Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Going Gluten Free is for Me






Many of you are now commonly known as celiac. I have a few friends who are gluten intolerant as it is hard to digest.

I myself am not celiac but I do practice the gluten free way. Gluten is a "bad" carb and when digested actually turns to sugar in our bodies. I for one have been trying to cut out sugar as much as possible but I love carbs! I love bread, cereal, pasta, you name it I love it. I also eat way to much of it, if you think about all of the carbs that I eat which then turns to sugar on top of the refined sugar and sweets I am already eating, I am digesting an awful lot of sugar in my body.

SO I started eating more and more gluten free products which use rice flour, or quinoa, or other healthier alternatives. I have never felt better and I think I have actually started to lose weight or "thin out a bit" in my stomach area. I am not on a diet, it's more of a lifestyle choice to not eat gluten and I believe I am better off. I can't say that I never eat gluten as I am still a fan of regular organic bread (I don't like the taste of gluten free bread), but I try when I can to go gluten free and I hardly notice a difference in taste. I think some of the stuff actually tastes better to be honest. Probably because most gluten-free food is also organic or natural.

I have come to appreciate natural food. As natural as I can get it. No chemicals, no preservatives, and I have actually found myself making more of my own food and baked goods just because I know what I have put in it. That's the thing when you buy store bought food, you just don't know what you are getting, what you are eating, and what you are feeding your kids.

I read every single label on food that I buy. If I can't pronounce it or I don't know what an ingredient is I don't buy it. If an ingredient is supposed to be "natural" I wait until I get home and do my research. Knowledge is power and everyone should know where their food comes from and what they are eating. Our food is fuel for our bodies and the higher quality of "fuel" we eat or put into our bodies the better they run the healthier we will be.

It sickens me just what companies and big corporations try and pawn off as "food" when it's not even food but a food like product. People are slowly dying from all sorts of different diseases including Cancer which is a big one out there. I have had several people around me suffer from cancer and even die from it. I'm not about to let it take me or my young family, so this is me fighting back with healthy food. For my kids sake, for my sake and for my husbands sake. We no longer buy food with preservatives in it and stick to pretty much all organic food.

I think that if everyone took their health into their own hands the world would be a much better place. I think that people would start to enjoy food more as well as cooking and perhaps even gardening to grow real, healthy and delicious food. I have a much deeper appreciation for food now as we need it to survive. Organic food isn't as expensive as we might think but if it might save your life or your family's don't you think the extra $0.30 on those bananas was worth it?

You can't put a price on life itself. Certainly not your own life or anyone else's for that matter. I hope this blog will inspire some of you to try going organic, or gluten free, or just eating healthier in general. You will appreciate it, your kids will appreciate it and your body will thank you for it.

Do your research, be knowledgeable on what you are putting in your body, and get in touch with nature. Our world is a beautiful place even though some of us may take it for granted.


I hope you have enjoyed todays Blog!

Thanks for Listening!

Brie

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Go Green, Go Organic!


I am so sick of eating fake food, processed food, food with pesticides, and food that is chemically enhanced. I really don't know how the government lets companies get away with selling this kind of food to people. You would think that the government would want people to eat healthier to save on medical treatments and drugs. More and more people are getting diseases, illnesses, and the most common disease of all is Cancer. So many people I know now suffer or have suffered from Cancer. There has to be an explanation why this is happening more and more frequently. I think it has to do with the fact that we are eating poorly, not exercising as much and have more and more chemicals and pesticides in our bodies.

I have made a vow to myself and my family to start eating healthier which in fact means eating more organic foods and less processed foods. I am trying to stay away from buying anything with preservatives or chemically enhanced tastes/flavors. You would be surprised as to how much food actually has all of that in it. Unless it is certified organic you cannot be sure that the food you are eating is healthy. Even then you still end up eating a small percentage of pesticides with Organic Foods but the percentage is much much better then that of non Organic Foods.

