My Journey: How I created a healthier life for myself and my family.
My husband, children and I moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in early 2012. I've always prided myself on providing healthy food and being active in the outdoors, and when we lived in the bay area that was relatively easy. We walked to our local farmers market, bakery and natural food store. Plus, I could bike to and from work, and had numerous running trails minutes from my house. And the weather permitted us to do all these activities all year round.
Now living in a small rural community with one small grocery store, the closest city a 45-minute drive, and unrelenting heat in the summer, our habits went through a major shift. I worked for months finding places that sold healthy food, inquired about local farmers who would sell directly to consumers, researched CSAs in the area, and scouted out farm stands. In our first few months here, our grocery bill was huge. Buying high quality food was expensive, because it was a lot harder to find.
Plus, my commute changed from a 25-minute bike ride, to walking down the hall from my bedroom to my office (really, the only downside to telecommuting from a home office). Not to mention, the summer time temperatures are consistently over 100 degrees, making outdoor activities, other than sitting in the cool river, hard to manage. Life needed some shifting!
But I stuck with it. I’ve met farm stand owners, and we now have a produce stand right in town! I found the best place to buy organic/sustainable meat, chicken & fish. I also modified my cooking habits to begin with raw, whole foods, and created simple meals (don't take simple to mean simple tasting!). For fitness, I researched more about the critical aspects to a fitness regime and the most time savvy way to achieve that.
The end result? I get my kids and dog out running up hillsides with me, and have more fitness targets I can achieve at home, while feeling stronger and less stressed. I've cut our grocery bill by 20%, and instead of having to make a 45 minute drive (each way) to our closest city on a weekly basis, I only go about once a month, which has saved a lot of money on gas as well.
Saving money is great, buying local is wonderful, eating healthily and being active make life sweet.
My goal now is to take people on this journey with me. The opportunities to achieve this are different for everyone based on income and where you live. But the important fact is that there ARE opportunities. It took me a lot of time and research, but in the end, it makes for a happier, healthier family, and it’s saving us money as well. It really is a win-win situation.