Hi I'm Hope and I'm Becoming a Holistic Health Coach!

Back in 2013, I knew the nutrition field was calling my name, but I just didn't know what I wanted to do. Personal Trainer, Nutritionist, Dietitian were a few options I explored, but I never followed through with any of them because I was never sure which to choose. 

One day, I looked for nutrition schools and came across the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, but had just graduated from college, so I knew it wasn't feasible.  In addition to the student loans that I now owed, my learning disability held me back. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to comprehend what I put in front of me. In order for me to understand something, I need to read it over a few times. It's frustrating when trying to comprehend material and not being able to process the information.

So, my love of nutrition was put on the back-burner because I was still living with parents and wasn't getting paid enough to pursue another career. 

I decided to move forward as a social media/marketing coordinator. I went from job to job trying to figure out what I truly wanted. Every job started out the same way. I'd love it and then something would happen that would make me dislike it. It was a pattern I desired to break.

Fast forward to this year when I met a girl in Anderson, SC that was a Holistic Health Coach. She went to the same school I looked into years before. I took it as a sign, but despite it being right in front of me again, I still searching for a profession that I loved. Photographer, wedding planner, social media coordinator, marketing manager, and the list went on. I'd tell my husband I wanted to try something new almost every week. But, truly, I had NO clue. I was confused, but determined to figure it out.

That was until I looked into the program seriously this time. I started reading all the components and it started calling my name. I contacted the school and spoke with an administer who told me all about the school.

"You have two options: a 6-month or 1-year program," said the gentleman. Everything he was telling me was appealing. The smile began to form on my face as I began to soak in the information. I knew it in my heart and knew my next step was to tell my husband, who I figured would be skeptical because well, the certificate is $5,000. 

But, at the same time, I KNEW this was my destiny. I knew that this is what I want. This is what I'm destined to do for the rest of my life. I'm learning how to balance earning a certificate as a health coach with my full-time job and it's hard, but it will be so worth it in the end. 

So, two weeks ago, I officially started my journey as a holistic health coach. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out: adashofhopee@gmail.com!

Um, I'm 29?

29 Years old.

30 next year?! That's all I can think about. In one year, I'll be 30.

What have I accomplished?

Should I be proud of myself in terms of what I've done thus far in my life? 

Let's recap my 20's. 

In 2010, I graduated with an AD in Journalism then moved onto obtain my Bachelors in English. From there, I interned for a Good Housekeeping Magazine in New York City traveling 3 days a week for a mere $7.50. I struggled to find myself.

At the time, I wanted to be a magazine writer, until I figured out how cut-throat the industry turned was. Around that time, I met Brett.

I knew this guy was special from the start and so, we were inseparable. 

After the internship, I found a content writing job that earned me jack-s*** then moved on to social media job, which paid me a bit more. We then moved to Tennessee where I found a Community Manager position. This was a job I saw myself working at for a few years. That was until my now-husband lost his job and we had to move back home to PA. While in Tennessee, we adopted a dog, got engaged and really feel like we got to know each other.

When we moved back, I was devastated, but I got through it.  I survived. Did I crumble? Yes. Did I fall? Yes, but my husband was there to pick me up. After we tied the knot, we had to figure out our next step, which ended up being Greenville, SC where we took a serious risk because neither one of us had a concrete job. We were hoping things would finally pan out in our favor and we were right! 

He started his own business and I began working in Public Relations. 

We then adopted a second dog, moved from one apartment to another, and now, I'm pursuing a certificate as a Holistic Health Coach. Am I scared? Yes, but I want it. I've always been interested in nutrition and looked into this exact nutrition school a few years ago. I had just graduated from college though and knew I could not financially pursue that career, so I let it go.

That was until I met a girl in the area who went to the same school and earned a certificate in the program I looked into a few years back.

Maybe the signs were always there, but I just wasn't paying attention.

And, now, on the day of my 29th birthday, I'm here to offer some advice:

1) Take risks.
2) Stop being afraid.
3) Look for the signs.
4) If you're unhappy with your career, find something else!
5) Be happy. 

So, do I feel like I've accomplished everything I wanted to? Not yet, but I know I will by 30. 

