Finding Frugal Ways To Improve My Health

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To be blatantly honest, I’m pretty unhealthy.  I am a “person with diabetes” {the preferred term among… well, people with diabetes… as compared to “diabetic”.}  It’s not as well managed as it could be, partly because I don’t try hard enough and partly because managing diabetes is simply damned hard.

Given that I have posted photos of myself on the blog before, it is no secret that I am overweight.  I was already the fat kid by the time I was in kindergarten, and though I’ve been thinner at occasional times in my life, I’ve been overweight from early childhood.  I have a medical condition that predisposes one to being overweight, in addition to having to take medications for my bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder that cause weight gain.  But those are only a part of the equation and much of the blame falls squarely on me.

If you’ve done any reading across the frugal living world, you’ve probably noticed there are two distinct camps.  The people that say you can buy healthy food cheaply, and the people that say you can’t.  I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle.  One factor is the effort required to prepare the food.  When it comes to convenience foods, the unhealthier ones are often cheaper than the health food.  Namely because convenience health food can be crazy expensive.  {I’m looking at you, fancy protein bars.}

Preparing healthy food frugally can require a bit of advance planning.  For example, one of the cheapest foods you can make is dried beans.  However if you don’t plan in advance and soak the beans and start them cooking before you are starving, that’s not going to work out very well.  Also knowing what you plan to make and being sure you can use up all the ingredients you purchase without letting any go to waste prevents throwing money in the trash can.  {And I am the first to admit, I can be guilty of letting food go to waste.  This is a habit I am working hard to break!}

Probably the biggest barrier between my eating healthfully and cheaply is that I don’t supplement with enough produce.  Fresh produce in season, or frozen or canned, is reasonably priced and boosts the nutritional content of your meal exponentially.  I have a bad habit of just stuffing myself on whatever the entree is… for example, way too much pasta… with nary a veggie to be seen on my plate.  This is, of course, bad for my diabetes and my health in general, and something I need to just stop doing, period.

For some time now I’ve been focusing on everything BUT my health, it would seem.  Everything else has been somehow more interesting to me.  When I’ve been focusing on saving money, I haven’t been focusing on doing it while treating my body well. Then a week or so ago I started to read the Frugalwoods blog, and they are just down right inspirational.  I am only up to July 2015 in my reading, but I’ve learned from them that it’s 100% possible to eat very healthfully and live very healthfully in general, and do it on a very frugal budget.  Now, I will be the first to admit they are more motivated to stick to a tigther budget than I will ever be, and they eat far less food than I will ever be satisfied with, but they are great role models for me and I’ll be a lot better off if I emulate them!

After lots of thought on how to go about this, I’ve come to a couple of simple conclusions:  I need to eat a lot more produce, and a lot less calorie dense foods, and I need to just plain learn to eat less.  One of my favorite things to do in the summer {actually pretty much the only thing I like about summer at all} is visiting the farmer’s market.  Although the produce there is more expensive, it also tastes exponentially better.  So, for farmer’s market season, I’m going to treat myself to a wealth of healthy produce, and eat less expensive meats and other foods to help balance out the difference.

The other facet to getting healthier is, obviously, exercising.  I’m somewhat limited in what I can do due to chronic back pain and arthritis in my knees {and also my wrist and thumb, which affects some types of exercise.}  And yes, I am 37, not 87.  I CAN, however, walk.  At this point, not very far or for very long, but I can walk.  And… it’s free!  I’m not going to be able to do a lot of it this summer because of the heat, but I need to make sure I get out and move some every time there’s a cool-ish day.

So, wow, this has been a lot of rambling.  I’m not sure if anyone will get anything out of it, but it has helped me get my thoughts together and solidify some things in my mind.  Primarily putting on “paper” that I really can treat my body better without putting us in the poor house.

What kinds of things do you do to manage your health while keeping your budget in line?


  1. I am disabled and it’s not fully ‘sorted’ yet re I have hit the point where I can’t work, benefits not sorted, can’t go to the shops alone and am basically loving on youghurts and pot noodles. Which I am sure isn’t helping my health at all. Thanks for the post and signpost to the other blog. It looks like I am going to be poor and bear housebound for some time so I should really get to grips with the whole food thing.


    1. I truly understand what you are going through. When I first became disabled I was in the same situation, and it was really rough. I still often times have difficulty going out by myself and depend way too much on other people.

      If you ever want someone to talk to about anything, always feel free to drop me an email. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, I appreciate your openness. I do find there is no way to fully explain to people who have not been there. My blog is in some way, my best attempt at communicating on an experiential level. And hoping it may make others feel less alone.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve realized that not driving anymore, and therefore walking to the grocery by me has significantly changed my eating to more healthy options. Why? I only but what I can carry, therefore I’m much more mindful of what I purchase, what it even weighs, etc, AND I have the health benefits of walking.

    Also, I find that cooking healthier slow-to-prepare foods in larger quantities then freezing other portions in simple freezer bags (then I can squeeze more into my small space living freezer vs using pricier and bigger plastic or glass containers) helps a LOT!


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