How to Eat Healthy on a Budget

Eating healthy does not need to cost you an arm + a leg! Most people believe that they're unable to buy healthy food because they simply cannot afford it + that's far from the truth.

There are plenty of ways to eat healthy on a budget + I'm going to provide you with those ways:

1) Buy canned or frozen veggies. Frozen fruit + canned veggies last longer than fresh produce. I suggest doing half and half. If you have certain foods that you know you’ll make the week of, I’d opt for fresh fruit. For foods you’ll make later on, just buy them in a can.

2) Buy 1-2 animal-based protein. Animal products are a bit expensive. So, I'd suggest buying only one or two animal-based protein whenever you go shopping. If you do buy chicken or beef, try to opt for organic grass-fed beef or pasture-raised chicken. I know they can be decently expensive, but it’s better than buying conventional meat because the animal is coped up and doesn’t have room to roam around and in turn they most likely contracted a disease, which in turn could be passed onto YOU.

3) Always read food labels. Before buying any food, be sure to check the ingredients. I cannot stress this enough. The rule of thumb is if you’re unable to understand ALL of the ingredients, you probably should not be putting said food in your body. Need help with understanding ingredients? I’m doing a Facebook live next Wednesday, May 8.. Click here to join my tribe!

4) Buy less junk food. It’s okay to splurge on chips once in a while, but try not to make it a habit. Chips are nothing but empty calories and they do nothing for you nutritionally. Instead, buy a bag of potatoes and make them yourself! Not only are they healthier, they might be cheaper.

5) Replace animal protein with plant-based protein. Chickpeas, black beans, legumes, lentils are a few options you can buy instead of chicken or beef. They’re way cheaper and you feel full aftward. You might be either skeptical or thinking you’ll still be hungry, but I can assure you if you eat the right amount of plant-based protein, you won’t! If you need suggestions, let’s chat!

6) Make a grocery list before you shop. Hunger + no grocery list makes for a bad combo. This might be something you do anyway, but for me, growing up, my mom wouldn’t make a grocery list and would end up going over budget. If you’re trying to stick to a certain amount of money, I’d suggest choosing recipes and only buying the ingredients for each one.

7) Buy in bulk. I didn’t think it was cheaper to buy in bulk, but really it is! Overtime, it will save you money. I buy healthy foods from Costco, which I personally like better than BJ’s & Sam’s Club. I think they have more organic & healthy foods.

8) Cook large portions. It’s awesome when you make a meal big enough to eat for lunch to next day! So, make foods that you know will be sure to yield leftovers. How about pasta with veggies? Homemade pizza? Rice with veggies?

9) Buy generic brands. Usually name brands are more expensive than generic brands. If you find that they have the same exact ingredients and the generic brand is cheaper, opt for generic. It will save you so much money in the long run!

10) Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry. Be sure to eat lunch, dinner or a snack before food shopping because you’re more likely to pick up whatever looks good, which is usually junk food.

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10 Ways to Stay Happy + Healthy

I used to think just by eating clean and healthy foods, it would equal to a guaranteed happy + healthy life and boy was I wrong!

Here’s the truth: eating all the salad & kale will not automatically make you happy + healthy because there are so many other components.

Sure - these foods WILL make you feel good, but they will not be the all end all because as humans, we crave companionship and if you’re not getting that in your life, in turn you might end up with an eating disorder, binge eating, etc. And, I’m NOT saying that just because you don’t have a boyfriend, you’re destined to be unhappy! All I’m saying is relationships of any kind are extremely important for your overall well-being along with a few other components.

Here are ways to stay healthy:

1) Eating healthy. Okay, again, this one is obvious. Eating bags of cheetos every night will not make you feel good. In fact, your stomach will probably HATE you. Eating those types of foods once in a while is fine, but not all the time. I always stick to the 80/20 rule. Most of the time, I’m eating salad, sweet potatoes, kale, etc and foods that will benefit my body instead of hurt it and then the other 20%, I eat chips or something considered “unhealthy.” Remember: we only get 1 body, so why punish it day in and day out?

2) Building relationships. Whether it’s a significant other, family or friends, surround yourself with loved ones. We all crave human interaction and making memories with people is SO good for your health. So, plan a girls night, a date night, or go out to dinner with your family ASAP!

