My goal—not resolution— for 2019 is to better prioritize what I spend money on, as part of my overarching goal to be more connected and engaged to/with what I need to: be happy and balanced, be a good mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and contributor to society. Essentially, things that extend beyond my work as a nutritionist, and eventually, as a dietitian.
I’ve become increasingly frustrated— which I am trying to combat through positive thought and meditation— with the lack of connection to reality in the world around us. Mostly, our connection to others— physically, emotionally, and empathetically. I get frustrated by the lack of inclusion by influencers in the health and wellness space— ignoring people of color, all shapes and sizes, and socioeconomic experiences. There’s a big disconnect between the information/products promoted and shared and their accessibility. The space has become a rather saturated echo chamber, and I don’t want to be another voice lost in it.
As much as I love organic produce, clean ingredients and a good workout class, I don’t believe one needs to spend their life savings on them to maintain a healthy lifestyle. There are many ways one can achieve a balanced life, and I’m making more of a conscious effort to share various modalities based on numerous limiting factors like time (ahem, lack of), money and access.
In addressing this disconnect, I am taking responsibility for my contribution to the conversation around money and wellness, and want to practice what I preach. Here are some tips for identifying what is worth spending money on when it comes to our nutrition/health, and what isn’t, as well as alternatives. I do believe health should be prioritized above most things, so to the best of our ability, making space for what is possible should be a goal to work towards.
1). Understand that a vast majority of people who find wellness have done so through a personal affliction/need/awakening, etc. They’ve found a healthy lifestyle that works for them and share information that supports their experience. It isn’t their fault, it’s human. Everyone carries bias in one form or another. The key is acknowledging it. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for another, so just because someone is singing the praises of a particular diet, product, workout, etc. does not mean you have to do the same thing. Do it if you want to/it fits within your budget/financial goals/you enjoy it. Going broke following someone else’s plan will ultimately have a negative impact on your health if you’re stressed about money.
2). Become as responsible about your finances as you are about self care. Eating out, alcohol, lattes…there are a lot of things people spend money on that could be put to better use. It often comes down to priorities. You don’t need to spend $30 on high end fitness classes or $100 on yoga pants to live your best life. But you do need to take your finances seriously and make your health a priority within your budget.
3). Buy fruits and vegetables frozen. They’re cheaper this way, last longer and maintain most of their nutrients. 40% of the food we buy in the US is wasted. So save money and waste less by buying more frozen produce. It helps everyone.
4). Buy mulit-meal ingredients. Buying staples week-over-week can help you build meals with common ingredients. Good examples are: sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, bell peppers, carrots, canned tuna and salmon, eggs, brown rice/quinoa/other whole grains, beans, chicken, ground turkey, yogurt, apples, bananas, nut butters, garlic, chia seeds, rolled oats… keep your pantry and fridge stocked with food you can incorporate into multiple meals throughout the week to save money, waste less food, while still ensuring variety.
5). KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). I loved this acronym during my advertising/marketing years. The same applies to nutrition/healthy lifestyle. Don’t overcomplicate things by thinking about all the things you need/don’t have. Start with one simple habit at a time. Master one habit before you move on to another. Some might require more time and effort than others. Some might prove to not work for you— let them go. Let go of shit that doesn’t help you, make you happy, or add value to your life. It isn’t worth it. Focus on the essentials. It is much easier to commit to a lifestyle when it’s realistic for you, including financially.
I hope you found these tips helpful, and I’ll continue to share the many options available to achieve a healthy lifestyle, regardless of your personal situation.