Eating healthy on a post grad budget: making the struggle easier

I have one more semester until I’m completely done with school and honestly, it scares the sh*t out of me. It’s hard to get excited about graduation when all I can think about is the impending doom of being on my own and having responsiblity thrust upon me. Thankfully, I have learned how to at least feed myself on a limited budget so I won’t starve to death or survive off of plain pasta.
One of my friends who graduated in May asked me to shed some light on how to eat well while pinching your pennies. I’m going to provide tips that have gotten me through hard times of barely any money and an example week of how to eat when you can’t even rub two dimes together.


1. Meal planning will become your best friend. It can be extremely annoying to have to plan out what you’re going to eat each day for 5 days, but unfortunately, you’re broke and you don’t have much more of an option. When you’re making the big bucks, you can go crazy and decide on a whim what you’ll eat, when you want to eat it. But for now, you have GOT to learn how to meal plan.

???So how do you meal plan???
Great question, young post college graduate. That leads me to my next point…

2. Make simple meals that all use some of the same ingredients. This is really important. Lets say you want to make a veggie pasta with zucchini, tomatoes, and broccoli. Use the leftover vegetables the next day to make a veggie quinoa bowl. It takes some planning, but it gets easier, I promise.


I’ve told you how to plan to eat cheaply for a week… now how do you make it healthy?


3. Use the recipes that I post to plan your meals around! And stay updated with the recipes that I post. I have been living a healthy and CHEAP lifestyle on my own now for four years. I’ve learned a lot. Use my information to help you succeed in staying healthy on a budget.


Now I’m going to lay it all out for you in a 5 day example so that you can get the gist of how to do this. I’ve  listed enough meals for each category to get you through the week. Some won’t have 5 different meals and that’s because you can eat this on multiple different days to save you money:

Breakfast: Eggs and toast, strawberry and almond butter toast (use bananas instead of strawberries), leftover savory eggs and potatoes

Lunch: raw kale salad with avocado dressing, fajita style chicken lettuce wrap, dinner sized salad (add chicken),  chicken sandwich (using leftover chicken from one of your meals), black bean quinoa bowl 

Snacks: peanut butter protein bars, kind bar, greek yogurt

Dinner: Vegan shepherd’s pie, green monster quinoa bowl, savory eggs and potatoes, potato leek soup with toast, teriyaki chicken plate (use quinoa instead of rice)

Drinks: a bottle of wine… you know… for the weekend. or something.

You can eat ALL OF THIS healthy food for only $55.61. And I even included a bottle of WINE! Take that out and you’re under $50!! I actually went to Trader Joes, wrote down the cost of every item that you need for these meals, and then figured out the cost of everything. You’re welcome. Now you don’t have any excuse! Go eat healthy and check in for more recipes on my blog! All are diet friendly. All approved.

Just a reminder… THESE are all the money saving meals that you’ll be able to make. Looks a lot different than ramen, huh?


Fit Tip Friday

I believe that applying one small change a week results in many big changes over time. I also believe that these changes last longer than making one big change all at once. For one thing, you can fool your mind and body into not really realizing that a change has been made when you apply a single little change at a time. Because of this, I am going to start supplying one fitness change and one nutrition change a week for everyone to try. These changes will be EASY. So easy that you might get a little annoyed and want me to post an even bigger challenge.

Just trust me on this. Don’t try and add more on yourself. Just add my little alterations or additions. You’ll see changes sooner than you would’ve imagined if you stick with them.

For todays Fit Tip Friday:


FITNESS: Do an extra 5 minutes of cardio.

*This could be any type of cardio: running, biking, swimming, surfing, dancing… etc. If you choose to walk, do an extra 10 minutes of cardio.

NUTRITION: Have a smoothie for breakfast.

*In my opinion, smoothies are some of the healthiest breakfasts’ that you could have. You can pack in so many good for you foods, such as kale, spinach, chlorella, and fruit into one drink! My favorite is either the <a href=>Raw "Chocolate" Smoothie</a> or the almond butter banana smoothie which you can find on my Instagram (healthyfoodylifestyle).

These are two very easy changes that can be implemented into your daily life! They might not seem like big changes, but a week of 5 extra cardio minutes is an extra 35 minutes of cardio per week. That means about an extra 350 calories (depending on your speed and choice of cardio) that you’ve burned that week! About 3500 calories burned is required to get rid of 1 pound of fat. That means after a month of just adding in 5 minutes of extra cardio a day, you will have lost about half a pound! From that ONE SMALL LITTLE CHANGE.

