healthy college food

9 Rules for Healthy Eating on a College Budget

The end of August means the start of school, and that means lots of people are either heading off for the first time or returning to college after enjoying some time back at home. I remember when I was in college one of the toughest things for me to manage was my grocery expenses.

Shopping trips were always filled with decisions on just how much eating healthy mattered to me. And all too often I found myself replacing “healthy” foods and products with unhealthy ones (I once lived an entire week on instant ramen). But it doesn’t always have to be the case – healthy eating on a college budget (or any budget) is possible! It just takes a little bit of knowledge and planning.

Rule #1 – Always, always, always plan ahead

Plan ahead for everything. Plan your grocery trips – what are you going to buy, where are you going to go shopping, when are you going to go shopping. Plan when you are going to prepare and cook meals. Plan what you going to eat for the week. Being prepared can go a long way to making sure that you stick to your healthy eating goals.

Rule #2 – Make a list

Going to the grocery story without a list is one of the worst mistakes you can make. Don’t do it. Take the extra 5 minutes to sit down and write down exactly what you are going to buy, otherwise you might find yourself coming home with three different types of cheese, two bottles of wine and packages of crackers (when what you really needed was tomatoes and milk).

Rule #3 – Buy seasonal produce

Stick to the produce that is is season. First of all, produce that is in season is much cheaper. Remember your Econ 101 class and the idea of supply and demand? When the supply is high, the price decreases. This is why you can buy ears of corn in the summer for around 25c an ear, but if you try to buy that same corn in the middle of December you’ll easily be paying 3-4 times that amount!

As an added bonus, produce that is grown in season generally has higher contents of vitamins and minerals. Yum!If you have to eat a fruit or vegetable out of season take a look at the cost of frozen or canned varieties. Sometimes these can end up being a bit cheaper.

Rule #4 – Stay away from pre-made, pre-cut, pre-prepared items

General rule of thumb is that buying the ingredients for things is generally going to be cheaper than buying the pre-made finished product. And pre-made items are also usually less healthy because they sometimes contain high amounts of non-beneficial substances such as sodium, fat, and sugar. Try to stay away from packaged items and instead stick to produce.

Rule #5 – Try to buy non perishables in bulk

Non perishables are great items to buy in bulk, if you have the space to store them. Large warehouse style stores (think Costco or Sams Club) can be great places to stock up on these products. But do keep in mind that these products do need to be stored correctly – typically in airtight resealable containers.

You should also consider your eating habits when buying large quantities of products. Don’t go out and buy a giant year-long supply of garbanzo beans if you only eat them a couple times a month. You’d be better off just buying smaller portions of them rather than risk wasting a bunch.

Rule #6 – Team up with a friend

Teaming up with a friend, both for buying food and for cooking, can be a good way to save and make the process of eating healthy more fun. Even if you aren’t planning on splitting the costs of food, try to plan grocery trips together with a friend that is also trying to eat healthy. You’ll help keep each other from buying things that you will probably regret in the future.

Rule #7 – Don’t go to the grocery story hungry

This is similar to rule #1. Make sure you plan everything out, and that includes when you are going to go shopping. Don’t go to the store when you are hungry. When you are hungry you are far more likely to buy unhealthy foods because of in the moment cravings. Either plan your grocery trips for after meals, or at the very least eat a snack before heading out.

Rule #8 – Shop around (and avoid the “hip” stores)

Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods might be great places to find unique and healthy foods, but they can also be a lot more expensive than other smaller, less “hip” stores. Take a bit of time at the beginning of the year to explore the neighborhood around you to discover other alternatives. Sometimes ethnic grocery stores will have cheaper prices on produce.

When I went to school there was an Asian grocery story the next city over that had way cheaper prices on produce because they bought the “non-pretty” ones that other stores wouldn’t buy (nothing wrong with the flavor, they just weren’t always perfectly round or such). Another great place to go shopping is at local farmers’ markets.

Rule #9 – Make it fun

I think the most important part of any healthy diet is making it fun. If preparing, cooking and eating healthy meals becomes a chore you are far less likely to continue wanting to do it. How you make your healthy eating fun is completely up to you – make it a challenge, post pictures of your successes on facebook/instagram, or maybe even start your own blog!

