Friday, February 28, 2014

Clean Eating: How to Keep on Budget

After a couple of weeks of break, I am back with the continuation of my clean eating series!!
Did you miss the first part?  No worries!

Find out what clean eating is.
Find out what the benefits are of eating clean.
Find out how to get started.

One thing that I have heard so many people say over the last year is this:  "Eating healthy is sooo expensive."  Yes, eating healthy can be more expensive than eating packaged foods full of ingredients that you have never even heard of.  But spending the money on food now is waaaay better than spending money on doctors, medications, and hospital bills later.

I truly believe that I am worth investing in.  My health is worth investing in.  That may sound selfish, but in reality I think it's also selfless.  I want to be the best person that I can be for my family...that includes spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically.  I want to be able to live a long, healthy life.

But eating healthy doesn't have to be expensive.  
Here are some tips for keeping your health in the budget:

1.  Shop meat sales!  The grocery stores have meal sales quite often here.  Depending on the week, you can get beef, chicken, and seafood for a decent price.  We eat a lot of meat in our house, so when I can find a really good deal, I will stock up.  Then I'll freeze the meat in portions so that we have options to choose from in the future!

2.  Find a cooperative near you!  A friend of mine told me all about the local co-op that she was a part of.  You can get almost anything through this co-op including fresh dairy from a farm over in Illinois.  One thing that I really like is that the co-op supports local farmers, and if you know me (a farmer's daughter), then I will of course support the farms!  During the winter, it's harder to support local since basically nothing is in season.  But come Spring through Fall, they have such fresh produce.

I got all of this produce for just $20.  Our co-op orders every two weeks, and I personally order about once a month.  There is a lot of produce to last us a while.  Emails are sent ahead of time to let us know what is in the basket for the week, and then another email is sent to share different recipes using those ingredients.  I plan my meals around the produce that I will be receiving in the basket.

If you're in the St. Louis area, check out St. Louis Community Helpings Co-op to find a group near you!

3.  Shop your pantry.  After you've started eating clean, you will get the hang of it.  As I mentioned above with meat sales, I like to stock up.  This goes for anything.  I might have purchased grapes for the week but didn't eat them all that week.  So I will eat them the next week.  When you're meal planning for the next week, open your fridge and freezer to see what you have in stock already.  This will not only help you save money, but also clean out some room!

4.  Plant a garden.  I cannot wait to be able to start planting my "garden" this year.  I won't have a huge plot of land like my parents do, but I am going to try container gardening this year!  I can definitely cut down on my grocery bill by growing my own peppers, tomatoes, basil and other herbs.  I have started a list of things that I want to grow, so I can be prepared when it is time to plant.

These are just a few ideas to help you save money!  What do you do to save your family money when eating healthy?

Leave them in the comments and I'll respond!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My Favorite Fitness Apps

I thought I would share with you some of my favorite fitness apps that I have found over the past year or so.  We live in such a techy society, using your phone is almost a necessity when it comes to working out.  Here are my top favorite apps!

1.  My very first app that I ever downloaded that was fitness related was My Fitness Pal.
What is even better is that you can access it on the web as well!

This app helps keep you on track.  You create an account and put all your information in including:  your age, your height, your current weight, your goal weight, your activity level, and your weight goals (lose 2 lbs per week, lose 1 lb per week, maintain, etc).

It will give you your calorie goal per day.  **Personally, I think there is one glitch in it.  A lot of people get 1200 calories to eat in a day, but I think that goal is too low. I would up the goal a couple hundred calories.**

You can keep track of your meals with this app and it breaks out your macros for you.  The best thing about it is that there is a scanner on it.  So if you eat a lot of packaged foods with a barcode, you can scan the product in to your diary!  You can also enter your own recipes and it saves it in the listings for you!

This helps you see what you eat on a daily basis, which I think is helpful in your fitness journey.  This app also allows you to add friends to help keep each other accountable.  Already have MFP?  Add me: bethelaine_07.

2.  I just recently found Map My Fitness.  This app uses the GPS in your phone and tracks your runs, walks, bike rides, etc and keeps track of it in the app.  You can even add notes to the exercise to help you see how far you've come!

