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Posted on Jan 30, 2012 in Dear Diary | 25 comments

The Effects of Not Eating Well

You probably hear it all time: you are what you eat. The saying implies that if you eat healthy, you’ll feel healthy; if you eat crap, you’ll feel like crap. I am here to back up that claim 100%.

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At this point you are all probably aware of my love for the, er, crappier side of the food spectrum. French fries are my weakness. Mozzarella sticks will never not be delicious. Nachos will always have a special place in my heart. Sure, over time I’ve learned to genuinely enjoy — even crave — salads, kale, yogurt, quinoa, and brussels sprouts (especially brussels sprouts!) but I know that if given a choice, I will always want the “bad” stuff.

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I should point out that yes, I know there are ways to rework and recreate recipes for junkier foods that makes them healthier. In fact, in order to literally have my cake and eat it too, I try to do this a lot. But underneath the semi-satisfaction that baked onion rings coated with bran flakes may give you, there is always the underlying desire to gorge myself on a Bloomin’ Onion. Them’s the facts.

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In order to arm myself in the battle against these constant cravings, I have to remind myself of the aforementioned adage: you are what you eat. And when I eat poorly for extended periods of time, I suffer the physical, mental, and emotional ramifications of that. Par example:

1. My skin goes the way of the Rockies.

I was pretty blessed as a teenager. Whereas my older siblings battled acne and breakouts through puberty and beyond, my adolescence was barely tarnished with a single zit. Now that I’m an adult (HA!), however, my skin gets seriously messed up when my diet is out of whack. I breakout in varying levels of severity, my skin takes on a greasy quality, and simply loses it’s lustre. Not cute.

2. Despite feeling more tired than usual, I am unable to sleep soundly.

I’m already a fairly restless sleeper — the kind who tosses and turns and goes from side to stomach to the other side throughout the night (I’ve woken up with my feet on my pillow and head at the bottom of the bed on more than one occasion). So what happens when I mess with my already delicate sleep cycle by fueling my body improperly? I become an even, uh, restless…er sleeper. Which makes me cranky and irritable upon waking, ultimately leading to me craving more crappy food. It’s a vicious cycle, I’m telling you.

3. Acid reflux rears its ugly head.

In college, during the worst of my binge eating issues, I had fairly severe issues with acid reflux. The stomach acid that crept back up into my esophagus due to my poor digestion (due to poor quality food… you may be sensing a pattern here, haha) while I slept was doing a number on me. It even started to affect my singing voice at one point, causing my voice teacher to send me to the campus doctor for a prescription to counteract the issue. Nowadays, I can always tell when a bout of acid reflux it hitting me, and it usually comes after a particular weak moment. When my eating is clean, however, I rarely have issues with it.

4. It can (and probably should) go without saying, but my digestive system gets its ass whooped.

I won’t go into detail here, but I’m pretty sure you guys get my drift.

5. So much for that manicure.

Another, slightly less noticeable, effect that abandoning a clean(ish) diet has on me has to do with my nails. They come brittle and break very easily when I’m off the wagon. I generally tend to keep them painted most of the time, but when they’re naked I do notice that I get those little white lines on them upon occasion as well — a sign of lacking nutrition.

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So there you have it! Just more proof that, aside from the whole weight loss jank that I’m always trying to do here, there are many, many reasons to eat well. Of course, this in no way means I endorse completely cutting out junk food indulgences completely. Emotional health too, remember? I just need to continue to work on using the word “indulgence” as it was originally intended, hehe.

What effects of not eating well plague you?

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Posted on Jun 22, 2011 in Food, Weight Loss 101 | 39 comments

Weight Loss 101: Eat Real Food, Not Your Savings

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So lately I’ve been thinking a lot about eating healthy and finances. As in, how do you eat REAL food without going REALLY broke? And then yesterday Ali tweeted at me that she had similar concerns: How do you eat healthy without going bankrupt at the grocery store? Which obviously got me thinking about it even more. I’ll be the first to admit (and I’m sure that my sister will be the second, haha!) that I am not exactly the most frugally minded person. Sure, I can appreciate a good deal as much as the next person, but for the most part I adhere to the mindset that I would rather pay more for better quality, faster service, or convenience, than have to deal with the opposites of those things. Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate a rockin’ deal as much as the next person, but some things aren’t worth the hassle to me. Hence why it’s more likely you’d find me leisurely perusing the displays at Nordstrom than getting sweaty and harried pawing through the racks at Marshall’s, haha.

