February: Save Money Or Reduce Inflammation?

February is coming up, and I’ve been thinking about sponsoring another No Spend Month challenge. February is an easy month to go No Spend, because it’s short. Twenty-nine (hey look, Ma, a leap year!) breezy days of enforced frugality to re-set the savings budget and rebalance the treat spiral entitlement curve.

Worth every penny.

Homebrew Husband and I have done several of these No Spend challenges, and it’s always been a great exercise in financial prioritization and values-driven spending. During our last challenge, we spent slightly more than we budgeted, mostly because I loaded up on good-deal local strawberries for freezing and jamming (and we’re still eating those berries, thank you very much). We also inadventently budgeted $250 instead of our normal $300, so I don’t feel too bad about the minor over-runs.

So there’s that option: save some bucks with No Spend Month February

But because of some recent whack-a-doo health stuff* at our house, I’ve also been thinking about trying a period of anti-inflammatory type eating. I have a pretty good grasp of the various “diets” out there from my time as a personal chef, and I’d probably embark on something either in the Nourishing Traditions vein or something in the Paleo/Primal vein, but I’m open to suggestions.

Everyone agrees salmon is good for you, right?

This would be purely a self-observation based challenge, since I’m not going for a before and after lab work-up. But I would note any weight loss or gain, energy changes, etc., and I’d hope that anyone playing along would do the same. Since I’m not an expert in anti-inflammatory diets, I’d share what I read and learned with you, along with any recipes I created, but I wouldn’t be in a position to answer any technical health-type questions. We could all learn together.

So there’s the other option: A Stumbling Attempt at Anti-Inflammatory Eating For Real People

So what do you vote for? I’m not doing both – I’ve learned a long time ago that I don’t have the willpower to be super strict with my money and super strict with my diet concurrently – and either one would be a heck of a lot more fun with other people.

Will you leave a comment and let me know which challenge, if either, you’d be likely to participate in? Also, will you let me know which you’d be interested in reading about, since I don’t want to write a bunch of posts no one is interested in reading?

Thanks!


*Health update: since so many of you were so kind and generous in your thoughts about our family medical concerns, please know that my bloodwork came back and my thyroid levels look fine, but apparently I’m allergic to the medication my doctor prescribed - or something! - and now my lips are spontaneously bruising and my tongue feels like someone has poured battery acid over it if I eat anything spicy, citrusy, soured, acidic, pickled, alcoholic or caffeinated – which pretty much covers everything I eat.

Go ahead and laugh – I would, if only I could have a glass of wine without pain. More doctors appointments are in my immediate future to suss out why I’ve turned into Bleeding Gums (Bleeding Lips?). Naturally this is the year we went with the “high deductible” insurance plan. This is getting ridiculous.

We’re still waiting for an appointment for my little boy, but the warmer weather has helped his blue-turning tendencies in the short term. So there it is. Thank you all for your thoughts, I’ll let you know if I have scurvy or something.

Comments

  1. I’d be interested in reading about either option, although I probably wouldn’t actively participate. I’d be willing to follow along with my checkbook or my Nourishing Traditions book, though. :)

  2. I’d be interested in both reading about and participating in the Primal/Paleo challenge. I’ve just recently ordered the Primal book and two cookbooks, so I’ve been eating Primal for about a week or so already. We have some expenses coming up that we need to spend some cash on, so I don’t think I’m in for the budgeting one.

  3. I vote you do the paleo diet in Feb. I’m doing a no-spend in March (Troy will be out of work for 3 months), so you can join that one! “Best” of both worlds; restrict food in Feb and money in March. Weeeeeeeeee…

    In regards the tingly lips, didn’t Deanna @ thecrunchychicken have that issue that turned out to be a reaction to a bad batch of pine nuts? I wonder if that has anything to do with it?

  4. I’d go with the diet in Feb, the budget in March. You’re pretty conscientious, regardless, so give yourself a break and take care of your physical self first. I’ll be happy to follow along, but I await the motivation to take it on like you have. I love the inspiring messages you send out and admire your tenacity and values. Go you! And feel better, everyone :-)

  5. Did they check you for some version of Herpangina ? That makes even water very painful to drink…. Or are you eating too much acid? (citrus, tomatoes? ) …. And have they suggested boosting your immune system by getting your animo acid levels up higher with L-Lysine, an animo acid found in broccoli and other good for you foods?

    L-Lysine is my go-to solution… any time my immune system needs a boost – like feeling a cold coming on or getting a cold sore… Stops them in their tracts by boosting my own immune system. This is just what I do …. I am of course NOT suggesting that anyone try this without checking with your own doctor first…. but it was my chiropractor that started me on this one :)

    Hope you find the source of the problems.

  6. I did a no/low-spend January – actually kept track of every penny spent, which is rare for me.
    But got a windfall coming in Feb, so will be spending and stocking up on things.
    But will gladly follow along.
    No inflammation problems here …. did you know that gets worse with stress??? but will gladly read along on it. Just on a regular losing diet here – and upping exercise.

  7. I would completely partake in the anti-inflammation diet. I actually pretty much do anyway, but I totally fell off the wagon during Christmas and haven’t gotten back up yet, so this would be perfect for me.

