In college, I started a small Etsy shop and blog from the storage closet in my sorority house. A few years later, and through a very non-linear journey, that small Etsy shop grew into an internationally recognized sweatshirt brand & that little blog led to bestselling books and a publishing career. Now, I'm obsessed about helping other women uncover what they're made to do and take steps to make it happen, too.
I’ve gotten a lot of questions on my journey to cleaner living – swapping out products, changing how I eat, and working with a functional doctor to learn what my body needs.
I know a lot of women are curious to learn more, or are ready to pursue a cleaner lifestyle but aren’t sure what it looks like from a financial perspective.
Because, ya know, there are these little things called bills.
Maybe that’s where you’re at. Maybe you’re sitting there in your comfy slippers (or your 🔥 high heels) looking like this emoji 🤷♀️, asking “How can I prioritize my health on a small budget?”
Well, if that’s you, then get ready to take notes, because I’m sharing all of my top tips to building a cleaner lifestyle… on a budget.
If you don’t know my background, or why I’m even talking about healthy living, let’s back up this train for a sec so I can give ya a (super quick) recap.
In January of 2020, I had my first miscarriage. (If you’re interested, you can hear that full story here, but I won’t go into too many details here).
I got pregnant a few months later, but at thirteen weeks, I ended up losing that baby too. It was even more physically and emotionally painful because of how much farther along we were into the pregnancy.
If you’ve ever walked through miscarriage before, you know how frustrating it can be to try to find answers. In the traditional medical model, most doctors won’t pursue testing until you’ve had three or four miscarriages.
I, however, was determined to be proactive and advocate for my family’s health. Suddenly, my health was about more than just me. It was about our babies and future kids too.
I wanted to find the root cause of what was going on and prioritize my health, so I began seeing a functional medicine doctor.
If you aren’t familiar with functional medicine, definitely check out this podcast episode that dives deep into it. Basically, functional medicine looks at finding the root cause of an issue (rather than using medicine to slap a bandaid over what’s wrong) and helping the body heal naturally through lifestyle and dietary changes first.
My functional medicine doctor (who, BTW is a real MD who got additional training to work in functional medicine) found that I had some gut health issues and inflammation. I learned so much about natural inflammatory foods, and I cut out gluten, dairy, soy, refined sugars, caffeine, alcohol and processed foods.
If you’re like I was, you’re probably wondering, “What in the world can you eat?”
I hear ya, sister. That’s how I felt at first too.
I started out feeling pretty confused on what to eat. I would buy processed gluten-free foods, thinking it must be better because it didn’t have gluten.
But I soon realized that I was developing a toxic mindset, where I was only focused on what I COULDN’T eat.
Eventually I learned, through working with a dietician, that I needed to change my mindset. It wasn’t about what NOT to eat. It was about what I COULD eat that would NOURISH my body, support my endocrine system, and give my body energy.
What would help heal my body? When I thought of it that way, I realized there were so many amazing foods I could eat.
If we just say “I don’t eat gluten” without replacing that with whole, unprocessed, nourishing foods, with a changed lifestyle, we end up in an unhealthy place.
BTW, if you wanna learn more (without spending a ton of money), I HIGHLY recommend you read the book Woman Code, which shows you how to naturally heal your body and explains the science of it too. You’ll learn so much about your body, hormones and endocrine system – and how to nourish and heal your body.
Okay, so you’re probably anxious to get to the part where I share some tips on how to make these lifestyle changes and invest in your health on a budget.
The most important thing to know is that I didn’t make all of these changes at once. I didn’t change my nutrition, swap out my products and see a few new docs all the same week.
I started with my food. And I worked on slowly becoming more intentional in cooking.
When I started swapping out products, I didn’t throw everything out at once. For most of us, that isn’t realistic. I would swap one product at a time. When I ran out of something, like shampoo, then I would find a cleaner option to buy next.
It also doesn’t cost anything to make changes to have a consistent amount of sleep and to sweat a little. Those are both so important to your health.
So start with that: eating differently, moving, and sleeping. Those three alone have a HUGE impact on your health – and it fits into your budget.
When it comes to fitting healthier foods into your budget, here’s a few tips:
Another important part of our health journey has been to switch to cleaner, non-toxic products. And yes, many of these products can be pricier.
If you’re sitting there thinking of all the products in your house you need to swap and calculating the cost, just stop.
Take a breath, girl. ⏸️
Remember, you don’t need to do it all at once. That’s way too stressful for anyone. Instead, start with one product at a time and make an effort to switch to a cleaner product whenever you run out of something.
(Oh, and don’t forget to check out episode 132 for some good advice and resources on swapping out products).
Feeling overwhelmed by which products to switch to? It can be pretty confusing when so many products are being marketed as “green”, “plant-based” or “natural.”
(And FYI, those labels don’t mean anything. Those are all just ways marketers try to make their product look cleaner).
If you’re looking for some guidance, I highly recommend you check out the Instagram account @ireadlabelsforyou. She does a great job explaining different chemicals that are in products and the harms of them – plus, she shares the best and cleanest products to get.
Once you have some cleaner options in mind, make some goals to save up for these healthy products and build them into your budget.
Look at how you can save in other areas to support and pay for the expenses that will serve your health.
What is your money going towards? Where could you reduce, cancel a membership, or eat out less to use that money for a healthier lifestyle?
If you still feel like there’s no room to reallocate money in your budget, think about creating other streams of income for your family.
You have the skills. You have the ability.
Need some ideas? Here’s a TON:
At the end of the day, we all have limited capacity (with our time, emotions and finances). So it comes back to prioritizing our health when planning our budget.
Ask yourself: What do I need to grow and what do I need to let go?
Listen, it’s NOT SELFISH to prioritize your health. When you do, it ensures that you can show up in your roles and be the best worker, mom, spouse, and friend.
I invest in my health to invest in my family. To invest in my work. To invest in my future.
I’m investing in something bigger than me so I can show up in these spaces as the BEST me I can be.
If I show up grumpy, fatigued or ill, then I’m not serving or doing anything really well.
Your health is an investment more than an expense.
And remember, small changes are better than no changes and a little bit of progress in the right direction is better than no direction at all.
So, are you ready to invest in your health, while sticking to a budget? Tune in to the full podcast episode to learn all the things, like:
And let me know in the comments: how are you going to prioritize your health this week?