That being said, I’m not exactly rolling in it over here. And real food is expensive! Ramen is cheap, produce is not. So while I often ignore my own advice, I do feel like this is an area where saving money really matters. And I feel there are some surefire ways to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck when it comes to healthy eating.

Number 1: Eat at home.

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Uh, duh. This should probably go without saying, but I’m gonna say it anyway: If you want to save money, don’t go out to eat. Shop for your own groceries, and prepare your own food. I spent just over $20 at the store yesterday and will be covered for meals for three days. When you break that amount down, you’re talking about something like $2 – $3 a meal!

Number 2: Meal plan.

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I’ve admitted in the past that I’m not very good at creating and following meal plans. I try to pretend it’s because I’m all spontaneous and like to be creative with my meals, but really I’m just lazy and unorganized hahaha. This week I tried to make an exception, however, because I’m taking off for the Fitness & Health Bloggers Conference in Boulder, CO on Friday morning! So going grocery shopping mid-week, while a complete necessity given the state of food options in my house, wasn’t the most ideal situation. I didn’t want to buy things that were just going to spoil when I left! I feel that the biggest money-suck when it comes to eating real food is having it spoil because you weren’t able to utilize it in time. Meal planning is the absolute best way to avoid this.

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Number 3: Make (and stick to!) a grocery list.

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My list yesterday was super short because I was literally only shopping for a few days’ worth of food. But if I hadn’t done up a list, I would have walked out with so much unnecessary, unusable food.

Number 4: Buy generic.

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Stacy’s pita chips are priced at $2.99 a bag. Giant’s Nature’s Promise brand pita chips at priced at $2.49 a bag. Which product should you purchase? Seems like it should be a no-brainer, right? I mean, sure 50 cents might not seem like that much, but it adds up. Fast. And this rule applies across the spectrum: groceries, pharmacy items, etc. People will pay a lot more just for a particular brand slapped on the packaging, when the generic version is just as good (and oftentimes, the same manufacturer makes both products anyway. So you are LITERALLY just choosing between a branded and a generic version of the exact same thing.)

Number 5: Stretch your meat.

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There are lots of creative ways to make the expensive items you buy, like meat, last longer. Cara gave me the tip of adding ~2 cups of mashed chickpeas (which you can snag for about $0.89 a can!) to turkey burgers to bulk ’em up and stretch ’em out. I took that tip as inspiration for my own dinner last night, which involved bulking up my T-burgers with tons of veggies that I already had!

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I chopped up green onion, red onion, button mushrooms, and grated baby carrots and added it all to the mix. Not only did it make for big, thick patties, the mushrooms kept the meat SUPER moist (often a complaint when it comes to turkey burgers — thanks for that tip, Aunt Lynda!), but the meal was healthified with the addition of extra veggies, AND it helped alleviate that whole food-spoilage thing mentioned previously by letting me use up more items that were just waiting to spoil in the fridge! Win-win-win.

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With the addition of asparagus that I subbed the grocery-listed bibb lettuce for because it was a much better deal, and potatoes that I already had lying around, we have a complete meal, with enough leftovers to last me for lunch today AND tomorrow (and would have lasted another dinner, too, if I hadn’t been a piggy and had two patties last night. Whoops! Hahaha.)

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I really need to get on this meal-planning train much more regularly. That way I’ll have more money leftover for the massages I apparently desperately need! 😉

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What are your tips for saving money but still eating healthy? Another thing I should probably look into doing more is deal-shopping (going to different stores for specific items) and couponing, two things I’m terrible at! Any advice on those fronts?

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