healthy living en-US People Who Love Their Bodies Never Do These 17 Things — Do You? <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/people-who-love-their-bodies-never-do-these-17-things-do-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy-businessman-477452129-small.jpg" alt="happy businessman" title="happy businessman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you love your body? Do you want to?</p> <p>When you love your body, you'll treat it in certain ways. You will lavish love on it, revel in it, and enjoy all of the things it allows you to do.</p> <p>This means that you also will not do certain things to it. You won't act unkindly, or disrespectfully, or in ways that will harm your body in the long run. (See also: <a href="">This is What It Really Costs to Get Sick</a>)</p> <p>Not sure what this looks like in real life? Here are some behaviors that people who love their bodies never engage in.</p> <h2>1. Sleep Too Much</h2> <p>Surprise, surprise. Sleeping too much has <a href="">some of the same bad side effects</a> as sleeping too little, including a propensity towards obesity and diabetes. So, sleep seven to nine hours each night and you're good.</p> <h2>2. Stress Out All the Time</h2> <p>It's normal to be stressed every once in a while. Even high stress can be okay, as long as your levels go back down after a while. But continued high stress means you're in &quot;fight or flight&quot; mode all the time, which can cause heart problems, depression, and even PTSD.</p> <h2>3. Stay Inside All Day</h2> <p>You need vitamin D to help keep up your energy and avoid depression. The best way to get this is <a href="">via sunlight</a>, which you can only do by spending at least a few minutes outside. Don't get a sunburn! Instead, expose your skin for about half the time it would take you to start turning pink.</p> <h2>4. Train Too Hard</h2> <p>When you want to change your body, it's easy to exercise hard, for a long time. Too much exercise, though, leaves you <a href="">more likely to get sick</a>. Since illness often undermines exercise plans, train at moderate levels so you can sustain your health and improve your performance.</p> <h2>5. Stop Laughing</h2> <p>Laughing can help reduce your stress, improve your memory, and help your mind perform better. It also helps you regain perspective, even in difficult situations. So do what you need to do to laugh: Talk to a funny friend, listen to a child's joke, or watch someone funny on TV.</p> <h2>6. Binge Drink</h2> <p>Drinking a lot of alcohol over a short period of time is <a href="">never good for you</a>, and when you do it often, you can get everything from mouth cancer to heart arrhythmias. If you regularly have more than four drinks (for a woman) or five (for a man), change your habits to care for your body.</p> <h2>7. Forget to Apply Sunscreen</h2> <p>This one is almost a no brainer, if you don't want skin cancer. Still, we avoid it because it's a pain to put on and it's greasy and gross. But it's worth it!</p> <h2>8. Smoke. At All. Ever. Even Socially.</h2> <p>Any smoking, <a href="">even the occasional social cigarette</a>, raises your risks of cancer and lung or heart disease. Very few occasional or social smokers stay that way, since nicotine is highly addictive. So just stay away.</p> <h2>9. Skip Stretching</h2> <p>While we're on the topic of exercise, don't forego stretching. Some studies show that <a href="">forgetting to stretch can make you more prone to injury</a>, which hurts your body both now and for the long term. It also reduces your flexibility, which you want to <a href="">maintain as you get older</a>.</p> <h2>10. Have Unprotected Sex</h2> <p>This is a huge risk factor for health problems down the road. Protect yourself, so you can avoid STDs, including AIDS, as well as unwanted pregnancy. Respect your own body and that of your partner, and <a href="">use a condom</a>.</p> <h2>11. Ignore Illness</h2> <p>If you have a medical condition, <a href="">take care of yourself</a>. Even if it means changing your lifestyle, making the effort could mean the difference between good health and poor. Finding out that you have a chronic condition can feel overwhelming, hopeless, and defeating. Take a deep breath, work with your doctor, and find people who will support you as you figure out how to care for yourself.</p> <h2>12. Feel Down About Your Body</h2> <p>When your body isn't looking or acting the way you want it to, it's easy to insult yourself or think poorly about how you look and who you are. Instead, <a href="">work to accept yourself as you are</a>, even if you know changes could be made to improve your health.</p> <h2>13. Avoid the Doctor</h2> <p>Yearly check ups are a pain, but they help you <a href="">stay on top of your health</a>. They also give you a chance to ask those annoying little questions, which can mean the difference between good and poor health. If you don't have a doctor, ask your friends who they see or see who your health insurance company recommends.</p> <h2>14. Live On Junk Food</h2> <p>We all eat a brownie now and then, but eating junk food regularly leads to <a href="">all sorts of problems</a>. If you struggle with this, begin finding satisfying substitutes for your favorite foods. For instance, you might eat kale chips instead of potato chips (don't knock 'em 'til you've tried 'em!).</p> <h2>15. Dine Out Every Night</h2> <p>After a long day, no one wants to cook, especially if it's hot in your home. But people who prepare their own food are more likely to avoid <a href="">medical problems</a>. If that doesn't convince you, cooking at home is cheaper and better for the environment than dining out.</p> <h2>16. Stop Eating</h2> <p>It can be easy to want to stop eating entirely, especially when you're frustrated with your weight or under a lot of stress. You will be <a href="">healthier and happier</a>, though, if you choose a diet plan that allows you plenty of calories and helps make sure you feel full.</p> <h2>17. Spend All Day Sitting</h2> <p>When you stay sitting for hours and hours, it <a href="">hurts your body in all sorts of ways</a>. You lower your ability to take up glucose, raise your triglycerides and bad (LDL) cholesterol, and raise your risk of dying from heart disease and certain types of cancer. Instead, take breaks and get moving.</p> <p><em>Have you stopped doing something that's helped you love your body more? What would it be like for you to implement these ideas?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Healthy People Have These 10 Things in Their Homes — Do You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">14 Dumb Things Holding You Back From Losing Weight</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">6 Simple Ways to Get More Exercise Without Working Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Get enough sleep</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">9 Easy Ways to Start Taking Better Care of Yourself Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Health and Beauty bad health fitness Health healthy living self care Fri, 26 Sep 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1221084 at Healthy People Have These 10 Things in Their Homes — Do You? <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/healthy-people-have-these-10-things-in-their-homes-do-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/refrigerator-487694415-small.jpg" alt="refrigerator" title="refrigerator" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="170" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Fostering healthy habits is not only good for your body and mind, but it can also <a href="">save you money</a>. So, if we were to peek into the home of a textbook case healthy person, what might we find? (I love snooping!) Well, the following items would be a safe bet.