One question I’m frequently asked is how to go Paleo on a tight budget, when the unfortunate reality is that it’s far more economical to make poor food choices than to eat fresh produce and wild meats.
Of course, there’s the age-old argument that one may either spend a little more on good food now and stay healthy, or pay more for the cost of healthcare later on, if you become ill. While I do agree with the concept, we still need to address the fact that for many it may feel as though there’s simply no wiggle room in the family’s food budget.
One way to address this is to implement an action that’s often used in many different areas of our lives—do it yourself. Just in time for the month of April, when we will celebrate the 43rd Earth Day, why not plant a garden?
- You don’t need acres of land, or any land, for that matter, as gardens can come in all sizes. If you do live in an area where land is at your disposal, perhaps you can plant a garden in your own backyard.
- If you’re in an urban area, you can look into small window box gardens or a rooftop set up.
- There’s also the community or school garden approach, where multiple families can all partake and contribute to create fresh product everyone can share.
- Make sure to get the kids involved, too; if they learn early to think about where their food is coming from and how to choose food that is more natural and less processed, as well as how to prepare it, they’re far more likely to be interested in the process than if they’re served a not-so-fresh, not-so-tasty version of what could have been a lovely plate of veggies.
How to figure out what to plant? Start with some research to learn what herbs, spices and veggies naturally grow in your area, and educate yourself on which are easiest to take care of. Choosing lower-maintenance plants that are more likely to succeed in your garden will be key to your motivation to continue the trend.
Got bugs? Don’t forget to learn which ones are actually helping your garden before you hit the local mega store with plans to use a harsh, toxic spray that will not only wipe out both good and bad pests, but will also leave your garden a dangerous place for kids or pets to play. Try one of the more natural sprays to keep pests at bay.
Ask the experts at your local nursery, garden center or the local farmers market for help, tips and their best advice as to how to get started now!
Nell Stephenson, the original “Paleoista,” is the author of Paleoista, Gain Energy, Get Lean and Feel Fabulous with the Diet You Were Born to Eat (Touchstone, 2012) and co-author ofThe Paleo Diet Cookbook with Dr. Loren Cordain, PhD (Wiley & Sons, 2010). In addition to her work as nutrition consultant and trained chef, Stephenson is a personal trainer and competitive endurance athlete who credits the Paleo diet for her transformed health and athletic success. Visit her blog at www.paleoista.com.
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