One way to ensure natural and organic fruits and veggies would be to grow your own garden. You can actually have a garden all year round if you live in a more temperate climate like BC. Once the harvest has been done for all of the summer foods you can start planting the winter veggies. We had a fantastic garden this summer and had loads of fresh veggies all summer. We unfortunately didn't know when to plant for the winter garden and by the time we went to plant it was too late. Next year though, I would love to be able to have fresh veggies all year round.

Another way to buy fresh and organic, would be to go to your local farmers market and buy your produce. You can either freeze these to keep them from going bad longer or do a weekly shop so you always have fresh veggies. It also helps support local farmers and keeps your money in your community.

Make your own cookies, pies, jams, jellies, etc. Instead of buying already prepackaged items such as these make your own. You know exactly what you are putting in them and you won't be putting any preservatives in them. If you want them to last longer you can freeze them and have fresh pie for when guests come over. To heat them up just stick it in the oven on low for half an hour. The same goes for cookies, you can also use apple sauce instead of sugar to cut down the sugar. They taste amazing and again you can freeze them to make them last longer. I am just learning how to can myself right now but it's a great way to preserve fruit and veggies. The best time to do it is when all of the fruit is on sale in the summertime. Homemade just tastes that much better anyways.

Making your own food actually ends being cheaper in the long run too. Stores charge too much for things like this because of the convenience of having it on hand and pre-made.

I want my kids to have a fighting chance in this world of living a longer life then their parents. The more good stuff you put into your bodies the more your body can fight off diseases and illnesses. I know for a fact that Cancer runs in my family and I am going to make every effort for myself and my kids not to get it. There has to be a better way, a more natural way. By being green and eating organic is the first step in the right direction. A step towards a better and healthier life.

I hope some of you will make the vow to start eating healthier and eating organic. Maybe if enough of us do it, we will force the companies to stop making chemically enhanced food. It's not food, it's not good for any of us period.

I hope you liked todays read. Thanks for listening!


Brie


Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Friday, 2 November 2012

Being Frugal by Staying Healthy




To be frugal means to save money right? So if you are constantly sick paying for cold medications, kleenex, and drug prescriptions it's not exactly cheap. If you take care of yourself by eating healthy, exercising and taking care of your mental health you will save $$$$ in the long run. This not only applies to taking care of body but your teeth as well. Even if you have dental covered by your work you still have to pay anywhere from 10%-20% out of pocket. If you are constantly paying for fillings, crowns, and who knows what else it adds up. Take care of your teeth, brush 2-3 times a day and floss daily and you will save yourself hundreds.

Tips to staying healthy

1. Cut out the junk food- Not only is it unhealthy it is very very expensive to buy

2. Exercise at least a half hour each day- This could be simple cardio or stretches

3. Take your vitamins each day- If you are not eating certain foods or have a lack of certain vitamins, it's important to fill the gaps by taking vitamin supplements or taking a 1 a day multi vitamin.

4. Do something for yourself every day- the stresses of every day life can get to you so by taking a few minutes each day to do something for yourself (especially if you have kids) can leave you a little less stressed and a little more sane. Go read a book, paint, light a candle and have a bath, go for a walk, etc. 

5. Follow your doctor or dentists advice. They know what they are talking about, they are professional and can help you stay healthy. Go for regular check ups.

6. Everything in moderation- If you do want to have a treat or a glass of wine/beer once and a while it's ok, just don't go overboard. Everything in moderation.

7. Get a good night's sleep- Sleeping and recharging your body is one of the best things you can do for yourself to help you stay healthy. It also makes you less grumpy when you wake up in the morning. The average adult needs 8 hours of sleep to recharge.

8. Do something good for someone else. I know making someone's  day always makes me happy and makes my day a lot better. Try thinking and doing something for someone else. It could be anything from helping with the groceries, giving a compliment, or even donating to a local charity. You could also go and volunteer in your local community. 

9. Try eating local and fresh veggies from local farmers markets or stores. Even better, try growing your own veggies if you have the space and teach your kids where and how to grow them. Each fresh and organic food is much healthier and supports your local community.

10. Don't spend money you don't have. Going into debt is very stressful and can make any average person go insane. To keep your family happy and your relationships healthy just don't do it. Live within your means!


