How-To: Eat Healthy on a Budget

This is a subject I am OH-SO familiar with. A lot of people who eat unhealthy say that they can’t afford to eat healthy. That is like saying you can’t afford health insurance (which some people can’t) but it really is simple.

Remember how I, in previous blogs, mentioned planning ahead? Or making a schedule? Or even the compound effect? Ringing any bells?

ALL of that comes in to play for this How-To. In order to “afford” healthy foods, you need to budget. In order to budget, you’ve gotta figure out and plan ahead all of your bills, your expenses, etc. It makes it a lot easier.

For me, I plan to spend anywhere from $60-100 a week on groceries. The reason I spend that much is because I eat the same thing everyday. I can do that though – it doesn’t bother me. I change up the meals and snacks each week and cook on Sundays. Here’s the trick – PURPOSEFULLY pick foods that are inexpensive but still healthy.

NOTE: if you have ABSOLUTELY no healthy cooking supplies (i.e. Olive Oil, Nut Flours, Spices, etc. your first grocery trip will be HIGHER — but keep in mind that from grocery trips #2 and on, it wont be as high as you have most staple ingredients for your recipes).

It really can be less expensive to eat healthy if you PLAN AHEAD. The going trend for me is PLAN AHEAD – if you fail to plan, you really do plan to fail. If you have the will power to change, and know what is necessary for that change, than you will plan, you will budget, you will change and you will succeed.

Helpful tidbit – if you stick to some sort of egg dish for breakfast, have some soup for lunch or dinner, and have some 1-2 ingredient snacks during the day, it will also help keep your grocery bill at a minimum.

Here is a sample week for me:
Breakfast:
2 HB eggs w/cucumber and Flaxbread

Snacks (spaced 2 hours apart until lunch):
celery w/Almond Butter
zucchini +squash (cut up) with Homemade Ranch +chicken (cut in chunks)

Lunch:
Greek Style Mahi-Mahi
Cauliflower “hummus”
Greek Salad

Snacks:
veggie dish (taktouka) with Flax bread

Dinner:
Turkey burger w/jalapeno, cheese, and brussel sprouts
Roasted snap peas mixed with green beans

PRE-WORKOUT:
Mint Choco-nut Smoothie

All of that I can normally get with only spending $75-100 tops.

Proof of Day 9. Still feeling weird – stuffed up and a lot of drainage – still not letting it be an excuse!! And I made it over 20 minutes again 🙂

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Love.

How-To: Eat HEALTHY Sweets

You know it really is possible, right? If you eat store bought sweets, stick to dark chocolate – that isn’t too bad every now and then. Sometimes, they have Agave Gummies – those are my FAVORITE store bought “healthy” sweets!! Instead of refined sugar, they use Agave which is a low-glycemic sugar.

BUT – the best way to consume healthy sweets is to make them yourself. Yes, cook your own (see the pattern?? Cooking everything is WAY better than buying everything!)

On Facebook, I follow a page called “Gluten Free Recipes 24/7” – I also share A LOT of their sweets. Basically, they post sweets from different blogs, and pages, on the internet that are healthy, gluten free, and sometimes vegan, sweet treats, and other lunch/dinner recipes as well.

That’s a good start.

Rule of thumb – when baking your own sweets, use either STEVIA or XYLITOL (zy-lih-tall). They are (as always, in my opinion) the best low glycemic, naturally extracted, sugars that you could use. Xylitol is more of a granulated sugar, where as stevia comes as a fine powder or liquid. STEVIA IS VERY STRONG – it really does not take much. I like Xylitol, and use it for ALL of my recipes because it is not as strong, and easier to measure (closer to refined sugar measurements if replacing in older recipes).

Another rule of thumb – instead of using regular flours – use nut flours. Example: Almond flour, garbanzo bean flour, flaxseed meal, etc. Those are also better for you – I can’t remember why (I will do a post on regular flour vs nut flours next week so I can research and tell you the difference).

