Category Archives : Health and Wellness


Digestive Health – Probiotics + a Giveaway! 10 comments   Recently updated !


Those of you who have followed my blog for awhile know that I’ve had an unhappy history with my digestive system.  For years I’ve dealt with a myriad of symptoms, including severe bloating, ulcers, stomach pains, nausea, depression, migraines, joint pain, and more.  It’s taken some pretty extreme measures to finally get those symptoms under control 3 months ago.  Not only did I make drastic dietary changes, I started adding more supplements and nutrients to my body.  One of these supplements was probiotics.

 

Probiotics are live microorganisms – they are “good” bacteria, and they help with gut/digestive health.  They help fight off the “bad” bacteria that invades our body on a regular basis.  I’ve used probiotics with great success, including the Vita Advanced brand.  This particular brand has 10.2 billion organisms per 2 capsules.  I truly believe that the more probiotics, the better. I usually take 3 capsules a day, so I end up with about 15 billion organisms.  I can feel the difference after taking them – not immediately, of course, but as time goes on.

It’s important to note that I can’t eat a crappy diet and then pop a few of these and feel fine.  Believe me, I tried it!  However, if I’m eating a healthy diet and then I have ONE meal I probably shouldn’t, then this seems to help take care of the bloating that I would have had without the probiotics.  Combined with healthy diet, I’m seeing a huge difference in my digestive issues!  I rarely get nauseous or have a stomach ache.  What a blessing!  I highly recommend you adding probiotics to your diet/lifestyle, if you haven’t already.  The science is clear:  

 

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Probiotics are recognized for their benefits in promoting a healthy digestive tract and immune system including the reduction of pathogens responsible for diarrhea and the restoration of microflora in the intestinal tract following the use of antibiotics.  Probiotics are live microorganisms, or “good bacteria” that are a fundamental part of human nutrition, and the human body. These microscopic organisms line the digestive track and help fight off “bad bacteria”, viruses, infections and more.

Vita Advanced Probiotic may help you in the following ways:

– Relieve digestive disorders
– Boost your immune system
– Improve your mood and feeling of well-being

Vita Advanced Probiotic contains 7 essential probiotic strains and 10 billion good bacteria per daily serving at time of manufacture that promotes digestive health and supports immune system. You can be certain of its quality because it is made in USA and sourced from a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) Facility.

 

Good news: One of my lucky readers will WIN their own bottle of these probiotics…woot! Good luck!

Vita Advanced Probiotics

*I received the product in exchange for an honest review.  NO monetary compensation was received.  The opinions are mine, and mine alone.


Adovia Dead Sea Salt Bath Salts   Recently updated !


I’m a big fan of taking detox baths.  There are so many potential benefits to them, and dang, they feel good and relaxing!  According to Healthy Living How To, a detox bath is one of the easiest healing therapies we can do to help our bodies in their natural detoxification process.

 

I go through Epsom salts pretty quickly, and so I jumped at the chance to try some new salts from Adovia.  I was really excited to try them, because they are DEAD SEA salts!  They have a higher concentration of minerals than Epsom salt, and so the benefits are even better.  In using them, I noticed that they dissolve at least twice as fast as the other salts I’ve used in the past, and I really like that.  I also felt like I could feel a bigger difference in my body the next day.

 

I am very careful with my diet, and monitor my digestion closely.  In the last month, whenever I experienced gas or bloating, I took a bath with these Dead Sea salts.  I always took them just before bedtime, and afterwards slept so well – EVERY TIME!   I also noticed that EVERY SINGLE MORNING after taking a detox bath, I felt better, digestive-wise.  I am completely blown away with how consistent my results have been!  These are high quality salts, and they work really well.  They are relaxing, they are comfortable, and  THEY WORK!

 

Let me share with you a little more about the product:

 

bath salt and palm leaf

 

Product Description:

  • Dead Sea Salts are the best bath salts on the planet – Much higher mineral concentration than Epsom Salt!  They have a high concentration of minerals which are essential for proper skin health and beauty.  Adovia Dead Sea Salt is fine grain for faster dissolving.
  • Packaged in a resealable zip lock bag.
  • Provides relief from Psoriasis, Eczema, and Arthritis symptoms. Formulated with over 26 essential minerals the body needs for natural soothing and relaxation.
  • Find relief from aches and pains by soaking in a bath full of these salts. Rejuvenates, exfoliates, and softens while it soothes!
  • Contains absolutely zero additives, colors, or scents.

