About two years ago, I decided to stop the junk food. I was going through the most stressful time of my life and basically tried to eat my way through it. The result was not only weight gain but also multiple ER trips for pain that could not be explained and an insane amount of medical bills.
Once I realized what I was putting into my body was clearly making me sick, I had a lifestyle makeover. I stopped the junk, knocked out the gluten and started training 3x’s a week.
My whole life has changed for the better, I decided to put up a side by side of my media photos. The one on the left was my press picture, we used it in media and it was even on a wrap around my vehicle once. The one on the right is the new press picture taken last summer. I am about 40 pounds lighter in the picture on the right than in the left. What is amazing is my skin tone is different, my hair is healthier (yes, it’s colored, I’m referring to the shine and look overall) and even my eyes look different to me!
I’m not on a diet, I’m not chasing a trend. I am eating the food that was made for my body. I eat healthy and I like it. I have taught people how to save money on groceries for about 9 years now, I switched my focus after being sick to teaching people how to eat healthy and save money.
I did not just stop there, in October 2014, I bought a local produce co-op. I was actually a customer of the co-op when it went up for sale. I believe it to be the perfect way to help people save money and eat healthy, the combination of The Produce Gathering and Money Saving Queen is wonderful.
Why am I sharing this? Because I scrolled through my instagram account and found a picture I posted two years ago:
If you live around here, you automatically recognize the QT hot dog. If you live around here and don’t recognize the QT hot dog then we can only assume you live under a rock. That being said, I posted that picture with the caption stating that I was eating one for breakfast.
Do I have an issue with hot dogs? Not really, although I don’t eat them today. Do I have an issue with QT? No way. The problem? I was eating those hot dogs daily. The problem was me.
I spent my days running kids to school, working like crazy, picking kids up and heading to wherever we needed to go to finish out the day. I picked up hot dogs, cheeseburgers and various other unhealthy items on a daily basis just so I could make it to the next place on time. It did not end well.
Now, my pictures look more like this:
That’s right, I ate that and I liked it.
Is it a hot dog? No. Does it taste like a hot dog? Nope. I’ll be the first one to tell you I love QT hot dogs, but it’s unlikely you’ll ever see me eat one again. I just can’t eat like that anymore.
I’m sharing this with you today because I know many of you are on the same journey. I know many of you are walking away from processed foods and/or junk foods and are trying to eat healthy. I want to share with you today how I eat healthy and save money at the same time. It is possible, you can do it, it just takes a little determination and creativity.
1. Shop in Season: The key to saving money on produce is to buy it in season and freeze and/or can for the remainder of the year. For example, you can pick your own berries right now at local farms. The prices are amazing (sometimes free) and you can freeze them until next summer! Now is the time to try out your favorite healthy recipes while the produce is at its lowest price.
2. Join a Co-op: Yes, this is the plug but, it’s true. I own The Produce Gathering, if you don’t live around here, google for a co-op in your city. Most co-ops order in season produce and can sell it at a lower cost than a grocery store because there is no overhead. That being said, you might not be able to choose your produce for the week. Our co-op also offers complements such as local eggs, cheese, meats and all of those are at lower prices than the natural foods store.
3. Skip the Package Deals: Chop the veggies yourself, make the lasagna without the frozen box, grab the apples and not the packaged apple slices. It really is less expensive to cook for yourself once you get the hang of it and it certainly tastes better!
4. Think Outside the Box: We have already talked about co-ops but did you know many natural food stores offer coupons and case discounts? Yes, there are cases of fruits and veggies too! Talk to your store manager and find out what discounts and deals are available. Waiting for the sale then buying in bulk is a great way to save money if you have the storage space.
5. Menu Plan: Menu planning is KEY! If you plan your family menu around what is on sale this week, you’ll save 30-50% without ever clipping a coupon. If you add your coupons to the menu plan, you’ll save even more. I usually take the produce selections for the week and either google or pinterest recipes including those ingredients. It makes dinner interesting, healthy and budget friendly!
Bottomline, it is possible to eat healthy and not break the bank. I know it takes a bit more work but, it’s worth it. I’ve saved thousands of dollars over the years stocking up and using coupons but you know how much money it cost me to spend 2 months in and out of the hospital? $10,000. Yep, that’s right. I had no coupon for that.
My illness was entirely stress and food related and I’m grateful for that, I’m able to change those things. I manage my stress much better now and I completely transformed my eating habits. I want to encourage you to do the same, if I can do it, anyone can do it! 🙂