Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Can you really eat healthy on a budget?

Day 3

Reporting back here daily has been harder than I anticipated. So even though I am keeping track of my spending daily for one week, it may take me just over a week to get it written. Here is how day 3 went.

Breakfast - Oatmeal with almond milk
estimated cost = $0.50
convenient - yes

Lunch - leftovers from dinner (Swiss chard, beans, onion, cauliflower) eaten cold
estimated cost = $1.75
convenient - extremely, doesn't get easier that that.

Dinner - Quinoa with onion, black beans, corn, fresh cilantro and other dried seasonings.
estimated cost - $5.00 ($1.00 per serving). Lot's of leftovers, probably 5-6 servings total.
Convenient - Moderately, about 45 minutes total prep and cook time.

Total cost for the day for 1 person = $3.25.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Can you really eat healthy on a budget?

Day 2

Eating at home continues! See what I spent today...

Breakfast - Oatmeal and an apple a bit later.

Cost - approximately $1.00
Convenient - yes

Lunch - mixed green salad with walnuts and cranberries, vinegar and oil dressing. And a pear.

Cost - approximately $2.25
Convenient - yes

Dinner - Swiss chard cooked with kidney beans, onions, cauliflower and cranberries with balsamic vinegar and oil and seasonings.

cost - $5.00 at the most. Made 3 servings. ($1.75 for one meal).
convenient - yes, just throw it in the pot and heat, plus now I have lunch for tomorrow.

Total cost for one for the entire day = $4.50

I will admit, that I am giving my best guess as to what one serving would cost. It is difficult to buy the exact amount for one serving which leads to my best guess. I believe that I am being generous with the numbers and in most cases cost less than what I am stating. So with a little effort it is looking like it is more affordable to eat at home. Can't wait to see how the rest of the week plays out.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Can you really eat healthy on a budget?

Have you seen the movie Food, inc yet? Well I watched it about a month ago and it really struck a chord with me. I'm thinking of one particular segment, the segment where a low income family struggles with making healthy food choices due to cost and convenience. I really felt for that family and the millions of others who are going through the same thing. It made me wonder if it really is difficult to eat healthy meals at home and on a budget, while taking the time factor into account. This has prompted me to do my own food experiment. Here is what I will be doing.

1.) Spending one week keeping track of what I eat
2.) Keeping track of how much I spend
3.) Keeping meals simple and convenient (quick meals)
4.) Eating mostly organic foods

However I am struggling a bit on this, I am trying to figure out how to do this so it compares to a family of 4 or a family of 2. While my dinners will always be for two, lunch and dinner will be for one since my husband eats in the cafeteria at his work. Fortunately they provide healthy options at a low cost. I will probably have to estimate with some of this.

Now I am not exactly prepared to do this experiment. I don't even know yet what I will be having for dinner. I did go to the grocery store today, but not with any meal plan in mind. I didn't know I was going to be starting this experiment today, but then again, I think that makes this experiment more valid.

Today was grocery day for me, so there was very little in the house for breakfast. So I made do with what I had.

Day one

Breakfast: 2 pieces of toast with Adams All Natural Peanut Butter. I used Dave's Killer Bread.

1 loaf of Dave's Killer Bread = $4.49 (on sale)
1 jar Adam's Peanut Butter = $2.99
estimated cost of 2 pieces of toast with peanut butter = less than $0.75.
Convenient? Extremely

If I would have had some apples on hand I would have had that as well bringing the cost up to maybe $1.25?

For lunch today I had whole wheat fettucine noodles with organic broccoli, tomato, olive oil, dried basil and Parmesan cheese.

Whole wheat fettucine noodles = $3.50 used half ($1.75)
Organic broccoli = $1.99 a pound (I'd say that I used less that $1.00 worth)
The rest = estimate $1.00

estimated cost = $3.75 with leftovers. Let's make that $1.88 per meal.
Convenient = yes, this would be a good thing to make for dinner and have leftovers for lunch. Can easily be reheated or even eaten cold.

Dinner - Well I have to admit that I had a late lunch and didn't feel like eating much. So my husband had my lunch leftovers and I made sweet potato fries that we shared. I hope that doesn't mean I failed the experiment on the first day! I usually have more for dinner.

estimated cost of my husband's dinner = $1.75
plus a sweet potato = $1.00

Estimated total cost for one = $3.63
Including my husbands dinner = $5.38

Wow! That's seems really cheap! Can that be right? I'll have to admit that I did not eat as much as I should have today, so in reality most day's will probably cost more than this. But it does give me hope that you can eat better, even on a budget with a little bit of planning or just some practice. My total food cost for today cost less than a value meal at McDonald's. I used all organic ingredients and the meals were quick and easy.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

First attempt at winter gardening

Lately I've been thinking a lot about gardening. I love the idea of having a vegetable garden growing in my yard year round, or almost year round. Going out to the yard to pick some fresh greens in December. Getting the tomatoes and beans planted earlier than usual and having an awesome succession crop growing. It is such a motivation to eat healthier. Food that you grew, that only has to travel from the garden to the kitchen, now that tastes so much better.

