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Published on June 15, 2018

How to Eat Healthy on a Budget (The Definitive Guide)

How to Eat Healthy on a Budget (The Definitive Guide)

It seems that healthy food far out prices the cheaper, faster, but much more health-destroying option. It can be really tempting to throw in the proverbial fork and think, ‘yes the drive thru is totally the easiest, cheapest and therefore best option’. But I beg to differ in that opinion.

Eating healthy on a budget is important because being your best self needn’t be the only thing you spend your money on. Gone are the days where eating healthy means that you can’t have a social life or travel. Now you can have it all; eating healthy and have spare money in order to enjoy the best things in your life.

In this article I’m going to show you how you can eat healthy on a budget so you can enjoy your body, energy and results of eating healthy whilst also having the funds to do all the other things you want like traveling and hanging with your friends.

Why eating healthy is important

Eating healthy is defined here as eating a balanced diet profile containing all three macronutrients and all the micronutrients. It has many benefits:

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  • Protein keeps you feeling fuller for longer, allows your body to grow and repair and provides essential building blocks for hormones, neurotransmitters, enzyme and antibodies. By consuming adequate protein, your body with be satiated longer–therefore, needing to snack less frequently.[1]
  • Fat helps to support metabolism, cell signaling, the health of various body tissues, immunity, hormone production and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. And by doing so eliminates cravings for fast, unhealthy foods that add up to a small fortune over the month.[2]
  • Carbohydrates help you get more lean, improve performance and/or lose weight.[3]They are a preliminary source of energy within the body – when they are broken down, they travel to the liver to replenish energy stores after which they enter the bloodstream and other cells of the body to allow for movement and concentration. Often consumed as vegetables, they can be cheap and high volume for their calories; therefore stimulating satiety quicker than their smaller, more calorific fast food options.
  • The macronutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrates) are the building blocks of your body. The micronutrients (driven from vegetables and a balanced, varied diet) are the cement holding the building together.[4]

If you’re anything like me and want to feel amazing on the inside, look great on the outside and be able to perform at your top capacity whilst remaining pain-free, eating healthy is essential.

If you want all of that and to still be able to enjoy your life, rather than simply living out of Tupperware for the foreseeable future, then doing so on a budget is the utmost tier of goal.

How to start eating healthy on a budget

Firstly, it’s important to make eating healthy on a budget a priority. I see so many people ‘fail’ when it comes to just eating healthy that adding another ‘string to that bow’ can over complicate into inaction. As I would say for anyone looking to make positive change, begin with a solid ‘why’. As Tony Robbins says,

“Find your why, find your way.”

In order to begin really committing to eating healthy on a budget, ask yourself why it’s important to you, how it will affect your life and what the benefits will be.

Once you’ve gained that clarity, I suggest looking at the points I’ve listed below and pick one or two to start with.

Eat Healthy without costing much

Figuratively and metaphorically food doesn’t have to cost a lot and doesn’t have to cost the health of the planet. Often the price of food is hiked up because of the great lengths that have gone to obtain it (think planes, agriculture, GMO, engineering, water consumption, transport, etc).

The great thing about the hacks I’m going to give you is that they won’t only help you to eat on a budget, but they’ll also have a positive impact upon Earth.

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Eating Healthy from your kitchen

This is my favorite place to start; as often when one is attempting to cut back on food spending, the first thing that goes is the ‘eating out’ part. When in actual fact we can make a big difference from our homes first.

By making these simple and easy choices first, you will see big impacts upon your spending at the weekly check out. Those extra pennies can be stored away for more outings with friends, travel or simply saving for your future.

Here are the ‘at-home-hacks’:

  • Eat slowly. Unless you’re a body builder aiming to gain weight, eating slowly will help you manage and maintain weight because you naturally eat slightly less. By taking upwards of 20 minutes to consume each meal will allow your body to notice when it is satiated rather than over-eating your budget.
  • Invest in a good foraging book or join a free foraging community group on Facebook. Foraging books such as Wild Food: A Complete Guide for Foragers is my favorite. And forage away – I often will pick up bits and bobs (especially wild garlic in Spring) on my morning walks with my pooch to include into breakfast.
  • Make friends with your local farm shop, farmer or green grocer. The more you can connect with real people who have their hands in the ground, the more likely they will let you have the best, most fresh and abundant food available locally (i.e. anything that is over produced will be cheaper and if it’s local, there won’t be an included transportation costs). You can even pickle and preserve over-abundant food to store for later in the year when it is no longer in season.
  • Use up everything in your fridge before buying new produce. Save waste, consume everything you’ve bought – just keep an eye out for moldy stuff because you don’t want to get ill.
  • Go for walks and pick food from free plants because it’s nutritious and free. Just don’t pick the hallucinogenic type!

Eating healthy from a working kitchen

I won’t lie to you – I blooming love a good brunch. I actually feel that without an occasional brunch, I’m missing out on life. I love the act of going somewhere new, meeting friends and hanging out in cool spaces. So when it comes to eating healthy on a budget, this is one thing that I really struggle and don’t want to let go of. So I’m going to share with you now my mini-strategies I use when I go out to eat.

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Mini-eating-out-strategies:

  • Grab a light snack before you head out so that you’re not in a state of hanger and ordering a 3-course meal without realizing it until the bill smacks you in the face.
  • Go with friends and order together a few sides with the strategy to try to taste as many things as possible on the menu whilst spreading the price load between you.
  • Order a starter not a main. It’ll probably be big enough if you use that eating slowly tip I mentioned earlier.
  • Opt for tap water rather than expensive cocktails and lattes which quickly add up on your bill.

Make it work for you

Eating healthy on a budget is really about finding what works for you and keeping it simple. Try the above tips around food that you love – eat varied food that is available in abundance, use up all your left overs to make crazy tasty concoctions that’ll become signature dishes and enjoy your food with friends.

This is really what we all want with our food, at a basic level – to connect and enjoy. Just go do that as much as possible and you’re literally going to be doing all the things you need to do in order to eat healthy on a budget.

The Great Wall of China was not built in a day, and neither will your eating healthy on a budget habits. Conquer them one at a time, starting with the easiest. All the pennies add up!

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For more inspiration on budget and healthy recipes, check out this article: 40 Healthy And Really Delicious Meals You Can Make Under $5

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

[1]NL Perform: A Bit about Protein
[2]NL Perform: Fat and Health
[3]NL Perform: Carbohydrates for Weight Loss
[4]NL Perform: Going Deep – Nutrition – Part 3

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Camilla Dempster

I teach women to ditch the binge/restrict/guilt cycle around their body, food and exercise.

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How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

His motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • He riles up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

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Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

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One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

Becoming the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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