Thursday, August 23, 2018

How to be healthy on a budget

I went to see Russel Brand record his Podcast 'Under the Skin' in a local venue this week. He was interviewing The Happy Pear on all thing veg related. They all talked about keeping true to their beliefs, choosing time with family over fame and fortune, and making healthy choices over easy ones. There was lots of inspiring stuff discussed. But the one question that I felt didn't really get answered was how to be healthy when you didn't grow up in an affluent area, or weren't blessed with the option of choices, or are just so bogged down in life that cooking from scratch and gym classes on a Wednesday morning just aren't going to happen.

So what about all the people who want to be healthy but are too knackered and / or broke to try?

I pondered on it for a few days and came up with a plan. Lots of this worked for me - although I have to caveat that by saying I grew up in the same affluent area, was lucky enough to have had a great upbringing and have always had amazing support along the way. So maybe I should just shut up...

What I'm aiming for here is inspiration rather than trumpet blowing. I often miss the mark though so apologies in advance.

3 Step plan for how to be healthy on a budget.

1. Give up drink. 
There I said it. Might as well get it out of the way early. I know what you're thinking, but all I can honestly say is that I never, ever, ever thought I would be someone who says 'I don't drink'. You can read more about how I fell into it here and here - but don't discount it without considering it. The health (and mental health) benefits are so massively gigantic that they need their own blog post - or book. Plus you have buckets more energy - which allows you to move on to step two.
Cost: Minus - you actually MAKE money doing this one.

2. Exercise.
Now that you're not feeling so sluggish you can think about starting to move more. What do you do with all those early mornings and extra energy? Go running. It's quick, easy, accessible and doesn't cost a penny. I used all the excuses in the book to get out of this one in the early days - too tired, old trainers, too dark, too cold, too embarrassing, no one to mind the kids... but (sorry) there's always a way. Find it. Do it. You never know where it will lead. I started with an out of breath, sweaty 1k jog around the block and am now doing triathlons. (Only one a year but it still counts!). Plus exercise gives you energy - so if you can just push through that knackered phase you'll really start to notice the difference.
Cost: Free

3. Go (semi) veggie
Your body is now a temple. You're half way to healthy and you are actually starting to crave better food. This is what I call the virtuous cycle - you've turned the corner. The extra time and energy from step one brought you to step two, and step two has pushed you on to step three. And step three reinforces step one and two and you're now merrily hop, skipping and jumping down the street high fiving everyone you meet. Your friends will hate you.

This step is where the budgeting bit gets trickier because processed food is generally cheaper than fresh. But by ditching meat and substituting frozen veg and pulses it's very doable. (Now it's the kids' turn to hate you).  And of course you have all that extra money jangling in your pockets from step one.
Meat-free is also much better for your body - not to mention the planet. There are tonnes to sites and sources full of budget friendly vegetarian recipes - even trying out a couple a week will make a difference.
Cost: Minimal

And that's it! New, improved, happier, healthier you.

Easy as 1, 2, 3.  Now you just have to start. Give it 30 days and see what happens - it could just change your life. And no sign up fees.

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