Eating Healthy on a Budget

We all want to eat a little more health conscious and with increased consciousness of mind we wish to treat our temples as best as we can. But we definitely aren’t trying to break the bank or spends insane amounts of money doing so (a trip to your local grocer, Whole Foods, or health food store uninformed and ill prepared can certainly have you emptying your pockets relatively quickly. I speak from experience folks) So here are some tips to assist you in living the healthiest you can and to arm you and assist you in making the most financially savvy and health conscious choices possible.

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Photo Credit: GIPHY
  1. Plan your trips accordingly. I currently shop for the majority of my food once a month and try and cut and freeze everything that I can. I have a strategy of eating fresh produce first and everything else that can be flash frozen and stored next. I usually try to limit my grocery store trips so that I am not making multiple trips unless I actually NEED something. Plan your trips according to your household size, needs, eating patterns, and convenience.
  2. Prepare a list based off your meal prep and favorite snacks. I absolutely recommend making a list because it’s the impulse buys that will throw your budget completely out of whack. Nothing wrong with an occasional splurge but if it doesn’t fit into your meal prep or pantry or fridge staples you may want to leave it behind or ask yourself if it’s a need or a want.
  3. Meal prep. Meal prepping will not only save you time and money but it allows you to know what you are eating, plan your meals and snacks out, and keep you from getting off track and just buying takeout or eating fast food all the time. Additionally, it will allow you to mix and match with different foods and flavors to keep things interesting and may help you discover foods, herbs, or spices you never knew you would love.
  4. Check out the ads and compare prices BEFORE shopping. Knowing what’s in season and the normal price for various produce can save you TONS. Checking out your local coop, farmers market, or indoor markets is also a great way to stock up on fresh produce and save.
  5. When you can buy fresh produce,  but frozen veggies and fruit  are always a great substitute and contain the same nutritional value as fresh produce. Additionally, shop around for whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, etc. Sometimes the organic store brand of some pantry staples is cheaper and similar in taste to your favorite name brand version.
  6. Buy beans and lentils in the bag and season them yourself. If you soak them for a few hours prior to cooking they are really tender and hold flavor like you wouldn’t believe. Plus, they are much healthier for you than canned items.
  7. Stay away from canned items whenever possible and items in fruit cups or anything processed. Good rule of thumb: If you can’t pronounce it or it sounds like it could kill you don’t eat it.
  8. Experiment with herbs and spices to add flavor to your favorite fruits and veggies.
  9. Try different cooking methods such as roasting, baking, sauteeing, and grilling.
  10. Buy a water filter or a pitcher that filters your water and experiment with fruits,  veggies, and spices  in making your own version of your own favorite flavors of infused water. You can use these to substitute for juices or sodas.
  11. Try out different varieties of herbal tea if you still want some flavor and can’t quite make the drastic switch to infused water just yet.
  12. Freeze your favorite fruits for a sweet treat. You can also make your own homemade ice cream with your favorite, frozen fruits,  favorite type of milk and spices.
  13. Pack leftovers from your meal prep and take them with you to work for lunch. If you get bored easily like I do with eating the same things throughout the week, make two meals that don’t require a lot of preparation or use ingredients that can be paired different ways like beans, fresh veggies, grains, protein (animal and non-animal) and store them in portable containers.
  14. Zip seal containers will become your best friend. You can use them for your leftovers, storing pantry staples, snacks, etc. Mason jars are also great for food storage and overnight oats.
  15. Shop the outside aisles as much as possible. That’s where all the REAL food lives.
  16. Don’t shop when you are hungry. Self explanatory.
  17. When you can stock up on your favorite pantry staples on BOGO and with a coupon. If the store runs out ask for a rain check and you can get that same item when they restock at the same price.
  18. Coupons!!! Most stores will allow you to stack their coupons as well as manufacturer’s coupon and any other applicable savings, so do your research and plan accordingly with a strategy in mind. I shop Publix and the indoor market for my fresh produce and mainly my meat (when I eat it) from Publix, my household items (tissue paper,  laundry detergent, dish detergent, little snacks, etc) from Winn Dixie because of the gas perks and all my toiletries from CVS (yayyy Extrabucks) Sounds like a lot but you would be surprised how much strategizing will save you money.
  19. Be aware of what things cost. Just because a retailer tells you something is a deal doesn’t make it true. DO YOUR RESEARCH AND BE AWARE.
  20. Be open to trying out new foods, vegan and vegetarian meals, meal types from other countries or with different flavor profiles. You may surprise yourself with all there is out there that tastes amazing and is HEALTHY to eat!
  21. Shop ethnic markets or foods. The flavors are explosive and you are guaranteed to get more bang for your buck!
  22. Organize your freezer, fridge, and pantry so you don’t buy things you already have and can take inventory of what you are actually using.
  23. Invest in a  good blender, spiralizer, and/or crock pot/slow cooker. Try out them and thank me later. LOL.  But seriously these are great tools to slowly add to your kitchen tool arsenal and that will encourage you to try new recipes
  24. Try out and research new recipes. There are so many resources online and via email list serv.
  25. Prepare and drink your own veggies via smoothie. Experiment with your taste buds but my go-to staple for green smoothies is a mix of kale, spinach, frozen, mangos, and peaches, almond milk, and protein powder of choice. But only your taste buds can tell you what works for you. This is a great and EASY way to get a full serving of veggies and fruits in early in the day. The earlier the better so you can burn off the sugar from the fruit.
  26. Most of all have fun! You are creating a greater YOU and what’s not to love about that?

