Tag Archives: vegan

Nutritional BANG for your BUCK: Tips for healthy grocery shopping on a budget

Nutritional BANG for your BUCK

Guest Post – For more nutrition advice visit www.lknutrition.com

As a self-proclaimed “FalafeLover” (and “many-other-foods-lover”) in Brooklyn, grabbing a yummy meal at one of the Big Apple’s thousands of amazing eateries is pretty par-for-the-course when it comes to socializing & enjoying New York City life.

BUT, eating out’s not always super budget friendly…

(9 bucks for a measly chicken sandwich… Say what??)

In an effort to save some moola, I committed to avoiding (*almost* all) restaurant-dining in March – as part of my blog series, where I challenge myself to add or eliminate a new “habit” each month. My overall goal for this challenge was to food shop and cook more frugally, without sacrificing the nutritional quality of my meals.

One major take-away has been learning how to better navigate the aisles of my local grocery store, and identify the most low-cost/nutrient-dense foods. News flash to the health-and-budget conscious: healthy home-cooking can still be quite expensive (especially in the city), IF you’re not savvy about it….

….But have no fear, Falafelover is here! To let you know that it IS possible to eat well without breaking your bank account.  And now presenting…

FalafeLover’s TOP HEALTHY/CHEAP GROCERY LIST

Grains/Starches

  • Brown rice
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Oatmeal
  • Potatoes (white or sweet)

Protein

  • Canned beans (any kind – but my fav is Garbanzo, obviously, being a Falafelover, and all :))
  • Tofu (extra firm for highest protein content)
  • Eggs
  • Canned tuna or sardines (in water)
  • Cottage cheese (plain, low-fat)

Fruit

  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Pears

Non-starchy veggies

  • Kale
  • Collard greens
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots

Healthier fats

  • Peanut butter (without added sugar/salt)
  • Avocados
  • Raw nuts (unsalted, in bulk – more cost-effective)

Bonus tips for getting most nutritional bang for your buck:

  • Go for the generic brand whenever you have the option– there’s almost always no difference in the quality
  • For canned beans, make sure to rinse out the excess salt
  • Cook a big pot of rice or pasta for the week, and then portion it out and use as a base for different stir-fries, soups, etc.
  • Produce prices ebb and flow big time depending upon what season we’re in. Berries are cheaper in summer, and squash is cheaper in fall/winter, for example. Go for the produce that’s in-season when you can (it’s fresher and yummier, too).
  • Don’t worry about buying organic. It’s not worth it, in my opinion. Just wash your produce well, and you’ll be good to go.
  • Skip the protein/granola/energy bars and make your own healthy snacks, like a DIY trail mix with nuts, seeds, dried fruit and little pieces of chocolate.
  • Invest in a water bottle and enjoy nature’s healthiest and cheapest form of hydration, H20! Skip the vitamin-infused stuff (way over priced for the lack of nutritional value it offers) and the juice (fresh fruit is cheaper – 30 cents for an orange versus 1 or 2 bucks for a bottle of OJ).

Dr. Oz Weekend Juice Cleanse Confessions

dr oz juice cleanse review

Hey gang!  So a few days ago I completed the Dr. Oz & Joe Cross 3-Day Weekend Juice Cleanse.  This is the second cleanse I’ve tried this year, and overall, I had pretty positive experience.  I only lost 1 pound, but I do feel clean and lean.  Here are my confessions…

For starters, this cleanse was A LOT harder than the than the Dr. Oz DRINK cleanse.  During the day, I was quite hungry which kind of sucked.  As I mentioned in a previous post, juice has hardly any fiber and lots of sugar which triggers hunger.  Controlling my hunger during the day was really hard on the first day but got better on the 2nd day.  On a positive note, it made me drink more water and realize that I don’t really need that much food to get through the day.  It’s crazy how often I eat just because I’m bored, not because I’m really hungry.

On that note, the cleanse allowed for 1 solid food meal for dinner every day. The meal could only consist of fruits and veggies. Unfortunately, I tended to go to overboard on this meal (yikes).  I think it was because I was hungry and eagerly anticipating real food.  Needless to say, my portions got a little out of control.  I probably would have had better results with the cleanse if I ate a smaller dinner and didn’t stretch out my tummy so much.

juice cleanse

Since I was traveling for work and had to buy my juices, I had to be very conscious of choosing “good juices.”  Just because a juice is “all natural” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for you.  Also, veggie juice is MUCH healthier than fruit juice – it has more fiber and protein and less sugar.  I had to make sure my juice purchases met my 3 criteria:

  1. All natural
  2. No added sugar
  3. Fresh pressed/squeezed (not from concentrate)

Believe it or not, it’s REALLY hard to buy juice off-the-shelf meets this criteria.  BUT, I did find one that passed the test and also tastes great.  It’s “Sweet Greens” by Evolution fresh – I highly recommend it!

