The Cost of Health
Lately I've been talking more about getting rid of toxins and taking care of my body naturally so I can heal. A big part of that was spurred on by having children, but also as I seek out answers to health concerns and heal my gut, it has become a major priority. I received a comment on instagram the other day from a single mom asking to address the topic of how expensive living a non toxic and natural lifestyle can be. I get it, we aren't rolling in money. No, we are on a tight budget over here as well. Though we're all in different places financially, I hope to shed some perspective from our life in hopes that it will give you a spring board to thinking through your own decisions in this area. This is definitely not advice, and definitely not a one size fits all type of approach. I'll simply share from our family's experience.
1. My health demands our dollars right now. At the risk of sounding super dramatic, it's true. Anyone with gut issues, ranging from candida, to autoimmune diseases, to food intolerances knows how the gut can be a domino that sets off issues in a larger system. Over the past two years we have been in (and thankfully are now out of!) medical debt due to an ER trip, and multiple minor emergency trips for me due to debilitating stomach pain. I was in such intense stomach pain for such a long time that I was unable to care for our children, my husband had to miss multiple days of work to take care of the kids and me, and I was terrified because I didn't know what was causing all the pain. I had a rash under my arms that would not go away for months no matter what topical treatment I applied. Long story short - my poor health has cost our family thousands of dollars. We are a one income family, and Jordan doesn't get sick days. If he doesn't work he doesn't get paid.
It took us a long time to dig ourselves out of the financial hole my health cost us. So when we finally did and finally had the emotional capacity to start doing the hard work of finding out what exactly is wrong with me, we decided we either spend money up front on quality food, supplements, and treatments to restore my body's ability to detoxify and heal itself (a.k.a have TRUE health again), or we spend money down the road on doctor visits, prescriptions, and at the hospital (a.k.a not true health, and I feel like I'm dying every couple of months).
For me, getting toxins out of our life is extremely important. Eating the right food to nourish my body is important. Taking my supplements daily is vital for how I feel. My last blood panel showed no inflammation in my body, which I can only attribute to lessening my toxic load and eating a Paleo/limited sugar diet.
Anyway, I hope this brings into perspective that health is worth the investment. We see our food and supplements as medicine. We see building our kids immune systems naturally as better than giving them artificial antibodies. These are all just a personal choices we've made. It isn't the choice you have to make! But, I think we've seen it over and over in our culture. One in eight women will get breast cancer, with only half of that being from a genetic predisposition. The other half are from environmental causes - toxins, food, etc. We pay up front for quality and health, or we pay down the line for sickness.
2. The products in our homes have a real affect on our bodies ability to function and heal. I've said this in other places online but I'll just be really honest with you here - I watched Beautycounter for a little over a year before I took the plunge to try the products. The reason I waited so long? The price. I thought it was crazy to spend $30 on sun screen, so I didn't. But I've just gotten to the point in my life where I'm pretty sick of searching the internet for hours for answers, scanning every label and being disappointed countless times when I do spend money on "natural" products and they don't work. Because the reality is I bought a less expensive but still higher priced natural sunscreen, yet it was too thick to rub into our skin, so I dreaded applying it. I don't want to live that way anymore. I rather just buy from a company I can trust and know I'm getting what I pay for - the best of the best. I know it may seem steep for skincare and cosmetics, but all the products work, and they rate a 1-2 on the EWG database.
I had to get to a desperate place with my health before I was able to be serious enough about something as seemingly trivial as makeup and body wash. My sincere hope is that you wouldn't have to get to a desperate place with your health, fertility, migraines, allergies, etc. before you make a change for the better. We have become so accustomed to the commercial products offered to us in America, thinking they are normal. For the majority of history though, our convenience products have not been normal and the truth is, there is little to no safety data done on them. Known chemicals, hormone disruptors and heavy metals are getting into the products we use daily and that's just not okay.
THIS PODCAST MAKES THIS POINT POWERFULLY, AND WAS A REAL TURNING POINT FOR ME IN UNDERSTANDING HOW TOXINS AFFECT OUR HEALTH. I HIGHLY ENCOURAGE YOU LISTEN!
3. Save money in other categories to spend more on health. Cleaning is the perfect example of this. I could spend a ton on mops, mopping solution, counter spray, dishwasher pods, laundry detergents, fabric softener, dryer sheets, toilet cleaners, windex, bleach, etc. etc. You get the idea right? I could use a vinegar based cleaner that is natural yet actually highly irritating to the lungs and doesn't get the job done well. OR I could use Branch Basics for laundry, the dishwasher and deep cleaning and Norwex cloths over and over again to clean surfaces with just water. I even bought some Norwex body cloths for removing my makeup to save money on buying face wash over and over again. So with all the money I'm not spending on regular cleaning products, I put into Branch Basics and a couple staple Norwex cloths. The cost actually comes out to the same or less depending on what you use in your own home. Plus Branch Basics has an awesome referral program to allow you to give $10 to a friend and get $10 for yourself to spend - so you can really get your cleaning products for free or much less if you share about them :) And you can host a Norwex party with a consultant in your area and earn free product! So many options here for saving, and this is just one tangible example from my own life.
4. Lots of safer products are more concentrated, lasting longer. I have seen this to be true with my Branch Basics cleaning concentrate and Beautycounter products. A little goes a really long way. I actually just talked to one consultant who said that the charcoal mask lasted them 11 months, using it 1-2x a week. Another said that the shampoo and conditioner lasted her 7 months washing 2-3x a week. I can only say the same with the products I've used. They are full of great ingredients, and I need less than the drugstore brands I used to buy. Though quality products may cost more up front, you are not only making an investment in your health, but truly you do get what you pay for here.
5. Another Resource: My friend Dr. Meghan actually just did a Facebook live where she gave some excellent points to think through about investing money in your health. If you're interested, you can watch her FB live in her Just Enjoy Health Facebook group, or you can listen to a similar conversation here on her podcast.
Do you invest more money in your health? What makes it worth it for you?