Buying organic produce can definitely skyrocket your monthly grocery bill. If you are like me, determined to eat organic food, but each time you choose non organic because you can actually have more for your buck. Here are some tips that I've found helpful in my food budgeting:1. Plan your meals. I believe it's the most important thing when it comes to budgeting. Vague meal planning ideas at the store leads you to buy more unnecessary things. 2.Sign up for CSA - Community Supported Agriculture. A consumer has an opportunity to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Here is how it works: a farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public. This share includes a box of vegetables, and sometimes other farm products. Interested customers subscribe to a membership and in return receive a box of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.
www.localharvest.org3.Shop at Trader Joe's if it's available in your area. I practically live at the store :) I truly think that their organic variety is more budget friendly compare to other stores 4. Utilize available coupons for organic food such as:Mambo Sprouts: http://www.mambosprouts.com/free-coupons/Whole Foods Store Coupons: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/coupons/Safeway – Organic Store Brand O Organics: http://www.safeway.com/ShopStores/Offers-Landing-IMG.pageAlbertson’s – Organic Store Brand – Wild Harvest: http://www.albertsons.com/savings/viewcoupons?pageSource=couponsSuper Target Stores – Organic Store Brand Anchor Farms: FREE coupons onlineSimply organic: http://www.simplyorganic.com/simplyorganic/documents/coupons.php 5. Look for a farm near you to buy organic meats. That is of course if you plan to go organic all the way. I know it can get really costly. I usually pick and choose what things to buy organic. 6. Prioritize your organic spending. Here is the link to the EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides: http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/ 7. Try to grow your own organic garden. Even if you don't have a backyard, you can still grow your own herbs. My husband does all the gardening on the patio. 8. Make soupsYou can make a pot of all natural organic soup that will last you for several days. Good for you and your wallet!I would love to hear about your organic budgeting!
Russian tradition of buckwheat
The idea of preparing meals with buckwheat is anything but new to me. I grew up eating buckwheat pretty much on a daily basis. Did I get tired of it? At times! But now I am really happy because I was accustomed to it from an early age. In the Soviet Union, if people didn't have much food there was always buckwheat. No matter where you went you didn't have to go far to find it. Not long after moving to California, I got home sick, and the first thing I wanted to have was buckwheat. A simple thing turned out to be a mission. I realized that it's not a common food in US. I ended up finding it at Whole Foods but it was definitely a cultural experience having to look hard for buckwheat. So what is so good about buckwheat? Despite its name, buckwheat has nothing to do with wheat. It is not a cereal grain at all. It’s the seed of the fagopyrum plant, which is in the same family as sorrel and rhubarb. It does not contain gluten. So referring to buckwheat as a seed than a grain would be more appropriate. Buckwheat provides numerous nutritional benefits.
It is a great source of vitamins B1, B2. Rutin that can also be found in buckwheat is actively used in therapeutic preparations prescribed for high blood pressure, rheumatism and other diseases. Rutin also has antioxidant activities, and able to fight against free radicals in your body. Buckwheat is also rich in various minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, copper, zinc and bromine. Most of all, it is a great source of iron, so it is recommended for people suffering from anemia. Researchers have discovered that if you eat buckwheat with fruits, the transition of iron to our bodies will increase. Buckwheat is full of dietary fiber which helps relieve constipation. Buckwheat is a good source of protein. The complete protein in buckwheat has 8 essential amino acids that dont get produced by the body. So buckwheat is more nutritionally valuable than other grains! Here is a great recipe for buckwheat:
Buckwheat Banana Pancakes
Makes 4 pancakes
1 very large egg (70g), beaten
1 ripe banana (95g), mashed
50ml organic milk of your choice
40g buckwheat flour
¼ tsp baking powder
5g raw honey
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
Mix eggs and banana, add cinnamon and baking powder, then milk, honey and flour.
Heat a non-stick frying pan and fry large spoonfulls of the batter mix until little holes appear on the surface. Flip and cook the other side until golden.
Serve with honey or fresh fruits of your choice.
Have you ever wondered if the convenience of having all the fruits and vegetables year around does your wallet and health good? It is certainly convenient, especially if you crave something really bad. At this point, mostly all of us forgot ( or were never taught) when certain fruits and vegetables are in season. Whereas previous generations consumed certain foods only when they were in season, this was not because they knew more about nutrition and health but because simply they didn't have a choice, in our age of modern nutritional knowledge we should avoid buying fruits and vegetables outside of their peak season. Additionally, we loose appreciation for certain produce because we see it all year round. Growing up in Russia, where life fully evolves around four seasons, I couldn't wait for those juicy cucumbers that were only available late spring, early summer. I still remember the taste in my mouth and the excitement of just simply eating a cucumber.
