Desert Flour

A 20-Something's Musings on Life, Love and Faith


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The Cost of a Healthy Lifestyle

Two weeks into our clean eating meal plan for “8 Weeks to a Hot Body” we have come to the same realization that many other healthy eaters have surely encountered before – it’s rather expensive!

Now this does require some consideration of perspective. What is “expensive” to me maybe reasonable for others, but I have never been one to spend significant amounts of my monthly earnings at the grocery store.  College loans sure. Movies and other entertainment you bet. Bars and restaurants – all the time.

But I guess I never realized if we stopped supplementing our meals with times we eat out, we obviously would buy more food. And particularly if we spent more time and care in buying healthy food – that cost goes up even more. I might eat out a bit – but I’m looking for those Happy Hour cheap menus or the 2 Dinners for $20 deals.

It’s tricky though, because when you are in the store it all seems necessary at the time!

Our Week 1 Grocery list was designed to just purchase the ingredients that we would need for two people to eat 5 times a day for 7 days. … Ok so 70 meals worth….  (Ok maybe that is a big number? That’s a lot of meals to prepare for?)

While circumnavigating the perimeter of the store we purchased what seemed like a lot of pretty cheap and necessary perishable items: Bananas, Apples, Tomatoes, Oranges, Grape Tomatoes, Avocado, Bell Peppers, Onions, Lettuce, Cucumber, Celery, Zucchini, Mushrooms, Edamame, Sweet Potatoes, Eggs, Laughing Cow Cheese, Almond Milk, Greek Yogurt, Ground Turkey, Deli Turkey, Ground Chicken.

All of this seemed totally reasonable! We also weren’t starting with a bare pantry so we had all of the spices and basics (peanut butter, protein powder, garlic, oatmeal, etc.) already stocked.

This first grocery trip came to $71.68.

Not too bad.

So cue next Sunday when we go grocery shopping for Week 2, with the same idea to get enough produce/protein to cover 2 people eating on this Hot Body meal plan.

We make our circuit picking up tomatoes, bananas, apples, pineapple, bell pepper, onion, carrots, celery, lettuce, sweet potatoes, broccoli, edamame, eggs, Almond Milk, Ground turkey, Salmon, Tuna – and this time we also head down the aisles for Low Carb Tortillas, Brown Rice and Apple Cider Vinegar.  (Gah writing this is making me hungry!!)

Total this trip = $80.29.

It doesn’t seem too bad. But for our previously meager grocery budgets it is starting to feel like a little much.

So far this month we have spent just under $152 on groceries. I anticipate this will remain a pretty consistent pattern so about $300 / month for two people.

Am I completely off base in thinking that seems like a lot to spend on food?? I’m struggling with this number as during our previous grocery runs:

  1. We didn’t have to go once a week – we just got to enjoy the more perishable fruits and veggies when we first bought them and then did without near the end of the cycle and
  2. Our previous grocery bills were only about $150 a month total.

I’m starting to question whether I have just been completely off-base in what proper food and nutrition costs. Or whether this all clean food meal plan is just more expensive? Or whether I really was only buying cheaper processed goods so didn’t notice the actual cost of real food? Or whether I am just shopping at expensive grocery stores and should be heading to more Farmer’s Markets?

I don’t know. But it is taking some budget reorganization.

Healthy food plans also demand quite a bit more of your time than our normal eating habits.

Normal lunch might consist of a PB & J Sandwich, Bag of Chips and an Apple. (No school like the old school?). This might take a max of ~10 minutes to prepare.

Healthy meal plan lunch calls for cooked meatballs, baked sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli. Or ground turkey and mushrooms that have been cooked in chili sauce and garlic. These take time to prepare – maybe ranging from 15-45 minutes. If I am already cooking breakfast in the morning (another 10-20 minutes) I really do not have the time to also cook a complex healthy lunch.

But we are really serious about making this work – so you make the time. And for me – as I am already trying to fit in my workouts in the mornings – I accomplish the week’s worth of Breakfast and Lunch cooking on Sunday nights.

So we make our grocery lists, head out to the store, cart everything home and cook everything that requires advanced preparation for the week all in one big afternoon marathon.

