The rise of holistic and natural health in recent years has also brought with it a rising tide of people looking to cash in, selling everything from diet plans (keto, raw vegan, etc.) to exercise programs to magic pills and green powders.
Most of these people have good intentions at heart, and are simply seeking to provide their customers with the best of the best nutritionally in order to keep up with the latest trends.
But at the same time, millions of people are being misled to believe that health has to come from expensive food and supplements, all the while missing out on the classic message that taking care of yourself can actually be pretty cheap.
With that in mind, here are six of the most cost-effective ways to stay to achieve good health holistically without breaking the bank that I’ve implemented in my own life:
1. Japanese Water Therapy – One of the simplest ways to get healthy is to practice Japanese Water Therapy (which sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is) each day.
The basic theory goes like this: our body and internal organs need time, energy and water to recharge while we sleep, and become depleted of water by the time we wake up.
Most people stuff their body with bacon, eggs and orange juice first thing the in morning.
But drinking water before breakfast and leaving at least 30 minutes in-between can have tremendous health benefits.
It’s become a daily practice of mine for the past five-plus years and it has been so valuable in my life that I wouldn’t trade it for anything else health-wise outside of regular exercise.
According to Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, author of the book ‘Your Body’s Many Cries for Water,’ many people are over-eating and over-medicating themselves when in reality what their body actually needs is water.
Dr. Batmanghelidj recommends that people drink a glass of (room temperature) water upon waking and another glass of water before going to bed, as well as a water a half hour before you eat your meal and a half hour afterwards.
Drink up to two full glasses of water first thing in the morning if your body needs it.
You can also add a little bit of lemon to the mix for a boost of vitamin C and digestion enhancing compounds. Dr. Batmanghelidj also recommends adding 1/4 teaspoon sea salt or pink Himalayan salt every now and then to balance sodium levels in your body.
(Editor’s note, make sure you’re drinking filtered water, this is the most inexpensive way to filter out fluoride I use).
2. Set an Organic Food Budget- When I first started on my holistic health journey I was broke and confused.
I also suffered from dizzy spells (due to stress and diet soda consumption) and digestive problems (from eating too fast and eating too much processed food with GMO ingredients).
That all changed when I began educating myself on natural health.
I started slow and made a simple organic food budget for myself, starting by buying $20 worth of organic produce roughly every 10 days or so.
As I ate more salads, organic carrots, and drank more purified water I noticed my health changed for the better, and eventually made it a lifestyle change. Today, I couldn’t imagine living my life any other way, and it all started with a simple goal and $20 organic budget.
3. Buy in Bulk- Affording organic food can be tough, but there are always ways to stretch your dollar much further, perhaps none bigger than buying in bulk.
According to one study from Portland State University, buying in bulk is the best way to save money on organic food, as participants saved a whopping 89 percent on average.
You’ll need to plan more and cook more but it’s totally worth it (once you get good at it).
4. Meditate (Or Find More Ways To Be “Spiritual”)- Nowadays we live in such an outside-focused world that we forget to take care of ourselves from the inside-out.
In the old days, living spiritually was simple – everyone prayed and people went to church more often, where they could find an authentic sense of community and a space to refocus and refresh spiritually.
Now, many churches are struggling and profit-driven mega-churches have replaced them.
No matter how busy life gets, there is no susbtitute for getting in touch with your spirit, conferring with God; whatever you’d like to call it. Meditation is one of the simplest and easiest ways to do just that if you can’t always make it to your chosen place of worship.
Simply setting aside 5 to 15 minutes a day to sit in silence and relax, meditate, pray, listen and reflect is priceless for your health. The method is up to you, but committing to doing it is the biggest key.
5. Buy From the Clean Fifteen- While buying organic is the best way to avoid toxic, synthetic chemicals like glyphosate, doing so is not always realistic for many people.
The clean fifteen is a list of “conventional” foods with the lowest amount of pesticides; buy the following if you want to save money: sweet corn (these may be GMO so be careful), avocados, pineapples, cabbage, onions, frozen sweet peas, papayas (possible GMO), asparagus, mangoes, eggplant, honeydew, kiwifruit, cantaloupe, cauliflower and grapefruit.
As a general rule anything with a harder shell is also likely to be safer than something with a softer skin. Buying less popular vegetables like squash and root vegetables, and learning how to cook with them, is also smart.
6. Practice Fasting- There’s a reason why religious people from Christians to Muslims and everyone in between practice fasting — it gives your digestion a break so your body can devote its energies to healing. It also teaches empathy with those less fortunate, as well as mental discipline.
Keep in mind that fasting is as much of a mental challenge as anything else, and that you’ll get better at it with more practice.
Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t have to be all (“40 days and 40 nights”) or nothing. You can start by intermittent fasting in the morning, drinking only water and waiting until lunch to eat.
People can also achieve some pretty incredible results (such as rebuilding your immune system according to one study) by fasting over a period of as little as three days. I personally prefer water fasting and I do my best to keep my mind occupied by reading on days that I fast.
I come out of it feeling mentally and spiritually refreshed while also having saved money in the process.
Final Thoughts on Living Holistically on a Budget
While eating and living a holistic lifestyle on a budget may seem like a monumental task, especially for families, at the end of the day it’s a mindset just like anything else.
The above are just a few tips that have worked well for me in my own life, and things I can always fall back on when I need to save money but don’t want to sacrifice my health in the process.
For more information, you can also check out my best-selling Amazon Kindle books ‘Dirt Cheap Organic: 101 Tips for Going Organic on a Budget,’ and ‘Dirt Cheap Weight Loss: 101 Tips for Losing Weight on a Budget.’
Also, feel free to share your favorite tips for holistic living on a budget in the comments section below (I didn’t even get around to talking about my love for foraging in this article).
This article is not intended to treat, prevent or diagnose any disease. See our full disclaimer for more info.