Here is why you should buy seasonal food:
The nutritional value of seasonal food can be outstanding. Seasonal foods are filled with anti-oxidants that are of great benefit to your health. Anti-oxidants fight free radicals which help you stay young. Supermarkets usually add gloss to the produce to make it look more ripe and appealing. We are the ones loosing out on the vitamins and nutrients by buying unseasonal foods. Seasonal foods are also budget friendly as they don't cost as much to be produced and preserved since they are often grown locally instead of imported. Fortunately, there has been a shift towards the seasonal produce recently. There are plenty Farmers' markets being opened up all around the country which can be useful for the whole overall economy while offering us the benefits of locally grown produce.
Raising a baby in our age and time can seem like a very easy task. We have all the resources necessary to ease up our lives as parents. Unlike our ancestors who had to rely on their own manual work and the degree of creativity, we have been fortunate to reap the fruits of the modern day technology. So having a baby for most people is like a piece of cake. Undoubtedly so! That is if your follow a mainstream agenda and the direction all the big manufacturing companies want you to go.
Recently I've become a mom for the first time and it's been the greatest blessing from God. During my pregnancy, I devoted a lot of time into researching topics that pertained to raising a healthy baby. The more i dug deeper the more complicated it had got. As an example, in my quest to find a toxic free all natural, budget friendly crib, took me well over a month. This was not because there was no variety of such, but because all the natural toxic free ones were way over my budget limit. It drove me to a conclusion that most people are doomed into going with mainstream companies who care more about mass consumption than the health of our kids. Therefore, I have noticed that a lot of people are reverting back to the old ways of raising kids with, of course, a modern spin on it. Concerned parents started substituting all famous choices with not so popular alternatives, such as buying wooden toys for your baby instead of all colorful noise making toys; substituting regular diapers with cloth diapers (this is one aspect I chose to go with the modern day society :)); breastfeeding instead of formula. We have a plephora of choices to make our lives easy as parents, but I encourage everybody to do their homework on things that would benefit your baby. We might not see the results of our efforts right now but in a long run we will be able turn back and praise the choices we've made.
I would love to hear about your experience
Still not sold on kale? You want to eat healthier but don't want to sacrifice the taste? Then, kale can become your match. It's a must in my refrigerator and definitely the green I use the most. Believe it or not, you can make many delicious meals with kale. I use a lot of kale in my smoothies which does taste quite good! Still skeptical? Here are some facts about this green wonder: Kale is an archaic type of cabbage. Kale has been cultivated for over 3,000 years. It originated in Asia Minor and was introduced to Europe by the Celtics around 600 BC. It was extremely popular in ancient Greece and Rome. In the 17th century it was brought to the United States by the early English settlers. Kale is extremely rich in vitamins A and C - essential for visual and immune functions. Kale is great for your bones since it is the best source of vitamin K. The calcium in kale is absorbed much better than the calcium in milk so it helps protect against osteoporosis, arthritis, and bone loss. Kale has many benefits for women. It helps to regulate estrogen and may prevent many forms of cancer. Kale supplies important minerals like calcium and iron for pregnant women. It also provides folic acid for the baby's nervous system development. Additionally, Kale increases breastmilk supply. Fortunately, kale has entered back into the arena of modern food. Kale tends to be a little bit bitter in flavor, but it goes away by washing and cooking. For example, if you use kale in your smoothies, combine it with fruits and berries, or combine kale with other vegetables in your salad. Looking for a good healthy snack, try Kale Chips. It is a great but simple recipe to introduce Kale in your daily menu:
4 cups kale
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Wash and trim the kale. Toss with extra virgin olive oil. Roast for five minutes. Turn kale over. Roast another 7 to 10 minutes until kale turns brown and becomes paper thin and brittle. Remove from oven and sprinkle with sea salt. Enjoy!!!