Now imagine how each weeks small changes will add up after just seeing that one change in action…

Try these out and lets start making some changes to our lives!

Happy Friday!

Mint Tea-Natural Appetite Suppressant

Ever catch yourself eating when you know you’re not hungry, just bored? Of course you have. Everyone has. If you haven’t, you probably aren’t human. This sucks because mindless eating tends to be what really packs on the pounds.
Something I’ve found to really help ease the munchies between meals is mint tea.


First of all, it’s tasty. Even if you don’t like the taste of tea normally, you’ll most likely love mint tea. It doesn’t have a strong minty flavor that you would expect and it’s not super floral tasting like most teas.

So here’s the part you really want to hear:
Mint tea has been found to reduce your appetite, aid in weight loss, alleviate digestive concerns and reduce anxiety.
Those are some pretty good reasons to sip on some mint tea in the morning and at night!


I like to make mint tea by just using mint leaves and honey.

Here’s my easy steps to making mint tea:
1. Boil water.
2. While the water boils, put a handful of mint or spearmint leaves into your coffee mug. Drizzle in a teaspoon of honey.
3. When the water is done boiling, pour it into the mug with the mint and honey. Let it sit four minutes before you start drinking it.

Sip up! Happy Tuesday everyone 🙂

Clear skin now, dairy rarely

My entire life, I have never had any type of acne or break outs. Ever. Even during high school when everyone has acne or zits, I never did. I attribute it to my active and healthy lifestyle that I have always maintained. Then I went to college and the first two years I had great skin, like I always have had. Then junior year and half of senior year I had these weird forehead blackheads that were speckled all over my forehead. They looked like little bumps. No matter what face wash or cleanser or masked that I used, I could not get rid of the little buggers. I know that plenty of people say that the research points out that what you eat does not correlate with whether or not you have break outs.. but I had to test it out because nothing else made sense. I first got rid of gluten (as some of my followers know), but that didn’t really do much for my breakouts.

After that experiment, I tried to think about what has changed in my life since I started getting blackheads. There were two things: I transferred to the University of Arizona and I started eating a lot of cheese. My move to Arizona was my first thought to place the blame because I was told the dry air can cause black heads to form. However, whenever I came home (even during the long summer breaks) the breakouts didn’t clear up. So I tried quitting cheese. This was hard because I LOVE cheese. The fancy, gourmet, little cheese wheels… I can eat them by the pound. But I quit cheese (and dairy in general) cold turkey for one month. And guess what? I have never had more clear skin than any other time in my life. My complexion is bright and clean and it is worth every bite of cheese that I haven’t eaten. It’s been about a two months since I quit cheese and since then I have had a few bites of cheese here and there. However, I’ve noticed that the next day after I have cheese, I get a zit!

So for the most part, I don’t eat cheese anymore unless it’s a special occasion, and even then I limit the amount I eat to only a bite or two.

If you have blackheads or acne that has never cleared up, it’s definitely a good idea to look into what you eat as a possible suspect. Plenty of doctors tell you that there is no correlation between what you eat and your skin, but from experience, I can say there definitely is a correlation.

What have you got to lose? Try quitting some common allergen foods. Try eliminating one a month and if your skin doesn’t clear up, try the next one. Here are some common allergen foods to try eliminating:






So, start off the new year with a fresh face free of acne! Merry Christmas everyone!

First hand studying the Mediterranean Diet this summer

I’ve read about the Mediterranean Diet (along with dozens of other diets/lifestyles) and I’ve even tried living it. Nothing can really match experiencing the Mediterranean Diet IN the Mediterranean. So, this summer from May 23-June 20 I will be in Verona, Italy living and learning about the the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle. I will be taught each day by my professor the science behind the diet. After the lesson, we will be brought to a locals kitchen where they actually TEACH us how to make the food that we learned is so healthy for us! Then, in proper Mediterranean Diet fashion, we will all sit around a large table for lunch and dinner and eat what we have created as a group enjoying each other’s company.


We will also visit olive oil production plants, cheese production plants and vineyards to discover where the food really comes from and how it is made. I will also be exploring the city of Verona and trying local restaurants and discovering what life is really like in the area.


Each day, I will post the food I eat, the things I experience and the science to back it all up!

After my time in Verona, I will travel a little through out Europe on my own and discover other ways of eating and living. I believe in creating an arsenal of information by experiencing things first hand. It’s one thing to read and write about a diet and lifestyle and another to live it.

So if you are interested in my European adventure in food, make sure to follow my blog (especially this summer) to see what Europe has to offer!