 

You can purchase a 1.75-lb bag on Amazon.com for $11.95.  They are a great splurge, and I know that they’re on my to-buy list again, when I earn my next Amazon gift code from Swagbucks! :)

 

*I received the product in exchange for an honest review.  No monetary compensation was received.  The opinions are 100% honest and my own!

 

 


Great Workout Program For Women – The Fe’ Fit Program   Recently updated !


I recently started a new workout program.  I figured since I’ve got my eating under control, and am doing well with my new lifestyle dietary changes, it’s past time to start adding a workout regimen to my life.

 

Let me tell you a little about the product, Fe’ Fit Women’s Workout Program,  I am using.  The information below is taken directly from the Amazon.com page:

Fe Fit

  • Fun and trendy workout DVDs for women that burn fat and create shape. Empowering and high-energy instructor. Lose weight, tone up, and feel attractive and sexy. 30-day Risk-Free Money Back Guarantee!
  • 7 fun fitness genres: •Cardio Circuit •Core •Lower Body •Upper Body •Total Body Toning •Barre and •Stretch Flow exercises
  • Created by moms, for moms. Designed for women to: Flatten stomachs. Firm and tighten glutes. Push yourself to the NEW YOU. 
  • Fé Fit 90-day in-home workout DVDs target full body sculpting for sexy and feminine legs, butt, arms, shoulders, back, and core. Follow Fé Fit fitness DVDs as your primary workout program or to supplement other fitness goals. 
  • 8 discs featuring 28 unique fitness videos, free flexible workout calendars to fit your busy life, and bonus tools for measuring and tracking success

 

IMG_20150223_203120 (2)Okay, so let me say right off the bat that I wanted to try this fitness program NOT to lose weight, but to tone.  I feel that I’m at a good weight for my height, but I would like to tone up and lower my body fat percentage.  I weigh what I did before having kids, but I’m still definitely pudgier, ha ha!  I assume it’s a matter of having less muscle and more fat now.

 

The awesome thing here is that if you are in the same position as me, there is still a scheduled, written program for you!  They have a 6-week toning program you can follow.  And let me just say, the workouts kill me.  And this is a good thing.  I have done so many lower body workouts that left me sore, but not in areas that I WANTED to be sore, in areas that I wanted worked.  Doing the lower body workout left me sore in all the right places.  It definitely hurt so good. :)  I don’t want to admit this, but I promised honesty:  I was sore in all the right places, and I only made it through half the workout the first time.  It still worked me!  That impressed me, lol.

 

The workouts are not all new, but there were definitely moves I’d not seen before, and I like the fun, casual atmosphere of the videos.  I like it enough that I am planning to continue using the videos and the programs 3 days a week while “supplementing” my workouts with other activities on other days (walking to work, doing a quick 5-minute HIIT workout, etc).  I will be sure to update again later as I continue with it.  I’ve only been at it for a week, so I don’t have results to share yet, but I look forward to that time!

 

The list price is $199 on Amazon, but the current price is $119.85, a 40% discount.  Woot!

 

*I received the product in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was received.  The opinions are all mine alone!

 

 


Skinology Lemon Essential Oil Review

  • Lemon Essential Oil
    100% Pure and Natural Lemon Essential Oil
    Aromatherapy, Health & Many Household Uses
    Detox Your Body and Boost Fat Burning Naturally
    Great Aroma, Energy Booster, Refreshing and Uplifting
  • HIGH QUALITY LEMON ESSENTIAL OIL 100% Pure Oil – Alcohol and Paraben Free – Pure Therapeutic Grade Undiluted Essential Oil (Citrus Limon) – Huge 4 oz bottle with dropper and a phenolic cap. Imported from Italy and bottled in the US in an advanced FDA facility. This product is absolutely Cruelty- Free and was never tested on animals.

