We Can’t Afford to Eat Healthy!

My Family’s Struggle to Balance Health and Cost

Undoubtedly, we continually opt for the health of our family at the expense of our own anxiety and sometimes sanity.

Over the past year and a half, my family and I have been trying to lead a healthier lifestyle.  A friend of mine always says that health starts in the kitchen, and I could not agree more.  What I have found, however, is that changing your diet is hard and maintaining that change can be expensive and stressful.

A Financial Strain

Money is tight right now, and my wife and I often find ourselves wondering why.  I make a decent salary and we don’t live beyond our means.  Yet we constantly find ourselves counting pennies at the end of the month, wondering where else we can cut costs.  For starters, we have had some major life hurdles thrown at us lately: the smoking washer and busted dryer that went this month ($1,000), the new gutters we needed ($2,000), my wife’s car trouble ($400), the last minute change to our closing costs in August ($6,000), our heating bill ($280 per month), the money we had to shell out for gas for my 220 mile daily commute for a month in October ($50 per day), and the busted sewer line at our rental property last weekend ($500 and counting).  Plus I launched my book, which cost us some additional cash, but will hopefully show us a long term return on that investment.  I have always been against using a credit card, but having a one-year-old plus another on the way, our options have been limited and some of this debt has been charged.

And then there is the grocery bill.  My wife works miracles every time she goes shopping, bringing home a trunk filled with bags of food for us to eat and enjoy.  But as we continue to read and learn about the types of foods we want for ourselves and our children, we are realizing what so many people are learning: Processed food and GMO’s are dangerous and eating healthy is expensive!  Although demand and availability of natural, organic foods is high, the cost has not come down.  In part probably because GMO parent companies own many of the organic brands we purchase.  Each week while at the grocery store, my wife is faced with the dilemma of providing her family with foods that fight and prevent cancer and then worrying about where else we can cut costs so we can continue to pay our bills or buying those foods that are always on sale, are much cheaper, but have horribly toxic preservatives and chemicals in them.  The latter would allow us to save money, but also causes us a great deal of concern and anxiety each time we think of our children.  (For more on fighting cancer with natural foods, listen to this Changecast).

The Challenges of Putting Health First

Undoubtedly, we continually opt for the health of our family at the expense of our own anxiety and sometimes sanity.  Yesterday was one of those days that cost us a bit of sanity as we scrambled to find the most affordable way to pay for the emergency repairs needed at our rental property, which currently has a tenant.  “We can’t even afford to buy the healthy foods we need!” my wife exclaimed.  “I’ve felt so much better since we started this diet,” she continued, “but it is so expensive.”  At hearing my wife’s distress, my anxiety spiked.  As a husband and a father, I often feel it is my job to protect my family from these stresses in life, and when I fail to do that, it hits me very hard.

Being the dreamer I am, my plan was to move to the mountains and live “off grid,” without a dependency on utility companies for heat and electricity, medical doctors for our healthcare, and over-priced grocery stores for the foods we want to eat.  But making that dream a reality, given the financial status we are in, is an incredible challenge.  After my wife’s statements, however, I was determined to find something I could do immediately to help offset our costs.  My first plan was to convert our enclosed back porch into a dedicated hydroponics greenhouse where we could grow pounds of our own fresh produce and eat until our hearts content.  My wife gently reminded me, however, that she is due with our second child in March and that money was already tight.  We didn’t have the time or the resources to bring this wonderful idea to fruition (yet…).  So I began reading what I could about indoor gardens and ways to grow your own food to save money and promote health.  I looked at several videos and read testimonials of container gardens and grow lights and I began to visualize my house as an indoor garden smorgasbord.  With two kids, two dogs, a full time job, and a publishing company to run, I’m not sure where I would find the time to create this home-garden paradise.  But I need to do something to allow us to continue to eat healthy at minimal cost.

A Possible Solution

After a bit more research, I am excited that I may have found a solution to our problem (although I have not gotten my wife’s approval yet).  I came across an article about sprouts, the early germination of plants.  They are packed with nutrients and healthy things, and are great for fighting off and preventing cancer.  To add to their wonderful benefits, they are fairly simple to grow and can be harvested in 3 – 4 days!  Could this be the answer I am looking for?  I am excited about the possibility of growing my own inexpensive, renewable and healthy food source for my family and I hope it is the answer we are looking for.

Do you have a similar situation, experience, or a solution? Please share your comments below!

I plan to track this process with pictures and articles for our readers as I learn and try to implement this simple solution into our family’s plan.  If you’d like to follow this journey and get more information, resources, and testimonials, please subscribe to our Green Newsletter below.

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