September 25, 2017

BUT…I’m on a budget, I can’t eat healthy!

healthy eating budget

Really?  Broke?  You can’t eat healthy, but you have enough money to get pizza or have wings and beer…hmmm, I guess your version of broke and mine are two totally different things.

I am so tired of almost every post I see written about clean eating or healthier options is followed by people making excuses about how expensive it is to eat clean or healthy. There is a way to eat clean on a budget and not feel the pinch in your wallet. Trust me, as a single mom, who hasn’t been able to work a full time job and have a steady income in the last 4 years since my accident…I have LEARNED how to still eat clean and healthy! So I decided to pass it all on to you!! And guess what…it’s FREE knowledge!

WHAT’S THE SECRET TO HEALTHY EATING ON A BUDGET?

First, learn to cook your own food. Yes, you read that correctly! Stop eating out, stop ordering to go or pizzas, stop buying snacks at convenient stores, and stop buying coffee!! All of this adds up and it adds up quickly!! Also, if your budget is so tight, you wouldn’t have the money to do any of this ANYWAYS! So really, this should go without saying, but unfortunately people hide behind the EXCUSE that it costs to much, when in reality what costs too much is giving up your fancy coffees and your over priced smoothies.  So really it is a pretty OBVIOUS that if you want to save money, learn to cook! Also you can cook in advance, so you can just grab and go and not make impulse food purchases. Remember to switch up your cooking styles so you don’t get bored. There are hundreds of different ways to cook chicken healthy!!! TRUST ME!

healthy eating budget Second, if you have a Costco, Sam’s or BJs Club around you…get a membership!!! Not only can you save by buying in bulk, but almost always their gas is slightly cheaper too.  You can also purchase your Fish Oil, Vitamins, and Protein Powder there. Now the Protein Powder isn’t the high quality, but remember you are on a budget! Also you can get great prices on chicken, ground turkey and red meats. Yes, they aren’t organic or grass-fed, but your options are limited if your bank account is. You can also buy your everyday personal and household things here too. Did you know they all take coupons too?! I use BJs here and for example, if I get a three pack of toothpaste…I can use 3 coupons on it…1 per box! Start learning how to coupon, that piece of paper is like having FREE cash in your hands! Also, when some stores have coupons like $10 off your entire purchase…this is like $10 of FREE meat or veggies!! Why would you pass this up!

Third, stop buying things in cans and boxes…if you remember this, usually NOTHING clean comes in one AND on top of it the price you pay is also for the packaging it comes in! Last time I checked, we don’t consume cardboard and aluminum as food. You can also buy some great healthy and clean options in bulk, like beans, whole grains (barley, quinoa) and even whole grain flours (if you choose to keep grains in your diet).

Fourth, you don’t have to buy all your fruits and veggies ORGANIC! There are plenty that are very low in pesticides that you can purchase NOT organic. These include: Onions, Pineapples, Avocados, Cabbage, Asparagus, Mangoes, Eggplant, Cantaloupe, Kiwi, Sweet Potatoes, Grapefruit, Watermelon and Mushrooms.  There are twelve known as the “dirty dozen” which I would recommend buying organic, those are: Apples, Celery, Sweet Bell Peppers, Peaches, Strawberries, Nectarines (imported), Grapes, Spinach, Lettuce (all), Cucumbers, Blueberries (domestic), and Potatoes. Another way to save is to grow your own fruits, veggies and/or herbs! What better way to save money and even gas, no driving needed to walk outside and pick what you want to eat! One other way is to visit your local Farmer’s Markets…talk about FRESH!!  And remember this also, buy what is in season, that’s when it is at it’s lowest price!

healthy eating budget

Lastly, remember there are different forms of less expensive sources of protein like beans, tuna, eggs, nuts, or Greek yogurt.  If you are thinking about starting to eat clean (or even started to) and your budget is tight, take a good look at where you are spending your money. Is it going towards those fancy coffees and smoothies I mentioned prior or how about those frozen microwaveable meals (if you want to call them that). How much do you spend on beverages like juice, soda or even alcohol? It takes just a little bit of extra thought to save some money, but in the long haul you making it a priority will save you so much…like in your health! If your health isn’t important to you, IT SHOULD BE!

After all, we all deserve to be HEALTHY!!

Here’s a little guide to help you on your NEXT trip to the grocery store ~

Protein Options:

Protein powder (I use whey isolate)
Eggs (organic or cage-free)
Boneless/skinless chicken breast
Lean ground turkey
Canned Tuna (in water)

Seafood (Tilapia,Wild Salmon, Scallops, Shrimp)
Plain Greek Yogurt

Fibrous Veggie Options:
Spinach
Broccoli
Asparagus
Kale
Bell Peppers
Mushrooms
Cauliflower
Brussel Sprouts
Green beans
Artichoke
Zucchini
Cucumber

Healthy Fat Options: (Read about Healthy Fats, HERE)

Almond butter (Organic if possible, there should be oil on top, low/no sodium)
Oils (EV Olive(In the darkest jars), Safflower, Coconut, Flaxseed, Macadamia Nut)
Nuts (Almonds, Walnuts, Pistachios)
Avocado

