Healthy Living on a Budget

by Megan Taylor

 
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I’m a huge advocate for eating fresh, nutrient-dense foods, but let’s be honest, it can be expensive to purchase and time-intensive to prepare. Value menu items at the local drive-thru can be difficult to pass on when you are short on time and after checking out some of the prices at the local Whole Foods I can understand why you would want to throw your hands up and avoid cooking at home at all. However, by consistently eating out you increase your chances of overeating, increasing the amount of unhealthy fats and sodium and decreasing the amount of nutrient-dense foods in your diet. The temptation of a quick, wallet-friendly meal can definitely outweigh the cons of slaving away in the kitchen with high-priced ingredients; fortunately, there are several steps you can take to make healthy living more affordable and less time-intensive:

1. Buy in Bulk: Look into a Costco or Sam’s Club membership to purchase non-perishable items in bulk such as protein powder, nuts, oats etc. OR if you are lucky enough to live close to an Aldi, they have amazing, generic brands at incredibly reduced prices.A lot of the time the generic brands are the same product as name brands just with a different label.

 
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2. Freeze produce that is about to go bad: You can either freeze produce in large, Ziploc Bags, or blend them up and create ice cubes to use later in smoothies. This stretches your produce a bit more as it does tend to go bad quickly.

 
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3. Freeze meat before its “best by” date: If you are able to purchase meat on sale, buy large quantities and freeze it. Simply defrost in the fridge when you are ready to use it and as long as it’s not freezer burned it will still taste great!

4. Buy vegetables that are in season: For example Avocados are around $1.29 per pound during the summer and close to  $3.99 per pound during the winter months! Look for items that are seasonal as they will be cheaper OR purchase frozen veggies in the freezer section. Frozen veggies have similar nutritional benefits as fresh veggies and are much more wallet-friendly.

5. Look for cheaper protein sources such as Eggs, canned tuna or salmon, and protein powder.

6. Meal plan: By planning out your meals for the week you avoid purchasing too much food or wasting meals. This also saves time as you only make one grocery trip for the entire week.

7. What about organic foods, aren’t they better for me: Not really! Cut costs and purchase regular produce. Avoid the dirty dozen but everything else is fine to purchase from the normal produce section.

8. What if I'm bored eating the same thing all the time: Use seasonings and spices to mix things up but be sure to check sodium levels first!

 
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To conclude, there definitely are less expensive, simple meals to make that are easy on your budget and your schedule, the key is to plan ahead!

Below you will find some quick, easy suggestions to create complete, macro friendly meals without breaking the bank. Of course, you can always reach out to us if you need assistance meal planning and/or budgeting. Simply click HERE and we will respond shortly.

Proteins:
Eggs, Canned fish, Protein Powder

Carbohydrates:
Oats, Frozen veggies, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes

Fats:
Nuts, Olive Oil, Butter, Coconut Oil

An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away but What About Exercise?

 
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As we age, ideals such as longevity and quality of life become dramatically more important than they were in our younger years. As we look to the next 20, 30, 40 years of our life it’s important to remember that we do have control of HOW we age! The reality is that all of us will get older and the mortality rate is still 100%; however, the way we go about aging is something we can have a positive effect on.

While aging doesn’t appear to be glamorous in any way, I do believe that it does not have to be as dreary and terrible as the media cracks it up to be. However, there are certain physical limitations that we will be faced with including osteoporosis, joint pain, muscle loss, and decreased balance. While some of these physical limitations are unavoidable, by living an active and healthy lifestyle through your entire life, you will be able to fight that process. A study showed that only 11% of adults ages 65-74 met the suggested strength training recommendations and that medical costs of inactive adults 55 and older were substantially higher than adults 55 and older who did maintain an active lifestyle.  By maintaining an active lifestyle preventable diseases such as non-insulin dependent diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, chronic pain, and others will be kept at bay, resulting in lower medical costs and higher quality of life. Now that we see and understand the positive effects of living an active lifestyle, how do we get started?

 
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Find something you enjoy
The best part about learning to live an active life is that you get to explore new ways of moving that you enjoy.  Lifting weights isn’t for everyone, and neither is bike riding or walking. The key is to find one to two things you enjoy doing (for me that’s lifting weights and doing yard work) and doing them consistently. If you have trouble staying consistent then find someone that will help hold you accountable! This could be a person you bike with a couple times a week, or maybe someone in your neighborhood that you take a morning walk with every day; regardless, it is important to have some level of accountability because at the end of the day, sitting on the couch with a snack is so much more tempting than walking outside in the summer heat!
While finding something you enjoy doing is the first and most important step, there is still the possibility that you already do struggle with chronic pain or other physical limitations, so what do you do if you are fearful of a flare up?