I hope some of you can benefit from these tips and maybe save you some money down the road. Keep up the good spending habits and stay healthy!

I hope you enjoyed todays read.

Brie




<p>Image courtesy of [image creator name] / <a href="http://www.freedigitalphotos.net" target="_blank">FreeDigitalPhotos.net</a></p>

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Meal planning



Meal Planning

Most people who live on a budget plan their meals according to their budgets. Obviously you wouldn't be eating steak and lobster every night if you were making a minimum wage. I like to try and at least plan my meals for the week in no particular order. I do one weekly shop at my favorite grocery store (where I get all of my airmiles) and write out what different meals I can make with all of the groceries I purchased. I set a weekly limit of how much I spend on groceries and try not to buy anything else during the week unless we run out of one of the staples like milk, butter, eggs etc. I for a family of four I usually try to stay within a budget of $100 per week. I count how many meals I have bought to make sure it will get us through the whole week until next weeks shopping trip. For instance I will write out on the calendar:

Monday-Spaghetti
Tuesday-Tacos
Wednesday- Chicken Parmesan with Veggies and Rice
Thursday- Roast with Veggies
Friday- Pizza night
Saturday- Fish Sticks with Veggies
Sunday- Chili and Garlic Toast

My husband usually takes all left overs in his lunch for work so all he has to do it is heat it up for a hot meal and we don't get stuck eating left overs all the time. It also saves us on lunch meat every week too.
Remember this is only a guideline and doesn't have to be followed exactly. It just gives you an idea for planning ideas and tell you what you have in your cupboards. It also keeps you from running out to the grocery store last minute because you can't think of anything to make for dinner. I will also right out what stuff we have for breakfast and lunches too to give people an idea of what what we have. For instance:

Breakfast-

Cereal
Porridge
Fresh Fruit
Eggs and Toast
Bagel and Cream Cheese

Lunch-

Soup
Sandwich
Noodles
Grilled Cheese

Again, this just gives you some ideas and hopefully will make you stay home and eat rather then going out to grab fast food. It will save you money in the long run. I'm ALL about saving money. If you must eat out set limits for yourself for instance only go once a week or twice a month. Some people eat out almost every day at least one meal and it is such a huge expense. They do it even if they can't afford it and thats bad news. Just because it's convenient doesn't mean it's better or healthier. Usually by eating at home means you will be eating healthier in the long run as well.


Fiscal Fasting

Yearly or monthly fiscal fasting saves you a ton of $$$$ on spoiled food. Every once and a while I go through my cupboards, fridge, and freezer and use up all of the food in the house before I go out grocery shopping again. I make sure I use up all of my produce that will go bad, soups and beans that may be expiring, frozen meats and things that may be getting a bit freezer burnt. The more I use the less I will have to throw out and the more money I save on groceries. It's really amazing just how much people actually waste by throwing out food every month. Also if you didn't buy so much food (only food you will actually eat) it can eliminate throwing away good food. I still do it even though I try not to. I'm bad at forgetting what I have bought in the fridge and letting it spoil. I try and make a list on the wall of all the food we have and some ideas on how to prepare it for my husband and for myself. Hopefully this will help us not throw as much food away. It also gets you thinking of fresh new ideas and lets you be creative in the kitchen. It's kind of fun to explore new ways on how to cook things with different food.

Hopefully you can all find ways to meal plan or do a fiscal fast. I try not to spend ANY money during a fiscal fast if I can. Just by doing this simple exercise a few times a year you will save hundreds of dollars on food. Think about the fact that in third wold countries all around the world, people are dying of hunger every day, yet we seem to be able to throw away tons of food worth hundreds and hundreds of dollars. It just doesn't seem right to me, doesn't seem fair.

If any of you have great ideas for simple meals by all meals please start posting!

I hope you enjoyed todays read!

Brie




<p>Image courtesy of [image creator name] / <a href="http://www.freedigitalphotos.net" target="_blank">FreeDigitalPhotos.net</a></p>







Saturday, 20 October 2012

If it's free it's for me!


