healthy

12 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget

It’s a misconception that eating healthily has to be expensive. In fact, it’s very manageable to have three all-organic healthy and nourishing meals (plus snacks!) each day no matter what your grocery and food budget may be -- I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this concept and testing out new ways to eat well for cheap. There are ways!

If you don’t know where to start, follow these tips for eating well on a budget:

1. Cook As Many of Your Meals as You Can

This is at once the simplest and the most difficult tip: commit to cooking your meals rather than eating out. Not only does eating out add up quick, but it tends to be less healthy than what you would cook at home. Depending on your habits, you could save roughly $180 - 250 each month by not eating out. How’s that for savings?

2. Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time

Once you’re committed to cooking at home more, try planning your meals for the week ahead of time. Make use of versatile ingredients that you can use in multiple different dishes throughout the week, and stick to simple meals that don’t require too many ingredients. Doing this helps with a few things:

  • You can buy bulk, which saves you on the total cost of items.
  • You’ll have less chance of unused ingredients going bad in your fridge and, as a result, you’ll waste less.

  • You’ll put more thought into what you’re eating and how much you’re spending, which will help you keep to you stick to your good eating and spending habits.

3. Eat What's in Season

This might seem like a no-brainer, but in-season foods are always cheaper than out of season foods, which were likely imported from elsewhere in the world.

So, to save money, focus on foods that are in-season. Learn to love cabbage and citruses in the winter, and go crazy with squashes and root plants in the fall. For a full list of in-season produce and recipe suggestions try Wise Breads’s post on seasonal produce. The Center for Urban Education and Sustainable Agriculture also has a very good, comprehensive chart.

Above all, avoid pricey pre-packaged foods. These foods will not only be pricier but also most likely contain ingredients that are not health-enhancing. Remember to read the ingredient list if you are purchasing packaged foods.

4. Take Advantage of Farmer’s Markets, CSAs, and Imperfect-Looking Vegetables

Some of the best places to find cheap and delicious in-season produce is at your local farmer’s market. Try going at the end of the day and asking for deals to save even more. If you don’t have a farmer's market close to you, try an online farmer’s market such as GrubMarket - they deliver straight to your door!

If you have a CSA in your area, you can also save money while getting ultra-fresh produce (sometimes things you’ve never even seen before!) by ordering from them.

Similar to a CSA is a new produce delivery service, Imperfect Produce, which delivers totally edible -- but “too ugly for supermarket” -- fruits and veggies for super cheap. For example, you could order a 7 - 9 pound box, which will last at least a week, of produce for roughly $12. Awesome!

5. Look for Sales and Take Advantage of Them

For the non-produce staples (and, okay, even some produce) keep an eye out for sales and take advantage of them. Be open to adjusting your weekly meal plan to accommodate a good deal you found at the supermarket or stocking up on dry goods when they go on sale.

Hint: in some supermarkets, if you buy one item that’s on a “2 for $3” sale, you’ll still be able to get it half off. Don’t buy both if you don’t need them.

6. Shop at Ethnic Markets

Want a cheap box of coconuts? Go to Chinatown or your nearest ethnic grocery store. Even for some more common items like rice noodles, or a bag of apples, ethnic grocery stores often still have good quality items for cheaper. Keep in mind that organic is ideal.

7. Focus on Plant Foods and Make Fewer Meat-Centric Dishes

I advocate a high plant-focused way of eating in order to get a wide variety of nutrients, but it's also a way to save money if you know how to balance your non-meat meals appropriately.

For those of you who don't want to omit meat entirely (and you don't necessarily need to - your body knows best!), try eating fewer meat-centric dishes. Rather than serving up a steak with a side of broccoli, make meat a compliment, rather than the focus. Cook a quinoa dish with a bit of ground turkey, or a veggie stir fry with some slices of lamb.

8. Start a Garden

Whether you’ve got a yard or a windowsill, starting a garden is the ultimate way to lower your food spending. After all, it’s free (well, almost -- you might still have to make a small upfront investment in seeds, pots, and soil).

Certain things, like arugula or bok choy, are super easy to grow for first timers, whereas others, like tomatoes, require a bit more care and attention. No matter what you grow, gardens are a great way to get a constant supply of nourishing food. Not to mention, there’s no fresher food than what you’re growing outside your front door.

9. Learn to Love Your Freezer

This tip goes back to that whole idea that by letting food go bad, you’re wasting money. Which is why any health-nut on a budget should really learn to love their freezer. There’s two big ways this can help:

First, you can freeze leftovers if you know you won’t be eating them in the next couple of days. Personally, if something’s been in my fridge for 2 days, I’ll either eat it or freeze it to make sure it doesn’t go to waste. Just make sure to mark when you put them in.