 
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Don’t fear pain
Now, there is definitely a line between “good” pain and “bad” pain and I believe it is important to differentiate between the two. There will be some level of discomfort whenever you change your activity level or type of exercise that you are participating in. However, if you experience any level of burning, stabbing, searing, sharp, or lingering pain, you should stop immediately. If you want to learn more about the difference between discomfort and actual pain, click HERE for some good tips and general rules of thumb when exercising.

If you are new to exercising or you are finding that your muscles stay sore for longer, you experience prolonged joint pain, or you just need a little something extra to help with the recovery period post-workout, we would suggest looking into supplementation. While the supplement world can be slightly confusing and overloaded with tons of information, there are a few supplements that can help relieve soreness faster and get you back to feeling normal again. The three that are discussed below are ones that I use in my regular workout regimen and after healing from 3 knee surgeries, I can say work quite effectively.

 

BCAA’s- . These have been found to significantly reduce muscle soreness and accelerate the growth and recovery process. BCAA’s also help prevent muscle breakdown, resulting in faster recovery post-workout. You can find BCAA’s in a powder form which can be easily added to your post-workout drink, or you can find them in tablet/pill form which you can easily take post-workout along with a recovery drink or some good ‘ol H2O.
Glutamine- Vigorous movement/exercise depletes glutamine stores in the body; therefore, supplementing with Glutamine post-workout will decrease soreness as well as decrease recovery time. Glutamine is most commonly found in powder form but can also be found in a pill/tablet at most health foods or sports nutrition stores.
Curcumin- Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric and is also found in limited amounts in ginger. It is an anti-inflammatory molecule with anti-cancer properties. Curcimin Pro is a fantastic supplement and one that I use regularly. It has tremendously helped with my joint pain and it reduces soreness after an intense workout. Click the link above to have it shipped straight to your door.

 
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What next?
We encourage you to start small with these three, simple, action items

  1. Do something every day for 30 minutes or more
  2. Be present by completing your activity with moderate to vigorous intensity
  3. Be consistent

You may find that you learn to enjoy a new hobby, perhaps you reap health benefits of the increased activity, or maybe you just feel happier, whatever results you achieve, know that you are doing something now that your future self will thank you for.

How to Increase Happiness- Living a Life of Positivity

by Megan Taylor

Personal development legend Jim Rohn stated: “happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present”. In a world where we are constantly seeking things to make us happier, improve our success, and overall live a better life, how do we “design our own happiness”?

I first wanted to take a moment and explore the benefits of living a happier life. According to CNN, happiness is less about your financial status, and more about the freedom to make choices, building relationships, and overall well being. From my research, I found that things such as stress management, lower rates of depression, and improved physical and mental well-being are experienced with a happier and more positive mindset. However, with so many apps for our phone, programs sent to our email, books to read, and quizzes to take on facebook; it can be difficult to find the right tools to start making positive changes towards a more positive outlook on life.

Here are three, tried and true, actionable items that you can start implementing into your daily life starting now to improve your mindset, enhance your positivity, and increase your happiness.

 
 

1.   Be Mindful-  Psychology Today described mindfulness as: “paying attention to the present moment with intention, while letting go of judgment”. To work towards becoming more mindful, start by sitting in silence and meditating for 5 minutes every morning before you start your day.  Check out this article to start a meditation practice, and I would also encourage you to establish a morning routine. The Miracle Morning is a great resource to help you establish a morning routine which then allows you be more mindful and centered as you go about your day.

 
 

2.   Sleep- A study completed by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that “higher sleep regularity was significantly related to higher morning and evening happiness, healthiness and calmness during the week” and that “regular sleep is associated with improved well-being.” The question is, are you sleeping enough and is your quality of sleep adequate? To find the answer to this question, ask yourself: how many hours of sleep do I usually get? Do I hit the “snooze” button multiple times every morning and have to drag myself out of bed? what is my sleep environment like? Are there many bright lights, is the room hot, do I have to use sleep aids? If any of these questions have you considering an overhaul of your night time routine, check our article on how to improve your sleep.

 
 

3.   Smile- Body language has a way of forcing us into a happier and more positive mindset even if deep down we don’t actually feel happy or positive. This idea of “fake it until you make it” is actually right! By smiling at the cashier at Starbucks, standing tall and walking with confidence instead of showing your insecurities, and speaking up when you have something to say even if your voice shakes all triggers the same part of your brain that allows you to feel more confident. If you engage in negative self-talk, our bodies will reflect that; however if we spread ourselves out, our minds react in order to make us feel more powerful. Simple body language such as standing tall, or smiling, can lead to increased assertiveness, confidence, and overall feeling of happiness. Check out our article on body language to start improving yours today.

A positive mindset and a happy life are truly yours for the taking and by setting up habits and using tools such as confident body language, improving your sleep, and being mindful of your daily routine, you are allowing yourself to fully invest and take advantage of all that life has to offer. You are worthy of living a happy life so take some time to invest in yourself and as Jim Rohn so eloquently puts it, “if you don’t like how things are, change it! You’re not a tree.”