1. Baby Carrots!
Organic Baby Carrots are a wonderful healthy snack that you can buy for under $2/lb. Add in some Organic Unsalted Peanut Butter (Trader Joe's) or Athenos Hummus (Ralph's) and you've got a healthy way to keep your blood sugar up when you're on the go.
One of my favorite things about Baby Carrots is their ability to travel to pretty much anywhere you need them to without making a mess. No crumbs or peels or cores or any trash afterwards--they just give you a nice crunch and leave your surroundings clean. The peanut butter and hummus, on the other hand... well, just be careful!
2. Bring Some Fruit With You For An Extra Pick-Me-Up!
When you know you're going to be out and about and you have a feeling you'll be in need of some extra energy, having fruit around is the perfect way to keep yourself energized when you don't have time to sit down and eat. Apples and Bananas are both great for sustaining a high energy level.
One of the reasons that fruit is such a great food to eat for energy while you're busy doing other things (exercising in particular) is that your body can digest fruit and absorb energy from it without requiring the prodution of stomach acid. Because the stomach can be bypassed when you eat fruit, your body can absorb the energy from the food much more quickly. In addition, because the stomach does not have to work as hard, more energy is left for your brain and your muscles to utilize in whatever tasks you have in front of you at the moment.
3. Invest in Some Celtic Sea Salt
Unlike regular table salt, which is poisonous, Celtic Sea Salt has the trace minerals that your body needs to feel full after eating. Having a stash handy to add to whatever food you have when you're out and about can help you get more out of what you eat. Celtic Sea Salt + Organic Crunchy Unsalted Peanut Butter = the best peanut butter you've ever tasted! There is nothing more satisfying than a perfectly salted meal, especially when you know that it's nourishing your body with the minerals it needs to process the food that you eat.
4. Drink More Water
Drinking more water will improve your digestion and satisfy your appetite. Buy a bottle of perrier sparkling water to reuse as a portable water bottle. Get yourself a Brita filter (or some other water filter) and refill the bottle with filtered water. If you have a sweet tooth and you're looking to kick soda, get yourself some liquid stevia. I recommend the brand, SweetLeaf. Having tried a few of the cheaper brands of liquid stevia, I've found that they're not really worth the money because I don't like the taste enough to even want to use them. SweetLeaf makes multiple flavors that I'm crazy about and I can rotate depending on whatever sale is going on at the time. My favorites are: English Toffee, Root Beer, Coconut, Watermelon, Vanilla Creme, and Hazelnut. The Lemon Drop flavor is quite nice too!
A sweet tooth can lead you into all sorts of dietary issues that can develop into serious health problems. I can tell you that, from my experience, removing processed sugar from diet has had a profound effect on the quality of my life. My blood sugar is much more stable now and I'm able to sustain a good mood and a feeling of vitality almost all the time. If you can replace soda with water sweetened with liquid stevia (I prefer uncarbonated water because I've heard bad things about carbolic acid), you'll have done yourself an enormous favor as far as your wallet and your body are concerned.
5. Plan Ahead
Cooking in Bulk
This is the big one. Many people think that it's not possible to eat well without spending more money. What these people aren't taking into account is that most processed food products (ready to eat meals, etc.) cost significantly more because of the convenience factor. If you're willing to put in a little extra work on the food preparation front, you'll find that you can stretch your dollar a lot farther than you thought--All while buying healthy organic foods.
When you start cooking for yourself with leftovers in mind, you can save yourself both time and money. Get yourself some nice glass Tupperware, grab a lunchbox, and you can replace a couple of meals that you would have eaten out every week. This is a great way to save money and invest in a healthier you! The trick is to plan ahead and cook bigger portions so you can have healthier food more often. When you know what's in the food that you eat, you can be confident that you're getting the best nutrition and spending less than if you went for the convenience of prepared food.
I've really enjoyed developing a vegan chili recipe that lasts me for four or five days. I spend about $40 for the ingredients and I have high quality, healthy meals for the most of the following week. The main rule is to cook with foods that you understand. If you can't explain what's in the food you're cooking, then it's probably not the best thing to put in your body. I like to experiment with different combinations of my favorite ingredients, like: sweet potatoes, bell peppers, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, onions, brussel sprouts, green beans, garbonzo beans, kidney beans, coconut milk, organic spices, etc. I like adding in organic meats every now and again as well, usually cooked in a bit of water and coconut oil with onions, peppers, mushrooms, and spices.
You Are What You Eat
It always amazes me how phrases that we are told as children end up becoming so much more meaningful to us as we grow older. A phrase as simple and ridiculous as 'you are what you eat' actually turns out to be astoundlingly true!
Our bodies are made up of trillions of cells that are constantly forming and dying in our very own personal recycling process. After 7 years pass, every single cell in our body has been recycled. Our bodies are constantly reinventing themselves. How? We use the raw materials from the food that we eat.
If you are eating good food and your digestive system is functioning properly, then you will feel good. If you are only putting in foods that strengthen you and not eating foods that weaken you, then you will feel good. If you continue treating yourself well, then your body will have the raw materials it needs to continue to function at a high level... and you will feel good.
Of all of the methods I have applied to bring about self-improvement, making adjustments to the way I eat has had by far the strongest effect. If you are willing to try and fail, then you will succeed. If you're willing to make mistakes and learn from them, then you will succeed. If you continue to make adjustments to your approach to living your life, then you will succeed--and you will continue to learn and grow for the rest of your life.