Clean Eating Habits For The Lazy And Broke

I have always dabbled in finding the right food habits for my body.  I have had serious medical issues my whole life that have restricted my personal control in many aspects of my own life.  I had limits on how much school I could go to, how much time I could spend active, and how much independence I had from my parents. The only place I had control was in my eating. I ate a strict vegan diet for 2 years, but upon getting a job at an indoor farmer’s market and specialty cheese shop, I relaxed my diet to include some dairy products and eggs.  The tiny food shop had one rule: they didn’t carry any foods with ingredients that your great-grandparents couldn’t recognize. That means no fillers, no chemical preservatives and no food colorings.  Even though I left that job 4 years ago, I kept the values that shop taught me and I have eaten clean ever since.  It seems like it is hard and expensive to eat a diet free of processed and pre-made food, but certain easy food habits keep both me and my wallet happy, healthy, and full.

Follow a 90% rule at the grocery store

Have 90% of the food bought when grocery shopping contain only one ingredient.  An avocado only contains avocados, eggs only contain eggs, and so-forth. This makes you 90% sure you know exactly what you’re eating. As for the other 10%, I love pasta and good dark chocolate too much to ignore that longing.  No one is perfect.

Always have sautéed veggies on hand

If there is one thing in my fridge at all times, it is a container of any/all types of veggies already sautéed with no specific spices. It is simple to make in bulk and the veggies will last longer than if they are just sitting fresh.  It’s the perfect filling addition a quick burrito, scrambled eggs, or quinoa stir-fry. This makes it super easy to be healthy and lazy at the same time.  

Be a whiz at lazy food prep

I have never had the dedication to truly meal prep and make cute little containers to eat once a day.  First of all, who has that many leftover containers, and second, who has enough willpower to not eat three of them for dinner? This is where the freezer comes into play. I am all about taking a free Sunday morning to whip up 40 homemade veggie burgers or a big pot of soup to freeze and save for when I don’t want to cook. It is always a small blessing when I have my protein prepared and ready to go.  The key is to be productive so you can be lazy later.

Embrace the trashcan soup (and have a broth bag handy)

Some of the best meals I have ever made came out of desperation-turned-creativity.  When I have a ton of vegetables that are slightly (or very much) past their prime, I will make trashcan soup. Old veggies, any type of beans, quinoa, and broth makes for a pretty awesome meal.  This is where the broth bag comes into play… any part of vegetables you usually throw away can be put in a large ziplock bag in the freezer. It keeps for months and once it’s full, you have all you need to create a broth for your soup! It’s the circle of life.  

Try to make what you usually buy (at least once)

I’m not about to waste my time trying to make my own butter, but so many things you usually buy are much cheaper and tastier when you make them.  Why buy 2 small cans of black beans when you can make a whole pot full for the same price? Same goes for hummus, broth, pasta sauce, and so many other things we usually don’t second guess buying.  Maybe some of the foods will be preferred pre-made, but maybe you will find a new favorite homemade staple.

Yes, it takes average amounts of dedication and willpower to thrive while eating clean, but it takes a lot less than most people believe.  Treat your tummies well, people!

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The Amazing Natural Benefits of Coconut Oil

You have probably heard this many times: NUTRITION=BEAUTY. It’s a truth we can’t deny, what you eat impacts everything from your fat content, your skin, your energy level, and everything in between. For my first post I thought I would write about coconut oil, which is on my “5 items I would take if I was stranded on a desert island” list. This is because coconut oil has unlimited benefits for beauty and nutrition. After using it for 5 years I will vouch for it’s many benefits actually working! My personal favorite use for it is as a skin moisturizer, because it helps unclog my pores and get rid of acne. I use it on my face, legs, back, wherever I need. Also I put it in my hair 2-3 times a week. I use to be bleach blonde and that has created a lot of dead ends, the coconut oil replenishes my hair from roots to ends. Don’t worry it doesn’t make your hair greasy at all! I also have incorporated coconut oil into my everyday cooking, usually with eggs in the morning, or maybe a tad bit in a smoothie. Anyways while I could go on and on and on about how much I LOVE coconut oil I will just go ahead and list some of the nutritional and beauty benefits it provides.

Beauty:

  • It contains anti-fungal properties which is why when used on your skin it helps with acne (I try to use it every night.)
  • Moisturizes skin and can even be used to treat eczema and psoriasis
  • Deep moisturizer for hair, restores split ends, helps manage frizz, and some swear it can help your hair grow faster (I will put melted coconut oil in my hair and put a little on the roots and soak the ends. I try to leave it on at least 20minutes then wash my hair normally. For very dry hair try putting a pea size amount on your fingertips then rubbing it through your ends after you shower but before you blow dry or straighten/curl.)
  •  Create the BEST body scrub with only 2 ingredients; coconut oil and Epson salt (I use lavender Epson salt for a good smell, or add 2 drops of vanilla extract.)
  • Use for oil pulling. Take 1 Tbs. of coconut oil and put it in your mouth then swish around for 20minutes and finally spit. Not only does this kill the bad bacteria in your mouth and whiten your teeth, it’s also been proven to help with sensitive teeth, joint pain and arthritis, heart conditions, and diabetes. 