About 9 years ago when I first arrived to America, i was on a mission to become a well blended member of the American society. However, my only drawback to this, was the food and the lifestyle that was portrayed by the American culture to the rest of the world. All i could think of was hamburgers and obesity. Needless to say, I was determined to avoid this. Growing up in the Soviet Union where everything foreign was banned, and McDonald's fast food wasn't yet introduced to the society, we had to rely on the national techniques of making food. And let me assure you, it was quality food!!! Nature at its best! My first few months in LA have become an experimental period with food and exercises. Having no experience and valuable feedback, I've gained 10 pounds from just buying regular food from well-established markets around. Most of the produce at that time contained preservatives and artificial elements (It's been slowly changing with time; popular markets started carrying a variety of organic foods). Nevertheless, I was almost doomed to the inescapable fate of a bigger me. Until one day my friend introduced me to Trader Joe's. It was like a flash of light in a dark tunnel. I can proudly say, since that time I've been addicted to Trader Joe's. Most of the produce it carries contains no preservatives and as a bonus it has a variety of European food that i was craving so much. The company has stated that products with the "Trader Joe's" brand contain no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, contain no MSG or trans fats, and are sourced from non-genetically modified ingredients. I've discovered that the store's prices for the most part are cheaper than other healthfood stores around and even beat regular markers with non organic foods. And yes, I've shed those awful 10 pounds!!! What's your story?
I have to be honest with - loosing weight is not the easiest thing to do, and surely not as simple as many commercials portray. You have to put in a lot of work on a daily basis. This is exactly why people avoid exercising - it is WORK! Through years I've conditioned myself to have a friendly relationship with exercising. Since I was 13 I've tried various types of exercising such as aerobics, lift weighting, yoga, pilates, running and etc. Some worked for my body type, and some not as much. Recently, I've discovered a great website with hundreds of free workouts. You don't even need to sign in to use their free videos. There are different types of exercises suitable for each level of difficulty. I dived into the hardest ones right away cause I love to challenge myself. I think these videos have helped more than any other videos that I had seen before. They certainly have helped me to shed those post pregnancy pounds that were the hardest to get rid of. I hope this website will help you too! Just dive in and see the results!!!
In my quest to live a healthier life on a budget ( as we all know eating super healthy and organic food can get expensive) I try to find new ways and discover new places to accomplish my mission. I had never really paid attention to Farmers' markets until recently, and I credit that to my parents who came to visit me from Russia for a month back in February. One day they just came back with a huge bag of strawberries for which they only paid 7 dollars. Needless to say, I gave it a shot. Not everything at the Farmers' Market is cheaper compared to big grocery stores but certainly a better quality. Locally grown food can certainly be healthier for people. Fresher produce has a higher nutrient content. Shopping at Farmers' markets can also support and encourage local economy. (Aren't you tired of monopolies controlling our every day life?) So I pick and choose on where I want to spend my money. If you are into everything organic, you can certainly get a lot for your money at the Farmers' Market. Just yesterday, my husband and I went to one by our house in El Segundo. For 2 bags of vegetables we only spent 10 dollars. Pretty good! In essence, I try to give the Farmers' market as much of my business as possible. However, I have to admit that it's not always I choose quality over quantity; it takes time to retrain ourselves to live a quality life.
In our age of western medicine, the society has turned away from the natural health remedies that were greatly used by our ancestors. We often rely more on the modern chemically produced pills than all natural traditional medicine. As we know, every country has its own tradition of home remedies. Honey has been the main source of sweetness and a home remedy in Russian tradition throughout centuries. Growing up in Russia, I remember having honey on multiple occasions. Whether it was a holiday or just an everyday tea drinking - there was honey! Honey is much sweeter than sugar and is far better for you. Honey is essentially a highly concentrated water solution of two sugars, which our bodies break down easier and faster. Because honey is low on the Glycemic Index, it is gradually absorbed into the blood stream. The health benefits of honey include antibacterial and antifungal properties; it is a great source of vitamins and minerals and contains antioxidants that improve our immunity. Honey also has its effect on weight Loss which makes me mostly excited! Did you know that though honey has more calories than sugar, honey when consumed with warm water helps in digesting the fat stored in your body? But when possible, buy raw honey, organic because the heating during manufacturing destroys nutrients and enzymes. Additionally, locally grown raw honey from the area you live is more beneficial as it possesses the immune stimulating properties needed for your body to adapt to its environment. The best part about it, you don't have to sacrifice the taste of sweetness by using sugar substitutes, but can actually enjoy eating what you like and be healthy at the same time!!! Beauty Recipes for Honey