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8 Tips To Save Money On Healthy Food

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Photo: Thrive Market

A lot of people think that you can’t eat healthy on a budget. Well I’m here to tell you it’s possible if you shop smart! You can be on a tight budget while still eating nourishing, nutrient packed foods. Here’s a few tips to get you started on the road to wellness!

1. Make a shopping list.

You’ve heard it a million times, but it’s the foundation of smart shopping—make a list! Writing out a shopping list before you leave for the grocery store will save you both time and money. When you have specific recipes in mind, you’ll buy only what you need and avoid making impulse purchases.

2. Shop from the bulk bins.

The average American family throws out $640 of food each year simply because it spoiled before they were able to eat it. When you buy in bulk, you can purchase as much or as little of an ingredient as you need. Buying spices, grains or beans in bulk is an especially big money saver.

3. Order groceries online.

Another great way to avoid buying things you don’t need is by using a service like Instacart. They have partnered with quite a few stores so you can buy from multiple places at once and then get it delivered directly to your door within 2 hours. I’ve been using this service a lot lately due to my limited mobility and it has become a life saver. No more driving from store to store trying to find the best deal. And don’t forget Amazon and Vitacost are also great choices for pantry staples or bulk items like toilet paper that you use everyday.

4. Try big-box stores.

You might think that being healthy or plant-based closes the door on big-box discounts, like good old Costco or Sam’s. Not even close! You can totally make that membership count. In addition to loads of budget-friendly, organic produce, you can get great deals on pricey items like hemp seeds, cooking oils, and nut butters. I’ve even been able to get loads of fresh pressed green juices at a fraction of the cost of juice bars.

5. Watch the sale days and flyers.

Almost every store has an online sales flyer, and many include coupons. Before you make your shopping list for the week, check ahead for what’s on sale and take advantage. For example, Whole Foods has a different item from a different department on sale every Friday. Even if you don’t make Fridays your full-blown shopping day, you can still check to see if you can score any goodies at a bargain.

6. Follow your local stores online.

Subscribing to your local grocery store’s email newsletter can help you be your most frugal self. They’re chock-full of specials and coupons that can save you money on healthy ingredients. If you spend more time on social media than email, opt to keep up with store specials via Facebook or Instagram. If there’s a bargain to be had, you’ll be there!

7. Get produce in peak season.

Buying in-season produce is not only delicious—it’s also easy on your wallet. Fresh and ripe usually means there’s a discount to keep that produce moving. Plan your meals with the season in mind to make the most of your grocery budget.

8. Batch cook and freeze.

Batch cooking is a great way to eat healthy, delicious, inexpensive meals every day of the week. Once you get in a flow of prepping your meals for the entire week in one day, freezing is your next best friend. It’s one of the best things you can do to avoid eating out and making extra trips to the grocery store. Plan your meals and freeze the rest in perfectly portioned containers to stay on budget.

Do you have any tips or tricks for saving money on groceries? I’d love to hear!

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8 Ways To Simplify Your Life and Live Minimally

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Life can be crazy sometimes. We juggle jobs, paying bills, planning for the future, reaching our dreams and all the other little things that we deal with everyday.

Wouldn’t it be nice to simplify things? And I don’t mean making huge life changes, but small changes can sometimes make a big difference with our daily stress.

Living simple can make you happier, feel more in control of life, and helps you to enjoy the small things. Simple living means different things to all of us, but in general it means getting rid of the extra noise in our life so that you can have more time to enjoy what you love.

The suggestions below are just basic guidelines and won’t be for everyone. Just do what you think is best for your life and try to get rid of things that aren’t important to you.

Tips to simplify your life

 

1. Automate your finances

There are a lot of things you can have automated. Your paychecks can be direct deposited, your bills can be on auto-pay, you can even having recurring monthly transfers to your savings account so you can start working on building up that emergency fund. The point is, make life easier by making sure your bills are paid on time every month.

2. Don’t just organize, declutter and downsize!

Being unorganized can waste a ton of our time, causes stress and sometimes late fees if you can’t find that bill you’ve been meaning to pay (see number 1). But don’t just organize- declutter and downsize! A lot of us make the mistake that we need to go to the store and buy fancy organizational supplies to get our lives in order, but in reality, we’re just organizing clutter. Take time to go through the things you own and decide what you really need and love.

Decluttering and downsizing will-

  • Save time cleaning. The less stuff you have, the less there is to clean.
  • Save time on maintenance. Not owning as much means less time spent on maintaining and repairing those items.
  • Saves money. You don’t need as big of a home to hold all your stuff which means, less utility bills, less insurance costs, less money spent on repairs.