Nutrition: When worked into your daily diet

  • Helps brain health and said to help prevent Alzheimer
  • Can naturally balance your hormones (every girls dream!)
  • Increases your bodies fat burning capability by helping break down fat into energy, which supports weight loss 
  • Natural blood sugar stabilizer, encouraged for people with diabetes to use for help with diabetes management
  • Manages your bodies natural yeast correctly, and can treat Candida infections
  • Natural detox for your liver

I try to buy extra virgin coconut oil from my local Good Food Store, or you can purchase it off Amazon. I have not tried Walmart’s or any other stores yet; but coconut oil is coconut oil so I don’t believe any can be bad! I just use one jar for both my beauty and nutritional uses. I store mine in the fridge so it stays in a solid form, but you can store it in the cupboard too, which will make liquid. When I want to use it on my body I scrape off a bit with a knife, and put it in my hands. It melts very quickly by just rubbing it in your hands and then can be used on your face, hair, ect. Make sure you have clean hands. When using it in food just scoop some out into your pan, or if you want it melted put it into a container and microwave it. (It will take less than a minute to melt.)

Now that you know all the benefits of coconut oil, and I am here vouching for it, I hope you will use it! Beauty starts from the inside out, and this multi-use product is guaranteed to make a difference in your life!

If You’re Not Doing This, You Should Be

How To: Never Be Ill

It’s that time of year again where any office space, classroom, or restaurant turns into a battleground between our health and the bugs that cause illness and run rampant through our communities.  If you’re anything like me then you have entirely too much going on and can’t afford to lose the battle to the common cold, seasonal flu, or whatever else they’re calling it these days. I decided after a victory over a sinus infection three years ago that I would do anything it took to not get sick, ever. This is why I have developed a quick and inexpensive regimen to keep myself guarded and armed all year long. I haven’t had even an inkling of illness in three years and think that everyone should benefit from these simple ways to stay healthy. Here is 5 ways to arm your body and never get sick again.

 

Garlic Bombs

Perhaps the most importangarlict weapon in the arsenal is the garlic bomb. Packed full of fiber, vitamins C and B6 as well as minerals like potassium and calcium, garlic give the immune system a HUGE boost, allowing it to work overtime in destroying any virus or unwanted visitors that may enter your body. While most people like garlic in small amounts and mixed into food, I have found it highly effective to finely chop a clove or two and drop it in about ¼ cup of water and down it quickly to avoid the garlic aftertaste that lingers in the mouth after chewing it. It also reduces blood pressure, cholesterol, prevents dementia, detoxifies heavy metals in your blood and improves athletic performance.  You can’t have too many of these so drop them as often as you’d like!

 

 

 

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar Shots

A shot of this one or twice a day will bring your whole body to the equilibrium that it is constantly working to achieve. This allows for your energy to be used in other ways, like fighting off infection and increasing brain function. It balances the pH levels inside of your body as well as on the outside such as nourishing your skin and hair. It aids in weight loss, removes candida which causes sugar cravings, poor memory and fatigue, and can reduce heartburn. Take a standard sized shot (1 oz) of this with turmeric to reduce the acidity or dilute with water. The ‘raw’ part is imperative because it contains probiotics that help with digestion. I use Bragg’s brand which can be found at any grocery store. If you can take a shot of whiskey, you can take a shot of this!

ACV

Turmeric Powder

Bright orange in color, this spice does not try to camouflage it incredible benefits. Turmeric is a root that is harvested and ground into a fine powder. It has anti-inflammatory qualities, fights infection and destroys any free-radicals (cancer-causing organisms) that enter the body. It severely reduces the risk of diabetes, cancer, heart-disease, and contains repairing properties for brain stem cells. The daily recommended amount is 1-2 tablespoons. I get my turmeric fix by mixing 1.5 tablespoons in a standard sized shot glass with apple cider vinegar. Adding ¼ teaspoon of black pepper increases bioavailability of the turmeric so you can reap all the benefits. If the turmeric and ACV is too much for you, try mixing it with ¼ cup water instead. This one is a must not just for fighting off colds but for a long (and cognitive) life!

Hot Lemon & Honey Water

This has not only changed the way I think about coffee, but chalemonnged the way I think about mornings. Drinking this on an empty stomach (before coffee) cleanses and hydrates the lymphatic system which, when dehydrated, is the leading cause of illness. It also cleanses the colon, skin, and digestive system. The enzymes in the lemon give a nice, clean boost of energy first thing in the morning without caffeine. If you’re interested in a beautiful healthy glow outside and highly functioning system inside, then this is drink for you. I use a half a lemon and 1.5 teaspoons of raw, natural honey and look forward to this treat every morning! A must have while fighting a viral invasion.

 

Ginger Tea

This last one is a bit more time consuming but equally as important. Ginger has been used for centuries for its preventative, healing and aiding properties. It allows for better absorption of vitamins and minerals, cleanses the body of unwanted bacteria and boosts the immune system to fight infection. It is also an anti-inflammatory and reduces risk of colon and stomach cancers and ulcers. Steep 2 tablespoons of shredded ginger in hot water and drink like tea 1-3 times per day. Ginger tea helps pull the rest of the regimen together and keeps you getting the most of everything you put into your body.

 

There are many other spices, oils and foods you can eat to keep you healthy, but my personal five favorites continue work flawlessly for me. Since I have started this I have been sleeping more soundly, waking up with ease, have increased energy and stamina, clearer thinking, and an overall improved mood. Try one, or all of these amazing weapons and see for yourself the positive effects they can have. Your body will thank you and you will be glad when you are healthy and come out of the battlegrounds unscathed! 

 

Happy Healthing,

Niki Bates