healthy eating

Making turmeric milk and infused water

 

 

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Photo Credit: Hion.com

As a part of living a healthier lifestyle and just a goal of trying out new recipes, I took some of my spare time last night and incorporated a new turmeric milk recipe into my arsenal of recipes and added a new flavor to my infused water.

Here is a picture of the results :

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Infused water:

I chopped up about  3-6 lemon wedges, 7-9 cucumber slices, and added  a tsp of ground ginger, and just some good ol’ H20. Store overnight in fridge  for maximum infusion flavor and enjoy!

Turmeric milk:

A cup of vanilla almond milk, a tbsp of cinnamon and nutmeg, and a tsp of  raw organic sugar cane. Shake well for about 2 min to ensure all ingredients are well mixed. You can either warm up the milk or drink it cold. I warmed it up and it tasted absolutely delicious. I am trying to replace my caffeine fix for coffee with herbal teas and other warm drink recipes. This recipe came in handy just in time and I didn’t even have any caffeine crashes without coffee and this had a nice smooth, spicy but sweet taste. You can adjust the recipe as you see fit. It will come out a bright yellow color, even though from  my picture it appears a warm brown. #lightingprobs

Both turmeric and infused water have natural detox and anti-inflammatory properties so it’s even better that these drinks taste great and are great for you!

What are some of your favorite health food drinks or smoothies? Let me know, I would love to hear from you!

Fitness journey chronicles: There’s glory in your highs and lows

 

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As I am thinking over my personal fitness journey, it has definitely been just that. A journey. But I haven’t regretted a thing and I continue to push myself to new levels and depths each time I step into the gym, hop on a cardio machine, pick up some weights, join a new fitness class,  and push myself to depths that I never would have imagined that I could. I’ve watched my body and confidence transform,  not just from the outside transformation but just the mental renewal of doing things that I never thought possible or never dreamed of doing.

These past couple of days have been nothing short of awesome as I was a little nervous that I was beginning to lose muscle on my journey but it turns out those muscles were only hiding. Lol. Anyone on a fitness journey who has had gains before knows the exact feeling I am feeling right now when you realize you maintained your gains and are still developing new muscle tone, definition and endurance. It’s thrilling and it’s amazing.

 

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Yayyy muscle gains! 

 

I am super excited just to be back in the gym and back in a gym flow because I feel the previous weeks when I’ve gone, my mind hasn’t been fully there. I will attribute that to possibly being slightly mentally cluttered and pulled in various directions. The past few days I’ve been increasing my weights in between sets to make sure that the tone I’ve developed is maintained and can grow so I am going to try to chronicle just the different phases here as well as anything I believe will be relevant to this topic on here as well.