Everyone likes getting stuff for free but no one want to put in the time. There are a lot of services out there for free as well as ways for getting free stuff. Like I said in a previous post, I coupon and save money where I can. I also try and get things for free when I can as well. There are are many ways of doing this:

1. Look in the free ads of your local paper or online resource- you have to be on the ball with this as the  really good things go fast. I know usedeverywhere.com has a free section and they always have furniture, misc items, electronics, pretty much anything you could think of.

2. Look at the curbs when your driving around- In Victoria there has been a mass number of people who decided it was ok to dump their garbage or unwanted good at the end of their curb. Now there are no laws against this yet here but check to see whether their are laws where you live. It can be a great place to find treasures.

3. Sign up to receive free samples- Their are a ton of sites online that you can sign up to receive their newsletter and receive a free gift or sample. I do this and often get little soaps, bodywash, feminine hygiene products, etc. Some dry foods companies do this so you can try a sample of their products and you can score some baby formula, cereal, granola bars, etc. Keep your eyes peeled for these deals.

4. For new moms, you can sign up for the Nestle baby program and sign up for a backpack diaper bag full of samples of formula, baby cereals and info on your newborn. They also include a bunch of coupons for future purchases. All this absolutely free. I would definitely recommend this.

5. Some movie theaters of a couple of "free" days a year for families. I know Silver City does this and sells treats for $2 in support of a local charity. This is a great free activity to do with your kids and it doesn't cost anything if you don't get any food or drinks. The movie is absolutely free. Check online about a  theatre near you to see if they do this and make sure to mark it on your calendar.
-Also check Starbucks for free cup of coffee day
-And Seven 11 for free slurpee day

6. Check your local community centers and libraries for free fun things to do with your kids. There is always story time at the library that is a fun an interactive way to engage your child and it's totally free. There are also monthly family events around town that the community puts on as an incentive for parents to get out with their kids that are also free. Each month there are different activities depending on the season.

7. Check out websites such as Canadian Freebies, Woman Freebies and Smart Canuck and subscribe to their e-mails. This is a great way for someone else to do all the leg work and find the deals for you. They then e-mail you with all of the weekly or daily deals/freebies. I subscribe to a few websites and have entered a few contests and received a bunch of free samples and coupons from it.

There are many other ways to get stuff for free. These ideas are only a few of many. If you have any ideas on how to get things for free "legally" of course I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks for listening.

Brie

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

To have a pet or not have a pet that is the question!

I'll be honest, I am a big animal lover. I had animals all throughout my childhood and loved the fury, cuddly hair balls coming and comforting me when I felt alone or depressed or just having a friend to play with. Before we moved into our house when we were still living in our condo, that was all I could think about was owning a pet again. Because we would now have a yard we could get a dog for our daughter. Boy was I wrong, the moment we moved into our house I still pondered a pet but the thought of being tied down and not being able to travel as much bothered me. Not only would we not be able to travel but our monthly cost would go up as well. It's not cheap owning a pet and when I put it all together it would cost us a few hundred dollars extra a month. We would have to provide food, treats, pet grooming, vet services, pet insurance, etc and it was just too much. Another factor was that I was pregnant with out son at the time and I couldn't imagine handling a new born and a puppy or younger dog at the same time.

I'm battling the thought of still owning a pet. Should I get my daughter a small animal like a hamster or guinea pig? Should we go ahead with a dog? My husband is allergic to cats so we can't get a kitten unfortunately. Guinea pigs and hamsters smell and we wouldn't really have a place to put one. We have  all laminate flooring so I would be afraid the dog would scratch the floors and damage our new leather couches. We are trying to to make our house nice and have nice things. We just bought a new dining table and chair set. I know with having two kids how hard it is trying to clean up after them, cleaning up crayon and pencil off the wall and washing and sweeping the floor two times a day. Do I really want to add to the mess by cleaning up hair from a shedding dog and "accidents" because we didn't let the dog outside for a pee. My daughter has enough accidents now and again that I have to clean up.

