Making Healthy Choices and the Frugal Life
Heating up collards cooked the day before and slicing a tomato to put next to an avocado for my lunch, I am grateful for Husband's bloodtest results. The doctor said the results were fantastic and much better than expected! He questioned Husband about what he was doing and the doctor said to continue with our diet and exercise plan as the impact on Husband's health was amazing.
Along with a grateful heart to the Lord for His mercies and appreciation for Husband's willingness to eat more vegetables than he ever thought possible, I too believe that years of seeking to take responsibility for the ups and downs of our lives has given us great incentive to take on this new challenge of heart disease. One of the things I really appreciate about many of the frugal people I know is that they seek to find ways to make their lives work by using their own creativity, learning new skills when warranted and being willing to do without what everyone else seems to be saying is so necessary. I believe the success for our new health journey has come in part from our years of living the frugal life.
In fact contemplating past seasons of life where life changing choices needed to be made, my mind wandered back to some years ago when I opened our health insurance quarterly bill and saw a tremendous increase. I knew some difficult decisions were at hand. Seeking to display some element of humor, I approached Husband with the ultimatum that we drop our insurance or give up eating. Already struggling as a self-employed family to meet our health insurance bill, we opted to put food on the table and joined the uninsured. (May I insert here that we never considered looking to the government for a solution to our problem.)
I will admit it was a challenging time emotionally for me. However, I purposed to do everything I could to ensure health to my family and began to research and change some of our eating habits. We actually were greatly blessed to discover some herbs and the power of garlic and Vitamin C. We began to mill whole wheat, bake homemade bread and I learned to be more faithful to cook from scratch. Youngest Son, now 17, was a toddler at that time and his health far surpassed that of his older brother and sister when they had been the same age. Husband and I too noticed improvements in how we felt and our basic immunity.
Now I can say wholeheartedly that I am grateful that our circumstances encouraged us to leave the healthcare system and become more responsible for our own health. I became much more pro-active in researching how to treat minor everyday illness and how to make better food choices. This was far from easy and I often had to compromise on the quality and types of food we ate. However, I did find ways to stretch my food budget as far as possible and also looked to find ways to save money in other areas so as to be able to purchase healthier food. We were not debt-free at this time and had many a financial challenge yet I am so grateful that we started on a better health path and were seeking to be better stewards of the health of our bodies. Eventually we were blessed to become members of an alternative healthcare plan and as I have shared previously are now members of Samaritan Ministries.
As with many of life changes and choices, our health path fluctuated through the years. A season of caring for an elderly parent left little time for as healthy a diet and Husband did not always follow our home eating choices when out and about. I am sure however, that our decision to seek a more healthy diet so many years ago gave him extra years before the manifestation of his heart disease.
Even though my food budget would not win any frugal food budget awards, I am glad that we have always sought to make healthy eating a priority. Not that this is an excuse for us to not be diligent with our food funds. I cook many things from scratch and seek to make wise purchases, but we seek to save money more through our other budget categories. I do understand the food budget is often the only place a homemaker feels she can cut corners, I just think it is wise to keep health in mind whenever possible.
I write this as a reminder to myself as I had hoped to whittle my food budget a bit before Husband's heart attack. Now I am working hard not to increase this category as we seek to be even more health conscious.
How about your family? How do you consider health in your frugal life?