    NATURAL ANTISEPTIC: This premium quality Lemon oil is a natural antiseptic and an energy booster with refreshing and cooling properties. It has a lot of different uses – from massage and aromatherapy to immune system and metabolism boosting effects. Simply add a few drops of the Lemon oil to the glass of water – and you have a perfect energy booster refreshing drink full of antioxidants. Also might be used for all your home and kitchen cleaning and refreshing needs. Please use with care due to its high concentration.

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When I got this oil in the mail my first thought was, “Wow, this is a big bottle!” It’s much bigger than the usual 5 ml bottles I see.

 

Upon opening and smelling it, I didn’t feel like it smelled as purely lemon as other brands I’ve purchased. However, for the price, it is fine by me.  Because it is such a big bottle, I don’t feel like I have to be stingy in my use of it, which is a nice change!  I know this oil will last.  I’ve been using it 2 ways, and am planning to use it a third way starting tomorrow:

  1. I love that I can diffuse it in the air, especially this time of year when things tend to feel cold and gloomy. It perks things up having a fresh lemony scent in the air.
  2. I’ve been taking more detox baths lately as well.  I got some Dead Sea Salts (which I will share a review about later), and I’ve been putting about a cup of those salts, along with 1/2 cup baking soda, a pinch of ground ginger, and 5 or so drops of lemon oil in the water for these baths.  Be cautious in using essential oils in the tub, as they are concentrated and can irritate the skin!  I personally haven’t had a problem so far with this ratio.
  3. I’m planning to start adding the lemon oil to my water tomorrow.  I love the idea of adding antioxidants to my water – what an easy way to make it even more healthy!

 

 

This is one of the products I mentioned earlier that I would be trying out in my search for optimal health.  I think that mental health is at least as important as physical, and lemon essential oil is a known mood booster.  I am truly loving all of the natural options that are becoming more easily available to us!

 

 

I would recommend Skinology’s Lemon Essential Oil, simply for the bargain that it is.  When living on a tight budget, essential oils can be costly.  You are definitely getting more oil for your money when you purchase it on Amazon.  As of the date of publishing, it’s on sale for 64% off!

 

I received a bottle of the oil in exchange for my honest review. The opinion is 100% my own.


Simple Health Yacon Syrup 4 comments


Anyone here heard of Yacon Syrup?

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It’s a product I’ve heard of, but didn’t know much about.  When I had the opportunity to test some out from Simple Health, I decided it was time to do some research.  Here’s some information I found:

 

  • Yacon syrup is high in soluble fiber.
  • It is high in PREbiotics (not to be confused with PRObiotics).  Prebiotics help to stimulate the good bacterias (probiotics) in our guts.  It also helps the body with increasing its absorption of minerals.
  • It was used by the Incas.  In Peru it is eaten for it’s nutritional properties – it is low in calories and in sugar.
  • In a 2009 Study, daily intake of Yacon syrup was shown to produce a significant decrease in body weight, waist circumference, and body mass index.
  • Yacon syrup is an anti-inflammatory food.
  • Simple Health Yacon Syrup is gluten free, non GMO, and vegan with no binders or artificial ingredients.

 

Simple Health Yacon Syurp is made from yacon root and is 100% pure. It has a deliciously sweet taste, a bit like dates, but is diabetes friendly.

 

I’ve been using Yacon Syrup for the last week.  I really do like the taste.  It has a molasses texture, and a taste that is a mix between dates and molasses, in my opinion.  When I’m craving something sweet, I eat a small spoonful of it and it takes care of it!   I can’t say that I’ve felt a huge difference in my body yet, but there is enough evidence on the side of Yacon syrup for me to continue using it.  I’ll be sure to update later after I’ve used it for longer.

 

I’m not really at a point in my life where I need to lose pounds, but I could definitely stand to lower my body fat percentage, and to tone up, and so I’ll be trying different products/methods and sharing my experiences with them throughout the year.  As of now, I’m liking Yacon Syrup, and hopefully will see some physical results from using it consistently!