Second, if you’ve got a garden, weren’t able to eat all the food you got in your CSA or last week’s grocery store run, you can preserve a lot of fruits and veggies by either canning, pickling, or -- yes -- freezing them.

One of my favorite things to do is to take greens (arugula, parsley, etc.) and turn them into a pesto. Stick them in an ice cube tray and freeze them. That way, you’ll have a stash of homemade pesto you can easily pop on pasta for the rest of the year.

10. Embrace the Health Value of Super Basic Foods

You don’t have to be splurging on obscure and expensive health foods to be healthy. Some of the commonly available foods (brown rice, apples, broccoli, bananas, spinach) are incredibly healthy for you (when organic).

I think that expensive, trendy health foods like chia seeds or acai are part of the reason people assume eating well needs to cost money. Yes, I may be into these more trendy ‘superfoods', but in reality, some of the best stuff for you is downright common and unexotic — you can find amazingly cheap organic produce for less than $1 at the farmer’s market.

To add to that, these more expensive 'superfoods' can go a long way. You only need small amounts to reap the health benefits of these foods, so you won’t need to be purchasing them all that often.

11. Make Your Own Drinks

Buying beverages can get pricey quick -- not to mention, you might not have any control of the amount of sugar and other ingredients in them or whether or not they’re organic.

Personally, I prefer getting around this problem by making my own drinks. Especially since frozen organic berries are cheaper than fresh ones, buying a few big bags of organic frozen berries is an easy way to get my berry fix without breaking the bank. Simply toss some in a blender with water (or milk), lemon juice and a bit of honey (optional) and voila!

12. Get Creative with Your Recipes

This might be the best tip I can give you - There are no rules in the kitchen! Did you know you could make chocolate with mushrooms? Well, you can. And if mushrooms can be a core ingredient for one of your favorite dessert foods, then you should absolutely get creative with leeks, turnips, boysenberries, or whatever else is most affordable at the moment in your supermarket/farmers market.

Healthy + Local Last Minute Holiday Gifts

'Tis the season to show the ones you care about how much you truly care about them. Though I do think that this should be a year-round event (and one not focused so much on the material aspect of gift-giving), I've started a list of some of my favorite gift ideas that are healthy and if you're in the Bay Area, local. Check them out below, and feel free to add more of your favorites in the comments!


Massage with an Amazing Therapist. David "Dayalan" Clark moved to San Francisco in January 2012 and has been one of the best therapists I've seen since. He is also a certified yoga instructor and holistic health practitioner. You can gift 60 or 90 minute massages directly through his website at 4dbliss.com.

Photo courtesy of David Clark at 4d Bliss

Photo courtesy of David Clark at 4d Bliss

Healing Acupuncture Session. If you're looking for a holistic health care clinic in San Francisco, Golden Point Acupuncture is that place, and the talented Rebecca Fettig is the person you want to see. She has helped replenish my health immensely. The perfect gift for the person needing less stress, more energy, and ultimately a transformed body and mind. (Wait, isn't that everyone?) While you're getting holiday presents, book a session for yourself at goldenpointacupuncture.com.

Recovery and Restoration through Depth Hypnosis. Suzanne Katanic provides integrated counseling through hypnosis and counseling. Essentially, she helps her clients find connection with their personal purpose and direction and will use Shamanic practices, Huna, energy medicine, and Buddhist psychology to do so. Visit artofdeepbusiness.com to learn more and schedule (or gift) a time to meet with her.

Photo courtesy of Broth Baby

Photo courtesy of Broth Baby

Comforting Bone Broth. Described as "a hug from your mother," Broth Baby's bone broth is pasture raised and perfect for cooking or sipping. It's my personal most favorite thing to sip on after a long day! You can FEEL the nourishment. Check out this wonder at brothbaby.com.

Herbal Apothecary Goods. Sometimes it can be difficult to shop for the men in your life. But MoonriseCreek Herbal Apothecary makes it easier with its natural, eco-friendly botanical skin care line, aromatherapy oils, and other plant-based, artisanal products. Plus, they even sell men's grooming products and personalized gifts as well! Put in your order today through their Etsy shop.

Private or Event Yoga. Perhaps you're looking for a more experiential gift this season. Why not organize an energizing yoga session for a group of your friends, colleagues, and/or family members? Regina Garcia is a fun, knowledgable teacher who will help you begin the New Year "on the right foot." Bonus: Regina also doubles as a photographer, if you are interested in gifting a photo session too. Schedule your session with Regina at yogafelice.com.

