12 Tips for healthy eating

12 Tips for healthy eating

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EATING CLEAN ON A BUDGET
Written by Ariana Hamidi 4/1/17

If you’re anything like me, feeding your family healthy whole foods free of chemicals is a top priority. A lot of people think that many foods are out of reach, too expensive, and I am here to tell you it’s just not true! You can nourish your family organically and frugally, so I’ve created a list below of ideas on how to do that. The first piece of advice is: be committed! You may have to give up certain conveniences or treats; you may have to offer your time and labor, but your body will be healthier and your bank account will be fuller. Write a monthly amount to what you can spend on groceries and stick to it however you can. For me, it means using cash only. Other families might fare better with apps like Mint. Budgets are very personal and only you will know what works for your family. No matter what that number looks like, these tips can help you keep costs down while improving your health and well-being by feeding your family the very best you are able to give. In the case of our children, you are helping them grow and thrive into strong human beings with healthy immune systems. It’s worth it!
1. GROW YOUR OWN FOOD
This is the best piece of advice anyone can give. It is critical in today’s society to build community and work together to become as self-sustaining as possible. It’s also the best way to know exactly what you’re putting into your body. If you’re unsure where to start, ask friends, find a workshop, check out books from the library, read blogs. Lots of cities are establishing community gardens where you can rent space. If you’re in the suburbs or rural communities, chances are you have some lawn you could turn into a garden. If you rent, building a few raised beds with cheap wood can still produce a substantial amount of vegetables and is simple to break down when you move. Apartment living? A long as you have a porch, you can have a garden using only large pots. Start small, and build from there. Plant herbs for flavor and amazing health benefits. (Did you know parsley has more iron than a serving of meat?) Once you gain experience, expand if your housing allows it. Raise chickens or ducks for eggs, goats for dairy, plant an orchard, berry bushes, or whatever excites you. There’s really nothing more satisfying than getting your hands in the earth growing food that you pick from your porch or backyard, tastes delicious and is relatively free! Be sure to buy organic and non-GMO seeds, and use local soil whenever possible. Many landscape businesses will sell an organic mushroom blend by the yard. It is also a good idea to have your soil tested for lead and other contaminants. Many states provide that service for a small fee. We had the soil at our rental home tested for $15 when we moved to RVA last year before we established a large garden.

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2. EAT LOCAL
I am fortunate to live in a city that has a farmers market open almost every day of the week. The key to saving money at a farmers market is to shop around and avoid impulse buys. Compare the prices of each stand before purchasing. Make notes about how these foods compare to grocery store prices and quality. Sometimes I choose lesser quality produce from Kroger if it saves me a few dollars, other times I opt for the fresher ingredients. In the height of the spring/summer season it’s easy to find a good deal at the market, just avoid purchasing extras we often see like baked goods, hot foods, or artisan cheeses, as these items can break the bank.

Another way to eat locally is to do your own fruit picking. Last summer we went to Barry’s Berries, Pleasant Field Farms, and Newcastle Bee and Berry farm to pick blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries. The cost and quality are fantastic in comparison to any berries offered at the grocery store, and you don’t have to worry about exploiting someone’s labor with the big brands like Driscoll’s. We always pick as much as we can handle (with three kids running around) take them home and freeze them. I was lucky enough to have a family member gift us a vacuum sealer and it has allowed us to enjoy fresh picked berries all winter long for the last several years. (Investing in a deep freeze is an essential element to this money saver).

3. TASTE THE RAINBOW
Diversify your plates. Eat fruits and veggies in season, as you are more likely to find a great deal. Stock up on asparagus and peas in spring, pumpkins, and squash in fall, greens in summer. Like they say, too much of a good thing is…too much? I think life would be pretty boring if we were to eat the same meals on repeat each day, and frankly, I have no interest in living that way. I am a frugal foodie and to do that I constantly push my palate to keep things interesting, whether it’s spending a whole week figuring out how to love kohlrabi or giving offal to my baby. My goal for my kids’ meals every day is that they will get the full rainbow of colors in their meals. A typical example of that for us would include red bell pepper, sweet potato, banana, kale, blueberries, and grapes. (Purple is the hardest one for me to achieve consistently). I like to think of it as my kid’s multivitamin, but that’s another post entirely! When that’s not possible, or when you have a very picky eater, (for some of us that might even be most days), do what you can. Make smoothies. Hide veggies in meatloaf, mashed potatoes, or spaghetti. Try to acquire variety based on shopping sales or plan your meals around your CSA haul.

