by Dr. Will Cole
As our world has changed over the past decades, our priorities have changed as well. We are now more concerned with ease and efficiency more than anything. Don’t get me wrong, these things are important to building a sustainable life, but there are a few other priorities that also need to be taken into consideration.
One of those is quality. As a functional medicine practitioner, I see how the quality of foods and products can promote optimal health or can lead to a life of toxic buildup in the body. But as a human being with a family, I know very well that budget is another huge aspect of how we live and the decisions we make. Though we are not meant to simply work and pay bills for the rest of our lives, it is a big factor that can’t be ignored.
So if quality products are naturally more expensive, how do we make the best decisions for both our health and our bank accounts? If you have the ability to buy the best of the best products all the time, I always recommend choosing quality. If you are like the majority of the population that doesn’t have an infinite budget, that’s not always an option. Instead of choosing a lifestyle of the cheapest options you can find, let’s meet in middle. Let’s choose quality while still abiding to a personal budget – whatever that may be. Here are a few tips to live the healthiest life possible while saving at the register.
1. Make your own bone broth.
Chicken stock and chicken bouillon cubes are common pantry ingredients but the chemicals in them are just not helping you. I’ve talked many times about how bone broth is a better alternative that has many gut healing benefits, and I absolutely recommend including it in your diet. If convenience and efficiency is your priority then companies like Bare Bones and Kettle & Fire are great resources that I recommend.
However, if saving money is a bigger priority simply make your own. You can use the recipe found here to get more bang for your buck and more healing with each bite. For reference, you can get about 2 gallons of bone broth plus the chicken meat from 1 whole, pasture-raised, organic chicken for about $10.
2. Choose your meat wisely.
I always recommend purchasing pasture-raised poultry and grass-fed beef for the most nutrient dense and toxin-free meat. If this simply isn’t in your budget though, be sure to buy lean meat. The fat is where many toxins are stored in animal meat, so purchasing lean meat is an easy way to avoid those toxins.
3. Buy organic (at least when you need to).
Filling your grocery cart with fresh fruits and vegetables is a great start when switching from a diet that is primarily comprised of processed foods, but let’s go a step further into the organic section. Let’s get real for a second, if pesticides are used to keep animals and insects away from produce they should probably keep us away too.
Organic is always best, but if it’s not doable for you then go organic for produce found on The EWG’s Dirty Dozen and grab items from the Clean Fifteen list from the non-organic section. Be sure to wash your produce by placing them in a sink full of water and one cup of vinegar and let soak for 15 minutes. Dry thoroughly and store appropriately.
4. Opt out of store-bought drinks.
I’m a beverage guy so I fully understand and can relate to a love of drinks, but I also know that they can get pretty pricey. If drinks like Zevia or Rebbl aren’t available to you, don’t opt for a “light” drink mix or cheap “diet” drink. Instead go for sparkling water, infuse your own water with fruits and herbs, or buy your favorite organic teabags and infuse additional flavors into it. If you have to add any sweeteners to your tea, check out this article on sweeteners to find the best one (and remember to use in moderation!).
5. Be a green cleaner.
There are a ton of great options when it comes to healthy cleaning products that can be found at your local Target or ordered online, but you’d be surprised at how easy and cost effective it can be to make your own. According to this 2016 study, many essential oils have antimicrobial properties that can protect against bacteria, viruses, and fungi; so why not use these natural plant-based sources to clean around your home?
Quality essential oils may seem expensive at first, but you’ll soon find out that less really is more in this case. Essential oils are highly concentrated oils derived from different parts of a plant so mixing a few drops with a carrier oil or liquid for cleaning can go a long way. DIY essential oil cleaners also take a “less is more” outlook because you won’t need a plethora of ingredients like a store-bought cleaner contains. You can find DIY recipes on the doTERRA Blog to make your own cleaning products for a lower price.
6. Don’t just enjoy a fresh smell, purify the air.
I can’t even comprehend how many millions of dollars are spent on air freshening products each year. You know the kind – an aerosol spray, a car clip-on, a candle, or a plug-in that mimics a fresh scent. These products probably say “fragrance” in the ingredients meaning that the scent is chemically engineered. Instead, use those handy essential oils that you already have in the house. If you enjoy citrus blends, instead of a mysterious fragrance being sprayed around your house, use Citrus Bliss. The only ingredients from this oil are “Wild Orange Peel, Lemon Peel, Grapefruit Peel, Mandarin Peel, Bergamot Peel, Tangerine Peel, Clementine Peel essential oils and Vanilla Bean Absolute”. Not only are you avoiding chemicals, but you’re getting the natural benefits of stress reduction and air purification.
7. Nourish your skin.
As with cleaning products, beauty and care products also contain harmful and toxic ingredients that are soaking into our bodies every time we put them on our bodies. According to the EWG, the average adult uses 9 personal care products daily that expose them to 126 different chemicals.
I recommend checking how toxic – or how natural – the products you use are on the EWG’s Skin Deep Database. If you find that you need to change products, check out which brands they recommend or use those same essential oils to make your own care products for a portion of the price.
8. Simplify your products
Is there anything coconut oil can’t do? I’m pretty sure the answer is no. Grabbing a container of high-quality coconut oil can be an inexpensive switch for many other products. It’s great for cooking at high temperatures, but if you also take it into the bathroom with you, you no longer have to buy multiple other products. This one ingredient can help you avoid purchasing make-up remover, shaving cream, and deep conditioner for your hair. It can also be mixed with a few other ingredients you have around the house to create a moisturizing body scrub or diaper cream. Allocating the money you would’ve spent on these other products to one quality and non-toxic product will save you money and help you work toward optimal health.
Plants can also help you simplify as they can take the place of décor, air purifiers, and other products. Take the aloe vera plant for example. It looks great around the house and you can use it directly on burns and skin irritations in place of an over-the-counter cream. Spider plants will also naturally purify the air for a clean and healthy environment.
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