These are just a few ideas on how I managed to keep my grocery bill under control and yet still enjoy eating healthy meals. Do you have any other rules that you follow(ed)? Let me know in the comments below!


meditation hand

Meditation And Health Benefits

We often confuse meditation with spirituality. However, it can be said that although meditation is a key factor to attain spiritual well-being in the long run, it is a technique to heal your mind and body at the basic level.

A popular about meditation is that we often say people are in deep thought while meditation. But the truth about meditation is that the mind becomes free of tension, anxiety, stress and unwanted thoughts and instills positive feeling while meditating.

This means that the technique is used to heal and repair oneself physically and emotionally. Therefore, it has been observed that people who meditate are healthy physically as well as mentally. Let us explore the physical, mental health benefits of meditation.

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Physical health benefits of meditation

The physical health benefits of meditation are manifold. Meditation is considered to be the best remedy for stress, especially the kind we face in our daily lives. As it controls the mind, one can feel relaxed in dealing with adverse situation at home or at work.

  • Increases blood circulation: Meditation helps in reducing the blood pressure significantly, as a result of which it improves blood circulation in the heart. When a person meditates blood flow increases considerably in the frontal cortex, apart of other body parts. Reduced stress due to meditation not only keeps the heart healthy, but also reduces cholesterol, and improves the overall health.
  • Boosts immunity: Those who meditate regularly have increased immunity and can fight any disease better. They also get cured faster and require fewer visits from the doctor.
  • Helps in reducing pain: Chronic aches that occur in the nerves and muscles can be reduced to a large extent with the help of meditation. Researchers believe that this is caused because those who meditate regularly can respond to pain more effectively.
  • Healthy sleeping habits: Regular meditation leads to good sleeping habits. A good sleeping pattern makes a person physically more healthy and fit.
  • Helps in anti-ageing: Meditation soothes the nerve cells and helps the skin to glow. At the same time, it prevents you from falling ill often. On the whole, you look beautiful and younger than your chronological age.

Emotional health benefits of meditation

Meditation helps a person to become free of anxiety, tension, worries and fear. In other word it purifies the mind, which in turn leads to sound emotional health and well being. Some of the emotional health benefits of practicing meditation include:

  • Leads to decreased anxiety and depression. This gives him more enthusiasm and energy to work throughout the day without being stressed.
  • Provides a stable mind that decreases mood swings and irritability. This increases emotional stability.
  • Makes you feel relaxed and happy. This leads to a positive attitude.
  • Increases memory recall and boosts confidence. People who meditate are also more agile mentally and react to situations more tactfully.

A healthy mind and body helps to attain spiritual enlightenment. Self confidence and clarity helps a person to recognize his inner self much better. This state of mind often leads to self-actualization – a condition that makes one complete physically, emotionally and spiritually.


pregnancy sys

Good Health Care Tips During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is the most critical stage in a woman’s life and during this time is it essential for her to remain healthy and strong, not only for her well being but also for the healthy growth of her fetus. There are two most important things a pregnant woman should follow to remain healthy.

Proper diet

During this time, the body requires an increased amount of essential nutrients. Therefore, she should eat a well balanced diet from diverse food groups, such as, milk and dairy products, cereals and pulses, fruits and vegetables and plant/animal proteins as well as plenty of fluids.

  • There are a number of special diet initiatives a woman should take during her pregnancy to remain healthy. Even if she takes a well-balanced diet, she should add extra calcium, vitamins, folic acid and iron to her diet as these are required during pregnancy.
  • She should also eat as many times she wishes to and eat whatever she feels like just that the food has to be healthy. It is in fact recommended that the person should eat small portion of meal several times a day. However, junk food and aerated drinks should be avoided during this time. Similarly processed food and ‘ready-to-eat’ food should not be taken at any time.
  • You can eat out occasionally and go by your preferences, but you just need to be careful about unhealthy food that is spicy and oily.
  • You can always take vitamin and mineral supplements with advice from your gynecologist. You should not take capsules and medicines for weight loss.

