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“I don’t use a microwave. There are many reasons (or conspiracy theories possible) why I don’t use a microwave. But the biggest reason is space. My microwave takes up too much space. I’d rather heat leftovers (or anything else) on the stove or in the oven.”
Straight from part three, I stated I don’t use a microwave. It takes up too much space and I have other appliances that do a better job. I’ve thought about upgrading to an air fryer as well. An air fryer would satisfy any last “cravings” to use a microwave. Although it’s more of a space issue than a food issue, it also forces me to plan meals better and eat healthier.
What Is (or Isn’t) Healthy Eating Anyway?
There’s always a debate. Processed food. Natural. Blah blah blah. Various marketing terms. Like with personal finance, when it comes to healthy eating I am not an expert. However, I am a healthy eating enthusiast. There are deal-breakers and non-negotiables when it comes to certain foods and others where I am more flexible. I speak more on what I think is “healthy eating” vs. “unhealthy” here.
Local, Organic, In Season, Whole Foods
My argument is that no matter what your diet is (except maybe carnivore diet?) local produce fits in. I’ve heard very little argument against in-season, whole foods sourced locally. My suggestion is always to go organic whenever possible, based on your budget. If you are on a very strict budget, opt for the “clean fifteen” and “dirty dozen” when shopping.
The clean fifteen is a list of the “cleanest” foods based on reporting. These foods generally have the least residual pesticides and you can opt for going non-organic to fit the budget. On the other hand the “dirty dozen” list, these foods you should probably splurge and work the organic versions into your budget.
Peanut Butter Is Peanut Butter, Right?
Well no. Peanut butter is complex and just a small example. If you look at the ingredients list of name-brand peanut butter, you most likely find trans fats and hydrogenated oils. The hydrogenated oils are what keep the peanut butter from not needing to stir. Especially look at the ingredients for “no-stir” peanut butter. Quality peanut butter usually has one or two ingredients, peanuts, and salt.
According to YouTuber Thomas DeLaurer, hydrogenated trans fats can take the body up to 51 days to process. That to me is crazy! I don’t want something like that in my body if I can help it. Peanut butter is just one example where you can look at a product with similar variations and price points but have very different ingredients. One mistake I often make is just grabbing a cheaper version of something, and not carefully reading the ingredients. This can be a critical mistake when on a budget and specific meal plan.
Some ingredients I prefer to avoid are Monosodium Glutamate (or MSG), yeast extract, and different forms of sugar. As I have had issues in the past with overeating, I prefer to cut out these forms of addictive ingredients (at least addictive to me, YMMV).
On the other hand, there are some ingredients (or supplements) I can’t go without. I add high-quality minerals to my water. I also prefer to use high-quality salts, oils, and fats for cooking. Oils and fats such as avocado oil, olive oil, duck fat, and goat milk ghee (clarified goat milk butter). I prefer to buy my oils and fats at Thrive Market, as they are generally cheaper than grocery stores or other online retailers.
I also mentioned I love high-quality salts. Here is one of my favorite (but luxurious) salt to use in prepared dishes. Another high-quality salt I like to use that is a bit less expensive is this sea salt. If you want just a simple salt that can be found at nearly any grocery store (or even dollar store) try using Himalayan Pink Salt. I recommend avoiding using refined, iodized table salt and supplementing iodine through seafood sources (wild-caught) or iodine/iodine plus kelp drops. Seaweed is a great snack my partner and I enjoy to up our iodine levels.
Learn to Decipher the Ingredients List
Aside from Thomas DeLaurer, another favorite YouTube resource is Flavcity With Bobby Parrish. Bobby has many “shop-a-longs” in common grocery stores, and other videos breaking down common ingredients in different categories of food and household items.
Eat What You Want, There Is An Alternative Somewhere
Aside from learning different ingredients, Flavcity also has a ton of alternative recipes or swaps to make almost any dish you can imagine healthier. I’ve been hard-pressed to think of a dish that can’t be made a bit healthier through Flavcity’s advice and/or recipe database.
Flavcity has several videos for budget, healthy meal prep. I’ve used several of the meal prep videos to create my own eating plan and have been blown away. Some recipes are super simple yet delicious.
Balancing Healthy Eating Vs. Paying the Price
The largest argument we’ve all heard. I can’t afford to eat healthily. Not true. I don’t often make blanket statements, but this myth is going to be busted. Flavcity and Thomas DeLaurer have a multitude of videos of how to swap healthy alternatives on a budget. They dive deep into when the money is worth it to swap and when to go cheap. There are videos of them tackling common dollar stores and even the cheap big box stores that we all know.
Sometimes The Difference Is Only A Few Cents
Some vegetables are a few cents more to go organic. I’ve often compared the price of grass-fed meats against conventional meat and there again was only a few cents difference. Grass-fed meats often go on sale as well. I am fortunate enough that I have access to three or four stores that carry a wide selection of healthy eating options that are located within minutes of each other. I use weekly ads to see which commonly used items I buy each week will be on sale.
Access Is Getting Easier
Access does make a difference. I can’t argue that. Being in a long-distance relationship I understand my partner does not have the access to healthy eating options that I have. However, she can still make some healthier swaps for the costs. Plenty of Thomas & Flavcity’s videos are still applicable to her rural area. She also has access to more local farms than I do and some farm-fresh foods are actually lower priced than are here. We were able to make delicious bison burgers during my last visit as I mentioned at the beginning in the Extraordinary Life Series here.
Online groceries like Thrive Market, Imperfect Foods, Butcher Box, and other subscription delivery services make higher-quality food more accessible. Since switching to Thrive Market and grass-fed, pasture-raised meats, I’ve started eating less. Having less or no addictive chemicals in my food has satiated me more. With higher-cost servings, I’m more aware of how much and what I’m eating.
*Content warning - If you struggle with an eating disorder, please seek medical assistance and use this writing as a guide, not medical or nutritional advice.*
Supplements, Adaptogens & Nootropics: My Budget Busters
A quality whole food diet should provide most or all the nutrition you need. However, I am looking towards what supplements best fit me and what I think would fit best into my eating plan.
Supplements & Vitamins
I’ve mentioned L-Theanine, Glycine, Inositol, Magnesium, Black Seed Oil, and a few other supplements I take before.
Adaptogens and Nootropics
What are adaptogens and nootropics? This article explains the differences.
The quick key difference as stated is
If you haven’t read it already, please read my article on why I drink adaptogen coffee with functional mushrooms. Under the L-theanine benefits, Thomas Delaurer also explains the benefits of adding L-Theanine to coffee as well.
As I mention in the article my two favorite brands of adaptogen coffee are Laird and Four Sigmatic. At the time of this writing, Four Sigmatic THINK coffee is available on Thrive Market, however, Laird FOCUS is not.
Check out other posts in this series: An Extraordinary Life On An Ordinary Income