  8. Both sound interesting but the health stuff seems a little more pressing. I personally love the idea of a no spend Feb. because we tend to actually spend a lot then due to our anniversary. But March might be the perfect recovery month instead. And if you do a no spend Feb – what will you eat with your tongue feeling like fire? Make it no spend March, after you figure out the lip/tongue stuff. ;)

  9. Hmmmm, I could go either way. I’d be interested to see the anti-inflammatory diet, and get some inspiration. I just wrapped up a “strict” (for us) grocery challenge, in which we cut our spending by $100. This is a big deal for me, but now I pretty much hate it, and want my higher grocery budget (and all my snacks) back. Maybe by March, I’d be game to do a No-Spend month.

  10. Cathie Gottlieb says:

    I would do the no spend month . Would be fun to do it with a bunch of people.

  11. Part of ‘The Year of Eating Nutritiously’ for me is to reduce inflammation, by reducing sugar, going totally gluten free again, increasing good fats and reducing processed food, for my rosacea, psoriasis and IBS. I am super keen to see some recipes and information from you in regards to Nourishing Traditions/ anti-inflammatory diet. I think getting your health into balance is more important than thinking about your bank balance (if you have that option), because once you feel better, you can tackle all the other challenges… that’s my aim, anyways!

  12. Part of ‘The Year of Eating Nutritiously’ for me is to reduce inflammation, by reducing sugar, going totally gluten free again, increasing good fats and reducing processed food, for my rosacea, psoriasis and IBS. I am super keen to see some recipes and information from you in regards to Nourishing Traditions/ anti-inflammatory diet.

    I think getting your health into balance is more important than thinking about your bank balance (if you have that option), because once you feel better, you can tackle all the other challenges… that’s my aim, anyways!

  13. Having trouble leaving this comment, forgive me if it has double posted.

    Part of ‘The Year of Eating Nutritiously’ for me is to reduce inflammation, by reducing sugar, going totally gluten free again, increasing good fats and reducing processed food, for my rosacea, psoriasis and IBS. I am super keen to see some recipes and information from you in regards to Nourishing Traditions/ anti-inflammatory diet.

    I think getting your health into balance is more important than thinking about your bank balance (if you have that option), because once you feel better, you can tackle all the other challenges… that’s my aim, anyways!

  14. brenda from ar says:

    I’ve been holding off spending until February, so will be restocking. I know a little about anti-inflammatory eating, but would love to learn more. My vote is the diet route. Thanks.

  15. yup- your health is far more critical right now than the bank balance- I vote food…..

  16. I vote for the low inflammation diet. It is something I could use as well and would love to have the support/info!

  17. Food (or lack there of) for me. Still haven’t started the New Year’s Resolution from way back (years ago!) :o/
    I would love to learn more about the diet and still need to pick up the books mentioned, but are they the anti-inflamatory style diets, or are we talking something all together different here? Got a godd title to get the ball rolling?

  18. OK, looks like some sort of an anti-inflammation diet thing is getting more support right now, and other people are already thinking about a March no spend. So, that’s the plan. I’ll be back in a few days to talk about anti-inflammation basics. Thanks for your input, all!

  19. Have you heard about the Forks Over Knives Diet? It’s a plant based diet – no meat or dairy. It might be good to give your body a break from the animal proteins.

    • And the nutrients that come along with the animal proteins. Forks Over Knives is a scam. We do need a more sustainable food system, but without animals involved in agriculture or permaculture, it’s either petroleum inputs or slave labor. You *could* go the hardcore route and compost your own pee and poo for plant nutrients, I suppose, if you never went potty anywhere else, but most people wouldn’t be willing to do that and eventually their soil would be depleted. And you’d still not get your B12 (the stuff germs make in your colon is for them, not you), your essential fatty acids (some people can’t convert the plant precursors–do you know if you’re one of them?), and the preformed fat-soluble vitamins, which are easier for everyone to absorb than the plant precursors, when those exist at all.

      Personally I find it is *plant foods* that cause my inflammation. Grain is from plants, seed oil is from plants. Meat doesn’t bother me at all. Dairy’s from animals, but that’s a casein sensitivity, not the fact that it is from an animal per se, and casein sensitivity is not universal. (Lactose intolerance is easily worked around. Fermented dairy usually has little to no lactose, and ghee has none at all.)

      Those who seem to get inflammation from animal foods are either reacting to the fact that the animal’s been grain-fed in violation of its dietary needs, or they have health problems that get in the way of them using arachidonic acid in an anti-inflammatory way. AA is a weird little fatty acid that can go either way, either inflammatory or anti-. It all depends on your health status when you ingest it.

      Hope some of this helps. I’m tired of the dietary reductionism that doesn’t even have the facts straight on human physiology. (Even the Paleo folks are wrong about dairy, assuming no dairy sensitivity, and raw’s better than pasteurized.) If I were meant to eat like a rabbit, I’d have a rabbit’s gut; if I were meant to eat like a cow, I’d have four stomachs. The human GI tract is much more like a dog’s than either other animal. Dogs aren’t herbivores either!

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