A Week of Vegan Groceries

Friday, September 01, 2017

This week I thought it might be fun to share what we picked up at the grocery store to stock our vegan fridge and pantry. I'm hoping this will give you some inspiration if you are interested in trying a plant-based diet and wondering what kinds of foods you should have on hand.

The Staples

We had a small staple restock this week as we still had a lot of things like grains and frozen veg on hand. These are things that we like to always have in our fridge/pantry because they get used quite often in meals. 

Our basics for this week
  • almond milk
  • tofu
  • pasta
  • pasta sauce
  • lentils
  • cannellini beans
  • black beans

The Fresh Fruit + Veg

This week we purchased
  • sweet potatoes
  • raspberries
  • baby spinach
  • cherry tomatoes
  • cantaloupe melon
  • mushrooms

Much of this category is supplemented with the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) that we bought into at the beginning of the summer. We get mostly vegetables with the occasional selection of seasonal fruit. It's been so nice having farm fresh veg, specifically tomatoes that actually taste like something other than "wet.

This week's CSA haul included
  • various melons
  • onions
  • various squash
  • zucchini
  • potatoes
  • tomatoes
  • various peppers

The Extras

I consider this category the "wants" as opposed to the "needs." (Although I really should have included the coffee with the rest of the staples.) This includes all of our snacks, faux meat products, sauces, iced coffee, and my precious yerba mate drinks.

Extras for this week were
  • Stubbs BBQ sauce in Original
  • Starbucks Iced Coffee in Unsweetened Medium Roast
  • MorningStar Roasted Garlic and Quinoa Veggie Burgers
  • Gardein Meatless Meatballs
  • Gardein The Ultimate Beefless Ground
  • Gardein 7 Grain Crispy Tenders
  • Skinny Pop Salt and Black Pepper Popcorn
  • Garden of Eatin' Sesame Blues Blue Corn Tortilla Chips
  • Van's Power Grains Frozen Waffles
  • Lenny and Larry Perfect Cookies in Chocolate Chip and Double Chocolate
  • NuGo Bars in Mint Chocolate and Chocolate Pretzel
  • Wegmans Hummus
  • Guayaki Yerba Mate in Bluephoria

The Budget + Actual Cost

For our household (the 2 humans anyway), we try to stick to a budget of no more than $150/week. This includes cleaning supplies that we don't get from and things like toilet paper and paper towels. I know some readers may spend less and some may spend more. I just wanted to give you an idea of how much we spent on this particular shopping trip if you are trying to budget for similar foods. The actual cost for everything on this trip was $106.

What are your grocery staples?

5 Ways to Create Positive Space in the Morning

Friday, August 25, 2017

To say "I'm not a morning person" would be an understatement. I have always preferred to stay up late and wake up late. As I've gotten older though, I've realized how important and valuable mornings are when it comes to getting work done. I took some time to visualize what an ideal morning would look like for me if I HAD to pull myself out of the most comfortable bed in the world. (Which is 10x as hard when you have a fluffy puppy who has joined you.)

Creating positive space in the morning is critical for me to have energy and be productive. I thought I would share a few rituals I have recently implemented to start my mornings off on the right foot. I know not everyone has the same schedule or responsibilities but I think everything I've listed below can be done in a relatively short amount of time. Finding a morning routine is also personal- these are just a few things that have worked for me. Hopefully this will give you some inspiration!

* Keep in mind that a good morning usually starts with a good night's sleep. Take some time to think about what that means for you and how you can set yourself up with success the night before. 

1. Meditation + Positive Affirmations

This has been really easy for me to do before I even get out of bed. As soon as my alarm goes off (because let's be real- I'm not quite at the point where I can wake up without one) I'll grab my phone or iPad and open up the Insight Timer guided meditation app. I cannot say enough good things about this tool and I still cannot believe that it's free. There are thousands of meditations and affirmation programs. My current favorite is "Morning Meditation with Music" by Jonathan Lehmann and it's about 10 minutes long.

2. Make the Bed

It's true what Naval Adm. William H. McRaven says in his commencement address at the University of Texas. "If you make your bed in the morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day." It takes me 5 minutes (maybe a little more if my dog is all stretched out and looking extra adorable) to accomplish this task and it always makes my bedroom seem neater even if there is a mountain of laundry next to the clothes basket. It also makes me happy to see a tidy bed every time I go into my bedroom. 

3. Drink a Glass of Water

Far too many mornings (and afternoons) of mine have gone by without having any water. I'll be in the middle of work and realize that all I've had to drink was coffee. I think it's important for me, as someone who is prone to dehydration, to make sure that I drink a big glass of water before I have coffee. Drinking water first thing assists with digestion and re-hydration, especially if you've had alcohol or foods high in sodium. Even if it's a 3 cups of coffee kind of day, at least I can feel better about my 8-16 oz of H2O when I wake up.