</p> <h2>1. Real Food</h2> <p>You might think healthy people would have a good stock of vitamins and supplements in their medicine cabinet, but that's not necessarily true. Instead, eating whole foods is a <a href="">better nutritional bet</a>. Plus, filling up on fruits, vegetables, and other unprocessed goods aids with weight control, extending the benefits even further. (See also: <a href="">25 Frugal Items for Your Vegan Grocery List</a>)</p> <h2>2. Athletic Apparel and Shoes</h2> <p>Exercise is another basic cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. Whether you train for triathlons or just work toward getting those recommended 10,000 steps per day, incorporating activity into your daily routine will help keep your muscles strong and your body processes moving. And you <a href="">don't need a gym membership</a> to make a path to better health &mdash; you can workout at home or even <a href="">in the office</a>! (See also: <a href="">Workout Clothes Worth Splurging On</a>)</p> <h2>3. Water Bottles</h2> <p>Water aids our bodies with many processes, including flushing toxins and regulating body temperature. Whether you choose to slug <a href="">bottled or tap water</a>, keeping a reusable bottle by your side will help get in your eight glasses a day. Drinking water can also save you <a href="">nearly $1,000</a> a year.</p> <h2>4. Yoga Mats</h2> <p>We are inundated in our daily lives by phone calls, emails, television programs, and all sorts of other distractions. Even if we enjoy these activities, they can accumulate into stress, whether we realize it or not. You don't even need to visit your local yoga studio to get your stretch on. Here are some <a href="">free resources</a> for yoga workouts you can do at home.</p> <h2>5. Photos of Family and Friends</h2> <p>As an introvert, I could easily spend time alone for days and be entirely happy. However, the importance of a strong social network of supportive people should not be diminished. In fact, scientists at Harvard University say that our friends and family hold the power to help us create &quot;<a href="">healthful habits</a>, positive attitudes, and wise lifestyle choices.&quot; Conversely, I suppose the reverse is also true &mdash; so choose your friends wisely.</p> <h2>6. Floss</h2> <p>As you may have heard, brushing your teeth is only half the equation. Though recent studies have shown that people who regularly floss don't necessarily avoid heart disease as was once believed, keeping your gums healthy for the sake of oral health is still important. (See also: <a href="">How to Avoid Expensive Dental Problems</a>)</p> <h2>7. Appointment Reminder Cards</h2> <p>Don't just wait till you feel a tickle in your throat or throbbing tooth to visit your doctor. Staying up-to-date with physicals, dentist appointments, and vision exams is a sure way to keep your systems up and running. Identifying possible ailments or issues before they cause symptoms is the key to preventative healthcare. (See also: <a href="">The 6 Most Important Health Appointments</a>)</p> <h2>8. Sunscreen</h2> <p>Sunscreens and blocks should be an automatic part of our routines all year round. We especially need to shield our skin from harmful UV rays as we head into summer. As always, avoiding direct exposure in the peak times of the day (approximately 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) is best. Otherwise, slather it on and reapply as necessary. Note: Some lotions that promise added extras <a href="">aren't worth the money</a>, so choose carefully. (See also: <a href="">Cheap and Simple Sunburn Remedies That Work</a>)</p> <h2>9. Passports</h2> <p>Or plane tickets. Or road trip plans! Healthy people take vacations to expand their horizons and get away from the daily grind. Better yet, studies have shown that travel &mdash; especially for older individuals &mdash; can help &quot;<a href="">prevent dementia</a> and Alzheimer's Disease.&quot; Trips don't have to cost a fortune, either. You can have <a href="">fun and frugal vacations</a> no matter where you want to go.</p> <h2>10. Carbon Monoxide Detectors</h2> <p>Carbon monoxide &mdash; also known as the &quot;silent killer&quot; &mdash; causes mild symptoms like headaches, weakness, and dizziness. If there's a buildup in your home, you might not know until it's too late. Surprisingly, only <a href="">25 states in the US</a> require carbon monoxide detectors, but it's a good idea to place at least one near your sleeping area regardless. And while you're at it, be sure to check that all your smoke detectors are working.</p> <p><em>Have anything to add to this list? Leave a comment below!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">People Who Love Their Bodies Never Do These 17 Things — Do You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">14 Dumb Things Holding You Back From Losing Weight</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">6 Simple Ways to Get More Exercise Without Working Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Get enough sleep</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">10 Easy Ways to Burn Almost 1000 Extra Calories Per Day</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Health and Beauty fitness Health healthy living Fri, 13 Jun 2014 15:00:54 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1142622 at 7 Easy Ways to Have Energy After Work <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-easy-ways-to-have-energy-after-work" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/business-sport-3911856-small.jpg" alt="exercise" title="exercise" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If it's a workday, chances are you hardly have an ounce energy left by quitting time. About <a href="" target="_blank">40% of workers report</a> feeling fatigued at work on any given day. I've definitely been there; too little sleep, too much stress, and the feeling that you just can't get enough done can wear you right down until all you can think about is sliding into bed, pulling the sheets over your head, and staying there...forever.</p> <p>The irony is that that cycle only drags down your overall productivity, not to mention your health and happiness. Plus, there's something just a little sad about spending all afternoon counting down to the end of the workday only to slog home, collapse onto the couch, and spend all evening watching other people doing fun and exciting things on reality TV. (See also: <a href="" target="_blank">Beat Back the Zombies: 4 Ways to Avoid Sleep Deprivation</a>)</p> <p>Want more energy to enjoy your own time? Here are some things that have worked for me.</p> <h2>1. Turn Off Your Brain</h2> <p>When you feel exhausted, exercise seems like the most counterintuitive thing you can do, but it isn't, especially if you have a desk job. Think about it. If you work at a computer, chances are the only muscles you use all day are the ones that type emails, answer the telephone, and turn you head to gaze longingly out the window. That means that even if you <em>feel</em> tired, what's often really fatigued is your brain.</p> <p>I try to get a run in after work. And while some days it feels like I barely have the energy to slip on my shoes, once I'm out the door, my body doesn't feel tired at all. It isn't long before the rest of me is ready to tackle a few more hours of the day, too. So turn off your brain, slip into jock mode, and do something that'll get your blood pumping. It'll energize you immediately, and also improve your health so that you have more energy all day. It may even help you sleep more soundly come bedtime.</p> <h2>2. Hit Reset</h2> <p>If you really are sleep deprived, a short nap can significantly improve your energy levels &mdash; and help you pay back some of the sleep debt you've been accumulating. I say a <em>short</em> nap because while it may be tempting to pass out for hours, that can leave you feeling like a zombie, not to mention disrupt the sleep you get at night. In other words, it'll make you feel <em>more</em> tired.</p> <p>So how long should you nap? A 1995 study by NASA and the National Transportation Safety Board found that a <a href="" target="_blank">26-minute nap was ideal</a> for improving alertness among air-traffic controllers. For best results (and less fiddling with your alarm clock) aim for 20 to 30 minutes.</p> <h2>3. Have an Appetite for Energy</h2> <p>Blood sugar levels greatly affect energy levels. (Anyone who's seen a seven-year-old's birthday party knows that.) So, if your energy is flagging after work, chances are you haven't fueled yourself properly during the day.