Here are some recipes I have tried and really like:

Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread – I have to start by giving you my ALL TIME FAVORITE!! This uses COCONUT FLOUR!! SO HEALTHY! and it is SO good – for all of you like me, who love regular banana bread, this healthy homemade alternative BEATS the taste out of the traditional recipe of banana bread!
http://www.bakerita.com/paleo-chocolate-chunk-banana-bread/

Banana Bread Granola – there is also this if you want something with crunch. Can you tell I like Banana Bread? 🙂
http://www.katesshortandsweets.com/2014/05/banana-bread-granola-vegan-gluten-free.html?m=1

Pure Chocolate – your own way of having healthier chocolate around the house! This does use Rice Syrup (or PURE Maple Syrup) which I don’t totally agree with but it is still better than refined sugars!
http://deliciouslyella.com/recipe/pure-chocolate/

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (main ingredient: garbanzo beans!)
http://www.texanerin.com/2012/04/grain-free-peanut-butter-chocolate-chip-cookie-dough-bites.html

Mel’s Kitchen Cafe – Gluten Free:
this is the gluten free section of this website – pretty good stuff in here. More lunch/dinner items but still good to look at and use!
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/recipe-index/gluten-free/

Check out some of those – you can ALWAYS google “Gluten Free Sweets” or something like that and you will find a TON of really good recipes!

I did complete Day 8 – back to Insanity Max:30 week 2! Today (technically yesterday) was Cardio Challenge again – I went A LOT farther. It is my goal to push, mentally, past 20 minutes of each workout this week. It might not happen in all, but I know I will definitely sweat more if I do!

Gym time happened as well! I have decided to use the gym time as strength training time. Muscle burns FAT so it is good to add – and I’ve got Cardio covered with the Max:30 workouts so its a good well rounded day of exercising when I stick to Cardio in the AM and strength training in the PM.

I am thinking of starting the process to be a personal trainer – just gotta pay for the class and start studying! Think it would be good for me – then I can share what I find on here too!

Proof I did it:

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Love.

How-To: Avoid Sugar

For beginners – a good rule of thumb is this:
If you CAN NOT pronounce the word listed in the Ingredients section of the label, PUT IT DOWN. YOU DO NOT NEED IT.

Majority of the time, sugars are in those long named ingredients that you read through, can’t even pronounce and assume is ok for you. It most likely isn’t, so put it down.

Another thing I recommend is this:
buy foods with AS LITTLE things listed in the Ingredients section as possible. OR… completely stick to one ingredient foods (whole foods) in the produce section, meat section, etc.

If there are fewer ingredients, it is not as bad – especially if most of the ingredients are spices, or ingredients like that. Processed sugar is simply put into everything (even drive thru foods!!) and is normally put in there to help “preserve” the foods – which is gross. I like to know that my foods will go bad within days if I don’t consume them because 1. then I have to eat what I spend my money on and 2. I know that they haven’t been “tampered” with in manufacturing with injections of processed sugar.

To help you, here is a list of ingredients that have processed sugar in them:

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learn this list – it is long but I PROMISE if you are looking to lose weight, focusing on this rather than calories up front when you start will make A HELL of a difference.

Day 2 of two-a-days is going strong – I felt a little weak in my ending 10 minute cardio cool down but I realized today that with two workouts I am not consuming enough food – so I am trying to add a little to the list with snacks this week to help for the remainder of the week.

Tomorrow is back to Insanity Max:30 with the start of week 2!! Feeling stronger and down 4 pounds – always a great feeling 🙂

Love!

How-To: Deal with Cravings

This is one that is going against the inevitable. WE ALL GET CRAVINGS. When you go thru a complete diet change and take out sugar you have withdrawals too. Fun stuff :l

Here are some tidbits I learned along the way –
1. drink water. at least 8 ounces all at once.
A lot of times you are just needing more water – chug a glass of water, and occupy yourself for at least 20 minutes and if you are still hungry, then pinpoint what you are craving (i.e. salty vs sweet, etc.)

2. IF you truly are still hungry, and you have pinpointed what you are craving, or what taste you are wanting, follow this chart:

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This gives a great guide on the IF… THEN… way of going about your craving and how to satisfy it in a healthy manner. Don’t just go out and get the first thing you think would help with that craving – most times, its reeeally unhealthy and not worth it!

That honestly is it. Other than that – find things to get your mind off of food and be active. A good rule of thumb is to eat every 2-3 hours to also help minimize cravings and to keep your metabolism working around the clock.

These have helped me in the past many-a-times. I always turn to water when it happens – it usually fills me up long enough to hold out a little longer before indulging.

Today I started two workouts a day – 30 minutes each. I did the Pulse exercise of Insanity Max:30 (stretching) and a 30-minute elliptical workout. I almost missed my post but remembered!! Getting the hang of this new routine I have started! It truly is amazing how fast things can change when you start taking care of your body, your mind and your overall health!