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4. CSA or WORK SHARE
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is an opportunity to support local farmers while enjoying the benefits of homegrown organic foods. You pay for a half or full share up front, and each week you pick up whatever crops they have harvested that week (May-November). It typically comes out to $30-50/week for a nice variety of chemical free vegetables. Many CSAs also have fruits, eggs, dairy, and fresh bread. Check the web or social media for the names of various CSAs in your area, then write emails to them asking if they are accepting new members. They should be happy to tell you about their growing practices in detail and if they’re not, move on! When my family moved to RVA last year I tried one of the delivery box services (there are several) but I was disappointed in the quantity, quality, and price so I canceled. It was not worth the convenience for me but you may find that is a good fit for your family. I did find a CSA that was Certified Naturally Grown (Victory Farms), which seems to be the new standard since it’s becoming harder to trust the safety of organic pesticides in USDA Organic food. This year I found Willow Hill Family Farm in their second year of a CSA. They also offer a work share (check them out here), five hours of farm work in exchange for the CSA share. Since we have been missing our Pennsylvania homestead so much, I chose this option. They offer a variety of seasonal no-spray, non-GMO vegetables, pastured eggs, lamb, and pork. My family enjoys connecting to our food through harvesting and building relationships with farmers so I am very excited about this season!
5. BUY IN BULK
Pretty simple. Only buy what you need and skip the extra packaging altogether. Another instance of …good for the planet, good for your wallet. Natural grocers (like Ellwood Thompsons in RVA) will typically allow you to bring your own containers to fill. An example of the savings: I can buy three times the amount of organic rolled oats in bulk as I can packaged for the same price. The same is true for dried beans, rice, and flour.

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6. MEAT AND RAW DAIRY SHARE (Vegan friends look away!)
If you can front the cost, buying a ¼, ½ of a whole cow, lamb, or goat is a great way to eat local and save money. Although this way of purchasing is certainly more expensive than buying factory farmed meat, it is a better value for families who choose to eat grass-fed beef and other pastured livestock exclusively. This season I found someone to split a ¼ share with me from Fresh Branch Farms (they can be found on Facebook). I have bought beef from them several times and it’s simply amazing! I also feel good about supporting a young family like mine. Many farms also offer a raw dairy share, such as Avery’s Branch Farms, who deliver at various drop-off locations in RVA.

7. BARTERING
Just this week I had a friend offer to buy some pastured chickens from her neighbor in exchange for some of my homemade bone broth. I gladly accepted! Whenever I can barter labor or supplies and avoid the exchange of money I do. This is another way of building community. Ask your friends and acquaintances if they would be interested in this. Perhaps you have a neighbor who always has an abundance of tomatoes but can never find a sitter for her children, make an offer to barter! Be creative and outgoing as there’s so much to gain and really nothing to lose if they say no.

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8. START A CO-OP
Start your own co-op (or find an established one) so that your food is sourced locally and directly without the inconvenience of having to visit all the farms yourself each week. I have a friend who does this in Austin, TX with a group of parents committed to eating clean. The group was formed on Facebook and has almost 400 members. The process looks something like this: a member scopes out a food source and posts to the group to gauge interest. Once a source is voted on and chosen they negotiate with the farm to buy a large order each week. They use Google forms to manage the ordering. The food gets delivered to the main organizer’s house and she keeps it frozen, refrigerated, or in coolers until each member picks up what they bought. Some members pick up for rural members and establish secondary pickup locations. They buy everything from meat, poultry, pork products, broth, eggs, Elderberry syrup, local honey, seafood, fruits, vegetables, and certain pantry items. This is a unique way of tailoring your eating to both your budget and lifestyle. I hope to have a part in making this happen in Richmond!
9. SHOP MULTIPLE GROCERY STORES
I know I know busy parents don’t have time to shop different stores each week, so you’ll have to decide how much of a savings is worth the extra time. If you look at it over the course of a month, I’ve been able to save up to $80/month with this method. For much of the year when our CSA or garden is not producing, we do a Kroger trip once a week, and a trip to Whole Foods, Ellwood Thompsons, or Aldi 1-2 times a month. We have certain dietary restrictions and some items much be purchased at those grocers. Kroger has a great natural foods section as well as organic produce, Aldi has affordable pantry items, Whole Foods has a nice seafood counter, and Ellwood Thompsons has a great bulk section. Each place offers something. I know a lot of people enjoy Click List, the online ordering system that Kroger now offers. If you are someone who makes a lot of impulse purchases, this is a good option for you. Stick to your list for meals and avoid the budget bumps!