</p> <p>The best fuel comes from whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and protein, because they release energy more slowly into the bloodstream than, say, whatever's beckoning from the vending machine. Eat a healthy breakfast, pack a lunch, and bring nutritious snacks to fend off an afternoon crash. If your blood sugar's stable, your energy levels will be more stable, too. Studies show you'll probably also make better decisions. One study of <a href=";_r=0" target="_blank">parole board members in the Israeli prison system</a> found that men whose cases were heard after the board had eaten were significantly more likely to get parole. Yikes!</p> <h2>4. Tuck In Early</h2> <p>I've often <a href="" target="_blank">had trouble sleeping</a>, so I know about that weird thing that happens when you're totally dead exhausted. Right around bed time, you get a surge of energy that keeps you up eating cereal and watching late-night TV until well past your bedtime. It's kinda fun...until you wake up the next morning feeling (and looking) like you've aged at least 15 years.</p> <p>Remember how your mom used to tell you to get to bed &mdash; NOW!? Give yourself the same tough love and set a bedtime that's at least seven hours from <a href="" target="_blank">your early morning wake-up call</a>. Then, try to spend an hour or so beforehand winding down with a good book, a bath, or an episode of your favorite TV show. (Unless it's on HBO. That stuff will keep you up all night.)</p> <h2>5. Skip the Caffeine High</h2> <p>Caffeine's a crutch; you can limp along on it for quite a while (it got me through college), but<a href="" target="_blank"> it isn't a solution</a>. If you trade coffee for sleep for too long, eventually it'll be a case of the lights are on and nobody's home &mdash; your tired, bloodshot eyes will be open, but you'll only be doing stupid things faster and with more energy. No need to cut caffeine out entirely though. It has some <a href="" target="_blank">health benefits</a>, and there's some evidence that moderate caffeine intake can help you live longer. Plus, let's face it. There will always be days when it's what makes life worth living.</p> <h2>6. Be Good to Yourself</h2> <p>I tend to take on too much, saying yes to too many projects and then finding myself scrambling around trying to get it all done. It's hard <em>not</em> to be exhausted when you put yourself in that position. There's an old saying that you can sleep when you're dead, but personally, I'd rather enjoy it. I've learned that if I want to do that, I have to remind myself that my to-do list is arbitrary and that sometimes, rest needs to be bumped to the top.</p> <h2>7. Consider the Cause</h2> <p>They say that sleep is a cure-all, but for everything that sleep can't cure, there's prescription medication. It's important to consider that sometimes fatigue has a medical cause, such as iron deficiency, sleep apnea, or depression, among a long list of other things. If you think your exhaustion may be a sign of something more serious, go visit your doctor.</p> <p>If you think all these suggestions seem simple, you're right. They <em>are</em> simple. But that doesn't make them easy. Changing habits is hard, even when we want to (and let's face it, we often don't). Of course, the other option is to continue staggering around like the walking dead. And let's face it: Even that gets pretty tiring after a while. Now if you'll excuse me, it's almost my bedtime.</p> <p><em>Where do you find the energy to get through the day (and then some)?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Have a Great Day, Every Day: 5 Things to Do in the Morning</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">7 Habits That Are Quietly Making You Fat (and Have Nothing to Do With Eating)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">How to Naturally Reset Your Sleep Cycle in One Night</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">10 Self-Improvement Apps to Make You Smarter, Stronger, and Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">5 Effective Sleep Tips You Haven&#039;t Tried Yet</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development Productivity diet exercise fatigue healthy eating healthy living insomnia sleep Tue, 16 Jul 2013 09:36:45 +0000 Tara Struyk 980465 at 10 Frugal Tips You Haven’t Already Heard <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-frugal-tips-you-haven-t-already-heard" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2671759444_3714695b3f_z.jpg" alt="clothing rack" title="clothing rack" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you&rsquo;re a regular reader of my posts or Wise Bread in general, you already have a pretty good education on how to live a frugal lifestyle &mdash; the basics, if you will. Now it&rsquo;s time for the advanced course. That&rsquo;s why I&rsquo;ve dug deep into my bank of frugal knowledge to pull out these money-saving nuggets. Peep the gems below and start saving savvier than ever before. (See also: <a href="">25 Frugal Changes You&nbsp;Can Make Today</a>)</p> <h3>1. Put Something Back Every Time You Shop</h3> <p>This tip is especially good to remember at the supermarket &mdash; save money and guilt by putting back that bag of chips &mdash; but it can work wherever you&rsquo;re shopping. If you find yourself with an arm full of new shirts and pants at your favorite store, give one of them back to the associate at checkout. When you&rsquo;re at Target, just say no to at least one of the things in your cart that you definitely don&rsquo;t need. You can even institute this rule when you&rsquo;re Christmas shopping &mdash; one of those presents is probably for yourself; put it back, and wait to see what Santa has in store for you.</p> <h3>2. Treat Frugal Living Like Staying Healthy</h3> <p>Exercise and eating right is an uphill battle for me, but it&rsquo;s one that I&rsquo;m committed to fighting. When I fall off the wagon, I don't give up my hopes of rock-hard abs, throbbing biceps, and bouncing pecs. Rather, I get back in the gym and work a little harder. Treat living frugally the same way. There will be times when you give in to temptation. It&rsquo;s OK. Just try not to make it a habit, and try to make up for your mistake somehow.</p> <h3>3. Look at Your Credit Reports Annually</h3> <p>Many of us only look at our credit reports when we&rsquo;re prompted to &mdash; applying for a new apartment or making a big purchase &mdash; but you should stay up to date on your financial status regardless. We&rsquo;re all entitled to one free report per year, and you should take advantage of it. It&rsquo;s beneficial to know where you stand, so you know what you can qualify for when it comes time to make those big purchases. It&rsquo;s also a good practice so you can be sure that your identity hasn&rsquo;t been compromised in any way.</p> <h3>4. Calculate the Cost Per Wear Before Buying New Clothes</h3> <p>The theory goes that you should divide the price of the clothing item by the amount of times you plan to wear the piece to find the cost per wear (CPW). The general consensus seems to suggest that the cost per wear should be around $3. You can get that lower, of course, by buying cheaper clothes (or finding better deals at least) and wearing them more often.</p> <h3>5. Institute a Self-Audit Every Three Months</h3> <p>Evaluating your budget every 12 months is problematic because you could have cut out unnecessary items 10 months ago, resulting in an extra 10 months worth of savings. To keep yourself on the right track more consistently, schedule a self-audit every three months. See where you&rsquo;re at with regards to your income, your savings, and how much you&rsquo;re spending, and make moves to eliminate expenses you don&rsquo;t need. This a good time to set goals, too; it&rsquo;s been proven that shorter-term goals are easier to achieve than long-term goals.</p> <h3>6. Establish a Frugal Buddy System</h3> <p>I mentioned earlier than keeping to a frugal lifestyle is like living a physically healthy lifestyle &mdash; it&rsquo;s hard, it takes work, and sometimes you&rsquo;ll fail at it. But you&rsquo;ll have a much better chance of success if you have a frugal buddy on whom to rely. This person (preferably someone with the same frugal goals as you) will be the shoulder you need to lean on in times of weakness. They&rsquo;re the friend who will tell you that you don&rsquo;t need that cashmere sweater. And they&rsquo;ll be the one who sits at home with you on a frugal Friday night watching TV movies while all your other friends are out eating and drinking their paychecks away.