Photo courtesy of Yoga Felice

Photo courtesy of Yoga Felice

Photo from A Purified Life

Photo from A Purified Life

Wholesome Cuisine. Last but not least, you could gift my private chef services - a helpful present for the busy individuals in your life! I'll plan, shop, and cook the meals and in return, your recipient will enjoy the nourishment and health benefits of a week of wholesome, home-cooked meals. Alternatively, I also offer private brunch/dinner party catering and in-home cooking classes. Check out A Purified Life's website for more information.

Gluten-Free {Kale} Brownies

There's a secret (not so secret) ingredient in these brownies. Yes, kale. And super delicious! 

I took an Ayurveda workshop this weekend, where I learned about my dosha constitution and what foods were suggested to make me feel better, and what foods could cause an imbalance in my body. Surprisingly, kale was on the 'avoid' list because my body prefers sweet, warming foods. Kale is bitter and can be cooling to the body. Nothing wrong with that, just learning that my body wants warmth and grounding. It's important to listen to the cues it gives us. 

I came home from the workshop, I opened my fridge and saw this large bunch of kale sticking out at me. I wanted to find a creative way to use it that might benefit my body more, so I immediately thought of adding it to a dessert, of course. Any excuse to make dessert. I made two desserts yesterday! Nourishing, refined sugar free, and decadent desserts. Mmmm yes, please. 

I had made kale brownies before but didn't write down the recipe, per usual. This recipe was a completely new - made up by my intuition and the little baking knowledge I have. I'm not a master baker (yet), but these brownies are winners!

Enjoy. 

Ingredients

4 large kale leaves, stems removed

2 large organic eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla 

1/2 cup spring or filtered water

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

3/4 cup gluten-free flour (I used a blend of buckwheat and brown rice flours)

3/4 cup raw cacao powder

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place first six ingredients in blender or mixer and blend until smooth. 
  3. Transfer to a bowl and whisk in remaining ingredients. 
  4. Line an 8 x 8 baking dish with parchment paper or grease with coconut oil/organic butter. 
  5. Pour mixture into dish and bake for 20-30 minutes, checking at 20 minutes. Brownies are ready when toothpick comes out clean after inserting into middle of dish.
  6. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before cutting into squares. You may also leave it whole and slice like a cake. Sprinkle with shredded or cacao powder to decorate. 

 

Blueberry Basil Smoothie

I've been on a simplistic approach to meals these days. Lots of smoothies and simple vegetable bowls (I will share a few more of these recipes soon). It works quite well with my busy schedule and being on my feet all day. I like the lightness of these meals so I can continue energized throughout the day. 

Being able to digest our food is so important, but it's hard to do so when we're rushed and adrenaline is going. When we don't digest our food properly, our bodies respond with bloatedness, gassiness, heartburn, and feeling overall uncomfortable. 

Feeling like this after every meal is not ideal for anyone. I personally went years feeling like crap after every time I ate thinking it was normal. When we're bloated and gassy, our bodies are stressed and expanding tons of energy to try to get back to a relaxed state. Proper digestion itself takes up a lot of energy, that's why when we eat large meals, we feel tired afterwards and it can be hard to think. Not super ideal for midday when there's still lots of energy to expand on other things. Eating wisely is key! 

There are things that could help digestion such as sitting down for a meal in a quiet place away from all electronic devices, breathing deeply before and during meals, eating lighter meals, drinking your meals (blended foods are predigested for us!), avoiding fluids with your solid meals (unless drinking your meal, of course), avoid foods that cause you bloatedness and indigestion (usually processed foods, refined sugars, processed and inorganic dairy, gluten (for some), and fast food), and chewing your food! We undermine chewing and it's key for proper digestion. 

Below is one of the quick smoothies I've been making for myself while the delicious berry season continues. Try it yourself. Feel free to add raw seeds, nuts, or your favorite organic plant-based protein powder for extra protein. 

What do you do to stay nourished in the midst of your busy schedule?

Ingredients

2 cups frozen wild blueberries

1/2 cup fresh blackberries (or berries of choice)

1 cup raw coconut water

andful fresh basil leaves (about 1 cup, or more to taste)

1 Tablespoon sunflower seed butter (Homemade recipe here)

1 teaspoon raw honey

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Pinch of sea salt

Procedure

  1. Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Top with extra blueberries or berries of choice. 

 

Captures of Sweet & Savory Chocolate Brunch

We had such a wonderful time at our Chocolate Brunch Club in June. Thank you to everyone that helped and got chocolate wasted with us. 

I was a bit afraid that chocolate everything would be overwhelming, but it was such a hit!

Excited for the next Brunch Club coming up in August. Stay tuned. 

Photography by Regina Felice

 

Mole Sauce

Growing up, chicken mole was one of my favorite dishes. Sometimes my mom would buy the sauce that came in the jar - ready to serve. 