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10. STOP EATING OUT!
Seems obvious, but for some, this might be a tough sell. Dining out, even at casual restaurants, is expensive. As someone who has worked in the service industry for many years, I always tip at least 20% (as everyone should) and that really adds to the cost. Because my family is living on a strict budget, we almost never eat out. We limit ourselves to special occasions maybe 3-4 times a year. Additionally, restaurant food has a lot of added sugar and salt and even if you choose a spot that sources locally, you really can’t be sure where all the ingredients are coming from. If you have to eat out, limit yourself to one drink and skip the appetizers and desserts. Look for lunch specials or nightly happy hour deals.
11. AVOID PROCESSED FOOD
(As much as possible) Let’s get real, everyone loves junk food…. at least in theory. Momentary pleasures of salty or sweet are something most folks can relate to, not to mention the convenience factor packaged foods provide when you have kids! But in reality, these foods are not helping your body or your budget, even if they are “Organic junk food.” I’m not here to judge anyone’s choices in any way because I definitely indulge plenty, but you may need to make a few rules for yourself in order to keep the spending in check. I give myself a rule that if I decide to buy the kids some kind of convenience food; it has to be on sale. When I see a great deal on a processed food like organic rice cakes, I buy a few extras for my pantry. Today at the grocery store I avoided all of it because I did not see a good deal and these foods are not necessary to any of us.

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12. HOMEMADE IS BETTER
I grew up on junk food, but later taught myself how to cook and now I make everything from scratch. I like to experiment, take risks, and rarely use recipes. If you’re a novice cook, check some books out at the library or look online for ideas. You really don’t need every ingredient listed in a recipe. Cooking and baking at home not only tastes far superior to anything store-bought, but you can control the ingredients. No fillers, preservatives, stabilizers, or other things you can’t pronounce. Worried about time? Use the crockpot; get an InstaPot, freeze dishes, or do a little meal prep on the weekend. Find a few go-to dishes that you can whip up in 30 minutes or less. Cooking homemade is a major money saver. My favorite way to make meat stretch is with soup. I can feed my family of five plus several lunch leftovers with one pound of meat. I use bones and wilted veggies (I collect both in my freezer over time) to make my own broth, fill it with cheap nutritious vegetables like cabbage, kale, carrot, and potato, and I have 3 meals for under $15.
I hope some of these ideas help your family on the path to both wellness and financial freedom!

I’d like to give a very special thanks to Ariana Hamidi for writing this incredible post today 🙂 I’ve had family visiting so I wasn’t able to write a full post this week ( Prioritize what’s important to you my friends) If you’d like to check out what I’ve been up to this weekend follow me on Instagram I make new post there daily. If you haven’t subscribed yet make sure you enter you email so you never miss a post.

xoxo

Destiny

Essential Oils 101

Essential Oils 101

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Essential oils are a big deal in the natural community right now. I’m sure you’ve all heard someone talking about them recently. I know most of us crunchy mamas have a set at home. And for good reason. They are a fantastic tool to have in your arsenal.

I couldn’t go a day without my oils! I never leave the house without them in my bag. I use them for supporting my immune system, calming my anxiety and much more! They’re an amazing, natural way to manage your family’s health. If you’re interested in taking charge of your health as well as your family’s this post is for you!

I AM NOT AN AROMATHERAPIST OF DOCTOR. I’M JUST A MOM WHO HAS DONE HER OWN RESEARCH. PLEASE DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH OR CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE USING OILS ESPECIALLY ON CHILDREN!

WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL OILS?

Essential oils are often called the “life blood” of a plant. They are aromatic, volatile liquids that are found in most shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, seeds, and bushes. They have been used for thousands of years, some say they date back to 3,500 B.C.

Today people use essential oils in three main ways

  1. Aromatically
  2. Topically
  3. Ingestion

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HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS: AROMATICALLY 

Recently there have been a number of studies published linking the benefits of essential oils both physically, and emotionally. You’ve probably noticed the link between scent and emotions. When we smell something When we smell something, we first process the input via the olfactory bulb, which is at the base of our brain and connected to the amygdala and hippocampus, the parts of our brain associated with emotion and memory.