&nbsp;</p> <h3>7. Less Is More &mdash; Sometimes Much More (Than You Need)</h3> <p>So many self-proclaimed frugalists fall into this trap (myself included) &mdash; just because you have a coupon doesn&rsquo;t mean you should buy whatever the coupon is for. Coupons save you money on things you need, sure, but they&rsquo;re a marketing gimmick first and foremost to get you to purchase the manufacturer&rsquo;s product. You&rsquo;re not saving any money if you&rsquo;re buying something you don&rsquo;t need, even if it&rsquo;s at a steep discount. Before using that coupon, ask yourself, &quot;Do I really need this?&quot; If the answer is no, do not buy it. Remember that those purchases that you think are super deals add up over the course of a year. When you don&rsquo;t use the item, it&rsquo;s wasted money no matter how little it cost.&nbsp;</p> <h3>8. Eliminate Most Disposable Products From Your Life&nbsp;</h3> <p>This will not be easy by any means &mdash; we love convenience, but we also have to pay for convenience. If you want to save a sizeable chunk of change, make it a rule to stay away from most products that cannot be cleaned and reused many times. This includes paper and plastic plates and dinnerware, paper towels, sponges, and many other kitchen, bathroom, and around-the-house items that make our lives easier because <a href="">we can throw them away</a>.</p> <h3>9. Start a 30-Day No-Buy List to Curb Impulse Buys</h3> <p>I can&rsquo;t say that I always stick to this tip, but I do try my best. The concept is simple &mdash; when you&rsquo;re browsing online or even in person and come across something that you just have to have, stop for a minute, breathe, and pull out your list. Add the item to the list, and let it sit there for 30 days. If you still want it after 30 days, buy it (you should use that 30 day grace period to save up for it), but chances are &mdash; and this is the nature of <a href="">impulse buys</a> &mdash; you won&rsquo;t want it anymore when day 30 comes to pass.</p> <h3>10. Active Living Is Cheaper Living</h3> <p>The more time you spend working on your health and fitness, the less time you&rsquo;ll have to shop, go out to eat, hit the bar, go to the movies, and otherwise spend, spend, spend. There&rsquo;s no downside to this method of frugal living either; not only will you be healthier with a better body to show for it, but your savings account should enjoy an influx of funds. Staying active doesn&rsquo;t have to cost a dime &mdash; you can workout outside or at home (invite your frugal buddy over and make it a team effort) &mdash; and contrary to popular belief, eating healthier doesn&rsquo;t have to be expensive. Many people will disagree with that, but I&rsquo;m living proof. Before I started planning out a weekly meal calendar with healthy recipes, <a href="">buying my groceries online</a>, and sticking strictly to my list of ingredients, I was spending almost twice as much at the grocery store, going through every aisle, and putting in my cart my list items plus a few extras. Give it a try, and let me know how you fare.</p> <p><em>Do you have a frugal tip that you think most of us haven&rsquo;t heard of? I&rsquo;d love to learn about it. Let me know in the comments below. </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">25 Painless Ways to Save $50 This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">6 Summer Party Ideas That Won&#039;t Break the Bank</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Pesky Pests: Easy Homemade Mosquito and Insect Traps and Repellent</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">51 Uses for Coca-Cola – the Ultimate List</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">12 Cheap Ways to Make Your Car Look Awesome</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living healthy living how to be frugal how to save more money Mon, 26 Nov 2012 11:36:31 +0000 Mikey Rox 955602 at 14 Things You Should Spend More Time On <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-things-you-should-spend-more-time-on" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/955561067_9111745994_z.jpg" alt="brushing teeth" title="brushing teeth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In our rush-rush, hurry-hurry world of multitasking and automation, we&rsquo;ve managed to cram more into an average day than ever before.</p> <p>But there are some things that shouldn&rsquo;t be left to an app, condensed to an audio book, or squeezed in between yoga class and clearing out your DVR. Yes, you heard me&hellip;there are still some things that require your full and undivided personal attention.</p> <p>Now, things such as your health and your money go without saying, and I doubt that you need any convincing on those points. For that reason, the obvious priorities have been left off this list &mdash; instead, you&rsquo;ll find aspects that are easier to overlook. (See also: <a href="">25 Healthy&nbsp;Changes You&nbsp;Can Make Today</a>)</p> <h2>1. Your Teeth</h2> <p>We&rsquo;re all aware of the importance of having a bright and shining smile, but the cosmetic benefits are only the tip of the iceberg. And according to a <a href="">2009 survey of dentists</a>, we&rsquo;re not taking the care we should when it comes to our teeth.</p> <p>A healthy mouth prevents bad breath and tooth decay, but it also helps prevent gum disease, the leading cause of tooth loss and a contributing factor in heart attacks and strokes. To get the benefits of a healthy mouth, however, you need to spend at least 10 minutes a day practicing good oral hygiene and make regular visits to your dentist for a deeper cleaning.</p> <h2>2. Your Home</h2> <p>They say that your home is a reflection of what&rsquo;s going on in your life, so if things seem chaotic or &ldquo;out-of-sorts,&rdquo; that sensation is then mirrored in the design and decorating in your house.</p> <p>But sometimes, the opposite is true. Your home also influences your mood, so if your study is cluttered and messy, for example, you&rsquo;ll likely feel frustrated and agitated whenever you enter the room. Likewise, an unorganized kitchen can make cooking a pain, encouraging you to eat something fast but less-healthy to avoid spending time in the room.</p> <p>And now, new studies show that clutter isn&rsquo;t the only factor to consider. Dubbed <a href="">neuroarchitecture</a>, research shows that lighting, color, space, and general décor have the ability to actually enhance our mood and even improve our performance.</p> <p>So, the next time you&rsquo;re feeling stressed or blue, take a look around at your environment&hellip;it may be time to redecorate.</p> <h2>3. Family and Friends</h2> <p>While there&rsquo;s much to be said for alone time (see #5 below), we are still very much social creatures at heart and our <a href="">relationships are an important component of our self-esteem</a>.</p> <p>Unfortunately, our busy schedules can make quality time with family and friends difficult to achieve, meaning that you have to work at it if you want to see some positive results.</p> <p>And if an improvement in mood and outlook aren&rsquo;t enough to motivate you to connect with others, check this out &mdash; a <a href="">2003 Study at Ohio State University</a> (PDF) suggests that illness and injuries actually heal faster when we&rsquo;re surrounded and supported by those we love.</p> <h2>4. Learning</h2> <p>A while back, I wrote about <a href="">ways to improve your memory</a> and possibly stave off dementia and other degenerative diseases of the mind. Since that time, I&rsquo;ve added daily lessons of Spanish and French in my household (as well as my mother&rsquo;s), and I&rsquo;m also relearning algebra as well.</p> <p>The results are noticeable. Nevermind that I feel a little smarter; I&rsquo;m also finding it easier to recall information and talk intelligently without struggling for words along the way. And what I realized was this &mdash; we spend our school years cramming and memorizing and studying a wide variety of subjects, but once we enter the &ldquo;real world,&rdquo; we tend to specialize in our profession and that constant challenge of learning new things seems to stop.</p> <p>Is it any wonder, then, that our minds begin to deteriorate?</p> <p>Now, the good news is that you don&rsquo;t have to restrict yourself to language and math. You can memorize the presidents, study geology or history, rekindle that love of science, or dive into the crazy world of politics. The point is to keep learning&hellip;and the more you learn, the more new pathways your brain will create.