4. Eat a Healthy Breakfast

Having a meal that both tastes good and is nourishing is a great way to set a positive tone for the rest of the day. My go-to is oatmeal (specifically the Bob's Red Mill Quick Cook Oats) with cinnamon, ground flax seed, a dash of brown sugar, peanut butter, and cacao nibs topped with almond milk and fresh raspberries or blueberries. The oatmeal takes 2 minutes to cook and satisfies me the whole morning. I also eat cereal, smoothies, and Van's Power Grain Waffles when I am feeling like a treat. 

5. Move Your Body

If you need some extra motivation in the morning, get moving! This has been especially important for me when my first instinct is always to crawl back into my cozy bed. Do a few stretches when you get up, try a few minutes of yoga (check out Yoga with Adriene on YouTube), take your dog for a walk, or crank up the tunes and dance. 

Do you have any morning rituals? What would it be like to create positive space for yourself?


Personal Finance and Holistic Wellness- A Mindful Money Experiment

Friday, July 07, 2017

Personal finance is not usually the first thing that people think of when it comes to holistic (whole person) wellness. The two things that usually come to mind are nutrition and exercise. And while they are very important parts of our health and wellness, we, as humans, are more than that. We are our personal growth, our relationships, our physical environment, our self-care, and, just as importantly, our finances. 

It can be challenging to pursue higher levels of growth when we our struggling with our finances. There is also a prevalent "keeping up with the Jones'" mentality when it comes to modern day lifestyles that can prevent us from reaching our financial goals. Whether your aim is to eliminate debt, save for a vacation, or create a comfortable retirement fund, mindful spending habits can make a positive contribution to your well-being

My Mindful Money Experiment

In an effort to to live a more intentional life I am doing a mindful money experiment for July and August. During this time I will not be buying any material goods for myself with the exception of personal hygiene products (think toothpaste, shampoo, soap) should the need arise. I am also not buying coffee during the week (unless it's from the grocery store to make my own). 

This experiment is designed to reset the way I think about spending money and what type of "stuff" I want to bring into my home. For example- I happen to love makeup, skincare, and hair care. Recently however, I came to the realization that there are always going to be new products on the market. Do I really need 10 lipsticks when I only wear 2? Do I really want 5 different leave in conditioners when I always end up with 1 favorite? I don't think I'll ever stop liking these things but the idea is to give more consideration to every purchase. 

I'll have a follow-up post some time in August where I will share my thoughts, challenges, and successes. If I have sparked your interest and you'd like to join me, use the hashtag #mindfulmoney on Instagram and Twitter. You are welcome to make this experiment personal, using whatever approach/guidelines you think would fit your life best.

Here are three things I'm doing during this experiment to support a mindful approach to money over the next two months:

1. Making Iced Coffee At Home

iced coffee

I don't know about you, but as soon as it starts to get hot I immediately start wanting iced coffee. Now, a basic iced coffee at Starbucks is not the most expensive drink in the world but it can certainly add up, especially if you find yourself in line for one several times a week. 

Making your own iced coffee is very inexpensive and easy to prepare. Several years ago I purchased a Toddy iced coffee maker and after using it once, it sadly got stored in the back of a cabinet and was forgotten. (Even though the coffee I brewed with it was amazing!). Fast forward to a few weeks ago, we were at a friend's house and he had created a really nice iced coffee mini bar and after raving about the coffee, he told me that it was home made with a...wait for it...Toddy brew system! The next day, I rescued my Toddy and put it to work! You can also make a home-made simple syrup by combining 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water and heating on a stove top.

Just for fun, Chris and I calculated the price of a homemade iced coffee made with Starbucks ground coffee from the grocery store. It came out to around .92 cents. (It would probably be even less if you caught the coffee on sale.)

2. Trading Shopping Time and Energy for Learning Time and Energy

I wouldn't consider myself a "shopaholic" by any stretch of the imagination but I don't even want to think about how much time I've probably wasted window shopping online. Add to that the trips to Nordstrom, TJMaxx, and Sephora and you get hours that could have been better spent on personal development, self-improvement, or creative ventures.  


During the next 2 months I am going to use the time that I normally would spend shopping (online or in-person) to work on things like content creation, learning to code, my meditation practice, and other self improvement activities. (If you're looking for a place to get started check out my blog post on Personal Development Resources.) Once you start approaching life with the mantra of "experiences over things," your perspective about purchasing tends to shift.

3. Un-subscribing to Mailing Lists

It is almost guaranteed that if I get an email from one of my favorite brands that has a headline proclaiming "30% off!," "Free Shipping on all orders!," or "New Arrivals!," I will at the VERY least take a peek at the offer on their website. Inevitably I end up with a few things in my virtual cart and, as mentioned above, more of my precious time has been wasted on mindless internet shopping.
A few days ago I took advantage of the free web app and unsubscribed from all retail mailing lists. Not only has it removed the temptation to check out every new sale, it also prevents a lot of junk from clogging up my inbox. When I initially went through to start the "un-sub" process I was actually shocked at how many mailing lists I was on. I highly recommend this service. 

Have you done a similar experiment? I would love to hear about any tips or resources you used to help you on your journey!