Aromatherapy is basically inhaling essential oils. The easiest way to do this is with a diffuser. You can find links to the ones I use here and here. The diffuser works by breaking the oil into tiny molecules dispersing them throughout the air. An essential oil diffuser is a much healthier option compared to toxic air fresheners and candles.

HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS: TOPICALLY 

Applying essential oils topically is another way to get all the amazing benefits essential oils have to offer. Because of their molecular structure, essential oils are rapidly absorbed by the skin. When applied topically, it takes about 20 minutes for an oil to affect every cell in the body. The oil is then metabolized within a few hours.

The safest place to apply essential oils is the bottom of the feet because they contain thicker less sensitive skin. Most essential oils are too strong to be applied to the skin neat. Make sure you are always dilute them with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, or sweet almond oil. Dilution doesn’t make them less effective it just helps them spread over a larger surface area. I can not stress this enough! Always make sure you are following essential oil safety guidelines, especially when it comes to children.

Although diluting ratios vary depending on age and medical conditions the general rule of thumb is as follows:

  • Add 1-2 drops of essential oil per 1 teaspoon of carrier oil for adult
  • Add 1-2 drops of essential oil per 1 tablespoon of carrier oil for children over 2 years of age.( Never apply a “hot” oil such are oregano, cinnamon bark, or wintergreen to children. I also recommend to keep peppermint oil away from anyone under the age of 10)

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HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS: INGESTING

 This should only be done with a health care professional with experience and essential oil education! Please remember essential oils are VERY potent. One drop of peppermint essential oil is equal to twenty-six cups of tea! You should educate yourself, and do what you’re comfortable with. Always make sure you are working with someone who is knowledgeable in using essential oils internally before you ingest them. DO NOT GIVE ESSENTIAL OILS INTERNALLY TO CHILDREN!

With all that being said I have used essential oils in my water from time to time, just to give it a little bit of flavor.

WHAT BRAND TO USE

There are hundreds of brands out there, I won’t go into too much detail but I will tell you to stay way from the oils sold in places like Wal-mart or even some health food stores. Do your research and compare different brands until you find the one you like. I personally use Doterra oils and LOVE them! You can purchase them here.

If you’d like more information on essential oils, check out the book modern essentials. It’s a fantastic source of information and can answer any question you have regarding essential oils. You can find it here.

xoxo

Destiny

 

 

5 REASON YOU SHOULD DRINK LEMON WATER

5 REASON YOU SHOULD DRINK LEMON WATER

Hello my sweet sweet friends! I’m glad you’re back. Today I’m continuing the theme of healthy habits. I hope these tips will help you all lead a healthy lifestyle. Well, on to the good stuff.

  1. It helps boost your immune system.

Hello, Vitamin C! Keeping your natural levels of vitamin C can be difficult due to stress, and other environmental factors. This drop in vitamin C can leave you more susceptible to illness. Having a glass of warm lemon water every morning will help keep your immune system in tip-top shape!

2. It can help lower blood pressure

The high levels of potassium found if lemons can not only lower your blood pressure, but it can also improve brain function.  If you want to improve your focus, have an afternoon cup of lemon water or tea. Whatever floats your boat.

3. It balances your ph

Lemons are one of the most alkaline foods out there, because of this lemons can help create an alkaline state in your body. This helps your body restore itself to homeostasis. This is extremely important because and acid environment within our bodies creates a breeding ground for cancer.

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4. It could help you with weight loss.

Lemons are high in pectin fiber. This type of fiber helps fight hunger pangs and can make you feel fuller for longer. Sip on lemon water between meals, and might find yourself reaching for snacks less often.

5. It aids in digestion

Lemon water helps your body flush out unwanted material, helps your liver produce bile, a substance essential for proper digestion. Better digestion equals less heartburn and constipation!

well, there you have it, folks! I hope these tips help you throughout your health journey. Don’t forget to sip on some lemon water, my friends!

If you haven’t already make sure you subscribe to make sure you never miss a post. Once you sign up you’ll get an email whenever I post. You’ll also be on a list to receive exclusive content delivered directly to your inbox.

xoxo

Destiny

6 HEALTHY HABITS FOR THE NEW YEAR.

6 HEALTHY HABITS FOR THE NEW YEAR.

Hello my sweet sweet friends. I’m glad you could join me for this mid-week blog post. I’d love some feed back from you guys. Please let me know if you enjoyed this  extra post, or if you prefer I posted once a week.