</p> <h2>5. Solitude</h2> <p>There&rsquo;s nothing wrong with craving the company of others, and if you read #3 above, then you know that I&rsquo;ve already established the importance of reinforcing and nurturing those human connections.</p> <p>But solitude is important too&hellip;so much so that several <a href="">recent studies</a> suggest that there&rsquo;s definitely some benefits to going solo on a regular basis. That alone time allows you to clear your head, balance emotions, process and memorize information, and even tap into your own &ldquo;meaning of life.&rdquo;</p> <h2>6. Your Beliefs</h2> <p>One of the things I enjoyed about my college debate class was that my professor often asked us to argue the opposite point of view.</p> <p>This forced us to set aside our own personal belief systems and &mdash; to the best of our abilities &mdash; find a way to justify an opposing opinion. Granted, some topics were easier than others, but the result was always the same &mdash; we found that we understood more about the other side than we might have previously been willing to admit.</p> <p>Now, imagine what kind of progress we could make if we employed that tactic all the time?</p> <h2>7. Your Wardrobe</h2> <p>In the corporate world, it&rsquo;s widely known that what you wear can have a direct effect on your confidence level. People tend to take you more seriously when you&rsquo;re dressed for success, and the mere knowledge that you look good is enough to make you feel empowered.</p> <p>So why should that practice begin and end with the boardroom?</p> <p>Like our homes, how we dress is a direct reflection of how we feel, meaning that t-shirts and sweats are OK, but if they make up the majority of your wardrobe, you&rsquo;re doing your self-confidence an injustice.</p> <p>No, power suits aren&rsquo;t required for everyday attire, but some bright colors can do wonders for your mood and more importantly, your self-esteem, both of which can improve your negotiating skills, productivity, and outlook on life.</p> <h2>8. Your Memories</h2> <p>I&rsquo;m a genealogy junkie. What started as a curious search for my great-grandmother&rsquo;s birthplace has turned into a full-blown obsession to discover everything there is to know about my ancestors and their lives.</p> <p>This obsession, however, has also made me realize the importance of preserving the memories I&rsquo;m creating along the way&hellip;not just photographs, but stories and thoughts that will tell my grandchildren (and their grandchildren) exactly who I was and what mattered to me the most.</p> <p>Creating a scrapbook of your life also allows you the opportunity to take those walks down memory lane and discover some life lessons you might have missed along the way. It&rsquo;s therapeutic, it&rsquo;s comforting, and it has the potential to be eye-opening.</p> <h2>9. Creative Expression</h2> <p>We spend quite a bit of time doing what has to be done, whether it&rsquo;s paying bills or washing dishes or going to work.</p> <p><a href="">Making time for creative expression</a> gives you the chance to use a different part of your brain and focus on something that comes from deep within your own psyche rather than our usual day-to-day grind. Studies show that regularly dabbling in something artistic improves problem-solving skills, relieves stress, and lifts your mood &mdash; three good reasons to make art class high on your list of priorities.</p> <h2>10. Your Manners</h2> <p>We&rsquo;re all quick to talk about morals and values, but whatever happened to manners?</p> <p>Somehow, it&rsquo;s become acceptable to be indifferent (or worse, downright rude) if it serves our cause or ensures our success. I see kids acting in ways that I would never have behaved growing up, and I see adults acting with the same belligerence and discourteous mannerisms that we used to chalk up to the younger generations who didn&rsquo;t know any better.</p> <p>Now, don&rsquo;t get me wrong&hellip;I&rsquo;m all for a good debate, and I&rsquo;m the first in line when it comes to standing up for a good cause. But I think we lose something very vital to our society when getting our way means that we forget our manners.</p> <p>Call me old, call me out of touch&hellip;just be sure to say please and thank you when you do.</p> <h2>11. Your Dreams</h2> <p>When you were young, what did you want to be? A firefighter? A doctor? An astronaut? A princess? It&rsquo;s easy to have big dreams when we&rsquo;re little because there was nothing to force us to think otherwise.</p> <p>Of course, as we grow older, reality sets in and we learn to settle for something that will pay the bills rather than seek out that thing that makes our heart sing.</p> <p>But your dreams are your dreams for a reason &mdash; they represent your passion, that thing that makes you tick, and if you don&rsquo;t give them some attention now and then, dreams tend to wither away and die.</p> <p>The good news is that you don&rsquo;t have to quit your steady accounting job in order to explore your notions of becoming a cowboy. Small steps and small changes are often all it takes to revive those dreams and set you on a new and potentially more satisfying path.</p> <h2>12. Your Fears</h2> <p>I recently wrote an article about <a href="">getting things done</a> and noted that &ldquo;fear&rdquo; was actually our biggest motivator and also our biggest obstacle. Fear makes us behave in ways that are unbecoming to such an intelligent species, and it also keeps us from pushing the envelope and discovering what we&rsquo;re really capable of achieving.</p> <p>The bottom line &mdash; if your life isn&rsquo;t exactly what you want it to be, look at what you&rsquo;re afraid of. Chances are, fear is holding you back from your true potential.</p> <h2>13. Your Strengths</h2> <p>Self-improvement experts have always taught us that we need to work on our weaknesses if we want to improve them.</p> <p>But instead of spending so much time focusing on the things we despise and don&rsquo;t do well, why not spend more time focusing on areas in which we excel?</p> <p>Using this mindset, we&rsquo;d spend more time doing things we love, things that come naturally to us and that we have a talent for mastering. Imagine what a wonderful world we&rsquo;d live in if everyone spent their days doing the things they love the most?</p> <h2>14. Your Unchartered Territory</h2> <p>I&rsquo;ve already mentioned fears, dreams, and beliefs, but I want to take things one step further before we call this article &ldquo;done.&rdquo;</p> <p>Taking risks and venturing out into the unknown is something we don&rsquo;t like to do&hellip;and we don&rsquo;t like it because it requires us to change. But if there&rsquo;s one thing constant in the universe, it&rsquo;s the fact that everything is changing and will continue to do so, regardless of whether we&rsquo;re changing with it or not.</p> <p>So if there&rsquo;s one thing you take away from this article, let it be this &mdash; you don&rsquo;t know what&rsquo;s out there until you look. You don&rsquo;t know if you like something until you try it, and you don&rsquo;t know if you&rsquo;ll succeed unless you&rsquo;re willing to take a chance with the possibility that you&rsquo;ll fail.</p> <p>Life is what you make of it. Choosing to live it inside a safe but predictable bubble won&rsquo;t get you to where you really want to go, and you&rsquo;ll never know what kind of amazing surprises were waiting for you in that unchartered territory.