Love.

Failing to Plan = Planning to Fail

you all know that saying… if you don’t take the time to plan, you might as well plan to fail. I really do believe in that statement. It doesn’t have to be this great big elaborate plan, but at least some idea of how things will go, or some idea of what you would like to happen.

For weightloss, the BIGGEST thing to plan out is your nutrition. You don’t have to go all crazy… like I do… but knowing that each day you will wake up and take two hours to prep your food for the day, or on Sunday’s you prep your food for the whole week, or even prep every other day… whatever your routine is, STICK TO IT. Take it seriously. Make it a priority. Here is why:

nutrition is a really high percentage of weight loss (70-80% I believe) and what you put into your body is so important – to fuel for the day, to energize, to relax, to indulge… it all matters. For me – I have to take 1-2 days to prep for multiple days in a row. Sundays are usually a big prep day and sometimes thursdays if I have time. Today I prepped for the whole week. A lot of times if I prep for the whole week it is the same line up each day, for that week (remember, I said it doesn’t have to be elaborate!).

A typical week for me looks like this:
7:30a – Salad Smoothie
10:30a – Cashews and Cheese

1:30p – Chicken Curry with Flaxseed Bread (all homemade)
+Asparagus soup w/shredded cheese
+Homemade Kale Chips
3:30p – Boosted Broccoli (has a homemade anchovy sauce to add healthy fat and protein)

5:30p – Cauliflower “Hummus” with Bell Peppers
8p – Mint Choco-Nut Smoothie

It is well rounded and all homemade. I don’t consume grains – but I consume the same nutrition thru the flaxseeds, and other replacements. I limit my intake of berries – overall, I watch my intake of sugar, consume 15g of protein per meal, and increase carbs (thru selected veggies) and GOOD, healthy fat. The only way this is so doable is due to all the wonderful recipes I have found. I could eat chicken everyday for a month, but have some BEAUTIFUL, and completely different from each other, recipes each week – making it doable.

Seeeeeee!

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A heads up on what is to come:
some “How-To’s” next week
then moving to “What’s Better” the next week
and then some yummy recipes the following week.

That should cover month one! aaaaaaand I am now at a loss for what to plan for the remaining 11 months /: (suggestions are always welcomed 🙂 )

Proof of Day 5

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Love.

The Compound Effect

Let’s discuss this a little bit.  Earlier today I posted about “slow and steady wins the race”, right?  Well the compound effect is essentially that plan.

The Compound Effect = the DAILY, hard work put towards something and all the while, making those DAILY, seemingly insignificant decisions to compound the effect you are trying to achieve.

For example:

weight loss — you want to lose 50 pounds.  OBVIOUSLY you are NOT going to lose that weight over night, right?  But OVER TIME, you can, right?  SO – every day you make small decisions.  You choose water over soda, or you count calories, or choose to cook dinner as opposed to driving thru a fast food place for dinner… the list goes on.  But every day you mentally stay strong, and choose those healthier decisions is another day closer to that goal… and a week goes by, no big results, correct?  Two weeks, you can see some kind of change… three weeks, even more… one month and you see a good amount of results.  You may stop and think whether or not to relax on the journey or keep pushing forward… well if you keep pushing forward, and six months later… voila!  You have lost 40-50 pounds!!  And by then you have created such a good habit that going back is pretty hard.

The compound effect.  It’s the same for saving money, paying off debt, etc.  There is NO magic solution!  There isn’t a quick fix, and once you realize and admit that there isn’t a quick fix or magic solution, the better your life will be.  It is going to take A LOT of discipline to achieve financial and physical goals, for sure.  It isn’t going to be a walk in the park, either.  But will it be worth it?  HELL YES!

So start today – don’t make an excuse.  Put a plan together to cut out something that is unhealthy next week… then add another thing to rid out of your life the follow week, and so on and so forth.  Before you know it, you will be heading in a direction with your life and toward your goal that you will look back and think “DANG!  That went by fast!”

That is seriously all it takes – just some will power and realization that its not going to be a walk in the park.  When you put your mind to it, anything is possible.  By the way, you will probably have “nay-sayers” and people who don’t agree with you, don’t believe in you, or don’t think what you are doing is worth it – but as long as you believe in what you are doing, WHO CARES!?!  Keep on keeping on, my friend.  Do what YOU believe is right and what you believe is worth the fight!