 I would love to know how other families do it.  Do we wait until the kids are older and can appreciate an animal, maybe even help take care of it? I'm really torn because I want my kids to have the same childhood maybe even better then I did when I was growing up. I didn't actually have a dog until I turned ten years old but I always had cats ever since I can remember. I also had a pet hamster when I was a young teenager.

I think at this point in the game, I will wait. Wait until we can fully afford everything that goes with having an animal as well as wait until my daughter is old enough to really appreciate it and take care of it. That will be her and her brothers responsibility. I hope this is the right choice because sometimes as parents we often second guess ourselves. I feel that for our situation it is the right decision and it gives us more time to do research on what the best animal/pet would be for our family. It should never be a quick decision and you should always make sure that you can provide a loving home for the animal for as long as the animal lives. I have seen too many posts about people giving away their animal after only a couple of years because they can't afford it or can't have animals where they live. People need to really be committed before getting an animal to keep the animal shelters from being overcrowded and keep poor homeless animals off the streets.

Hopefully others will do the same and I hope you enjoyed todays read.

Brie

Friday, 5 October 2012

Teaching your Kids about Money



So when do you start teaching your kids about money? The answer is simple.... As soon as they can comprehend the logistics of it. My daughter just turned 3 and I am thinking about going over money with her and teaching her what everything is called, how much it's worth etc. Also as soon as I feel she is old enough, I will give her an allowance once a week and teach her about spending and saving. They say giving your child $1 for every year old is what you should do depending on your financial circumstance. So let's say I start giving my daughter an allowance now. I would give her $3 a week every week. I would also make her save 10% in a piggy bank or open up a bank account to teach her about saving. The rest would be free money to spend on candy or toys etc but I would still instill my good spending habits on her regardless. (I am frugal you know).

So when do I start giving her an allowance? I think I am going to start off by teaching her some basic principles. See how she reacts with the information and if I feel confident she can handle it, I will then start giving her an allowance to spend as she likes.

Kids learn from our spending habits. Hopefully you will pass on good spending habits to them so that they will have the skills and tools needed when they get older to live on their own and be self sufficient.  My parents taught me about living a frugal lifestyle, my mom was always couponing and always had a list while grocery shopping. We never had fancy clothes (usually shopped at a thrift store) and we never had the latest and greatest gadgets but we lived a good life and a modest one. I guess I have just acquired their spending habits and love them all the more for it. I don't care that my husband and I make  "decent money", the only reason we are as well off as we are is because we manage our money wisely.  I know people that make twice as much money as we do yet they are always in debt. Why? Maybe their parents didn't pass on good spending habits or money managing skills. As much as I don't like them for making more money then we do, I kind of feel sorry for them being in debt all the time. Being in debt is never fun.

Now, I'm not saying your kids will never get into financial trouble. Somethings they will have to learn for them selves and from their own mistakes. But at least if you give them the tools, they can get themselves out of trouble. I learned from my own mistakes and got myself out of credit card debt. I did it and will never do it again because I learned the hard way. I didn't go as far as having creditors knocking on my door or phoning my house but have a few thousand dollars in debt at 21% I felt like I was never going to pay it off. That's what I get for paying for a trip to Cuba with credit before I could actually afford it. Lesson learned!

I just hope that both of my kids will learn the value of a dollar early on and never take anything for granted. If they want those designer jeans they will have to get a job and pay for them them selves. If they want to go to College or University I will pay a portion but not all of it. They need to prove to me that they want to be there. If I just hand everything to my kids they will never learn, they will always rely on other people to buy things for them and bail them out. I want them to learn how to be self sufficient. That is my ultimate goal, if I die knowing my kids will be alright on their own I will die happy.

Take your kids to the grocery store next time you go and teach them about buying the necessities, taking a list with you, meal planning, etc. Talk about saving for a rainy day but that you never know what tomorrow will bring. Save some money but not all of it as you still need to have a life and live a little. You never know, you could die tomorrow.....

I hope all of you with kids will instill good habits. Maybe if you're more conscious about it you will think to teach them more often. Even if you don't think they are listening, trust me, they are =) I didn't always listen to my parents, but even to this day I still remember my parents talking about the value of a dollar and thank them every day for it.

Thanks for listening!


Brie