 

SimpleHealth_Christmasrecipes-yacon-candied-nuts-2-300x200If you’re unsure how you could use yacon syrup, here is a link that provides recipes.  I seriously cannot wait to try these candied nuts!!

 

*I was provided a bottle of the product in exchange for an honest review.  No monetary compensation was received.  ALL opinions are mine alone.

 

 


Oral Health Care – Time to Start a Routine!

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for LISTERINE. I received samples for this review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.  All opinions are mine alone.

 

 

 

 

Now that school has started back again, our family is working into getting back into our routine – cleaning, eating, playing with friends, hygiene, etc.  I’m so ashamed to admit this, but we feel out of our routine over the summer.  We fell HARD.

 

It’s summer, man!  Who needs routine?  Right?  Ha ha, wrong.

 

 

LISTERINE is helping my family get back into our oral care routines this fall.  Kinda important, you know.  I wish we’d kept our routines all during the warm/hot weather season, so it wouldn’t be so stressful getting back into them now.  After our $502 dental fiasco for Buddy Boy, I’ve been watching our oral habits more closely, and I’m seeing a lot of things I don’t like:

  •  

     

    My son, when brushing his teeth, hardly gets his teeth at all.  He swishes the toothbrush around in his mouth, sucks up the toothpaste, and calls it good.

  • Neither of my kids brush for as long as they should.
  • NONE of us floss as well as we should.  This is usually due to us scrambling to run out the door to get to school in time, and flossing gets a whole 30 seconds of attention before we’re outta there.
  • My son has a really hard time figuring out the whole flossing thing.  It takes more hand coordination than he seems to have.  Because of this, I’d like to start having him do a mouthwash rinse in addition to his routine, but he hates the taste and smell of anything that is even close to minty.
Listerine
We’ve got a plan!

We now have a plan to try and fix some of these issues.  I searched and found a bubble gum flavor mouthwash for Buddy Boy.  I’m also planning to brush my teeth at the same time my kids do so that I can observe them more closely.  Next, I gotta figure out a way to make flossing easier.   Thank goodness there are so many different options!  Here’s the main gist of my plan:

 

Buddy Boy - Listerine UltraClean  – LISTERINE has a ton of different mouthwashes, depending on your needs/wants, and we’ve got a BUBBLE GUM flavor for kids, along with a HEALTHY WHITE CLEAN MINT wash.  We tried the Bubble Gum flavor for Buddy Boy, and Hallelujah!!  The kid likes it!   Munchkin has no problems with mint and will be using the adult mouthwash, which is peroxide free.

 

– See that LISTERINE ULTRACLEAN ACCESS FLOSSER he’s holding?  I’m hoping that it’ll make flossing easier for him.  With it’s long, ergonomic handle, it should make getting those harder to reach spots, well, less hard to reach.  The “yarn” on it is also designed to be extra strong, so it should hold up pretty well!

 

 

– I’m personally looking forward to trying the  GENTLE GUM CARE FLOSS.  I’m a gum bleeder.  I hate flossing for that reason, but I still do it in the hopes that one day I won’t bleed as much.  This floss is specifically designed with a “cushion” for sensitive gums.  How cool is that?

 

 

Munchkin - Listerine – Munchkin is excited to use the POCKETPAKS BREATH STRIP.  Silly girl.  Not that I blame her.  I often worry about my breath in between brushing.  She kinda wants to focus there, and I’m okay with that, especially after learning that these strips actually kill 99% of the germs that cause bad breath.  I had assumed it would simply mask the smell, but nope!  It’s doing much more.

 

That’s the bulk of our plan.  I love that I can find all these products locally AND online.  It makes things incredibly convenient.  Now, the last thing we need…MOTIVATION.  Right?  I’ve got mine RIGHT HERE at the Listerine US Youtube Page feauturing America’s Healthiest Heroes.  One day I’ll be featured.  (ha ha, probably not, but that doesn’t mean I can’t try!!)

 

 

Motivation for the kids?  Hmm…still working on that. :)

 

 

 


15 Healthy Snacks on a Budget 4 comments

indexIt’s 11 O’clock and you still have one hour before your lunch break.

