If I had a dollar for every time I have heard a patient tell me that “I can’t afford to eat healthy”, I would be as rich as Scrooge. The sad thing about this is that everyone can afford to eat healthy, they just aren’t aware of how to and their priorities are slightly out of synch. The first thing I tell everyone that I see is that it is ok to scrimp and be cheap when it comes to flat screen TVs and other lust baubles in our lives (as all of those black Friday’ers will agree), just don’t do it with your food supply. Here are some of the foods which are cheeeeap and healthy:
Liver: either chicken or calf is very cheap. Done any way that you like (pate, liver and onions, liver and bacon wrapped chestnuts, etc.), once a week. Liver is like a multivitamin in a meat. Very high in Vitamin A and the Bs, a portion that is the size of the palm of your hand is sufficient. Contrary to popular urban myth, the liver is not a filter. Just make sure that you find a good butcher who will get you good liver. For those who are vegetarian or have low iron, a multivitamin is necessary (preferably taken with some fat to aid absorption.
Cabbage: fresh or pickled (sauerkraut, or kimchee) and also very cheap. Personally I like the pickled varieties as they are also a source of beneficial bacteria for your digestive tract and will help keep your gut healthy. Cabbage is also very good for your skin tone and complexion.
Eggs: Organic and free run are best. Perhaps one of the most perfect protein supplements that there is. The yoke is especially good as it contains many essential amino acids, Vitamin A and is a good source of dietary cholesterol (also contrary to popular urban myth, cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease. Read: The Cholesterol Myths by Dr. Uffe Ravnskov)
Butter: Also cheap and a great source of butyric acid (which inhibits colonic tumor cells and promotes healthy colonic epithelial cells), is a health stable fat that is ideal for cooking, and helps to keep us satisfied on less food. It helps us to absorb the minerals and vitamins in vegetables that it is spread on. For those whom have a lactose intolerance, clarified butter or Ghee is sufficient. Stay away from margarine as it isn’t really good for anything other than science experiments.
Sardines: An extremely cheap source of protein, omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin D and B12, calcium and because they are a shorter lifespan fish, very low levels of mercury contamination are present. Compared to those protein bars that cost up to 3 bucks each, 1 can costs only a dollar and usually gives twice the amount of protein.
Dried Seaweed (Wakame) or Dulce: in addition to its fibre content, seaweed is rich in iodine (think thyroid function), fucoxanthin (which helps burn fatty tissue around internal organs) and has been used in Oriental medicine for a long long time for blood purification, intestinal strength, skin and hair beauty, reproductive health and menstrual regularity. Just ask the millions of non-obese, healthy Japanese who eat it daily. It also forms a barrier on top of stomach acid that prevents heartburn.
Miso Paste (fermented soy bean paste): a cheap and rich source of lactobacillus bacteria (probiotic), isoflavones (antioxidants), lecithin (HDL cholesterol raising) and Vitamin B12, and also helps prevent prostate hypertrophy. If you have ever gone to eat sushi, you will have had a bowl of miso soup also. Miso paste is also good as a dip for veggies.
Although this list is far from exhaustive, these above things are cheap and easily available. In addition, buying foods that are located around the periphery of the supermarket (ie: the fresh foods) and staying away from the center of the supermarket (the processed foods) will keep you healthy. Thus you will save money, both by not buying junk, and by less medical expenses as a consequence of eating junk.
So “Baah Humbug” to all the lust baubles and toys, and “Ho Ho Ho!” to eating healthy!
Be Well and Be Zen
Gaby., Nutritional Medicine (2011)., ISBN13: 978-0-9828850-0-0. Fritz Perlberg Publishing, Concord, NH
Hoffer., Adventures in Psychiatry: The Scientific Memoirs of Dr. Abram Hoffer (2005)., pg. 248., Ch. 18., ISBN: 0-9731945-6-1., KOS Publishing Inc., Caledon, ON.
Ravnskov PhD., The Cholesterol Myths (2000)., ISBN: 0-9760186-0-8