evolution juice

All in all, the juice cleanse was an interesting experience.  Will I do it again?  Probably not.  But I may start substituting fresh pressed juice for a meal every now and then, as it can be a good way to slim down quickly for a big event or something.  Have you a done a juice cleanse before?  What was it like for you?  Please do share your words of wisdom 🙂

Hope you have a great week ahead.  Love you tons! xoxo, Brit

Dr. Oz 3 Day Cleanse Confessions

So, I’ve officially completed the Dr. Oz 3 Day Detox.  I personally wanted to try the detox because I’m a new vegetarian (5 months strong) and I’ve noticed that I’ve become sloppy (i.e. eating lots of simple carbs and fewer fruits and veggies).  I’ve actually gained 3 pounds since I’ve become a vegetarian…not a good look.  The Dr. Oz cleanse presented me with a great opportunity to get back on track it because it replaces meals with fruit/veggie drinks for 3 days.  Click here to see the drink recipes.  Overall, I give the Dr. Oz cleanse the “GRIT by Brit 2 thumbs up” and here’s why…

First off, I definitely got my fair share of veggies and fruits.  Each drink consists of at least 3-4 servings of fruits/vegetables (sometimes more than I eat in an entire day).  I feel like a born again vegetarian 🙂  Unlike most cleanses, each drink includes some sort of healthy fat (i.e. avocado, coconut oil, almond butter).   This is really important because my body wasn’t deprived of essential nutrients AND I got an adequate amount of protein.  Since I weight train 2-3 times per week, I HAVE to make sure that my protein intake is sufficient so that my muscles can repair themselves.  I was also really impressed by how tasty each of the drinks are.  I mean, who would guess blending mango, blueberries,  cayenne pepper, avocado and coconut water would actually taste good?

Dr. Oz Cleanse Drinks

Secondly, in only 3 days I lost 2.2 pounds 🙂  I’m 5’8″ and very muscular but I always try to keep my weight below 153 pounds.  Still 1 more pound to go!

weight loss from cleansing

Also, I developed a new obsession = Epsom Salt and lavender oil baths!  This was HEAVEN IN MY HOME!  Daily soak sessions are a part of the Dr. Oz cleanse.  Not only are they detoxifying, but they are SO relaxing and soothing!  As a group fitness instructor I always have sore muscles and these baths were a perfect remedy for my muscle aches.   I also discovered Dr. Teal’s Epsom + Lavender oil bath soak, so I can buy both ingredients already combined – yes!

Epsom Salt and Lavender

Last, the cleanse has definitely helped me ween off coffee.  I sometimes drink 4 cups a day…not good I know, but at least I’m honest.  After going 3 days without coffee, I’ve realized that I don’t really need it.  The cleanse calls for 1 cup of hot green tea ever morning which gave me a decent caffeine fix.  However,  I was a little groggy on some days without my Cup-a-Joe.  This is something I’ll continue to work on.

Now that the cleanse is over, I’ve decided that this is not going to be a “one time thing” for me.  I really loved the lunch drink, so today I’m having it for dinner before I head to yoga!  I’m going to continue making these smoothies and drinking them as meal replacements every now and then.  It’s an easy and efficient way to ensure I get enough fiber and my fruit/veggie fix.

If you are considering trying the Dr. Oz 3 Day Detox cleanse – I highly recommend it.  Let me know how it goes!

Lots of luv, health & joy to you!

xoxo, Brit

GRIT by Brit and Dr. Oz

Show some SWAGGER

Brittani Rettig SwaggerAt a very young age, my parents taught me the importance of self-respect and self-confidence.  My mom always had me play the lead in church programs and made sure I was on the front row at my dance recitals.   Later when I started playing sports, my dad would preach that “competitions are just about confidence…if I worked hard and believed that I was better than my opponent, I was!

However as I matured, I started to believe that humility and self-confidence were mutually exclusive (i.e. if I wanted to be humble, that meant I needed to put the needs of others before my own or criticize myself).  However, the TRUTH is exactly the opposite!

As a new vegetarian, I started reading the book “Skinny B*itch” which takes a very no-nonsense approach to healthy living and healthy eating.  There’s a paragraph in the book, that really hammers home my beliefs about self-confidence and SWAGGER:

photo (28)

“Certainly your health and your body and you are more important than anything else in your life.  You are worthless to your colleagues, friends and family if you do not value yourself enough to take excellent care of you.  Yes, you have to put yourself before your friends, parents,  boyfriend, husband and even your children.  It won’t make you bad daughter or wife or mother; it will make you less resentful, more confident,  interesting,  beautiful, patient, tolerant, and fun person to be around.  Your bright shining light will give everyone around you permission and inspiration to shine more brightly.  Love yourself enough to do whatever it takes to be the best you you can be.”

For your Monday Motivation, I wanted to share this excerpt along with a graphic that my Aunt sent me (shout out to Aunt Cathy).  Think about these truths as you start your week.  I hope they encourage you as much as they encourage me! #GRIT

Lots of luv,

Brit 😉

GRIT by Brit Swagger