 

You find yourself rummaging in your drawer (or office fridge) looking for something to snack on. Ah!  There’s a bag of potato chips and with a sigh of satisfaction; you happily munch your chips.

 

But wait a minute…….

 

That snack you are happily munching contains about 200 calories that you don’t really need!

 

No, don’t spit it out!
Nutritionists have confirmed that snacking helps fight weight gain and also keeps your metabolism stable.

 

imagesSnacking is great as long as it is healthy and within your budget.  Don’t worry. There are loads of budget friendly healthy and tasty snacks that you can reach for when that snack craving hits you.

Healthy and budget snacks together?

Is that possible?

Definitely!

Below is a list of 15 health budget snacks that you can treat yourself to:

• Air-Popped Popcorn

• Hard-boiled eggs

• Apples

Bananas

• A serving of nuts (raw almonds are my personal favorite, though I eat them in moderation – they can be pricey!)

• Yogurts (make sure they aren’t filled with sugar!)

• Pickled vegetables

• Crackers and cheese

• Carrots (buy the big ones and slice them yourself – no need to pay extra for baby carrots)

5012685818_4bdc2e74baSo…..

 

Be rest assured that you are not alone in your craving for snacks.

 

But next time the craving creeps up on you, try to choose one of the healthy snacks above instead of reaching for that bag of potato chips.  Your body will thank you!  (No really, it will!)

 

Do you have a favorite frugal and healthy snack? Please share in the comments box below.

 

*Linked up at Frugal Friday


Pick Me Up Ideas for Tired Parents

Raise your hand if you’re tired.

Being a parent can be fun and also leave you feeling frazzled and exhausting.  Sooner or later you will need to take some me time for relaxation and pampering.  

Designed for parents you know or for yourself – here are some ideas of a DIY gift basket of goodies to help parents feel better.  (Or you know, if you want to send yours truly something to help me relax ;) )  Thank you.  Or you’re welcome, depending on what you choose to do with this list!

 

The Body Shop Divine Calm Relaxing Massage Oil, 3.3-Fluid Ounce

The Body Shop Divine Calm Relaxing Massage Oil, 3.3-Fluid Ounce

Um, hello.  Massage oil?  Yes, please!  Designed to help you drift away as you experience total relaxation with an unbeatable, stress-busting, tension-taming massage using this blend of calming oils.  Pure French lavender essential oil relaxes the senses, while camomile promotes a sense of calm and soothes skin. Sesame oil and sweet almond oil moisturize and soften skin.

The Body Shop Divine Calm Relaxing Massage Oil, 3.3-Fluid Ounce – $24.40, Free shipping – Available at Amazon.com Marketplace


1-800-Flowers.com – Flowers – Fields of Europe for Summer Basket

1-800-Flowers.com - Flowers - Fields of Europe for Summer Basket

Flowers are so great.  What a pick-me-up!  While I usually just pick flowers from my yard to put in the house, it always feels extra good to be surprised with a delivery like this.

 

1-800-Flowers.com – Flowers – Fields of Europe for Summer Basket – $39.99, -1.00 shipping – Available at 1-800-Flowers.com


Wonka – Chocolate Bars – ORIGINAL: 18-Piece Box

Wonka - Chocolate Bars - ORIGINAL: 18-Piece Box

CHOCOLATE.  I really don’t need to say more, do I?

 

Wonka – Chocolate Bars – ORIGINAL: 18-Piece Box – $39.60, See Site shipping – Available at CandyWarehouse


EiioX – EiioX Aromatherapy Essential Oil Purifier Diffuser Air Humidifier with 4 Timer Settings & 6 Colors Changing, Black

EiioX - EiioX Aromatherapy Essential Oil Purifier Diffuser Air Humidifier with 4 Timer Settings & 6 Colors Changing, Black

I really like the look of this Essential Oil Diffuser.  I have one that I got somewhere else, but it cost twice as much.  I wish I’d seen this one first!!