3. Put reminders in your phone or on a calendar

Make life easier by not trying to remember when your next appointment is, when a bill is due or what you needed to buy at the grocery store. It only takes a minute to put a reminder in your phone or on a calendar. Setup reminders for things like-

  • to do lists
  • work tasks that need to get done
  • bill due dates
  • errands that need to be done
  • appointments
  • medicine that needs to be taken

4. Become debt free

Whether it’s credit card debt, student loans, cars, mortgage or any other debt you’ve created, paying it off will free you from the stress of having those things hanging over your head every month. Debt causes a ton of stress. So get serious once and for all and decide to take control of your financial life. Make a budget and learn to live on less every month. Stick to a grocery budget, stop buying all the “little” things like your daily Starbucks coffee that add up quickly, stop online shopping when you’re bored, shop with a purpose. Only buy what you need and learn to look for sales and coupons before purchasing things.

You’ll be surprised how much money you can save by watching where every dollar you spend every month goes. There are a lot of things that you can cut out of your life to get you to the financial goal of being debt free. It’s worth the sacrifice now to have freedom from debt!

5. Spend less time on social media

The average person spends many hours a week on various social media sites. Between Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest and all the other sites, it can be quite easy to waste away your day.

Plus it has been shown in many studies that social media can have a negative impact on your mental health. We see the fabulous lives that everyone else is posting online from vacations in exotic lands, exciting jobs, weddings, babies, and we tend to get jealous thinking that everyone else gets to live these fabulous lives that we don’t get to live. Step back, take a break and realize that we’re only seeing a small portion of their lives. They have bad days too and we can’t compare ourselves to them. But if it’s affecting your mental health, it’s ok to walk away from social media whether temporarily or permanently. Trust me, you won’t miss it.

6. Watch less tv

There is such a thing as too much tv. The average person watches 35 hours of tv a week. Imagine what you could be doing with that time! Even better, get rid of cable all together which not only will save you money but will help you break the tv habit. So get outside, read that book you’ve been meaning to get to, learn a new hobby. You may find something new that you love to do!

7. Downsize your closet

The less clothing choices you have, the less decision fatigue you will get trying to figure out what to wear. Go through everything you own and be brutal. Keep only what you love and what fits you well and get rid of everything else. You can also make some extra cash selling what you don’t keep!

8. Find free things to do to entertain yourself

You don’t have to spend money to have fun. If you’re trying to get out of debt or just trying to not spend as much money every month, there’s plenty of activities you can do to keep busy that don’t cost money. Get books and movies from the library, go to a museum on their free days, get outside and have a picnic or go for a walk. Your city will usually have a guide online of free things to do every weekend too!

 

These are just a few tips on how to simplify your life. Do you have any tips for what you do to live simpler? I’d love to hear!

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Declutter, Destress and Simplify

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As a naturopathic doctor and a chronic illness patient, I look at all the different factors that can contribute to chronic and autoimmune diseases. A lot of those underlying factors are hormonal and physiological in nature, but another, often overlooked piece of the puzzle to your physical health is your mental and emotional stress levels.

Our modern lives can be so busy and hectic sometimes that the lack of “breathing room” increases our stress and negatively impacts our health and our relationships with others.

The average American spends more than 34 hours a week watching television and that’s without even mentioning time on computers and cellphones!

Just as we have to detox our bodies, we also need to detox our lives of the chronic stressors that are raising blood pressure, blood sugar and wrecking our health.

The truth is that we can’t be the best versions of ourselves if we don’t create calming space in our lives. Restoring balance during our day enables us to breathe again. Here are a few easy tips to help unclutter your life and bring in a much-needed breath of fresh air:

 Force some cellphone-free time

We are constantly connected to our cell phones. Choose a time of day to just step away from the phone even if it’s just for an hour and do something you enjoy.

Take some time before responding

Resist the new cultural norm to be pressured into answering emails and texts right away. They can wait.

Don’t start and end your day with electronics and social media

The amount of times we find ourselves unconsciously, mindlessly checking Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can be alarming. Bookend your day with calming activities like a walk outside or reading a book.

Try having a day when you go electronics-free

Take a weekend off from electronics. Put away the cell phone and tablets, stop watching tv and do something else!
Clean out your closet of clothes that you haven’t worn in at least a year 
If you haven’t worn it in a year, you’re probably not going to be needing it any time soon. Purge your closet and make a little extra cash by selling them online or at a consignment store.
Give yourself a social media-free week
Give yourself a social media cleanse and see what you do with your time when you don’t have to check the “Likes” of your witty status updates or extremely flattering selfie. If you like how you feel after one week, maybe you need another!
Leave your work at work
When you’re home, refuel yourself by being present with the ones you love.
Cut down on the time you watch television

When you say you’re “getting behind on your shows” with the same conviction as “I need to get healthy” or “I need to spend more time with my family”, it’s a problem. When the DVR is filled and watching TV becomes another job to keep up with, go on a TV detox. Instead of taking your vacation days to catch up on your shows, try reducing the shows you “need” to watch that are cluttering your life.

Limiting the clutter and noise in your life will release you to live the free life you were meant to live. Breathing room will only come into your life when it is intentionally built into your schedule. Waiting for the day when your less stressed and busy won’t happen on its own.

