How to Eat Well for $4 a Day

Back in 2010, an offhand comment from someone at a grocery story led us to dig into the cost of healthy eating. We tracked our food expenses for a week or so with some interesting results—you can read about it here.

All in all, it was more expensive than we thought, but we weren’t trying to eat inexpensively, just really well. Recently, I found this free cookbook by Leanne Brown based on the concept of eating well for $4 per day per person—about half of what our costs were. Her goal was to try to eat well, but within the US Food Stamps budget. That’s no easy task.

Your mileage might vary depending on your family size, what you like, where you shop, etc., but for the most part, this book is full of delicious, healthy and inexpensive recipes.

Download your free PDF here.


4500 Patients!

The StoneTree Docs learned something this week: It turns out that over the years we have collectively cared for over 4500 patients. WOW!!!
This is just a quick little post to say a resounding THANK YOU! We are all so grateful that you have trusted us with your health and the health of your families and friends. We truly love what we do and we couldn’t do it without you. 
Here’s to many more years and many more faces.
Dr. Tara, Dr. Shelby and Dr. Kendra


The Health Care Number We SHOULD Care About

We often hear in the media of the “health care crisis”.  People are getting older, and sicker and our system is at risk of collapsing with the strain of taking care of everyone. And there are any number of scary statistics to support the idea in articles like this one, for example:

  • The supply of physicians will need to increase by at least 46 per cent over the next 25 years just to keep up with increased demand for services by the aged population.
  • We’ll need severe cutbacks to other already neglected sectors (such as the arts, public transportation, infrastructure, education, social welfare, etc.) and put in force abrupt tax increases to cover health care costs

Of course, “solutions” abound to solve the problem: User fees. Delisting services. Private clinics. Privatized insurance. Reforming the prescription drug system.

What’s amazing is that no one seems to truly care about one simple number: 75% of health care costs are spent on chronic disease.

Okay…here’s the thing: Chronic diseases are preventable. And sometimes reversible. They’re lifestyle diseases. They’re caused by what you do, and what you don’t do. When you change those things, you get better. Period.

It’s not rocket science. You eat better, move more, drink less booze, don’t smoke, go outside, have friends and have a great reason to get out of bed. That’s it. Do that consistently all the time and you’ll be healthier. A lot healthier. The evidence is all out there. According to the World Health Organization, at least 80% of premature heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, and 40% of cancer can be prevented through healthy diet, regular physical activity and avoidance of tobacco products.

Simple? Yes.

Easy? Hell, no.

If prevention and lifestyle change were easy, we’d all be healthy and doctors and researchers would be focusing their time—and your tax dollars—on acute care, true genetic issues, and other non-lifestyle-related challenges. But they’re not, because this simple stuff is hard.

Instead of accepting that it’s hard and figuring it out, though, what do we do? We use hard as an argument to avoid dealing with it. “People can’t do it, so we just won’t bother trying. We’ll invent a drug instead.”

That’s wrong. It’s as wrong as giving up on changing attitudes towards cigarettes, or race and gender issues. If we gave up every time something was hard, half of adults wouldn’t be able to vote and we’d still be smoking like rock stars.

So where do we start? I think the solution starts with changing who has the power.

Presently, the center of power is the doctor. The doctor has access to all the training, all the tests, all the info and all treatments. The doctor does the tests, makes the diagnosis and gives the treatment plan. It is a system that has worked this way for generations, and as we perceive the number of “scary diseases that can kill you” rising, patients become more and more willing to give up control to the “expert”.

Want to avoid a health care crisis? Start seeing patients as experts. Put the power in the hands of the people who know themselves best, and help them focus on the 75% we can actually change.

Happy Canada Day: Get the Most from Summer!

Welcome to the shortest season in Canada – the one filled with sunshine, fresh grown food eaten outside, and untold outdoor activities in and around the many beautiful lakes indigenous to our home and native land.

Here are some pointers for getting the most of this wonderful season.

  1. Take your holidays! Many Canadians don’t. Plan yours now. Rest and relax. It is so important to your overall health.
  2. Drink enough water. Most people need at LEAST 2 litres of water per day, and when it’s hot and humid, you need more. Try infusing your water with fruit to add electrolytes and flavour.
  3. Eat what is growing when it is growing. Seasonal food is the most nutrient rich food you can get all year. Visit your local farmers markets and plan your meals around what you find there.
  4. Naturally repel insects. Many essential oils repel mosquitoes and other bite-y insects. Citronella, Clove, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Cajeput, Eucalyptus, Cedar, Catnip, Lavender, Mint, to name a few.  Contact a natural soup and body product producer like Jen at From the Blue House with Love,  or try making your own.
  5. Stick to the trails.  There are many plants that will make your summer experience miserable, like poison ivy, poison oak, and giant hogweed. If you keep to the trails then running into these characters is far less likely.
  6. Manage your sun exposure.  Some is good–about 20-30 minutes will make you lots of great vitamin D au naturale. Too much is bad–the oxidative stress causes damage and increases your risk of cancer. Cover up with all-natural sun screens, or use clothing and shade.

Have a fabulous Canada Day!