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Kate Luther</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">7 Easy Ways to Have Energy After Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">25 Ways to Boost Creativity</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">The Power of Lists: Getting More Creative and Efficient</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">10 Places to Go for Inspiration</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Got a Problem? Why You Should Figure It Out Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development creativity healthy living learning a new skill relationship building wardrobe Mon, 06 Aug 2012 10:24:41 +0000 Kate Luther 947044 at 25 Healthy Changes You Can Make Today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-healthy-changes-you-can-make-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/lovely_lady.jpg" alt="Woman with a flower in her hair" title="Woman with a flower in her hair" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="137" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sometimes, it's the little things that make the biggest impact on our lives. Whether you want to lose weight or feel more energetic, you don't have to go on a drastic diet or guzzle vitamin drinks. Just make some small adjustments to your daily regimen and see how your life is transformed. (See also: <a href="">25 Frugal Changes&nbsp;You&nbsp;Can Make Today</a>)</p> <h2>1. Walk More</h2> <p><img width="605" height="484" src="/files/fruganomics/u14/walking_0.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photo by </em><a href=""><em>Gustavo Veríssimo</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>Getting more exercise is tough for many of us, but walking is your first step to being healthier. Walking offers some of the cheapest, lowest-impact exercise. The hardest part is motivating yourself, so try to find something that helps you move. Can you walk to and from the store? How about walking for the sake of practicing photography? Does music help you keep moving? Is it easier to walk through a park or around the city? Find whatever works for you, and start strolling. Or, if walking isn't your style, <a href="">find another form of fitness</a> that works for you.</p> <h2>2. Eat Slower/Less</h2> <p><img width="350" height="335" src="/files/fruganomics/u14/baklava.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photo by </em><a href=""><em>Ernesto Andrade</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>How many of us sit in front of various screens (computer, television, iPad) and scarf our food down mindlessly? Eating slowly, concentrating on your food, and savoring each bite will help you eat more slowly, which helps you feel full on less food. <a href="">Mindful eating</a> might sound like some sort of hippie-dippy practice, but it's actually something that anyone can benefit from. If you can spare 20 minutes for each meal of the day, chew your food carefully and slowly, and put your fork down in between bites, you will find yourself feeling better, less full, and more energized in a few days.</p> <h2>3. Drink More Water</h2> <p><img width="350" height="316" src="/files/fruganomics/u14/water.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photo by </em><a href=""><em>Jeremy Keith</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>The news media is always blabbing on about how no one drinks enough water. If this were really true, we'd all be dying of dehydration. But it is worth checking to see if you are getting enough clean water to drink. A quick test &mdash; the pee test! Is your urine almost as clear as water? No? Then you're not drinking enough water.</p> <h2>4. Drink Less Alcohol</h2> <p><img width="350" height="467" src="/files/fruganomics/u14/scotch.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photo by </em><a href=""><em>Mecookie</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>But wine is so good for you, right? Well, yes and no. Wine does help thin the blood and is good for your heart health, but wine contains sugars that, if not burned off, can fatten your liver. And having a <a href="">fatty liver</a> can contribute to all kinds of alcohol-related health problems. There are a number of other problems associated with drinking booze, including poor sleep habits, dehydration, memory loss, and of course, one-night stands with horrifically ugly people.</p> <h2>5. Drink More Wine</h2> <p><img width="605" height="404" src="/files/fruganomics/u14/wine.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photo by </em><a href=""><em>Joe Shlabotnik</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>Wait, didn't I just say to not drink wine? Yes, I did, but I'm going to contradict myself. We've all heard over the years about <a href="">wine's health benefits</a> and how moderate consumption of wine can reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Combine a daily glass of wine with a brisk, hour-long walk (see #1), and you should be able to burn off the calories in the wine.</p> <h2>6. Meditate/Breathe Deeply</h2> <p><img width="350" height="331" src="/files/fruganomics/u14/meditate.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photo by </em><a href=""><em>vicki watkins</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>Taking a short break twice a day to concentrate your mind on a single subject (while breathing slowly and deeply) can help <a href="">reduce stress and anxiety</a> and lower your blood pressure. You don't have to chant if it makes you feel uncomfortable; in fact, the actual &quot;spiritual&quot; mantras don't have any effect on the effectiveness of meditation.</p> <p>Doctors at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City have run trials for pre-surgery cardiovascular patients in which patients received guided meditation and yoga instruction, among other New Age-y sounding benefits. Patients who <a href=",9171,1004086,00.html">used meditation tapes pre-surgery</a> recovered faster than patients who opted not to use any of the relaxation techniques, whether or not the tapes contained &quot;real&quot; mantras (some contained relaxing-sounding gibberish).</p> <p>If meditation can help patients who need open-heart surgery, imagine what it can do for you.</p> <h2>7. Stretch Your Muscles</h2> <p><img width="605" height="403" src="/files/fruganomics/u14/stretch.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photo by </em><a href=""><em>David Spinks</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>How many of us have careers that allow us to move all day? Probably not many. Most of us sit in front of a computer with the posture of a jumbo shrimp. If you slump in front of a PC (or a Mac, I won't discriminate) for the better part of your waking hours, try getting up every hour and performing <a href="">some simple stretches</a>. You <a href="">don't even have to get out of your chair</a> if you don't want to.</p> <p>Stretching doesn't just increase range of motion, it actually acts like <a href="">low-impact strength training</a> for your muscles. Stretching can increase blood flow and energize an office-bound body. Stretching doesn't have to be dramatic or particularly athletic, it just has to be consistent. So set a timer on your computer and do a little stretch once an hour, concentrating on different muscle groups (neck, arms, back, legs) until your whole body is lightly worked.</p> <h2>8. Spend 10 Minutes Outside</h2> <p><img width="605" height="467" src="/files/fruganomics/u14/outside.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photo by </em><a href=""><em>Office Now</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>Although you're probably not suffering from <a href="">rickets</a>, assuming you enjoy being outside, spending time there is a good way to get a boost of vitamin D and some fresh air &mdash; if you can find some fresh air where you live. <a href="">Vitamin D deficiency</a>, which is chronic in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere, can increase the risk of many chronic conditions and illnesses. If you can rectify this by standing outside for a few minutes a day and absorbing a bit of sunlight, why not do it? Standing outside is (so far) free.</p> <h2>9. Cut Back on Caffeine</h2> <p><img width="605" height="403" src="/files/fruganomics/u14/coffee.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photo by </em><a href=""><em>D'Arcy Norman</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>Unless you are experiencing negative side effects from caffeine, it's not something that necessarily has to be eliminated from your day completely. But what if you are? If you're taking in too much caffeine during the day, you may find yourself jittery and nervous, or experiencing problems with indigestion or severe heartburn. Caffeine is a funny kind of drug &mdash; it's probably the only socially acceptable addiction, and there are many ways to get your daily fix. If you do consume caffeine on a regular basis, try getting it from drinks that are not highly processed. Choose coffee over Mountain Dew, for instance. Coffee is much lower in calories, and <a href="">coffee also has antioxidant properties</a> that make it an attractive drink.