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Giving Up Or Giving In

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This is my 25th year of suffering from Lyme disease and it’s associated co-infections and often pray it will be my last. It has turned me from an active, confident person into someone trapped in a frail, exhausted body. I went from being an enthusiastic, goal-oriented person to someone who was stripped of their ability to work, walk, shower, and care for myself. I am now a person limited to my bed or couch, missing church, family events, social outings, traveling and just being around people in general. It has changed my life so dramatically that it has shaken me to the very core of who I am.

For those who struggle with chronic illness in any form, the experience is at times unbearable and overwhelming. Not only am I affected physically, but it affects me mentally as I struggle to read, think, talk and concentrate. It affects me emotionally as I grieve what I have lost and struggle to cope with life as it is now. Life is now painstakingly slower and much more limited. I get frustrated, isolated, lonely and scared. Some days I don’t feel anything at all. It’s a constant, 24/7 assault with no certain treatment or cure and no guarantee that you come out the other end of this alive.

I often find being a Christian with this illness very hard. My mind can sometimes be too foggy to read a few verses, let alone try to think about them and apply them to my life. It’s hard to keep giving my life to Christ when I don’t really like what He’s doing with it, when embracing His will means accepting horrible symptoms, disappointments and a lack of answers. Sometimes God just feels so far away, and I feel like I’ve got no trust left, that I can’t do it anymore, and I get angry at Him because of the situation I’m in. In those awful moments when I don’t cope, I still find myself crying out: God, I know that it’s your will that I’m sick, but does it really have to be this bad?

My story is not one of victory, but of struggle. It isn’t one of knowledge and godliness achieved like the great heroes we read about in the Bible, but of constant wrestling and learning and re-learning. God is using this trial to teach me—sinful me—some of what it means to give up my life to Him.

So I figured I’d jot down some lessons I’m learning as I watch the world and time pass by.

HOPES AND DREAMS

I had so many plans, hopes and dreams for my days on this earth, but I’m learning that my plans aren’t always His plans. I thought I had good plans, but God says His plans are best. He’s reminding me that the main purpose of my life isn’t to necessarily “do” things (thought that’s what I would like!), but it’s to bring glory to Him whatever my life looks like. My hopes and dreams seem distant, and often dead, but He’s working and shaping me. He chooses what happens to me and how He will use me.

WHERE TO TURN

Throughout this suffering my heart seeks comfort, joy and peace. I’ve often turned to our broken world for these things instead of to God. I’ve found that my biggest challenge in any day is to run to Him, not to the world. I wonder sometimes how many things God has to take away from me before I listen to His voice? “Cling to Me. Cling to Me. I love you!” God is teaching me that the things I put my hope in, in this world, could be gone at any moment.

HUMILITY

Constant fatigue and unrelenting symptoms are a reminder of my frailty, weaknesses and never-ending need for God. It never lets me forget that I am small, God is huge, and He doesn’t need me to get His work done. I’m reminded of God’s complete control. He is the one who decides whether I get out of bed and how much I can do. It keeps me on my knees, and I’m learning that’s the best place to be, for that is where I belong.

MY WORTH

This illness has also helped me realize that there are things I’ve been finding my worth in apart from God. I thought my value was caught up in what I did, accomplished or the possessions I owned. But I am learning that I am no less valuable now than I was before. If I added up all I now ‘achieve’ in a whole day, it would only fill an hour of my old normal day. I am just as worthwhile, loved and significant, even if I can’t get off the couch. May this truth crush the need I have to achieve things each day to feel good about myself, and teach me to surrender to God the things I find my worth in apart from him. For my value comes from who God has made me, the qualities He’s given me and what He has done to make me His child.

CARING FOR MYSELF

I’ve never been great at asking for help, or admitting when I’m not coping well but I’m learning that it can be helpful to be real with people about how hard life is. Whenever someone would ask how I’m doing, I would give the standard “I’m ok” answer even if I wasn’t ok. It’s alright for me to tell someone how I’m really doing. I am just as important as others. If I tell others honestly how I am doing, my motive not being to complain, then it can encourage others not to hide their struggles as well, and show them that they are not alone. It can create a culture of honesty, where I can care more deeply for others, and they for me.

TEMPORARY

And most importantly of all, this illness causes me to yearn for Heaven in a real and unique way, and on the days I can really grasp its reality, it puts the pains of this life into perspective. In my life before this illness, I found it so easy to become engulfed in daily comings and goings. The slowness of my life now, the absence of that busyness, has helped me pull my head out of life in this world, and better understand these four words: this life is temporary. And much comfort is found in Heaven.

So although I will continue to pray for healing, I want to even more earnestly pray for strength to keep giving my life to Christ and trust Him in the midst of my illness. May I not run from suffering but run to my Savior, and keep pleading with Him to teach me to love Him and His ways more than I love my life, and the comforts of this world.

 

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Welcome

welcome

 

Welcome to The Simple Times! I hope you’ll join me on this journey of healthy, simple living. I’ll be talking about everything from recipes, healthy lifestyle changes, simplifying you life, what inspires me and my struggles with chronic illness and finding my way through life. I’d love to hear your story so leave a comment or email me!