You can also find other people to be friends with on this app as well.  Find me:  Beth Branstetter.

3.  The next app that I absolutely love is one that I just found.  Everyone likes free money, am I right or am I right?  I know I do!  I found Gym Pact just by searching the app store. 

This app allows you to make a commitment with yourself.  It allows you to commit to working out a certain amount of times per week.  You can also make a pact about logging your food each day or eating a certain amount of fruits and veggies.  

I currently only have a workout pact going on (but you can have up to 3).  I commit to working out 4 times a week.  I have one whole week (Monday through Sunday) to get my 4 workouts in.  If I miss a day, I have to pay $5 per missed day.  But if I complete my pact, I get money from other pact-makers who have missed their workout days. :)  Sounds like a plan to me!  When I reach $10, I can deposit the money into my PayPal account.  Woo!  This helps keep me accountable and I want to workout because I'm getting paid!

I wear my phone on an armband when I'm logging a 30 minute workout at home.  I can also get credit for workouts through my Fitbit, Map My Fitness, checking in at a gym, and several other apps that connect to it.

Want to earn your first $5 for free by signing up?  Check out this website and enter the promo code GymPact$5.

4.  We all know how important it is to be drinking water, right?  Well, I will admit that I am horrible at drinking water.  I found this app called iDrated.  

It's basically a drink alarm.  You should be drinking half your weight in ounces.  That means if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be drinking 75 ounces of water a day.  This app allows you to put in your goal for water intake.  You can record each bottle that you drink and if you haven't drank in a while, the alarm will buzz and remind you.

It's a great visual because the more that you drink, the more the body fills up on the app.  It also tells you your percentage of hydration and when you had your last drink...of water. :)

5.  The last app that I absolutely love is called Seconds Pro.  I found this app when I did my first challenge with Betty Rocker.  

Seconds Pro is an interval trainer!  I love to do intervals from time to time.  You can put your exercises in there and add rest time as well.  You can tell it how many rounds you'd like to complete, too.  It will time your exercises and tell you when to go on to the next one.

I love it because I don't want to think about the time while I'm working out.  This app does all the work for me!  Check it out!

Do you have a favorite fitness app?  What is it?

Friday, February 7, 2014

Clean Eating: How to Get Started

Two weeks ago, I talked all about eating clean and what it means to me.
Last week, I shared the benefits that I have felt since changing our lifestyle.

This week I want to help y'all get started!

Here are a few tips on changing over to a clean eating lifestyle.

1.  First thing you must do is define what clean eating means to you.
Is it eating whole foods?  Is it eating less processed foods?  Is it eating all organic fruits and veggies?  What does it mean for you and your family?  Have a plan before you get started so you know exactly what you are going to eat and what you will not be eating.  If you have kids or a spouse, I would encourage you to let them in on this discussion so they know what to expect going forward.

2.  Clean out your pantry.
Get rid of all foods that are processed.  It's just easiest to clean it out and start fresh.  But you don't have to feel guilty for throwing food out.  Why not find a local food pantry to donate your unwanted food to?  When I did my cleanout last July, I also got rid of the foods that had gluten in them, because I went gluten free.  I gave the unopened packages and canned items to our food pantry at church!  I may not have wanted them, but there are others that will take those items!

3.  Meal Plan.
If you plan out each meal for the entire week, you will know exactly what you are going to eat and when.  This not only helps you out when it comes time for meal time, but it also helps you stay on track with your eating!

**I wrote this post on meal planning over a year ago.  Since then, our eating habits have changed, but the principle is the same.

4.  Write out a grocery list and stock your pantry with new clean eats!
Things to include:
  • fresh fruits and veggies
  • lean meat and fish 
  • healthy fats {olive oil, coconut oil, nut oils}
  • frozen fruit
Be sure to read nutrition labels.  The shorter the ingredients list, the better.  Can't pronounce an ingredient?  Don't eat it!  Avoid anything with added sugar.

This is a great article to help you decide what to eat:  Real Food Defined (The Rules).

Leave them in the comments!