When I embarked on my health journey, I got curious about everything I was putting into my body. Reading labels and ingredient list was key for me when buying packaged products. Now, 95% of my food is fresh and does not come in a package, but there's the exception of products like raw honey, extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, etc. 

I was amazed by the not-so-healthy ingredient list of the mole sauce in a jar. It was something along the lines of processed sugar, hydrogenated soybean oil (trans fat), cornstarch, cocoa (processed, not the same as raw cacao), and natural flavors (GMOs). 

Mole became a special occasion dish for me (I believe in balance), until I went to holistic nutrition culinary school and learned how to make mole sauce from scratch with delicious whole ingredients. 

There are many versions of mole sauce. It originated in Mexico and was traditionally made with chili peppers, nuts, spices, and chocolate. I've made a few different recipes out there, but this one from Bauman College always seems to leave everyone wanting more. 

I'm sharing this recipe with you with hopes that you'll be as excited as I was to make and enjoy the full nourishment from homemade mole sauce. It's quite the therapeutic process and can be made in large batches and frozen for later use.

Ingredients

8 dried ancho chilies, stemmed and seeded 

2 dried chipotle chilies, stemmed and seeded

2 Tablespoons raisins

2 Tablespoons raw almonds

1/4 cup raw sesame seeds

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

2 Tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorn

1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

1 Tablespoon coconut oil or ghee

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cumin

3 fresh plum tomatoes, chopped

A few pinches of sea salt

1-3 ounces dark chocolate, 70-80% cacao (I used my Superfood Chocolate bars), to taste

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place the seeded dry chilies on a baking sheet and toast in the over for 5-10 minutes, checking frequently. When the chilies begin to release their aroma, take them out of the oven. Make sure to not let them burn. Add the toaster chilies to a bowl with the raisins and cover with warm water. Allow to soften for 30 minutes then drain out liquid, reserving liquid for later use.
  3. Place almonds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds on a baking sheet and place in over (350 F) for 3-5 minutes to toast. Watch closely to make sure seeds don't burn. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  4. In a medium pot or pan over medium heat, warm the coconut oil/ghee, add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic, cinnamon, and cumin and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes, until softened. Transfer vegetables to a high-speed blender along with soaked chilies, raisins, nuts and seeds. 
  5. Puree the mixture, adding a little water or vegetable stock as needed, to make a smooth sauce. 
  6. Return the sauce to the pot on low heat. When the sauce begins to simmer, stir in the chocolate and allow to melt. Taste the sauce and season with salt as needed. If you want it spicier, add some of the chili soaking liquid. If the sauce is too thick, thin it out with a little water or vegetable stock. 

Makes about 4 cups of sauce. Recipe adapted from Bauman College Staff.

3 Key Ingredients for a Nourishing Smoothie [Video]

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A smoothie in the morning is my favorite kind of breakfast because it's quick, nourishing, and delicious. It's important that we know how to put together a balanced smoothie, so that it can provide us with lasting energy and leave us feeling full. Check out my latest video for my 3 Key Ingredients for a Nourishing Smoothie. These ingredients can be used as staples to create many different variations of smoothies. Get creative.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86JU7auuYkM

I'd love to hear what your favorite way of mixing these 3 ingredients is. Please comment below or share with me on facebook.

x,

Giovanna

 

Captures of Yoga & Superfood Smoothies Workshop

What a wonderful weekend. We were so happy to share smoothies and knowledge with everyone at the Yoga & Superfood Smoothies Workshop on Saturday. There was some great Q & A and hopefully everyone is trying out their new recipes this week! We're grateful for Dave Ford's yoga practice, our amazing helper, Maddy Smith, the beautiful well-lit space (aMuse Art Gallery & Meeting Place) in the Mission, and everyone who brought their good energy. It was pretty cool to do yoga in an art gallery. Let us know if you'd like to see a similar event, we'd be happy to host if there's interest - contact Regina at reginafelice@apurifiedlife.com

xx

The Easiest Green Drink

APL_Yoga&SmoothiesFEb28_DFY3

Some days there seems to be no time to even blend something for breakfast and take it on the go. On those days, I like to make something that only takes less than a minute, yet is filled with vitamins and minerals. Vitamineral Green is a powdered blend of green superfoods to enhance detox, support the immune system, balance blood sugar, rejuvenation, aid organ function, and support longevity. I simply mix this magical supplement with a few magical ingredients in a jar of spring water to get a healthy start. BCFebPhoto16

Ingredients:
2 cups water
1 Tablespoon of Vitamineral Green
Splash of lemon juice
2-3 drops of Vanilla Stevia
 
Get going on a good, green note!