I think my diet also had a huge part to play in my excitement level too. (If I’m honest I wasn’t fueling it the way I needed to be and was having a few binge moments here and there that I personally were derailing me as far as having the desire and motivation to reach my goals)

What are some fitness goals you would like to achieve? How is your fitness journey going? What are the things you are learning? What are you loving and looking to improve on?  I would love to hear from you!

Wellness: I’m fit but am I really living well?

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Photo Credit: freetoflywellness

 

With increasing research supporting healthier food alternatives and active lifestyles, the world has been turned on its head in terms of wellness, health and fitness. In fact, I am pretty proud to say I’ve been living a pretty health conscious lifestyle. I live for a good gym session and a good kale and spinach smoothie and veggie wrap or veggie stir fry. However, even with all that fixing of my physical health and eating habits I can’t help but think does my spirit fully reflect the work that I am putting my outer self through?

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I mean it’s great to be physically fit and to truly care for your temple but sometimes I have to admit that I am tougher on my inner me than I probably need to be. BUT to combat that I have been being intentional these days about being kinder to myself and putting into practice some #selfcare and being mindful especially when it comes to my thought life. Because let’s be honest it will not do me or anyone else much  good to be the strongest woman on the outside but  to be constantly struggling on the inside, or battling with negative self talk or things that don’t align with what God has to say of me.

So in an effort to practice being more healthy spiritually, which is directly related to your mental health and wellness, I’ve put into practice the following:

  1. Meditation (both on affirmations and the word of God)
  2. Intentionality of my thought life.
  3. Laughing with family and friends.
  4. Reading good books or listening to uplifting songs, podcasts, Youtube sessions, or any other similar media outlets that are good for/beneficial to my soul and spirit growth.
  5. Fueling my body with veggies, fruit, and essential vitamins and nutrients that will boost my mood.
  6. Exercising regularly.(heyyyy endorphins and good feelings!)
  7. Fighting negative emotions or spirits vigilantly.
  8. Celebrating myself, my accomplishments, and all the amazing things that are happening in it and focusing on those things.
  9. Focusing on what I want to be and how to get there, goals, the goodness of God and the progress I’ve already made.
  10. Counting my blessings.
  11. Living my life like it’s GOLDEN! (Shout out to Jill Scott!)
  12. Realizing all days aren’t going to be picture perfect but taking it all in stride and finding in the words of my best friend “my happy” and realizing my peace, joy, and contentment comes from God and flows outward from that place and is not dictated by circumstances or situations but by my identity as HIS cherished daughter.
  13. But even if I do have an emotional day or moment, not LIVING in that space and finding the courage and strength to keep moving past that.
  14. Being transparent with those close to me and realizing that those closest to me are built for helping me on my life journey.
  15. Self care (washing hair, soaking in the tub, eating my fave treat foods WITHOUT GUILT, dancing, taking a nap, whatever may feel right in that given moment and that contributes to getting back to a balanced place)
  16. Serving others and taking my eyes off myself.
  17. DOING NOTHING. (Despite what this world tells us or tries to feed us, sometimes rest/stillness is a beautiful thing)
  18. Taking a walk outside.
  19. Encouraging, pouring into, complimenting someone else and talking to a perfect stranger, giving someone else a smile or a bit of hope.
  20. Cooking/meal prepping, reading about new recipes and types of food
  21. Hanging out with family members, friends and loved ones and enjoying the simple things.
  22. The occasional burst of retail therapy.
  23. Foodie/ travel adventures
  24. Walk in confidence and realize all is well with my soul
  25. Call on my alter ego Ms. Thang (every woman has that part of herself she calls up when she needs that extra oomph)

Not an exhaustive list but this is what came to me offhand.

What are some of your favorite wellness promotion activities? Feel free to share! I would love to hear!  In the mean time take care of yourself and remember there are billions of people in the world but there will never be another you with all the gifts and talents God has imparted to you to share with the world so be WHOLE and WELL!

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