3) Enjoying your job. Do you like your job? There are so many people who have stayed in their jobs because of the pay or they cannot find another job and it’s sad. If you’re finding you’re miserable with your job, it might be time to re-evaluate your job situation. Being miserable at a job will only bring on negative emotions, which could lead to depression. Try to make sure you’re happy at your job and if you’re not, sometimes happiness overpowers money!

4) Being financially stable. Do you feel as if you’re financially stable? This is a hard question for most because we always want more! The amount of money we earn isn’t always enough, but there’s a difference between living to work or working to live. When you’re financially stable, you’re less likely to feel stressed. I get that sometimes you feel like you don’t earn enough, and you’re looking for a way to earn more, consider taking on something you enjoy on the side! If you’ve always wanted to be a dog walker, baby sitter, blogger, vlogger, health coach, etc, why not go for it? But, if you’re happy with your situation, more power to you!

5) Going to trips. I find that traveling is good for the mind, body + spirit. Getting away from life for a few days clears your mind and makes you feel less stressed. And, besides, who doesn’t like to try new restaurants, explore different cities and decompress? It doesn’t have to be a long trip or that far, rather, you could go somewhere local and still feel the same way.

6) Get off social media. I say comparison might just be the death of Americans. Our whole lives are spent looking at other people’s lives, bodies, etc and feeling depressed. So…. stop scrolling for a few days and you might find yourself feeling happier + healthier.

7) Have sex. Okay, okay, no one wants to talk about sex + I get it, but it is healthy to have sex. It puts you in a good mood and the sensation is like nothing else, so as long as you’re safe, have all the sex you want!

8) Listen to music. Maybe this is a personal preference, but I find that listening to music definitely makes me happier!

9) Enjoy food. Try not to let food rule your entire life. If you’re craving a donut, have the damn donut. Don’t restrict yourself because you’ll end up binge eating. Please try not to punish yourself for listening to your body. Just enjoy every single bite of that donut and eat healthy the rest of the day. It DOES not have to be a recipe for disaster. Rather, think of it as a treat!

10) Spend time with your animals. I find that taking my dogs for a walk or simply cuddling with them puts me in a better mood. Whether you have a dog. cat, rabbit, etc, make sure they know how much you love them!

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How To Have A Healthy Pregnancy

Honestly, my pregnancy has been pretty flawless. I mean, sure I’m exhausted, nauseous, have heartburn, can’t sleep, cannot stand to sit at a desk like I used to and feel like a blimp, but I’m lucky that I’ve had a good pregnancy. And, I’ve always been health-conscious and knew that would still remain true during pregnancy. I promised myself that I’d give in to my cravings, but wouldn’t go too overboard.

I’ve gained about 25 pounds and I’m 30 weeks & a few days, but the weight has been in my breasts and my growing bump, but nowhere else, so again, I say I’m lucky. Every woman is different and I get that, but there are ways to can have a healthy pregnancy.

1) Exercise. You’re probably thinking two things: duh or I’m way too tired! Okay, okay, I get it. BUT, even if you go for a 10-15 minute walk, that still counts as exercise. You won’t want to do it every day because gosh, that fatigue is intense, but try to do it when you can! Or, hop on the elliptical, treadmill, walk around your office. ANY form of exercise is GREAT during pregnancy.

2) Listen to your body. I CANNOT stress this enough. Are you really hungry or are you thirsty? Do you really want to eat 3 cheeseburgers? Why not have 1 and then some fruit or veggies with it? I get it, we all have cravings. I know I do, but you should NOT go overboard. In my opinion, it doesn’t give you permission to overeat because then you’ll end up feeling like shit afterward. Eat the damn burger and fries, but try not continue on the greasy foods pattern the rest of the day.

3) Drink water. WATER, WATER, WATER! Is water boring? Put citrus in it to spice it up. Lemons, oranges, limes, cucumbers, whatever floats your boat. I promise, it won’t taste as bad. Plus, it will help cleanse and flush out the toxins.

4) Meal prep. This makes things soooo much easier on the days you’re exhausted. Lately, when I bake, I usually make more so I can freeze it eat later on. Most nights I come home and simply do not feel like cooking!

5) Spend time with family & friends. We all crave connecting with other human beings and there’s nothing healthier than spending an evening or afternoon surrounded by your loved ones. Go out to dinner, go shopping, do something that makes you happy.