So yesterday, my husband and I decided to build a cold frame. We went to the rebuilding center, picked up some windows (ones without lead paint), got some wood and made a frame. Our goal is to have greens growing most of the year and warm weathered plants in the ground earlier than their normal growing season. Can't wait to see how it all turns out. For us, it's one thing at a time. Gardening is fairly new to us, so we will make mistakes and we will learn from those mistakes. But hopefully they will not be repeated.

It is our intention to continue to grow as many fresh fruits and vegetables in our small yard as we can. We have seen others do it and they have been a tremendous inspiration to us. It made me realize that there is no reason why we can not do it. You just have to get out there and start doing it. Ask questions, read books, and ask more questions. It is so inspirational to see more and more people growing their own food. I wouldn't doubt if one day fresh vegetables are growing in almost everyone's yards and back porches. Fresh food for everyone!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How to choose a massage therapist

There are so many massage therapists, how do you know who is best for you. It can be really difficult to find the right person for you and sometimes you may spend time and money finding the perfect person for you. But there are ways to try and narrow it down and find the right one. Here are a few tips...

1. Make sure your massage therapist is licensed in your state. There are massage therapists who claim to be licensed and are not. You can verify this by going to the Oregon board of massage therapists website and typing in their information. Here is the link http://obmt.oregonlookups.com/index.asp.

2. Ask for recommendations from your friends and coworkers. Even though one therapist is not right for everyone, recommendations can be very helpful. Find out how long they have been seeing their lmt and what it is they like about her. Feel free to ask about the environment as well since that can play an important part in a massage.

3. Ask the massage therapist questions before booking an appointment. What is the environment like? What are your specialties if any? How long have you been practicing? If you have injuries that need worked on be sure to ask her if she has experience working on that type of problem.

Don't be afraid to ask questions and tell your massage therapist what you like (if you know). And always speak up about pressure. Your massage therapist should respect you for this and will be more likely to deliver exactly what you need. I also recommend that you stick with one massage therapist when you find someone that you like. The reason for this is that your massage therapist will get to know your body, where the restrictions are and what techniques work for you. Your massage should keep getting better and better over time.

I hope this information helps and that you find the perfect massage therapist for you.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

To talk or not to talk

That is the question. Since I've been a massage therapist I have had such a broad spectrum of clients and one thing that I have noticed is sometimes the client thinks that it is there job to entertain me. I would say that there are 3 categories of this...

1. the client who chit chats throughout the entire massage
2. the client who talks out of nervous habit
3. the client who is able to completely let go and quiet her mind

I tend to fall into category 1 or 3 depending on the day. Let me just state for the record, that when receiving a massage it really is all about you. You should never feel like you need to entertain your massage therapist. We Americans tend to have such a busy lifestyle that it is important to be able to take that time and quiet our mind. We are a people that just keeps going and going and going. Ideally, I feel that you will get the most out of your massage when you are able to bring yourself (with the help of your massage therapist) into a meditative state and let all of your thoughts go during this time. This will not only allow your mind to let go, but your body will let go too. Your muscles will be in a more relaxed state which will allow your massage therapist to have an even greater effect. In addition to this, your massage therapist will be able to focus more on what she is doing and be more aware of what is going on with your body. If you find that your massage therapist keeps trying to have a conversation with you, don't be afraid to speak up and say something. Your massage therapist should respect your decision and will become more aware of how she is affecting her clients. This should become a lesson to her and perhaps make her a better massage therapist.

So the point to this blog is...

It is never your job to entertain your massage therapist. Feel free to quiet your mind, let go of all your thoughts, and just be in the moment. You do not need to be friends with your massage therapist. If you are, that's great, but remember, this is your time. Use it wisely. Get as much out of it as you can. Enjoy the hour or so of peace and quiet. Treasure the moment.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Community Thai Massage Clinic

Some of you by now are aware of the "Community Thai Massage Clinic" that I am participating in with a few other local Thai practitioners. Last month we had our first one and it turned out even better than we could have expected. The turn out was amazing, we filled every spot except for one half hour opening. Thank you to everyone who helped get the word out and was able to participate. Our next one is coming up soon and I bet it will be even better than the first. Now that we are getting our rhythm I think it will go even smoother (even though I think the first one went pretty smooth).

Now I have not yet had the opportunity to go to Thailand, but I know that many of you have and have had the opportunity to receive Thai massage in a traditional Thai massage setting. We hope to recreate that experience by having several massages taking place in the same room. Last month I got my first real taste of that and I have to say that I absolutely loved it! The energy in the room was so positive and exuberant, something that I love to surround myself with. The clients were very receptive to receiving massage in this manner and seemed to be able to fully relax just as if they were in their own private treatment room. I think I have to give a big shout out to Angi Orton for having such a great idea, getting it set up, and thinking enough of me to include me.

Our next community Thai massage clinic will be held...
Monday, May 11th, 2009 from 10:00 - 3:00
at Yoga Potentials Studio
2oo NE 20th @ Everett
This is a sliding scale and rates are as follows...
30 min...$10-25
60 min...$20-55
90 min...$30-85
10% of all proceeds will be going to a Thai charity or a local charity.
To schedule an appointment call Erin at...