Two things have resonated very strongly with me lately. The first is the battle for a higher minimum wage. Trying to pay off my school debt, I have worked incredibly hard to bring down my living costs. Sacrificing a car, having a roommate ($500 rent), and budgeting my social expenses has brought me down to $1454/month. And that is with me being in the military, so I am not paying for health insurance. That is the bear minimum, no emergency fund, no house repair fund, no kids, no pets, no anything. Now, federal minimum wage is 7.25/hour. A minimum wage worker, working 40 hours a week, makes 7.25*40*4=$1158 before taxes.
Could I do that? I looked into it, and found out that I could, even accounting for $100/month health insurance. But wow. That’s no gym, no supplements, no mode of transport except my motorcycle, and only $50 worth of spare change. But the biggest thing to me, is no emergency fund. Sure, you can live on minimum wage, but only if you are smart ALL OF THE TIME. If you ever get into debt, or have any unforeseen expenses, you are screwed and cannot recover. What a life. What a stressful life. What a horrible thing.
Truthfully, I didn’t realize this until I started looking into easy part time jobs I could get while going back to school in a few years.
The second was in one of the documentaries that I was watching. It stated “The poor are poor in everything; education, safety, and health.” The current book I am reading, Thrive, connects poor nutrition will poorer academic/work performance, poorer health, and lack of motivation. It also speaks about how chronic stress is a strain on your body, and requires more nutrition to combat it. In Hungry For Change, I learned how most toxic chemicals from modern medicine and non organic food are fat soluble. How therefore, your body turns to fat storage in order to save itself, and how difficult it is to remove this dangerous chemical laden fat. You combine this with a society that states that health and nutrition is one of our lower priorities. That we should chose a nice house, a car, nice clothes, anything over paying what we truly need to pay in order to develop and maintain a healthy body. This all becomes a toxic cycle, that you can see play out in the Children featured in the documentary Fed Up. We are not fat, unhealthy, and diseased because we are lazy. We are not unmotivated, irritable, and sluggish because we are poor, or a minority, or young, or technology dependent. We are the products of humanity’s recent experiment with chemicals and human health. A product of a nation who values its sick, because that’s how it makes money. And this is the most pronounced in our nation’s poor.
I have been eating less animal products now for about three weeks. Funny thing. My second daily cup of coffee has become too much for me. I’m thinking of switching to black tea, just for the comforting post work out aspect. Is it the lack of animal products that is doing this? Is it that now without my purchases of eggs and milk, I have more money to spend on vegetables?
I find all of this incredible. All of it. And I want to renew my commitment to eat well, and organically, on a budget. Often times people say they are too broke to eat well. I want to prove that false. In fact, the less money you have the MORE important your nutrition is, so that you don’t lose work and productivity and have to pay higher medical premiums. I work out a lot, so you could easily feed two people on the food I eat every week if those people didn’t work out for two hours a day, each. It wouldn’t take much more for a family. When I began this journey, I could find very little on the subject of eating healthy vegan/vegetarian food, as an athlete, organically/locally, on a budget. I still haven’t found anyone who is doing what I am doing. I guess this just means that this food and health journey is important. And that it is something I can, and must, continue to do.
This Week in Updates: I’m a Drop Master!
Whew. What a long week. It was my six day work week, combined with early morning Saturday volunteering (for work), so let’s make that a seven day work week. Plus, I had my drop check ride which kept me quite late on one of those days, considering I sat there and stewed until the flight left at about 2pm (which is when I normally get off of work!). But, I’ve always wanted to be a drop master. I think of all the things I could do in the Coast Guard, that is the most cool. Configure and drop life rafts out of the back of a plane? I’m in! I love heights, and I love dropping things, so it fits me.
I also have been doing a variety of Christmas/Hanukkah planning and shopping. This year, everything but two purchases are made in the USA or resale. Most of it isn’t resale actually, just a few things. That makes me one proud early holiday shopper! How did I do this? Well, I have written about buying made in USA before, but the short explanation is that I used Etsy almost exclusively. A few items were bought from Amazon after searching for Made in USA “blank”, and I used Groupon for some experience based presents. My sewing machine is coming into play, as I upcycle some old clothes, resale clothes, and beautiful made in USA organic fabric I bought from Organic Cotton Plus. Organic, made in USA cloth that I sewed myself? You can’t get any more sustainable than that!
The Recipe: Vegetarian Margarita Pizza
I have been on a pizza kick lately (I think it’s PMS) and I was so happy to find this recipe! As I start off on my vegan journey, I have a lot of learning to do, so you can expect more of these “recipe reviews” until I get my feet under me and figure a few basic techniques out. Who has it all figured out? This amazing food blogger Vedged Out! Pizza with just veggies on it is so lame, and this cashew cheese is easy, quick, chemical free and homemade! Making it, I felt like a vegan goddess. Just follower her instructions by clicking here, and you’ll be one happy vegan!