This works really great!

If you have 2-3 hours on your Sunday to devote to getting it done… xD

Healthy food plans are actually quite a bit of work – beyond the working out and dedication to eating the food – getting it and cooking it has been a slightly unforeseen obstacle.

It also has been a very enlightening glimpse to what a privilege a healthy lifestyle can be. I am in the position where I can re-budget some of my entertainment money to go towards my groceries. I only have to give up social engagements or TV time to shop and cook my meals. I can wake myself up early to do Pilates or leave work on time to head to the Hot Yoga Studio without balancing carpools, kids, high maintenance pets, demanding jobs or other family needs.

It can be a lot of work – but it really is a privilege to be able to do what we are doing.

And I am trying to keep that in mind as we continue towards our fitness goals – that our struggles are really nothing compared to the trials standing in the way of other people. This kind of self-humbling perspective may not motivate you, but nothing shuts up my whiny complaints about having to skip buying a movie premier ticket to instead purchase more quinoa like a healthy dose of guilt at my first world problems.

fwproblems qinoa

Let’s not be this person while we work on getting healthy k?

We are still doing well on Day 10 of this plan, but I’m trying to remain humbled and still think of creative ways to make this more sustainable for us in the long run.

Do you have any advice on where to get more cost effective groceries?
How much do you typically spend a month on food? Are your numbers like ours?


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Self-sabotage: Hot Yoga and the Sniffles

Isn’t it always funny when you finally commit to something mentally and you are charged up, ready to achieve your goals, won’t let your laziness or other distractions get in your way – and then your body decides to give you the big nagging finger — nah, ah ah!

Fitness journeys are always complicated and bumpy.

But it’s just so frustrating that the day after we decide to start our 8 Week Hot Body Meal plan and to work out 3-5x a week – I come down with a nasty head cold.

It’s that self-handicapping behavior that drives me nuts!

It happens in other areas of life, but for me, my workouts and eating habits seem too often sabotaged by my own behaviors, health or moods. I’ll have had a really rough day at work and feel lousy so come home and eat chips and salsa and drink a beer instead of heading out for a run. I’ll sign up for an intense Pilates Caliente class the day I know I’ll feel bloated and have terrible cramps. (Ladies you feel me?)

So this time I refused to let myself get in my own way.

I woke up early and put on the MOVEmber Blogilates playlist for the day and started the first Youtube video — and couldn’t breathe and suffered miserably through the 10 minutes of cardio. Womp. Womp. (There is a reason most people don’t wake up sick and then break out in star jumps). I didn’t even play the remaining videos I just sat on my living room floor, guzzled water and looked at other people getting fit on Instagram.

But! I wasn’t about to call it a day after that embarrassment. This week, for me, is all about committing to my health again and that means motivating myself to get my butt moving in some physical exercise – no excuses!

So during work I bought 10 classes at Blissful Spirits Studio and made the commitment that I was going to take my sniffling, leaky head to the Hot Yoga class I registered for that night and get those Sun Salutations done!

While you have to admire that tenacity – probably not the best choice of workout.

Most of you know that when you are having a constantly runny nose (excuse me while I pause to go blow it again >.<) you need to drink a lot more fluids to avoid getting dehydrated. You are losing a lot of water. You may also be aware that Hot Yoga classes run at a pretty toasty temperature and cause you to sweat a lot. It can be a really refreshing detox as you flush out your body’s toxins – but you are also losing a lot of water.

Add Flushing Sinuses + Flushing Sweat Glands + Standard water intake = Light headed, dizzy and sweaty Caitlin stumbling out of the Yoga Studio.

Oops.

However. Despite how I felt pretty weak afterwards and that it really wasn’t my best practice – I felt super accomplished! I am still so glad I went!

We are only on Day 3 now of the 8 Weeks, my head cold is still rocking me full force, but I feel so charged about successfully committing to the health food plan and getting the workouts in one way or another.

While I may not suggest everyone try and kill their workout when they are sick – I do think you should examine how you are getting in your own way with regards to your fitness and try and find some way to remedy whatever obstacles you are putting in your path.

And I’ll be trying to remedy this cold before the next sweatfest.

Cheers!