Hi everyone. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and I’d also like to wish you a very happy New Year. Today’s article is from guest poster, Ally. Please welcome her to the blog ~ Melanie
Some people believe that to live a healthy life, you have to spend lots of money. Perhaps you think that organic food, for example, is always going to be unaffordable for your family.
Well, I’d like to show you just a few of ways you can start living a healthy lifestyle on the cheap.
I remember when I was growing up, being told what I ate had nothing to do with my health. My acne was due to genetics. The fever I caught was because of a virus. And, eczema is incurable.
Nowadays, we know this isn’t the full truth, just like we know choosing organic over conventional food does make a difference. The problem is, how can you afford organic foods, when the economy isn’t doing so well?
Here are a few things I did to adopt a healthier lifestyle, despite living on just one income:
1. Build personal relationships with farmers
By buying direct from the source, not only are you getting fresher produce, you are also cutting profits the middlemen (like supermarkets) will make from you.
The easiest way to find your local farmer, is to visit a farmer’s market.
If you have the time, why not take two or three days off to WWOOF, and get to know where you are getting your food.
2. Buy in bulk
Another option is to buy fresh produce in bulk.
Perhaps you could organize the purchase with a group of friends to gain leverage when negotiating prices.
I personally love to preserve vegetables, for example drying tomatoes and pickling cucumbers, so I often buy these items in bulk.
The same is true for meat. You can buy half a cow and save hundreds over each year.
It takes my family of four just under 3 months to finish half a cow. We even bought a freezer to store the meat, and were able to save more than what we spent on electricity, and the freezer in less than 18 months.
If you’re interested, check out this book, Whole Beast Butchery, for more information.
3. Grow your own
If you really want to take it to another level, you can grow your own food.
I have a reasonable sized backyard, which I converted into an edible garden. But, if you live in an apartment, you can still grow your own food.
Check out the open project, Window Farms.
Unless you’re planning on serious body building, I suggest ditching your gym membership.
Not only will you save money, you will also save time and fuel driving to and from the gym.
As an alternative, do body weight exercises at home, to help sculpt your body. Exercises like lunges, push ups, pull ups, and squats are just some exercises you can do in the comfort of your own living room.
If body weight exercises aren’t your thing, go for a walk or a jog around town. A stroll for one hour a week could halve your chance of developing heart disease.
Your mental health has a huge impact on your physical health.
For example, research has actually shown that stress can affect your brain. Not only does stress restrict brain cell growth, it can even destroy cells. This is because when you are stressed, your brain produces a hormone called “cortisol.”
Cortisol’s primary function is to increase blood sugar and suppress the immune system. In the short term, that’s a good thing, because it acts to restore homeostasis (balance to your body).
In the long term, however, it causes physical harm, like damaging cells in the hippocampus — the part of the brain responsible for learning.
And yes, because it causes your blood sugar to increase, stress can also make you gain weight. No wonder people who are stressed are unable to lose weight!
So, what can you do to reduce your stress levels? Here are a few tips:
1. Get ample sleep
How much sleep you need only you can say. But, if you feel tried 4 hours after waking up, then you are likely to be sleep deprived.
2. Practice deep breathing
Deep breathing is another very effective way to improve your brain function. When you breath deeply, you relax and allow more oxygen into the blood, increasing blood flow to the brain, and therefore making your brain sharper and more active.
Studies have shown that moving your body regularly also lowers stress, and can help to fight off depression.
And, the best thing is, all of these don’t cost a single penny!