Better late than never- time for something new

Friday the 18th was my last day of my gluten free 30 day challenge and I noticed a few changes by the end of it all: my skin cleared up a little bit (not 100%, but at least progress is being made), my mood lifted drastically and I wasn’t getting sick. On day 31, I binged a little and I felt horrible. I had gluten free pizza (which is gluten free but still not good for you), bread sticks (definitely not gluten free), and 2 packages of these little whole foods halloween oreo cookies (so 4 cookies in total). I felt awful. My nose was stuffed, I had a headache, I was EXTREMELY tired and my mood was low.

I don’t think that it necessarily is the gluten that affects me so much, but just what gluten foods usually contain. Foods that contain gluten are usually refined bread items with cheese and oil slathered all over them. They are also filling foods so it’s easy to replace something healthier for these unhealthful options. I don’t believe that I am gluten intolerant, nor will I totally give up on gluten foods, but now I know how these foods affect me so I want to stay away from them.

Now that this challenge is over, I am attempting a second challenge to try and totally clear up any other issues that I have been having. It’s called the “Clean Program” by Dr. Junger. Its basically a long cleanse/detox to get rid of all the toxic build up from every day sources such as air pollution, cleaning chemicals, and chemicals/hormones in food. It’s a whole body experience because not only will I be changing my diet for 21 days, but I will also participate in daily meditation, dry brushing, yoga (3x/week including my other workouts), and mindful, positive thinking. I am really excited to start this one because I have heard so many great things and I am ready to invite more health and happiness into my life.

The cleanse will go from November 1-21st. I invite anyone to participate in the cleanse with me as well and to post about their daily experiences.

Check the cleanse out online at or read the book (which has a lot more information and I found more useful) called “Clean”. The cleanse is meant for busy, every day people and shouldn’t be too difficult for anyone to do! Look it up, get some information on it, and try it out! You never know, it may just change your life.

*As a side note, the website sells the supplements and protein powders that he suggests for the cleanse, but you don’t have to use these. I’m using my own supplements from brands that I trust and I’m also choosing to not use protein powder, but instead use flax and hemp seed (which are high in protein). You can definitely use these items that he sells and I’m sure that it would be more convenient, but you don’t have to use them.

DAY 23: dessert

Desserts are good for your soul and can be good for your body also. Especially when this is your dessert:


This is a giant raw peanut butter cup made with organic cacao, coconut oil, almond butter maple syrup, almond flower, and sea salt. I also paired it with a gingeraide kombucha. Very refreshing and a healthy dessert to follow my lentil soup and salad dinner.
I did hot yoga right before dinner and walked over to the coop and picked up those little delicacies! Dessert can be tasty, healthy and guilt free and this is proof!!

DAY 19: another challenge

My long time family friends, the Curry’s, completed a cleanse over the summer and told me about the program that they followed. I’m no stranger to cleanses myself. I’ve done juice cleanses and raw food cleanses (which I think are amazing), but this one was a little different.
They got the program from the book Clean by Alejandro Junger, MD. The book focuses on everyday toxins that your body comes into contact with and how this explains many of today’s diseases.

I bought the book yesterday and already a I am 100 pages into it. Until last year, I had a clear complexion and plenty of energy. When I moved to Arizona to go to school I began to eat a lot less healthy (mostly due to my boyfriends eating habits and me adopting them). I’m active, so I didn’t notice any weight gain, but I did notice that I became sad and I would break out a lot. That’s why I took the 30 day gluten free challenge (today’s day 19!). I noticed that my mood has lifted but my zits have not.
So I’m going to try out this 21 day cleanse and see if my body needs a little reboot! That will be my next challenge once my gluten free challenge is up!


DAY 2: gluten free morning

Today is day 2 of me going the gluten free route. The reason why I wanted to attempt this is because of my multiple symptoms that suddenly popped up within the past 6 months or so: I’m tired all day (even after a full nights sleep), I have forehead breakouts when I’ve never had them before, I get sick easier and I just overall lack the ambition for things that I used to have.
Even though its been only two days, I already find it easier to get up in the morning. I woke up this morning feeling a little tired initially, but as soon as I walked around I was wide awake. If this alone persists throughout my next 28 days, it’s enough to KEEP me gluten free. I hope to see my other symptoms vanish (and I think they will!).
Today is the start of day two, and on my gluten free menu plan for tonight I have chicken burgers (on a bed of lettuce instead of on a bun) and sweet potato fries! One of my favorites and conveniently lacking gluten!
Plus, a visit to my favorite place today-Whole Foods- for next weeks grocery shopping!
Other than my organic chemistry test at 12, today’s a great, gluten free day :).