How do you heal when on a limited budget? Many people think that you need disposable income to afford high end organic foods, expensive supplements, and intensive naturopathic treatments in order to heal. And certainly, there is a place for those interventions in your care plan- but lets be honest- that is not going to be feasible for every person. But will that stop you from healing?
Absolutely not. Alternative and natural healing is NOT just for privileged people. In fact, natural medicine has always been something disenfranchised people used to empower themselves to be in charge of their own health. Just because alternative medicine has been highly commodified does not negate the roots in traditional cultural practices and neighborhood shamans, herbalists, grandmother’s nutritional wisdom, and much more.
In fact, some of the most effective interventions to heal yourself holistically are free or low cost that you can DIY at home. Here’s where to start:
- For people stuck in “food desserts”, or are dependent on food stamps that may be running on an anti fat and anti meat agenda, try to find ethnic grocery stores. Sometimes these small businesses will carry traditional cuts of meat and organ meat which can be highly nutritious supplements to a diet that has limited options for food. Additionally, neighborhood “co ops” can be formed where people get together to create a community garden and grow their own fresh produce and herbs, or work together to fund big bulk orders from farms. Meat is much cheaper when buying in bulk and 6-10 families can pool resources to ultimately get a more affordable option. When ordering from a farm in bulk, they may be more likely to drive into a city or a remote area to drop off an order, or people can pool gas money for those who have cars and take turns with pick up.
- Don’t get caught up thinking you have to buy high end “pasture raised”, “grass fed”, or organic meat, dairy and produce in order to heal. Of course, if you have the budget to buy these on occasion, go for it. But the idea that any non organic or conventional meat, dairy and produce is “toxic” is unfair. Even conventional whole foods are going to be more conducive to your healing than processed and synthetic foods. Meaning: people are more likely to heal buying cheap, conventional meat and produce and eliminating all processed food than if they decide there is no point eating whole foods because they can’t afford organic. Pick your battle. I see people heal eating all levels of quality of food- it is the processed stuff that causes the worst harm.
- If you have a budget to eat some higher quality food, but not all, prioritize. There are “dirty dozen” and “clean fifteen” lists that are very helpful to prioritize which types of produce contain the most pesticide residue. You can reduce your pesticide exposure by just avoiding the “dirty dozen” foods or only buying those organic, and the rest conventional. When it comes to meat, fat tends to store the most toxins. You can buy lean meat conventional and avoid the most pesticide exposure, and prioritize buying fatty cuts of meat and animal fats for cooking organic.
- Produce that is grown locally and is in season is going to be cheaper, because they don’t have to add shipping costs from the other side of the world. This is a healthier way to eat that gets you more in touch with your local community and ecosystem anyway, and keeps you from over eating any one type of produce. For example, most fruit is going to be cheaper in the spring and summer; squash and root vegetables will be cheaper in the fall. Over the winter, when produce can be more expensive, don’t worry about eating a lot of fruit and vegetables. Focus on cheap, nutritious animal foods such as ground beef, eggs, canned sardines, whole chickens, and whatever happens to be on sale in the meat section that week. Many communities don’t eat a lot of produce over the winter when it is not easy to grow, and it is okay to emulate that seasonally.
- Buying frozen vegetables and fruit tends to be cheaper per oz and meat is cheaper when you buy in bulk, straight from farmers. Invest in a chest freezer and stock up on frozen vegetables and bulk frozen meat when you get the opportunity.
- Render your own tallow and lard by buying cheap “fat trimmings” from the butcher. Some will even give it away for free if they don’t have much demand for it.
- Use “odd bits” in your cooking. Bones, feet, ears, internal organs are all incredibly nutritious and not the most popular to cook with in today’s world. Butchers and farmers will often sell these for very cheap and you get a lot of amazing nutritious meals out of them. Make rich meat stocks and bone broths, liver pates, heart stews, and more.
Non food natural health support that is totally free or low cost:
- Grounding: put your bare feet on concrete, rock, sand or grass for at least ten minutes a day
- Get your skin and eyes exposed to sunlight in the early morning, mid day, and late evening to get the full spectrum of beneficial light rays
- Work on your sleep hygiene to get deeper sleep
- Tons of podcasts and youtube channels host free guided meditations to help you learn to meditate- which has been proven to be incredibly helpful for nearly all chronic health conditions
- Save money by cleaning out your hygiene and cleaning product use and start buying things like baking soda, coconut oil, plain castille soap and vinegar in bulk to make your own DIY products. I have lots of easy recipes in my book and Wellness Mama has free recipes online too.
- Minimize supplement use. If I were to prioritize a few key supplements for people, magnesium is hands done the most important one. Most people are deficient in this and even a high quality magnesium supplement is pretty inexpensive.
Do you have good tips for healing on a budget? Let me know and I will add to the list!