Complex/Starchy Carb Options:

Old-fashioned Oatmeal/Steel Cut Oats (Gluten-free options are available)
Quinoa (Gluten-free options available)
Sweet potato
Yam
Whole Wheat Bread (Gluten-free options available)
Brown Rice

Fruit:

Apples
Pears
Blueberries
Raspberries
Strawberries
Lemons (for water & fish)

Beverages

Water*
Unsweetened Almond Milk (I like vanilla)
Green tea bags
Coffee

Condiments

Balsamic Vinegar
Salsa
Chili powder
Mrs Dash (is a staple in my kitchen)
Mustard
Cinnamon
Unsweetened Baking Cocoa
Stevia

All Fresh Herbs (Basil, Oregano, Cilantro, Rosemary, etc)

Vitamins

Fish Oil (especially if you don’t eat fish)
Multi-vitamin

2013…This truly HAS to be MY year!!

2013

You might be asking your self, WHY?

Well, if you don’t truly know me yet, then you don’t know that my lucky number is 13! So with it being year 2013 and then my birthday is on the 13th, oh and might I add it also falls on the greatest of all days (at least for me)…it’s a FRIDAY the 13th at that!! So YES this truly has to be MY YEAR!!

friday the 13

Though 2012 wasn’t so bad, the first half I was still recovering from my total left hip replacement. I finally got the “OK” to get back in the gym in May, but no low body weight training til almost August. I have had tons of set backs due to issues that have come up because of my surgery, that left me bed ridden for a few days here and there.

Let me talk about an issue, that actually has become second nature to me…my weight. I am one of those women who can tell anyone any “stat” of my life…whether it be years as a mom (14), years single (37), my age (37), years at the sheriff’s office (10), years dealing with medical issues (19), number of surgeries (20), number of tats (20), how many bones I have broken (seriously I have lost count), how many true loves have I had (1)…see the list can go on forever!

So back to my weight. At my highest, I was 275 (1/1/2005) and at my lowest I was 138 (9/1/2009).  I finally settled at my ideal weight for me, which is between 150-155. But over the last year my complete mindset on my weight has changed. You see being bed ridden from Feb 17, 2011 until January 30, 2012 (being able to get up an about but no exercise at all) left me at 181lbs. So I started back to really watching what I ate, not counting calories, but nutrient content (protein, carbs, fat grams). You see I decided I didn’t care about the number on the scale, I wanted my body composition to change this time, meaning lowering my body fat and not caring what my weight was. I started at 28.3% body fat, which is deemed overweight for my height of 5’7″. So now this became my goal, gain lean muscle, lose body fat. Well I was on a roll up until Dec 8th (when I kind of fell into a slump which then turned into mild depression).  I dropped weight to 160 and my body fat dropped to 21.7%, I was ecstatic! Now I was to only lose 5 or so more pounds but I want to be at 16-17% body fat. Well 3 weeks of depression and not really caring did me in…gained back weight and it wasn’t healthy weight because I was constantly in starvation mode due to hardly ever eating. So the last few days I have refocused and besides my emotional eating last night (yes I am human), I am gonna set out to ROCK 2013!!

407814_489826364402014_1832467888_n

You NEED To Change Your Lifestyle…NOT DIET!!!

There are NO miracle pills, injections, creams or surgeries…there are NO diet centers or diet fads…that will give you the healthy lifestyle you not only want, but deserve!!

Let me explain…I have been there, I have literally tried everything out there (no joke)…it was called being “desperate”.
When I say I have tried EVERYTHING, I am not kidding!! I have done all the silly “fad” diets, all the proclaimed “diet” and “fat burner” pills, to spending thousands of dollars on diet centers, to even starvation. Did they work…yes, but ONLY while I was on them! Why…because the only thing that changed was me following their directions, NOT by me changing my mindset! I knew I NEEDED to lose the weight, but I didn’t want to put in the effort to really do it. It wasn’t until my last attempt did something finally click!

You see, my last attempt was the Lap-Band Surgery, but I made a promise not only to myself but to my sister that I was going to use this as a “tool” NOT a “fix”. And that is exactly what I did. (Yes, I still have the band in, but I no long have restriction in it..meaning I no longer even use it as a too
l). What I had to do was not put my BODY on a diet…it was to FIX my brain and my heart first, my body would eventually follow!6 months prior to surgery, I started doing tons of research, I started asking questions to the right kind of people. I started learning about my body, about the inside. I read everything I could about nutrition. I finally made up my MIND that I was ready to make a LIFESTYLE CHANGE, not go on a diet! I also signed up for my first triathlon since prior to my first accident (at age 18). Instead of spending money on pills or diet centers, I spent it on buying a Tri bike, running sneakers, racing suits, an MP3 player, etc (all which I still have to this day…money well spent!). I started back swimming first and it felt great…I finally felt alive again! I literally was killing myself in the gym, I was working out 6 days a week, twice a day. I wasn’t losing much, but that’s when I realized I hadn’t cleaned up my eating (and even when I did, it wasn’t like I eat now, it was societies healthy eating…ya know the 100 calorie snack packs (GARBAGE)!! )!
There is nothing out there better than what healthy clean eating can do for you, your mind and your body. 80% of what your body looks like comes from the kitchen…the other 20% comes from what you do (physically).It really hasn’t been until these past 2 years…have I really noticed how true this is. Which, of course, has only made me want to know more! Knowledge is power! It’s amazing what certain foods can do for us…from lowering blood pressure, to flushing out toxins and repairing muscles….and it is all done NATURALLY!!!
It really hasn’t been up until this last year after my last 3 major surgeries that I really started honing in on my food choices, how to eat, when to eat, how much of what (protein, carbs, fat ratios), and the actual nutrient value of what I was putting in my body! My mindset changed again towards food…it no longer is food to me…it is FUEL! It’s what keeps me moving, it what stabilizes my health, makes my skin, hair and nails healthier, boost my immune system, aids in my recovery of not just workouts, but from surgeries. I do take supplements and I believe that there are ones out there that ADD to the nutrients you already are eating. No supplement should EVER replace actual food, EVER!!!

