Veggies for thought

Forming new healthful habits is difficult for a number of reasons: defeating old habits, maintaining willpower, finding the time to exercise and cut up all those veggies. But the reason that I am finding most maddening is also the most surprising for me: staying healthy requires money.

Fruits and veggies

Adding extra veggies, fish, and a multivitamin to my grocery trip this week cost me a small fortune and a gym membership is out of the question; meanwhile, ramen noodles are $0.30, a McDonald’s McDouble is $1, and sitting on my butt for hours is virtually free.

Sure, there are more frugal ways to be healthy. Start a vegetable garden. Clip coupons. Go running outside. But for those already stretched for time and resources, maintaining good habits with any kind of regularity may be a fruitless (pardon the pun) task.  It’s no wonder so many people abandon New Year’s resolutions by January 2, when real life takes the place of our good intentions, and the majority of us are carrying extra pounds and filled with convenience foods.

I’m now working part-time from home and am more fortunate than many because we don’t rely on my income to make ends meet. However, we certainly don’t have the wiggle room in the budget for a bunch of wild-caught fish or organic apples. Plus, after trying to squeeze some kind of  activity into the vast majority of my day, the cheap and easy gratification of a fast food burger is so much more appealing than another hour of cleaning, cutting, and preparing a slew of vegetables.

Of course, I could buy the veggies pre-cleaned and sliced, but I will pay a pretty penny for them. Or I could buy them in a can, but what about BPA? Carrots are easy, but no one in my house will eat them. Screw it–I’m going to the drive-through! Preparing healthful, tasty, inexpensive, and quick meals is so complex it’s almost contradictory. Something’s gotta give.

OK, so nothing groundbreaking here. Life is a constant balance between time and money, healthful choices for long-term gain or quick and easy methods for short-term satisfaction. It just never hit me before how much our culture and lifestyle mangles the message by extolling, and even guilting us with the benefits of health and wellness as a way of life, then encouraging the quick, easy, cheap foods and lazy life choices.

For me and many others, eating better and getting in shape will always be difficult because my human nature seeks the path of least resistance to nourishment. However, the ease and perpetual allure of cheap, quick, low-nutrient consumer foods makes it even more difficult.

And least I know the challenges I’m up against when creating a healthier life are not entirely internal. In order to improve my health,  I will need to battle the culture that sets unrealistic expectations for our eating and exercise habits, then offers a plethora of easy ways around those expectations. And the first step in any fight is to know your enemy.

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Back…and Back to Basics

I’m back, and I didn’t stick with my old job long. It was pretty obvious that I was talking me into it each day, and it was a big fat lie to myself. There is only so much boredom one can withstand without going mad. So I took a new full time job closer to home. One that is outside my field in a lot of ways—I’m not a copywriter anymore. In fact, I don’t do much writing at all. It is definitely a shame. But that is a post for another time.

So I’m back to blogging as an outlet for my writing, and this time I want to make it work. I know people intend to start blogs all the time and leave them sit. I can’t do that this time, even if I am the only person who reads this. Writing is my release and it always has been, so I’m doing this for me.

On the topic of balance and achieving simplicity, my husband and I recently made a pretty huge life change. We sold the townhouse that was driving us (and our dogs) crazy and moved out into the country. I love, love, love it. It feels like where I need to be. We actually ended up reducing our bills by moving (no more city water, no HOA, no more 4+hour commute), and it feels like some miracle that it actually happened. We had to sell our house in one of the worst housing markets my generation has seen, and find a place my husband and I could agree on (no small feat). To my astonishment, the puzzle pieces fell together, helping me believe things really do happen in their own time.

Now, my sincere hope is to connect more with nature and learn to find the joy in the simplicity of the quiet out here. I’ve started a garden and plan to plant some vegetables and herbs once the spring comes. I plan to get back to basics, and I have started with the little things. We get our produce from farmer’s markets around here. We get more exercise naturally doing yard work and playing with our dogs, who are ecstatic to have the room to run. Their joy has been my joy.

This journey has taken quite a different turn now. I look forward to writing about my work towards a more simple and well-rounded life. I continue to challenge the idea of a work life that is forced–not driven my passion–and I continue to search for what it is I am meant to do. But I get the feeling I am getting warmer…