonished. My routine is to make a pot of beans (from dried bulk beans) once a week in my crockpot. You can freeze and store the excess for meals later. Same with the brown rice – it freezes perfectly, and storing it is easy.
I like to make bean & rice bowls and add things like steamed broccoli, green onions, tomatoes, lettuce, salsa, veggie cheese and perhaps a steamed whole-wheat tortilla for a meal that has everything your body needs. Tacos, enchiladas, soups, chili’s, casseroles and many other recipes can be quick and easy to prepare, and full of health.
Green leafy vegetables should also be a staple in your home, as well as ample fruits and other veggies. I find if they are there, I eat them. Nobody wants food to go to waste at this juncture in our economy. Cabbage is another excellent food for health.
Buying these types of healthy foods is as simple and cheap as you want to go. Every city or town has a “Farmers Market” or a Co-op. They provide the freshest foods, sometimes organic and always cheaper than your local store. Buying produce at a grocery store is expensive, especially if you buy organic, however, if it is your last choice, it is worth the few extra dollars to eat fresh.
Just remember, health is a commodity that is seriously lacking in our busy lives here in the U.S. It has to be earned, and once vitality is achieved, life won’t get any better. So get on board – and not only will your bank account thank you, your body will as well.
Ally is part of the team that manages Home Loan Finder, a free home loan interest rates and variable home loans comparison service in Australia. Before joining HLF, she was a Media Planner with McCann Worldgroup Philippines, Inc., with award-winning executions, including the Levi’s 501 “Live Unbuttoned” global campaign.