Taking a big leap last year to go back to study in my 30’s was a bit of a shock to to the old bank account when I realised that Austudy wasn’t going to keep me in the raw-organic-fair-trade-single-origin-dark chocolate I was accustomed to.
Thank the high heavens my tastes are somewhat more refined now than my Uni days when my budget was solely for toast, pasta and, well, the cheapest, sweetest wine with the highest alcohol percentage thankyou please (I was a classy 19 year old). This time around, I’ve had to really think and be a savvy health nut.
Here’s what I’ve come up with.
Clean 15, Dirty 12
Once you actually look at the prices of organic produce, it’s enough to make a yogi fall out of a headstand.
So, where am I best spending my cash for maximum health benefits?
Enter the Clean 15, and Dirty Dozen plus. The Clean 15, Dirty Dozen plus is based on the research from the US organisation the EWG (Environmental Working Group), listing foods that in their non-organic state are not so bad in the grand scheme of things (The Clean 15) and those that contain a multitude of nasty chemicals and pesticides (Dirty Dozen plus).
I’ve started buying what I can organically from the dirty dozen list (like spinach) and others on the Clean 15 list (avocados) from the non-organic section at the Vic Market.
See below link to take you to a full list of these fruit and veggies
Grow your own Veg.
Winter in Melbourne is the perfect time to grow leafy greens! I’m the laziest green finger in Melbourne, watering only when I remember and half -heartedly pulling out the odd weed, and even I’m managing a small crop of curly kale, rainbow chard, sorrel and silverbeet in my teeny tiny garden. Nothing beats the thrill of picking and eating your own veg.
Okay, I don’t get out much.
Check out produce swapsises in your area in Melbourne:
Natural Health Practitioners
I’m a firm believer that alternative therapies like massage and acupuncture should be a part of your wellness plan and not just a luxury. But unless you have really awesome private health insurance, going to see a natural health practitioner can leave one massive hole in your wallet.
Well listen up Yogi’s !
Student clinics at Endeavour College of Natural Health and Southern School of Natural Therapies (SSNT) have modalities such as Naturopathy, TCM, Acupuncture, Massage and Musculo-skeletal therapy. You will get treated by a student and their supervisor (often the Naturopathy and TCM students have almost completed their Health Science degrees) for a fraction of the price of a professional. It’s great for your budget, and it’s great for the students.
From just $10 or $8 for concession
Bring your own
I take my keep cup wherever I go, a bunch of herbal tea bags and then all I need is some hot water and I’m sorted. It’s not only good for the cash fund but also for the environment too. You’ll save those mid-afternoon crash and burn feelings by forgoing the coffee in place of a herbal tea, and a shed load of cash. $3.50 a day for those coffees, that’s about a $100 a month… that’s nearly a Yoga membership!
Green smoothies can cost $10 or more to buy out and about, but tote your own by whizzing up in a blender and putting in a recycled glass mason jar. Shake it up when ready to drink. Delicious.
Nuts. In bag. Like squirrel. Need I say more, just so important for those in-between times when the ‘Hangry' strikes, so you don’t reach for some sugar-laden snack.
Lastly, be creative in the kitchen, set yourself a challenge that you won’t buy anymore food until you’ve used up everything in the fridge. I’ve created some of my best recipes this way. Ok, also some of my worst, but that’s half the fun!
Happy cheap and cheerful health!
Written by Polly Wilson.
The Yoga Social Team