Rising Cost of Living and Health: How to Manage Both

Written by Cyndi O'Meara

Cyndi is about educating. Her greatest love is to teach, both in the public arena and within the large corporate food companies, to enable everyone to make better choices so they too can enjoy greater health throughout their lives. Considered one of the world's foremost experts in Nutrition, Cyndi brings over 40 years experience, research and knowledge.

May 8, 2023

As the cost of living goes up many people take short cuts, but when it comes to health this is where we should place more emphasis and reduce costs somewhere else.  Why?

Prioritise your health when the budget gets tight
Health is not hard to maintain, and even getting back to health is achievable with strategies. You can destroy your health getting rich and then destroy your wealth getting healthy.  When you have health there are very few lost work days, you have more energy, your mind has more clarity and life doesn’t seem such a burden.  You are able to achieve more in less time and who knows be able to make more income with these health assets.

Free Health Advice for The Human Body

Humans do not have modern bodies they have bodies that evolved over time.  Leading a modern life that is mostly sedentary and inside is bad for health.  It’s important to fake a hunter gatherer lifestyle but be able to live in a modern society.  Free health care includes, sunshine every day, watch the sunrise and make sure you see the stars at night.  Movement is free, put your walking shoes on and get outside and walk, download the many free yoga, stretch and Pilates sessions on you tube and follow one every day.   If you love swimming and live by the ocean make a salt dip a morning routine all year round. The science behind breath work is also solid for health, find a 10 minute breath work out on the internet and begin your practice.  Sleep is important for health, prioritise sleep over watching TV, create a routine to be in bed no later than 9.30pm, the more hours you have before midnight the better.  If meditation takes your fancy, then make that a priority.  These are all free, you just have to have the discipline to get out and do them.

Reducing your herb, fruit and vegetable bill

Growing food is an abundant cheap way to make sure you have a supply of seasonal foods.  Planting fruit trees in your garden creates an abundance in the seasons.  Vegetables such as salad greens, tomatoes, cucumbers don’t take up a lot of room and if you want potatoes a bag with soil creates an abundance without overtaking the garden.  A little bit of time is all it takes to get it started and then with sunshine and water the abundance grows.  Herbs are also easy to grow, they are like weeds, it’s exciting to go out to your garden and pick the herbs for your pesto, salad or as a garnish. Rosemary, parsley, oregano, thyme grow most of the year.  Flowers can also be part of diet, so don’t forget to plant some for their aroma, looks and taste.

No Waste Needed

Food waste is one of the biggest issues that face consumers. Be mindful about when you purchase your food and make sure you don’t put new food on top of old fruits, vegetables and herbs.  When you roast a chicken or cook anything with a bone save the carcass and bones put it in a bag in the freezer then add vegetable cut offs and old vegetables to the bag over the ensuing week.  At the end of the week, throw them all into a pot with water and salt, boil then simmer for around  3 hours and up to 6 hours.  Now you have a stock ready for other meals or just drink the hearty liquid for increased nutrition, replacing synthetic supplements from your expenditure.

Chickens Create Protein and Clean up Scraps

If you have a back yard consider having a few chickens, they love your food scraps and your meat scraps, they fertilise your land, get rid of pests, love maggots and then in return they feed you the richest and most available source of protein, the humble egg.  Most families would not go through more than 5 eggs a day, therefore around 6 chickens should do the job, if you eat less eggs then less chickens.  Just make sure they cannot get into your vegetable and herb garden.

Become a Hunter, Angler and or Forager

I remember my father in country Victoria would go rabbit shooting once a week, my Mum would skin the rabbits and we would have rabbit stew.  I have friends who hunt deer and pigs and make that part of the dining experience.  Yes, it’s a skill but it’s probably a better skill to have than gaming, although if it’s a hunting game that just might give you the skills to get out and hunt.  Ask around in your local area if anyone knows where to hunt and go along.  My daughter did a course and came home with a freezer full of deer that lasted us many weeks of meals.  Foraging is also a skill, there are local guidebooks on what is available in your area.  I especially love to forage and there have been times when I didn’t really need to take water and food with me I was able to consume and drink what I found on the track.  When it’s berry season it can be a very lucrative hike.  And if you love fishing, take time out with the family to catch the nightly meal.