</p> <h2>10. Drink a Cup of Tea</h2> <p><img width="605" height="403" src="/files/fruganomics/u14/tea.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photo by </em><a href=""><em>Renato Ganoza</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>Drinking a cup of <a href="">tea is healthy</a> and a smart way to get the aforementioned caffeine fix. Tea can help lower blood sugar, increase metabolism, and offer a nice excuse to socialize. Stick to decaf tea if you want to drink it later in the day, but caffeinated is perfectly fine for morning. If you don't particularly like tea, it's possible that you are brewing it wrong. Green tea needs to be brewed at a much lower temperature than black tea, for instance.</p> <h2>11. Sleep More</h2> <p><img width="350" height="350" src="/files/fruganomics/u14/sleepingcat.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photo by </em><a href=""><em>Umberto Salvagnin</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p><a href="">Sleep deprivation makes you fat</a>. Seriously. When your body is low on energy, it will burn less energy than it usually does and hang onto calories that you don't need. <a href="">Chronic sleep deprivation</a> can increase the <a href="">risk of developing Type II diabetes</a>.</p> <p>In a culture that never seems to unplug, and where bragging about lack of sleep is almost a hobby, getting enough rest to recharge your body may seem impossible. But remember, there is really nothing glamorous about being overworked and miserable, no matter what your buddies in investment banking may tell you. Sleep is incredibly important to your health.</p> <p>There may be any number of reasons <a href="">why you aren't getting enough sleep</a>, from bad sleeping habits to working overtime to stress or sleep apnea. If there is one single thing that you can do to improve your health today, <a href="">getting more sleep should take priority</a>.</p> <h2>12. Watch Less TV</h2> <p><img width="605" height="454" src="/files/fruganomics/u14/tv.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photo by </em><a href=""><em>dullhunk</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p><a href="">Watching less television</a> may be the key to getting more sleep if you are suffering from lack of Zs. Do you find yourself gazing glassy-eyed at the local news at 11 p.m., as dingbat reporters try to find some sort of local connection between a horrible world event and the area you live in? It's time to cut back on television. After all, you can get your news from the radio or the internet. Do you stay up late, trying to cram all your TiVo'd episodes of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot; into a single evening? Consider choosing one of two television shows to concentrate on, then skip the rest. Trust me, your life won't be any less rich if you miss a season or two (or the entire span) of &quot;The Apprentice.&quot;</p> <h2>13. Laugh Your Ass Off</h2> <p><img width="350" height="341" src="/files/fruganomics/u14/laughing.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photo by </em><a href=""><em>Phil Scoville</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p><a href="">The benefits of laughter</a> are probably obvious to anyone who has ever had a laughing fit, the kind where you feel like you might burst or pee. <a href="">Laughter reduces stress</a>, and the best part? It's easy to come by. Rent whatever kind of silly movie makes you guffaw. Spend time with people who have you rolling in the aisles. Make a point of attending stand-up comedy nights. You don't have to be an all-around mirthful person (although it wouldn't hurt), because even grumps can benefit from a couple of hours of medicinal giggling.</p> <h2>14. Quit Smoking</h2> <p><img width="605" height="454" src="/files/fruganomics/u14/cigarette%20butts.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photo by </em><a href=""><em>Curran Kelleher</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>Do we really need any details on this one? Everyone knows how terrible smoking is for you. Just stop it. It's gross.</p> <h2>15. Eat One (More) Serving of Fruit</h2> <p><img width="605" height="454" src="/files/fruganomics/u14/oranges.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photo by </em><a href=""><em>the Italian voice</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>How awesome is fruit? Seriously, think about your favorite fruit and how much you enjoy it. What is it? Pineapple? Bananas? Blueberries? Tomatoes? Peaches? Now give yourself the gift of eating a single serving of that fruit, fresh or frozen (but not canned) once a day. You get fiber, nutrients, and a happy mouth. Some fruits, like peaches, are only in season for a short while, so buy them frozen at Trader Joe's or Costco and throw them into a protein shake in the morning. Or cook them with some white wine and chilies and put on top of baked fish. Find a way to incorporate your favorite fruit into your day. It's a treat AND a healthy choice.</p> <h2>16. Exercise Your Brain</h2> <p><img width="605" height="454" src="/files/fruganomics/u14/crossword.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photo by </em><a href=""><em>Jay Bergesen</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>We don't really know if doing small brain exercises, like crossword puzzles or Sudoku, can really help stave off dementia in old age. But small brain teasers that can be performed during, say, your lunch hour, are a good way to help <a href="">increase your memory capacity</a>. Puzzles and quizzes are also a good way to pass idle time when waiting in line or on public transit. You can zone out while still engaging your brain. Don't feel like working on a puzzle? Try keeping a journal. Even if you simply write down the most mundane things that have happened to you at the end of the day, being forced to remember what happened since you got out of bed every morning is a good mental exercise, and it can help to recap your day right before bed.</p> <h2>17. Smile More</h2> <p><img width="605" height="402" src="/files/fruganomics/u14/smile.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photo by </em><a href=""><em>amrufm</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>It can be hard to smile when you don't feel happy, but conjuring up happy thoughts and really putting on a (sincerely) <a href="">happy face can better your mood</a> and the moods of those around you. <a href="">Facial feedback hypothesis</a> indicates that doing away with your scowl, at the very least, can have real positive effects on your emotions.</p> <h2>18. Take Your Fish Oil</h2> <p><img width="605" height="454" src="/files/fruganomics/u14/fishoil.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photo by </em><a href=""><em>Stephen Cummings</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>Look, it's not my favorite supplement, either. The pills are big, and I always end up burping a gross, fishy scent for a couple of hours. But <a href="">fish oil may fight depression and anxiety</a>, and maybe help stave off cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer's. Unless you are allergic to fish, there's really no reason not to take it. Other than the fishy burps, and that's not a good enough reason.</p> <h2>19. Take a Hot Bath</h2> <p><img width="350" height="350" src="/files/fruganomics/u14/cattub.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photo by </em><a href=""><em>elly jonez</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>Taking a warm bath might not be the greenest way to relax, but a <a href="">hot bath can help lower your blood sugar</a>, relax aching muscles, and help you sleep better. It's not something that should be done every single day, but after a long walk in the park or on a cold evening in the winter, a good, long soak in the tub can be just what the doctor ordered.</p> <h2>20. Make Love, Not War</h2> <p><img width="605" height="403" src="/files/fruganomics/u14/sex.