 

EiioX – EiioX Aromatherapy Essential Oil Purifier Diffuser Air Humidifier with 4 Timer Settings & 6 Colors Changing, Black – $53.99, Free shipping – Available at Amazon.com Marketplace


Deep Steep – Organic Lavender Chamomile Bubble Bath-17 oz-Bubble Bath

Deep Steep - Organic Lavender Chamomile Bubble Bath-17 oz-Bubble Bath

Bubble Bath.  So you can sit in the tub filled with hot water, and soak your cares away.  This organic Lavender Chamomile sounds heavenly, doesn’t it? 

 

Deep Steep – Organic Lavender Chamomile Bubble Bath-17 oz-Bubble Bath – $6.99, Free shipping – Available at Puritans Pride

(2 reviews)


Moroccan Hand Woven Basket, Braid Design Large (Palm Leaf)

Moroccan Hand Woven Basket, Braid Design Large (Palm Leaf)

This is a great basket that is hand woven with palm leaves that be used to present your gift. Afterwards it can be used for a trip to the beach, books, as farmers market bag.

Moroccan Hand Woven Basket, Braid Design Large (Palm Leaf) – $28.00, 11.49 shipping – Available at Amazon.com Marketplace


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links provided by Postpresso.



3 Superfoods (They are Seeds!)

Searching for some healthy ways to get better nutrition into your diet?  Try some of these super seeds.  They can be easily integrated into your eating plans or diet with out too much fuss.  I’m sure EVERYONE can use an additional nutritional boost! 

Organic White Chia Seeds

Organic White Chia Seeds

Called a superfood by some, Chia seeds contain high levels of omega 3 fatty acids as well as high levels of fiber and minerals such iron, calcium, magnesium etc.

Enjoy them on your oatmeal or cereal, stir it into your veggie shakes or add to yogurt for a nutritious boost.  You can also try adding to baking goods (like in this delicious looking gluten-free Quinoa Chia Bread)

 

Organic White Chia Seeds — 12 oz – $9.33 (55% off), Free shipping – Available at PureFormulas

(8 reviews)


Eden Foods Dry Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Eden Foods Dry Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Popular and known as Pepita in Mexico, they are rich in protein, iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium and some fatty acids.  They also contain L-tryptophan can also help with anxiety attacks, depression and mood disorders.  Amazing, right?

Enjoy them toasted by the handful or add them to your salads for a tasty crunch (crunch, after all, makes every salad better)!

 

Eden Foods Dry Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Original, 4 oz – $3.25, See Site shipping – Available at Tropical Traditions


Organic Hemp Hearts Raw Shelled Hemp Seed

Organic Hemp Hearts Raw Shelled Hemp Seed

This is a product that I’m new to.  A truly versatile plant, Hemp is used in a variety of products, from clothing to food.  It contains a high percentage of edible oils and fatty acids.

Enjoy them raw, ground in a powder, sprinkle into your favorite cereal or shake or use in baking.

Have you tried hemp?  What are your thoughts?

 

Organic Hemp Hearts Raw Shelled Hemp Seed (12 oz) by Manitoba Harvest – $15.89, 5.59 shipping – Available at Amazon.com

(1 reviews)


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links provided by Postpresso.



Special Diets on a Budget

As you have probably noticed, I am eating a “special” diet right now.  And by special, I mean that I’m NOT eating any of the following foods:

  • Dairy (including butter, cheese, yogurt, shortening, etc)
  • Eggs
  • Gluten (including wheat, oats, rye and barley)
  • Tomatoes (tomato sauces or anything else containing tomatoes)
  • Dehydrated Fruit
  • Rice, corn, potatoes
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee, black tea, and soda
  • Fruit juices
  • Iodized salt
  • Sugar and natural & artificial sweeteners (including honey, agave, coconut sugar, stevia)
  • Soy or any products containing soy
  • Peanuts
  • Beef, pork, shellfish, cold cuts, bacon, hot dogs, canned meat, sausage

ai_dietWhy?  I’m following an Anti-Inflammatory diet given to me by my holistic care doctor.  I’m currently on day 7 of this new diet, and I’ve found already that I’m not having to take my daily nap every day anymore.  I had 2 good days during this first week, and that’s more than I’d had in the previous month!  What a blessing.

It is, however, more expensive to eat this way….at least for me.  No matter how you look at it, sweet potatoes generally cost more than white potatoes.  Quinoa is WAY more expensive than rice.  It’s just how it is.

