Is Health a Privilege?

Today, I posed a question to myself: how am I going to be healthier? I thought about changing the food that I buy, swapping out fries for greens but then I really started to ask myself, how could I afford it?

I shop very cheap. My favorite grocery store is Aldi, I go there several times a week buying random odds and ends but what if I was going for my health? How would I change everything then? So, I decided to do just that. Yesterday morning, I went to Aldi at 9:30am on the dot! (I know because I’d previously checked to see if they were open). I walked up and down the aisles until I got an idea of what I wanted that day: air-fried thin chicken breast and roasted veggies. I got ecstatic! I went over to the produce section and picked up green bell peppers, onions, asparagus, and a bag of baby potatoes. I did pick up some other things that they had like: a collapsible tote (use for heavy shopping), chicken (I mean, they do have good chicken! I prefer no rib meat but I usually cut that off), butter, eggs, powdered sugar (I bake) and that’s all I remember. My total was under $40 for a days meal.

Now, most Americans can’t spend $40 on one person for one days meals, that is ridiculous. So, what would I have bought if I didn’t have that money, I wouldn’t have picked up the butter, eggs, and powered sugar (even though it’s still fairly cheap), I would’ve left the fresh asparagus for the frozen (they were the same price but freezing would mean I could use them much later too) and maybe bought a bag of frozen veggies.

That’s the reality for most Americans, they simply cannot afford a healthy lifestyle, they can’t afford to make the changes that people who have money seem to think is so easy. I also shop discounted, I don’t usually go to big stores unless there’s a specific product I need (like dairy free cheesecake) especially since I haven’t been working. It’s hard to make those changes.

Since we talked about food, let’s talk about working out. Gyms can be expensive depending on where you live. Planet Fitness’s basic plan is $10/month. The gyms in my hometown start at $19/month. Some people will say exercise at home but sometimes, you don’t want to spend your entire day in the house. Yes, you can go outside and do exercises but inclement weather does happen and no one wants to be soaked from a run.

Realistically, being healthy and having these options are a privilege that a lot of people think about. In China, there’s a free fitness group called “FitFam” (follow the hyperlink to learn more about them), and that’s where my fitness journey started. Even though it has ebbed over these last few months, this is where I got excited about fitness. I wish that we had this program in America because going to something for free can be the difference between a ‘healthy’ life and a life filled with obesity and medications.

My motivation seems to go back and forth when it comes to fitness. I actually love working out and when I did have a free gym membership, I would wake up at 9am and work out for an hour. It was amazing and I loved the way it made me feel. But reality does set in and I could no longer afford the membership 😦

Since I’ll be moving to Texas soon, I want to start my ‘new’ life with a new mindset. Keeping myself healthy is important, mentally, physically, emotionally. It all adds up to me taking care of the body that I was given.

If you have any tips please feel free to share them below! If you know of any communities similar to FitFam, drop them! If you’re in the Dallas area and know all the ins and outs of fitness there, please let me know!

2020 is a New Year, let’s make some new goals together!

I’m trying…minimalism…?

A few years ago, I started to become more aware of the environment and my impact. It can be insanely difficult to start being minimalistic with so much coming to your mind at once. Since coming back to America, I have done nothing but consume. Our kitchen was being remodeled when I arrived so cooking was one of the things we couldn’t do. We had no running water and no space to do anything.

I had no choice but to spend a lot of my money eating at restaurants and getting fast food, even to this day–now that the kitchen is 95% completed–it can be difficult to not just get in the car and go get something quick. I was consuming so much that looking back, it was crazy and I am ashamed of myself for letting it get to the point of me losing my morals.

Since December came in and the money that I saved is finally getting low, I’m rethinking what I did. Some of the things I purchased was a long-term investment. Like the KitchenAid mixer and Chrissy Teigan pot set (I actually got this extremely discounted at Ollies). The mixer is an investment, it can last years longer than a cheap one (from what I’ve read during my research). I have a nice Rachel Ray pot and pan set but I wanted to add to it. Currently, I live with my parents and don’t use my pots but I thought, hey, it’s discounted and you can never have too many kitchen accessories. Then I realized, you can, but I won’t take them back.

Going forward, I’m going to try to buy less or if I need to buy something, buy it for a reasonable price (on sale or with a coupon). I actually started this last night, my mom and I went to Walmart and I picked up 2 new workout shirts ($3/item, regular $8.88 & $9.96), a Harry Potter shirt for $2 and a long sleeping shirt for $7. My total was under $15 including taxes. I was very happy. I had stuck to my guns and only bought things that were on sale and that I would use. I love to wear activewear even if I’m not working out.

This morning after dropping my diabetic dog off at the vet for her monthly sugar testing, I wanted to stop by a coffee shop and get a chai tea, but I realized that I didn’t have a spare cup in my car for them to put it into, so I came home.

Grocery shopping is an activity that I usually do just for myself (my parents don’t usually eat the same foods that I cook), so I’ve started getting “off-brand” items and only buying exactly what I need. Instead of shopping big name, I go to our local grocery store and ALDI’S! I can’t tell you how much I love Aldi, I’m even in a group on Facebook. We swap recipes and ideas and I love it because a lot of people only have just enough money these days. I’m not ashamed to say that I don’t have a lot of money anymore, I’m basking in the fact that I have to really get myself together until I get a stable income.

I’m also looking to get rid of things. I’m sad about how much stuff I throw in the trash and over time, I want to reduce what I send to the landfill.

Where will I start? With myself. I need to look at what I’m doing from an overall standpoint and a micro standpoint. Where is my money going? Do I use Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, etc enough to pay for a monthly subscription. My credit card, how much will I pay if I just pay the. minimum amount? How can I get this lowered. I need to do better for myself so that when I do find the job of my dreams, I can easily focus on work and leading the life I want to live.

In addition (hehe, why does this sound like a paper for college), I’m going to include more local vegetables and fruit. This is not to give up meat but honestly, for my digestion system. I’ve found that having a meat heavy diet only makes me sick and that when I put more veggies/fruit in it. It seems to go smoothly. It’s winter in South Carolina which means lots of imported goods and that’s okay. Spring/Summer/Autumn is coming.

Let’s have a chat! How has minimalism been for you? Do you want to give it a try? What questions do you have about veganism, being a vegetarian, or minimalism? Leave comments below! I want to see what questions you have! But more importantly, I want to open a discussion about this and do you think we can really stop being massive consumers?