6) Don’t obsess over your weight. Gosh, you have to practice what you preach, right? This is more like a reminder for myself more than anything! It might be hard to watch the scale go up and up, but just remember that you’re growing a human being! Your body is doing AMAZING things!

7) Don’t stress! Stressing about things you cannot control or work-related situations isn’t always preventable, but also isn’t good for the baby, so when you feel like you’re stressing, either walk away from the situation, meditate or do something that relaxes you!

8) Sit outside. I’ve found sitting outside not only gives me Vitamin D, but also makes me happy. Getting the fresh air does wonders for me. Just feeling the breeze will make you feel more content.

9) Sit down! So, you’ve been running around all day. You need to give your body rest and please reminder that it’s okay to sit down. When I sit for a long period of time, I feel guilty and lazy, but really I need to remember that growing a human being is HARD. It’s exhausting and not easy, so taking that time is extremely important.

10) Take a nap. Feeling tired? Well, I pretty much feel tired every single day and when I get a chance, I try to take a nap. I remind myself that it’s okay, just like sitting down and watching TV once in a while. So, if you’re tired, do it! You deserve it because you’re amazing!

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How To Gain Control Of Your Anxiety

I’ve never battled with anxiety as much as I have the past few months. It’s like I’m suffocating and I’m trying to stay afloat. And, then, someone walks by and pushes me back under water.

People think holistic health coaches are supposed to be perfect and “put together” when it reality, we’re just like you. We battle with our own issues and by understanding what’s wrong and trying to fix it, we can be better equip to assist people who are going through the same problem.

There are ways to cope with anxiety and you need to know them and learn your triggers. Do you know what makes your anxiety start? Are there certain people or objects that make it worse?

The first step is learning what makes you tick. From there, you can prevent the downward spiral from happening.

Mine usually starts in the morning.

It’s not like I don’t feel absolutely thankful and overjoyed that I have a little girl on the way, it’s the anxiety of money, job, etc that comes along with the territory. My husband’s business hasn’t been doing as well as last year, so we’re struggling a bit financially.

It’s like when it rains, it pours. First the HVAC system, then the windows and then from there, it’s like there’s almost no money left. So much to pay for. It’s no wonder so many Americans are struggling financially and can’t afford anything!

I mean, it could be so much worse, which is what I remind myself, but that doesn’t always make my anxiety go away. So, after crying when I get home after a long day, I’ve started trying to focus on other things.

Here are a few ways I deal with anxiety:

1) Baking. Recently, I’ve gotten more into baking and I’m finding it relaxes me. I’ve found some great recipes that taste delicious and consist of healthy ingredients. Besides, why buy dessert when you can make it?!

2) Bike riding. I came home today and said to my husband, “I’d like to go on a bike ride.” I figured it was exactly what I needed after a long day and it did the trick!

3) Yoga. Why pay for a class when you can just search on youtube for yoga classes? It’s free and more relaxing because you’re by yourself.

4) Go for a walk. Clear your mind with a walk. Added bonus: listen to your favorite tunes!

5) Journal. Writing down my thoughts and feelings always makes me feel less anxiety and stressed. It’s like I’m vomiting on the page, which in turn makes me feel relieved.

Stop letting anxiety take over! You do have control and you need to find ways to gain it back. Of course, if you need someone to talk to, feel free to reach out!

The question I leave you with this: What makes YOU happy?

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Healthy Living Tips

Being healthy is about more than just eating nutritious food. These tips will help you find balance, health, and happiness.

  • Be generous.

  • Be grateful for everything and everyone.

  • Focus on what’s good in your life.

  • Hum or sing a happy song every day.

  • Laugh often.

  • Treat yourself to things that you enjoy daily.

  • Keep your bedroom clean and organized.

  • Spend time outside.

  • Spend less time watching TV.

  • Chew your food well.

  • Say thank you.

  • Be positive.

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Simple Ways To Optimize Your Life

If you’re searching for simple ways to optimize your life, look no further! Check out the ways to do just that.

EATING HABITS

Chew your food – when eating, make sure you taste your food. Can you name a time you remember really tasting what you ate or do you find yourself just stuffing your face at your desk without acknowledging the texture and flavor? Start taking the time to focus on every aspect and component of the foods that enter your mouth.