So, how do you eat a special diet on a budget?  Well, it’s something that I’m slowly figuring out, and I wanted to share what I’ve found so far with you:

 

 

  1. Shop the Sales (?)

This can be very hard when you are so limited in what you can eat.  For example, if you are allowed fresh veggies, but the veggies you are able to eat aren’t in season, well then what’s a girl to do?  Just this last week I went to pick up some bell peppers and the cheapest I could find them was $1.29 PER PEPPER.  Ridiculous!  So, I went without.  Instead, I ate other veggies that frankly, I’m not as fond of.  If you’re on a tight budget though, you’ll just have to learn to be less choosy (a lesson I’m currently learning).  Shop the sales.  It’s critical.

2.  Buy in bulk

indexBy “bulk”, I do not necessarily mean “buy a ton”.  Sure, Costco and other warehouse locations offer some great deals.  I’ve been very impressed with Costco’s selection of healthy foods.  The quinoa there is a great deal.  However, in addition to that type of shopping, try to shop the bulk sections at other stores – you know, when you bag your own stuff, tie it up and weigh it.  Winco is my favorite place to do that.  There are bulk bins at most health food stores as well, like Whole Foods and Sprouts.  That way, you’re not paying for the packaging.

3. Keep a price list

Oh my gosh, keep a price list.  If you find yourself trying new foods you’re not used to, I’m betting you’re not familiar with the average price for that food.  You’ll have NO idea if you’re getting a decent deal or not!  Ask friends and family what they pay, and when you make a purchase, write down the cost-per-ounce or pound and take that book with you when shopping future sales.  Know what a good deal looks like.

4.  Stick to the basics

I know.  It’s hard.  You want to try a new recipe because you are SO SICK of eating carrot sticks and baked chicken.  I feel you.  (really, I do.)  If your budget allows, try some new food ideas, but don’t plan a huge shopping spree to buy all new stuff.  What if you don’t like half of it?  It’ll go to waste, and you’ve lost that money.  Try a few new things at a time, and stick with the basic meals you already know for now.  As you slowly build up new recipes and items that you like, your menu will expand, but only do it as you can afford to.

5.  Give yourself an occasional break

Don’t expect that you’ll be perfect all the time.  When I first went gluten free, I refused to buy $5 frozen gf pizzas, because it would cost more money than making my own.  Then I would get a hankering for pizza and not have anything on hand, so I’d go out and spend $12 to get a freshly cooked one from a gf friendly restaurant.  If you have a weak spot and you know you’ll eventually cave, don’t be afraid to spend a little money buying some of those items pre-made and frozen.  If you truly have the time, then save even more $$ by pre-cooking and freezing some of your favorites.  Speaking of which…

6. PREPARE

I know life is busy, and not everyone will be able to do this.  If you have the time/energy, I’d highly suggest doing a freezer cooking session.  Make a double or triple batch of gluten free cookie dough, or of dairy free rolls, and freeze them.  Mix up a huge batch of turkey burgers, shape and freeze them.  This makes buying in bulk during the sales easier, and it makes your life a whole lot easier when you don’t feel you have time to make an involved meal.  If you don’t have an entire day to devote, you can do a mini 1-hour freezer cooking batch, like I do.

7. Stick with natural foods

10487226_10152495996751815_3535428456217654932_nAs much as possible, try to stick with foods that are naturally dairy free, or peanut free, or whatever your need may be.  Fresh fruits/veggies and unprocessed meats are generally allergen-safe (depending, of course, on the allergen you are avoiding).  Buying the gluten-free version of something generally is going to cost at least TWICE the money than it’s wheat-filled counterpart.  If you stick with the naturally safe foods, you’ll save.

I realize that not all of these tips will work for everyone.  Do what you can with what you can.  I’m sure there are a lot of other fantastic ideas.  Like I said, I’m new to this, and am still figuring things out.  I’ll happily share any other tips that I find as I go!  And hey, if you’ve got a great idea to save money on these types of meals, you’d better tell me! :)  Now let’s go save some moolah.

*Linked up at Thrifty Thursday!