So I’m sure a lot of you are a lot like me around this time of year; you set a goal to become a healthier person. Well if you are like me, you’ve probably fell off that wagon once, or twice, or seven hundred times . But hey-new year new you, right? This year I’m determined to stick to my goal of getting healthier, and I figured I should share my favorite healthy tips with all of you guys!

If you’re interested in any of the products I’m talking about today, I’ve included links to all of them. Just click the blue works to be taken to iherb.com where you can purchase any of this products. The links will open in a new tab, to make it easy for you to come back 😉

1.Use coconut oil every day!

I know, I know you’ve been hearing people talk about coconut oil for years now. Just bare with me on this guys, I mean if it wasn’t truly amazing would everyone be talking about it?! Honestly coconut oil is one of the best multi purpose health product out there. It can be used for almost anything. It’s great for oil pulling, DIY toothpaste, I even rub it on my dog’s teeth and gums. It works as a wonderful skin and hair moisturizer, and you can even cook with it. Seriously you can really use it for almost anything! Plus it is high in a ton  of nutrients. When looking for coconut oil look for an organic, cold pressed, unrefined, virgin oil. The brand Nutiva is great!

2. Eat hemp seeds daily!

Hemp seeds are rich in fatty acids, they’re rich in minerals, and hemp seeds are also a wonderful source of easily digestible protein. Because of all this they can help support cardiovascular health. Try putting them in salads, or even making your own hemp milk. Just make sure you don’t put them on anything hot. I like to make sure I always have some Nutiva organic hemp seeds in the fridge!

3. Always have a snack with You!

Making sure you always have a snack with you is so important. I always have a bar with me either in my purse, or diaper bag. Having a snack on me not only helps keep my blood sugar stable, but also keeps me from getting hangry! When you’re out and about BRING A SNACK WITH YOU! This way you won’t be tempted to buy fast food because you’re starving. These Luna bars are the ones I always have on me. The lemon zest flavor is the best ( if I do say so myself) but they have a ton of flavors for you to try.

4. Swap table salt for Himalayan salt!

Conventional table salt is highly processed,and during its manufacturing it is often bleached and has anti- clotting agents and artificial iodine added to it. As most of us know high levels of table salt can cause health problems, since sodium is an essential part of the human diet switching to Himalayan salt is a much healthier alternative. Unlike table salt Himalayan salt is rich in 80+ minerals, high in natural iodine, regulates blood pressure, balances electrolytes, and can reduce muscle cramps.If that wasn’t enough it’s pink too! This Himala Salt brand is a good choice, plus it comes in a refillable grinder!

5. Eat more fermented food!

Fermented foods are great for gut health. They are an amazing source of pro-biotics, B vitamins, and immune boosting nutrients. They aid in good digestion, and can help clear some skin conditions. Our gut is where our immune system lives, so a healthy guy equals a healthy body overall. Try adding foods like kimchi, or sauerkraut to your diet. If you like fizzy drinks ,kombucha is a great alternative to sugar filled sodas.

6.Add more turmeric and cinnamon to your diet!

Turmeric and cinnamon are amazing spices. Not only will they add wonderful flavor to your food, but they are packed with tons of health properties too! Turmeric contains curcumin a powerful anti inflammatory, and antioxidant. Turmeric is great for heart health and if you’re suffering from pain you can take a concentrated dose of turmeric in capsule form. Gaia herbs turmeric supreme is like natures ibuprofen! When adding turmeric to food try taking it with black pepper, and some healthy fats (like coconut oil) for best absorption.

Like turmeric, cinnamon is a powerful anti inflammatory,and antioxidant. It’s also anti microbial, can lower blood sugar, and improve heart health. However all cinnamon is NOT created equal. The cinnamon found in most stores is cassia cinnamon also known as Chinese cinnamon. This type does not hold all of cinnamon’s amazing health properties. You want to make sure you’re using Ceylon cinnamon in order to gain all the benefits. Ceylon cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka, and has a much sweeter taste and contains the true health benefits.

If you made it this far, I’m glad and I hope you take something away from this post. These are just a few of my favorite health tips. If you’re interested in more check in later this week for more! Also make sure you subscribe so you never miss a post!

xoxo

Destiny