With the midterm election coming up I am sure a lot of you have seen commercials, signs and heard radio shows urging you to go out and vote. Voting is an opportunity to incite change by making our voices heard. But did you know that your power to vote far extends the polls and reaches straight into your wallet? I’m sure you’ve heard of r #votewithyourdollar or #votewithyourwallet. Here at Latch onto Health, we challenge you to #domorewithyourdollar and #votewithaction.

How you ask?

Analyze Your Values

Figure out what is important to you. What are your standards? Do you look for the Organic stamp? Non-GMO? Do you look for clean ingredients? Do you want to support small businesses? Local businesses? Local products? Is sustainability important to you? Recycling?

How do you ensure that the products you are purchasing align with your values and standards? Most of us pick up a product, glance at the ingredients and skim through any heartwarming anecdotes on the packaging. But this is just the surface. To make a great decision, you need to dig deeper because the only way to make an informed decision is to educate yourself first.

Educate Yourself

Educating yourself is more than reading labels. Pull out your phone and investigate. Look into the company, their values and their line of products. Are they owned by a larger company, and if so do their values also align with your own? For example, say you are looking to purchase a new lotion. You find one at your local market that is organic and made by a small business. Great! Now dig deeper. Is the packaging recyclable? Does the company practice zero-waste? Is the organic coconut oil they use cold pressed and from where does it originate? The questions can be as intricate and involved as you desire and are positively endless. That’s OK.

You will always have questions, and many times you may not find the answers quickly. You can always contact a company and ask them about particular ingredients or company practices to make your final decision, or you can just grab that lotion because it fits the bill and your elbows are in some pressing need of TLC. The point is that with a little work you can find products and support businesses that uphold your values if you so choose. The reality is that the world runs on supply and demand. If our dollars go towards organic, Non-GMO, sustainable, zero-waste, clean, etc. products, the more of these products will be made to cater to the demand. It is simple economics because we’ve all heard that money talks.

So does action.

Make More Save More

Of course, there are times a purchase is made out of convenience and hey, we’ve all been there. It is important to note that if you can make something you should. You can buy bulk which cuts down on costs and packaging, and choosing your own ingredients ensures that your final product will have precisely what you want and nothing you don’t. For example, you can buy organic almond milk, but you could also make it yourself. Homemade almond milk yields milk and pulp, which you can bake and blend into homemade almond flour.

Your homemade organic almond milk and almond flour are fresh, wholesome and free of additives. You can get more for your dollar by making it yourself, but sometimes you just don’t have the time, and that’s OK too. The point is that you have the option and you should use it.

Do More

A lot of times people think that money is the answer, but money can be mismanaged. Hello credit debt! The truth is that your time is just as valuable as your dollar. Buying your produce from a local organic farm means you are getting high-quality produce and supporting a local business. Going a bit further, you could meet the farmers and volunteer your time to help them from harvest to emails. Perhaps you could arrange a local school to host the farmers, so they may learn about organic farming and start their own garden.

There is power in the knowledge and wisdom you gain. There is also power in your dollar. Use both wisely.

Now Vote!

It is time to advocate for yourself and your beliefs. Whether it is at the market or at the polls, your voice is important, and it should be heard. The EWG, Ethical Barcode and BuyCott are all great places to start when trying to identify clean, sustainable and ethically made products.

As for the midterms, check out 411vote and educate yourself on the issues in your community that have made it to the ballot. You can review the stance each candidate has so when the 6th rolls around you will have the knowledge and wisdom to advocate for your beliefs at the polls. The more you know, the more you can do with your time and your dollars. Spend it all wisely as you continue on your journey to Latch onto Your Health!