Day 4, by the way, was a tough workout.  Not feeling well really puts a damper on a workout, but I at least still got on the floor and sweated it out!!  It was a lazy workout, but I still put as much effort in as I could and still completed the day.

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Love.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

so, I haven’t been feeling well and fell asleep last night before posting 😦 my apologies – so today, there will be TWO posts!

The main goal I want to focus on with my weight loss is creating a new way of life. When you create a new way of life, it is easier to maintain said goal in weight loss LONGER. When you go on a “diet” it is a temporary fix. Most often times (speaking from WAAAAAY to many past experiences) you gain back the weight, you fall back into those bad habits, you fall back into those excuses, you fall back into everything that you temporarily changed to get you to your checkmark.

When you go on a LIFE CHANGE, however, you are setting your sails for the long haul. It no longer is a destination, it is a journey. Cliche but so true. You no longer address the small issue and temporarily fix it; you no longer reach a deadline and relax and kick back and HOPE that the results stay. YOU WORK FOR IT EVERY SINGLE DAY LITTLE BY LITTLE. You slowly make a bad habit go away and fill it with a good, new, habit. You slowly make changes that are doable. You slowly create a new way of life without even knowing it.

I found this article that is SO great:
http://www.weightymatters.ca/2014/10/what-actually-reading-that-fast-vs-slow.html

My favorite quote, if you take nothing from it but only this, it is perfect!

“[the fact] that there was no difference in their rate of regain speaks more to the authors’ failure of recognizing OBESITY AS A CHRONIC CONDITION, which like any chronic condition, RETURNS ONCE TREATMENT IS STOPPED, than it does to the speed participants lost weight using weight loss interventions that they were explicitly instructed to stop once their weight was lost”.

OBESITY IS A CHRONIC CONDITION. IT IS AN EPIDEMIC. IT NEEDS TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY! There are so many people out there who are happy being overweight, and I even tried to convince myself that I was one of those people, but reality is that what we put in our body is doing WAY more damage than just weight gain. It is ok to be built “big”, “broad”, “stalky”, “heavyset”… whatever the describing word is… but it is NOT ok to be unhealthy. You can be big and healthy. You can be “a little fluffy” and still be healthy.

What I finally recognized is this:
There is no miracle. There is no magic pill. There is NOTHING out there that will take away the mental pain, humiliation, discomfort, and stress, or the physical pain, illnesses – whatever the struggle may be – other than HARD WORK. You can’t change overnight… you can’t really do anything overnight.

YOU HAVE TO MAKE THE DAILY LITTLE CHANGES, THE ONES THAT SEEM INSIGNIFICANT IN THE MOMENT, TO MAKE A CHANGE FOR A LIFETIME. You have to put in work, bottom line. It won’t be easy, it won’t be fun, it won’t feel like it is worth it at times, but in the end – a month from now, two months, 6 months… a YEAR… those efforts will TOTALLY feel worth it.

I have to remind myself CONSTANTLY that this is worth it. That by doing this I am bettering my future. I have to remind myself of the vast differences between unhealthy habits and healthy habits. For example, one immediate change was better sleep. THAT IN ITS SELF IS WORTH IT! I now sleep a full 7 hours without waking up where as before I was waking up every 2-3 hours like clockwork. I was restless in the morning, and struggled to get up… now I get up naturally without an alarm clock – and I am able to get my workouts done in the early AM and get on with my day and I no longer struggle with being ON TIME for work!

It’s definitely not going to be a fast weight loss, BUT, in 2 months after this program is done… 15-20 pounds lighter… it will all make it worth the work. And then it will be time to pick another program, or schedule to follow 🙂

Believe in yourself. You can do ALL THINGS through God, if you let him strengthen you… and you can do ALL THINGS when you put your mind to it, and use your discipline “powers” and your will power, to make a change. IT WILL BE HARD… but SO worth it! Pick a friend who needs accountability (mine is my dear, childhood best friend and trust me the first 4 days would not have gone as they did if she weren’t there doing it with me!). Make a promise to that friend to update each other throughout the day on what you eat, what you do and how you feel. Especially during cravings so they can talk you down and remind you of your goals.

It helps 🙂

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Day 3 was really completed yesterday morning! I am about to knock out Day 4 right now!

LOVE.