Make every meal pleasurable – at the start of every meal, make sure you get a whiff of it and take a good long hard look at it.

Listen to your body and notice how it reacts to certain foods – almost every magazine is talking about the benefits of smoothies, oatmeal and overnight oats, but the question is can your body handle those foods? Just because the media bombards us with the foods “we should be eating” doesn’t mean that your body agrees.

RELATIONSHIPS

Communicate with your significant other, family and friends – when it comes to relationships, it takes work to maintain them. So, make sure you’re communicating your feelings, emotions and talk out your issues with your loved ones. The worst thing is bottling up your emotions only to explode later on.

Get a promotion? Celebrate with family and friends! It’s always nice to celebrate the small triumphs that life brings us. And, why not do it with the people you love?

Write out what you’re grateful for – feel like you haven’t spelled out what your grateful for when it comes to your friendships? Take the time to write a list of things and send it to your friend. You never know when he or she may need this sort of thing!

ATTITUDE

Honor negative thoughts – though your initial reaction is to avoid anything negative, dealing with those thoughts will help you learn what to do when you start feeling the negativity.

Develop a sense of humor – if you take life too seriously, you may end up barreling into a downward spiral. So, laugh at yourself every once in a while!

Take time to spend outside – Vitamin D + the sunshine will instantly make you feel better. Make sure you get fresh air every chance you get!

Enjoy your life – dance, take a yoga class, blast the radio – whatever makes you feel better after a long-hard day! It will put you in a better mood.

HOME PRACTICES

Make sure your house is clean – when we have a clean house, we just feel our mood perk up! Remember a clean home is a happy home.

Minimize technology time – if you find yourself on your phone or watching TV more than the average person, you may want to step back and read, exercise or meditate instead.

Buy plants for your home – including plants in your home may just be the ticket to happiness!

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5 Ways To Feel Less Suffocated At Work

If you work at a desk job, most of your day is spent sitting there getting projects done, eating your breakfast, lunch and possibly dinner, chugging down coffee, possibly soda to keep you going. And, if you have a very important deadline, you never really get up from your desk to move your body.

By the time you get home, you’re so exhausted that you skip your yoga class and the downward spiral begins.

Either way, you might feel suffocated at work.

Most of your day is spent indoors and if you don’t have a window, you’re not getting ANY sunlight.

So, if your office feels a tad stuffy most days, this is what I suggest:

1) Take 15 minutes out of your day to walk. Go to a local park. Walk around your work’s parking lot. Do something to get the heck out of the office.

2) Meet a friend for lunch. Do you find yourself needing some time to re-group? Use your lunch break to meet a friend and either do lunch or just take a walk.

3) Drive around for 15 minutes. Don’t have anywhere to go? Why not drive around with the windows down and get some fresh air? t will do you some good to get the heck out of the office.

4) Come home for lunch. Live close to your house and need a breather? If you feel yourself needing alone time or needing time away from the office, why not spend your lunch break at home?

5) Grab a coffee or a smoothie. Do you feel like you’re in a slump and need some caffeine or a refreshing drink? Grab a cup of joe or a smoothie!

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Listening to Your Body & Deconstructing Your Cravings

When I was in college, I started restricting myself from eating certain foods such as donuts, bagels, pastries and anything else I considered “bad food.” At work when someone brought in donuts, I would take a cold, hard look at them and want one so badly, but deny myself the pleasure.

I would say I’m pretty good at controlling myself when it comes to food.

But, some people are not. For instance, if you restrict yourself from eating specific foods, more than likely, you’ll end up binge eating, which is worse than just eating the darn donut in the first place.

It wasn’t until I started attending IIN that I found denying myself was actually hurting more than helping, so I started LISTENING to my body. Was I in the mood for a sweet treat? If so, I would have something small. I never felt like I needed to eat a whole carton of say ice cream because I began tuning into my cravings.

Is it easy to listen to your body?

Hell no.

But, once you train yourself to tune into what your body WANTS, you’ll more than likely not feel the desire to eat an entire chocolate cake.