This post is not to ridicule anyone for doing anything that is trying to better their health…this is just an inside glimpse at my life and what I battled…and still do…it is an everyday choice I make to be and stay healthy! 🙂

The Most Over Used Phrase And It’s A Complete Lie!

“I am going on a diet.”

How many of you ever have made this statement? I know I am of guilty of it!

It wasn’t until about the last 2 years have I really understood and began to comprehend the difference between nutrition, diet, and eating. Want to know the difference? It’s easy…THERE IS NONE! Let me explain further.

What you eat every day IS YOUR DIET. That’s what it is called! It’s your everyday eating habits and lifestyle that makes up your nutritional diet. Did you happen to notice that all three words were used in that last sentence?

In order for you to change your diet to a healthier, cleaner diet, is a lifestyle change. I am not saying to go to the extreme tomorrow…I am saying start making a change weekly for the better. Some will be easy, some will be more challenging, but the results you get in return far outweigh ANY “suffering” you think you are enduring. TRUST ME!

You are probably wondering what I mean by a cleaner diet. It’s easy…EAT REAL FOOD! Can it be any simpler? The problem is, is that it is simple, people just don’t do it. Now what exactly is REAL FOOD? Here’s the low down, it’s anything that can be found in nature. If you can kill or grow it, EAT IT! So that boils down to meats, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, legumes, vegetables and fruit. If you want to eat even cleaner, you can eat organic, grass-fed and cage free foods. Though it is not a necessity, but choosing those options, you are guaranteed no extra preservatives, additives, or hormones in anything you eat.

How to start making changes? First, don’t worry about counting calories, weighing food or eating 5-6 times a day (to start). Just start eating REAL FOOD, eat when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied (this means eating slower and don’t stuff yourself, give your brain time to catch up to what you are doing). Also, center each meal around a high quality protein source.

As you start adapting this new lifestyle and way of eating, then you can start tweaking. What I mean by that is basing particular foods around different times in your day (which will be different for everyone). For example, if you are going to be training, you would want to consume a solid protein and fibrous carb about 30-60 mins prior too, then a fast digesting protein (like a whey protein shake) and a good carb source right after. I can explain this in further detail in another blog.

Lastly, don’t think if you fall off the clean eating, that you have failed because you haven’t. It’s only 3-4 hours until your body becomes hungry to TRY AGAIN!!

 

Jeans and Diets – THEY ARE THE SAME

Have you (women, that is) ever went somewhere and see a friend wearing an awesome pair of jeans and ask who makes them and where can you get ‘em? Only to go to that store, grab your size and head to the dressing with all the positive thoughts about how great your are going to look in these!

Then it happens…those perfect jeans SUCK!!!

Why does this happen? Well, it is simple…not everybody has the same body. Some are top heavy, while others are bottom heavy. Some have no butts, while others have hips they can’t stand. Some are super straight and others have curves in all the right places. All these traits, is what make us….well US!

Imagine this, if we all had the same body structure and makeup, the fashion world would not be a booming business. They wouldn’t need all the different cut lines and lengths of jeans. It would be one staple design and that’s it! How boring?!!

Well, same goes for diets! Though we all have the same body parts (bones, organs and such). How our bodies respond to different foods and even exercise vary greatly from person to person!

Just like those jeans on your friend look amazing on her and that same friend just lost 40lbs on this great diet, to make her look fabulous in those jeans…those jeans were just not made for you, just like when that diet she is on fails you. It’s not that you failed on the diet (if you were devoted to it), it’s just the diet failed your body. It just didn’t fit!

This is why every where you look, there are so many different types of diet plans. I am not saying that any certain diet is better than another AND I am also not saying that any of them are bad (well maybe except for Atkins, my opinion).

MY FINAL THOUGHT ~ Don’t jump from one to another. Give every diet plan at LEAST 4 weeks of pure dedication. Write down everything and I mean everything…food, emotions, exercise and times of all of it. This way you can find patterns in your eating and then start tweaking from there!

In the end, when you find the right mix of foods (which is called a diet) for your body…you are going to love going jean shopping!!