Source Your Water From a Spring or Fast Flowing Creek up stream

Buying water is expensive, especially if you are not prepared to drink tap water which is filled with chlorine, fluoride, and any chemicals that have washed into the municipal dams.  My brother lived in the Blue Mountains and once a week he would take his 2 children on a small hike to a local spring to fill 4 x 20 litre water containers.  It saved them a fortune in buying water and it was a wonderful family outing.  Search your local areas for springs that are clean.  It may be important to boil the water before drinking that will depend on the integrity of your gut microbiome.  Not only do you have clean fresh water for free, but the exercise carrying heavy weights adds to your health.

Buy Single Ingredients and Cook from Scratch

My mother did not have a pantry, she had her spices, flours, sugars, nuts and salt.  Weekly she would buy meat, eggs, fruits, herbs, and vegetables and from those ingredients, she made thousands of recipes.  We have lost the culture of being in our kitchen to nourish our family.  It’s a wonderful skill to have and when sourced correctly a far cheaper way to eat.  It can also be a wonderful way of connecting with each other, cooking with and for your family brings you together far more than watching TV or scrolling endlessly on your phone

Purchase Dry Goods in Bulk

Look around to find a store or online store that sells dry goods in bulk, things like whole grains, legumes, sugars, flours, salt, spices, nuts, seeds, and good quality cold pressed oils.  By purchasing in bulk, it reduces the cost of the items.  Store in glass jars that you can pick up at thrift stores or that you’ve saved from time gone by.  I love a neighboring bee keeper and buy their honey regularly! They often have buckets at the ready for purchase.

For Holidays get out into nature, go camping and hiking

What people don’t realise is that nature is important for health.  When you walk through a forest there is an exchange of minerals (like magnesium from giant tree ferns), oxygen, and sporebiotics that strengthen the keystone healthy part of your microbiome.   And when you dig in your garden you will also receive soil based biotics which have an effect of improving the microbiome and immune system.

Buy cheaper meat cuts and slow cook

Learn to use your camp cooker in the oven or if you have a slow cooker start using it on a regular basis.  You don’t always need to buy expensive steak, you can purchase the less expensive cuts and make delicious meals.  They are great for a meal and left-overs.  Other cheaper cuts are the organ meats like heart, liver, brain, tripe, and kidney.  Once upon a time we all ate nose to tail, but for some reason these wonderful, concentrated organ meats are discarded and given to animals.  It’s time to revive these wonderful sources of nutrients.  Liver is concentrated in B vitamins, Vitamin A, and a list of minerals including copper and iron.  Liver is a wonderful way to pull out the iron stores in your body so that you have more energy and oxygen holding capacity.   And if you can find a recipe you’re interested in, heart is easy and quick to cook and delicious.

Find a Farmer to Consumer

In my local community there are a number of farmers markets where the farmer picks the food the day before and delivers it fresh to the markets.   There are other farmers in my community that send out boxes of fresh food to the consumer, they are by subscription, so the farmer knows exactly what to plant and pick each week to reduce waste.  That means you are purchasing from a small ethical farmer, the food has not been stored, the nutrient value is higher and a better product overall is purchased.  Also, in my community and a bit further away are animal farmers who butcher their animals on their land in their own facilities, freeze the product and then send them to you overnight.  This is where the middleman is cut out and you purchase the best food that you can with the most nutrient value.  Examples of these farmers include Good Harvest, Forage Farms, The Turkey Man, Fig Tree Farms, Black Barn Farm, Tin Shed Farm, Belvedere Farm, Wolki Farm and many many more.

Fermented Foods Can Be Made at Home

The secret to fermenting foods is a little time and culture and tradition and a touch of modern-day wizardry.   Seasonal foods are usually in abundance, so when cabbages are cheap this is the time to make sauerkraut.  It is far cheaper to make your own kraut then to buy it.  Look up a you tube video to understand the fundamentals, of chopping, salt and rubbing does for preservation.   My brother makes all his own kraut on a weekly basis, one cabbage is far cheaper than a bottle of kraut.   I love to make all my own juice ciders by adding ¼ tps of The Changing Habits probiotics into the bottle of juice (apple or anything you desire) and letting sit for 24 hours.  I also make all my own milk yogurts, coconut yogurts and preserve many fruits with this wonderful tool.  Check out the website www.changinghabits.com.au for some fabulous recipes and ideas.

Shock The System For Health

Cold showers, cold creeks, cold oceans and cold exposures are wonderful for health.  You don’t have to go to an expensive ice bath seminar you can do it yourself by getting into nature and finding some creeks to take a refreshing dip into.  You don’t need ice on the top you just need it under 13C.

Budget other Things Not Your Health

Too much time is spent in front of the TV or Netflix, or Stan, if you need more money hiatus your subscriptions and start using the library for your entertainment and education.

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