"Eating Healthy on a Budget" Q&A with Holistic Health Coach

Most people think eating healthy is expensive, so they opt for processed food, which is cheap! But, did you know that you can actually eat healthy on a budget? I reached out to Food + Lifestyle Coach from Holistic Glow Bertha Thomas to answer some nutritional questions.

Living Simply Real: What are some meals people can purchase that won't cost them an arm + a leg?

Bertha: Canned goods* are great to have on hand - They're great value! 

Beans and chickpeas are a great example, they're filled with protein, fiber and antioxidants. I personally love the Eden foods because they use kombu seaweed to season their products. 

*In order to avoid the BPA linning and/or high sodium in some canned products you can always opt for dried beans and legumes and cook them yourself. 

LSR: What is some advice you can provide people looking to eat healthy on a budget?

B: What's important to understand is that quality matters, especially when it comes to certain types of food; Consider these options:

Visit your local farmer's market: It will not only save you a few pennies but you will also find fresh seasonal produce and support the local economy in your area. Usually, seasonal produce is cheaper and more available than other "exotic" fruits and veggies.

Go for frozen fruits and veggies -  As long as they're not added any additives, sugars or preservatives you can use them for a number of different recipes! They are picked at their ripe state so they're going to provide your body with more nutrients. 

Visit the bulk section - This is a great place to fill up on your pantry staples, including beans, grains, nuts, seeds and even spices! Always compare the unit prices of bulk vs packaged products to be sure you're getting the best deal. Local stores with bulk sections areas are: Whole Foods (Seeds, nuts, grains, etc), Earth Fare (herbs & spices), Garner's Natural Life (herbs & spices)

Take a look at the Dirty Dozen and The Clean 15 - This is a great resource to understand which fruits and veggies contain the highest amount of toxic pesticides when grown conventionally and will help you select your produce . You can print it out and carry it in your wallet! 

Get in the kitchen more often - You'll notice that making your own food is not only cheaper but it's also a great way to learn what works for you and what doesn't.

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Money saving tips:

  • Shop from the weekly sales flyer and use those coupons!
  • Consider choosing store brands, which offer similar products at a more economical price than the brand names
  • Try buying online - Thrive Market and Vitacost are great options 

A note on animal protein:

If you choose to eat animal protein it's really important to choose the best quality (the toxins are stored in the fatty tissues so when you're eating animal fats and proteins from a bad quality meat you'll be getting more toxins). You want to make sure to avoid conventional meats as much as possible, processed meats and farmed fish (they're fed horrible diets, kept in very bad conditions and little nutrition.They're usually added color and to give them a more "natural looking") These animals are not in a natural environment and are given lots of antibiotics to survive because of the conditions they live in. 

When you choose higher quality meats, you will be getting higher amounts and quality of nutrients, which is directly related to the way the animals are fed, treated and raised. So, if meat is a really important priority to you, choose wisely and you will end up saving so much money in the long run. The cut of meat matters: Opting for cheaper cuts of meat like ground beef or getting a roast and slow cooking them is a good way to save money on this type of food.

LSR: What is the cheapest most nutritious food?

In my opinion, canned fish is an awesome way of saving money and getting great nutritional benefits. Aim for fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines. These species are more flavorful than very lean fish like tuna, and they're also more nutritious because you get a bigger dose of Omega-3s and Vitamin D.

B: People always think it's more expensive to eat healthy. Is that true?

It's a matter of perspective. Think of it this way: If you bought a fancy car, would you use the cheapest gas to fuel it? The same idea applies to our food - we should see it as an investment in our health.

We are given this body just once so we want to treat it well and fuel it with the best quality food so we can feel better and do the things we want to do in life - Health is our vehicle.

Organic doesn't always mean better and there are many ways to eat healthier without spending a fortune - You just need to spend some time learning where, how and what to buy. And of course, spend more time in the kitchen, making your own food.

In conclusion: There are always good, better and best options for everyone, so first and foremost we want to make sure we are making the best food choices based on where we're at - Everyone's journey is different. Find what works for you and do what works for you and your finances.

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