Do you know why you crave certain foods? This is why:

  1. Lack of Primary Food. Being dissatisfied with a relationship, having an inappropriate exercise routine (too much, too little, or the wrong kind), being bored, stressed, or uninspired by a job, or lacking a spiritual practice can all cause emotional eating. Many people try to cope with uncomfortable emotions or difficult situations by seeking balance through food. Food can provide a form of relief, or even an escape, when you’re under stress. In this way, food is being used as a strategy to fulfill areas of primary food that aren’t being satisfied.

  2. Water. Staying hydrated is a great way to help reduce extreme cravings and may ultimately help regulate the amount eaten to match needs more closely. A glass of water before eating has actually been shown to reduce the amount of food consumed during a meal. Another factor to consider is that your hydration status affects your body’s electrolyte balance. When you sweat and lose water, you also lose electrolytes, like sodium. This may lead you to seek out sodium-rich foods following an intense workout.

  3. Lack of Nutrients. If the body has inadequate nutrients, it might produce odd cravings. An extreme example of this is a disorder called pica, which leads to extreme cravings of nonfood items, like clay. This condition may arise due to a chronic iron deficiency.

  4. Seasonal. The body often craves foods in accordance with the season. In the spring, people crave lighter foods, like leafy greens or citrus fruits. In the summer, people crave cooling foods, like raw foods and ice cream. In the fall, people tend to crave grounding foods, like squash, onions, and nuts, and many crave heat-producing foods, like meat, oil, and fat, in the winter. Cravings can also be associated with seasonal holidays. For example, turkey, eggnog, or Christmas cookies.

  5. Inside Coming Out. Cravings often come from foods you’ve recently eaten or foods from your childhood. Recently eaten foods tend to be fresh in your mind, so you’re more likely to crave that food in an attempt to re-create a positive eating experience. Similarly, when you crave foods from your childhood, you may really be seeking the feeling of comfort those foods may have provided when you were younger.

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It's Been Two Years Since We Moved To Greenville And My Experience Has Been...

In 2015, we visited Greenville for an engagement shoot.

At the time, we were living in Tennessee and my now-husband had just lost his job, so we made the decision to move back to Pennsylvania.

It was a difficult time for both of us because we had been living on our own for about a year and I loved the freedom of having my own place. Did I miss my family? Hell yeah, but it was a choice we made.

So, two weeks after doing the shoot, we moved back to PA.

A few months later, we decided to move to Greenville permanently. Was I afraid the same thing would happen as Tennessee? Yes, but it was a risk I knew I had to take.

Around the time we moved here, my grandma passed away, so that made it 10 times harder because I knew it was a horrible time to leave my family. But, I had to go.

Gosh, these two years had been emotionally draining.

My husband started his own business, which took a while to gain traction. It only took me about a month to obtain a job, but still, we were not used to our surroundings and we only had 2 friends here. It was hard starting over again and not to mention, the people in the south are so much different than the north, so we had to get used to the personalities.

But, we made it.

Together, we worked as a team and adopted a dog, moved to a nicer apartment, then bought a house, found out I was pregnant and I started attended IIN to become a holistic health coach. No, these events didn’t happen all in the same year.

So, it’s safe to say that these past few years have had its ups and downs.

In terms of the emotional aspect, there are days I miss my family so much it hurts, but then I remind myself that we would NOT be living comfortably in the north. It’s too damn expensive to live here and I wasn’t getting ANY job opportunities.

In order to learn, you must go through rough patches! It will only make you a stronger person. And, people ask me all the time how I cope with not seeing my family. What do I say? I don’t think about it. If I do, I’ll become a blabbering mess and you won’t want to pick up the pieces, trust me.

I’ve learned so much about myself, my husband and our abilities to take situations in stride. I mean, this year has started off really rough with having to fork out SO MUCH money for our taxes, then having the washer break, the heater, and my dog eating my prescription glasses. So, it’s safe to say we’ve put out way more money than we anticipated, BUT…. I remind myself to focus on the positive aspects of my life. It could be so much worse.

I mean, compared to other women (knock on wood), my pregnancy has been a breeze. I often feel nauseous, exhausted, heartburn, but nothing too extreme, so I’m lucky.

What have I learned living here?

I’ve learned that there’s a little creative community that is willing to help. All you have to do is reach out!

My husband and I can get through anything.

Stay positive even when negative things are heading my way.

It gets better.

Believe in myself and my abilities.

Believe that I WILL obtain clients for my business.

Thanks GVL for the memories so far! I can’t wait to create more. ✌️


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