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Proper exercise

Although heavy exercises are not allowed during pregnancy, it is always important to follow some workout program during this period of time to remain healthy and strong. Studies have revealed that those women who are active during their pregnancy have a much smoother delivery than those who lead a passive lifestyle.

There are certain exercises that are specifically designed for this group. However, there are certain things you need to keep in mind before starting to exercise when pregnant.

  • Some of the breathing and cardio exercises are extremely useful during pregnancy. Many women are advised to do kegal exercise for strengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor. But you should make it a point not to force yourself and take adequate rest while working out. Doing your physical activities in moderation will keep you healthy.
  • It is important for pregnant women to do some warm up such stretching and light cardio. Meditation during pregnancy is particularly helpful for the overall physical and mental wellbeing.
  • Pregnant women should also drink a lot of water before and after exercising. This will keep them hydrated throughout and cramps and pains can be avoided. Water also regulates the blood pressure and heartbeat and keeps her cool.
  • No stressful exercises should be undertaken during this time, such as weight lifting or lying flat on your stomach. This can exert a lot of pressure on your uterus and affect your delivery.

Certain exercises along with a healthy diet and meditation can keep a woman healthy throughout pregnancy and prevents her from the various pregnancy-related complications.


Creatinine diet

How to Lower Creatinine Levels

Creatinine is the waste of creatine, a common nutrient in many meats and exercise supplements. Creatinine is always available in some level in the body, but if the body also struggles to break down creatinine it could cause damage to the kidneys and the rest of the body.

Interestingly, creatinine is actually used to test the function of healthy kidneys, because the kidneys generally do a great job of filtering creatinine out from the blood. Poorly functioning kidneys are more prone to creatinine spikes. Diabetes and exercise supplements can also increase the amount of creatinine in the body. It’s important to look at this from two perspectives:

  • Lowering Creatinine
  • Improving Kidney Health

Because healthy kidneys can generally remove most creatinine, the idea of maintaining “healthy” levels not only requires potential natural ways to stop the creation of creatinine, but also ensure that the kidneys are working effectively and efficiently.

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Step 1 is to always make sure that you’re cutting out any creatine supplements from your diet. These supplements will always provide an unnatural amount of creatine in the body, and could create dangerous levels of creatinine. Talk to your doctor about your diet and supplement plan.

Other Ways to Lower Creatinine

Drink Water

Urine is necessary for a reduction in creatinine. Your kidneys require a healthy amount of water to remove some of these elements, so make sure that you are always drinking enough water throughout the day to give your kidneys the support they need.

Consider a Vegetarian Diet

Creatine is found in a variety of meats, but is fairly uncommon in vegetarian diets. So if you’re trying to lower creatine/creatinine levels, you should strongly consider trying a vegetarian diet, or at least cutting back on the amount of meat you consume dramatically. It’s unclear how much of a role dietary changes will make in your ability to control creatinine, but many people argue that a vegetarian diet is actually creatine deficient, so presumably the low creatine levels will be helpful. Remember to talk to your doctor first before making any dietary changes.

Talk to Your Doctor About Avoiding Exercise

Exercise is actually incredibly important for both mental and physical health, and ideally not something you should ever skip. But at the same time, exercise is known to cause a temporary increase in creatinine levels. You may want to discuss the idea of avoiding intense exercise. However, make sure you continue to stay active as best you can, taking walks and doing less intense exercises as needed.

Herbs for Kidney Health

After you’ve ruled out kidney disease (which can be very serious and may require a visit to the emergency room) you should consider herbs for improving kidney health. Some of the most popular herbal remedies include: green tea, uva ursi, and stonebreaker.

Chitosan

Chitosan is another type of supplement that studies have shown may reduce creatinine levels naturally. It was used on patients with renal failure in a study at the Chiba Institute of Technology in Japan, and did not appear to have any side effects in the study.

Creatinine treatments are tricky, because it’s important to first differentiate between kidney damage (which requires immediate treatment and could be deadly) and simply elevated creatinine levels. You’ll need to discuss these issues with your doctor, and make sure that you strongly consider cutting out creatine from your diet.