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photo by </em><a href=""><em>Jean Koulev</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>Seriously, having sex is not just awesomely fun, <a href="">sex is good for you</a>. Oh, yes, there are risks, so take your precautions and don't do anything stupid. But if you have a partner who you trust and who trusts you, seriously, get it on. Regularly. If you have a choice between arguing about whose turn it is to do the laundry and having <a href="">hot monkey sex</a> with your significant other, which one appeals more?</p> <p>Please say &quot;hot monkey sex.&quot;</p> <h2>21. Floss Your Teeth</h2> <p><img width="350" height="307" src="/files/fruganomics/u14/floss.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photo by <a href="">D. Sharon Pruitt</a>.</em></p> <p>Sure, flossing is significantly less interesting than having regular, rewarding sex, but it can help with your sex life by <a href="">preventing gum disease AND tooth decay</a>, because no one wants to make sweet, stress-relieving love to someone with a mouth full of rotting teeth. Yes, flossing is incredibly boring. But it's also very easy, and inexpensive, and good for you. So do it.</p> <h2>22. Adopt a Pet</h2> <p><img width="350" height="337" alt="My dog after face-planting in a puddle, during a walk in the park." src="/files/fruganomics/u14/yongyong_after_faceplant.png" /></p> <p><em>Photo by Andrea Karim.</em></p> <p>Assuming you have the financial capacity and living situation that makes this viable, having a pet can be a wonderful experience. You'll need to choose the right kind of pet (fish aren't good for cuddling, many lizards are difficult to walk in a leash, horses make lousy apartment dwellers) and do all of your research into diet and other needs before adopting. Look first for animals at shelters that need homes, rather than to for-profit pet stores or illicit breeders. Animals offer companionship and a hefty dose of regular unintentional hilarity (see photo above for example &mdash; that is my dog doing his best to look dignified after falling face-first into a mud puddle).</p> <p>Dogs are great socializers, and the regular walks that they require will force you to get outside and walk more (which satisfies #1 and #8). Cats may not get you outside much, but they offer comfort and warmth and force you to replace your window treatments once every five years or so.</p> <h2>23. Get a Massage</h2> <p>&nbsp;<img width="650" height="488" src="/files/fruganomics/u14/massage.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photo by </em><a href=""><em>o5com</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>It can be hard to believe that something as indulgent as massage therapy can really have health benefits, but <a href="">massage is great for your health</a>. From increasing circulation and flexibility to easing muscle aches and pinched nerves to improving brain wave activity, massage combines good feeling with healthy living. Massage can also be expensive, so seek out daily coupon email deals, massage schools, willing friends, and subscription packages from lower-priced massage centers like Massage Envy.</p> <h2>24. Plant a Garden</h2> <p><img width="605" height="467" src="/files/fruganomics/u14/tomatoespot.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photo by </em><a href=""><em>Ajith Kumar</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>Gardening is a wonderful activity that allows you to spend hours outside, playing in the dirt. Think of it as childhood revisited. But unlike childhood, when playing in the dirt merely meant getting dirty, gardening as an adult can offer a bounty of rewards, from fresh flowers to fruits, vegetables, and herbs that will improve your diet and impress your friends.</p> <p>Even if you don't have a yard, container gardening can offer plenty in the way of fresh tomatoes and enviable basil yields. Just find a sunny spot in your condo and tend your pots regularly. Dry, pickle, or preserve whatever you can't finish during the growing season, and keep the excitement of homegrown goodness year-round.</p> <h2>25. Take a Fiber Supplement</h2> <p><img width="605" height="403" src="/files/fruganomics/u14/toilet.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Photo by </em><a href=""><em>Nathan Jones</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>If you already eat the <a href="">recommended daily serving of fruits and vegetables</a>, getting more fiber might not be necessary. But if you eat a typical American diet, you're probably a bit low on fiber at the moment. Although taking fiber won't replace eating well, it can help even the dietetically challenged by making you feel fuller and by giving your colon a good ol' cleansing. You don't need to take anything special, just have a glass of water with some Metamucil or Benefiber in the morning before breakfast and again before dinner. If you want something that feels more like a treat, you can try some of those fiber gummy bears (they really are delicious).</p> <p>Fiber can help lower cholesterol and fight heart disease, as well, in addition to keeping know, regular.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Healthy, frugal eating</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">The new face of poverty is fat</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">How to Avoid Putting on Recession Pounds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">7 Cheap Treatments for Year-Round Allergies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Alcohol is good for your heart</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Health and Beauty Lifestyle frugal health healthy living how to be cheap and healthy inexpensive fitness small changes Tue, 24 May 2011 10:24:22 +0000 Andrea Karim 544829 at Teach yourself to cook <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/teach-yourself-to-cook" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy-bank-admires-sesame-beef_0.jpg" alt="Piggy bank admires sesame beef" title="Piggy Bank Admires Sesame Beef" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="180" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Everyone knows that cooking is cheaper and healthier than eating out. It's also better (i.e. more to your taste) than eating out, and easier than eating out (no driving, parking, standing in line, making reservations, waiting to be seated, dealing with hostesses, waiters, and busboys). Besides all that, I'm going to argue below that--even with shopping and cleaning up--it can also be quicker than eating out.</p> <p>If you currently eat <strong>all</strong> your meals out (for example, you live in a dorm with meal plan), you probably can't save time by learning to cook--because going shopping for groceries is another whole task that you'd have to add to your schedule. But if you're already maintaining a kitchen but don't use it much, then the extra time to buy all your food (instead of just a fraction of it) is quite small.</p> <p>Cooking, of course, takes time, as does cleaning up. But then, going to restaurants takes time as well. Fast food joints that cook ahead may serve your food quite quickly--but that's never going to be better or healthier than your own cooking, and even with a dollar menu it's not likely to be cheaper. It may be easier--if you think driving to the fast food joint and then standing in line is easy.</p> <p>On the other hand, cooking lends itself to any number of simple efficiencies that restaurant eating doesn't, simply because you're in control of things like the number of servings you make. You can save a lot of time by cooking enough that you have dinner today and lunch tomorrow, without the complexity and waste of restaurant-sized portions that may provide leftovers, but rarely in the right amounts or right proportions.</p> <h2>Learning</h2> <p>Like with anything else, the way to learn to cook is to do some cooking.</p> <p>With a few exceptions--confections and pastries, mostly--cooking is actually really easy. Anyone can learn to boil rice, bake a chicken, or grill a steak. Certainly anyone can learn to make a salad.</p> <p>If you know even a little bit about cooking--what a saucepan is, what sauteing is--then you can start with recipes.</p> <p>If you don't cook <strong>at all</strong>, try to get someone to show you how to cook--your mom, your wife (or husband, boyfriend, or girlfriend), or even a friend at work who brings in leftovers for lunch. If you can't manage that, there are plenty of cooking DVDs and internet sites with videos where you can learn the basics. There are also plenty of cookbooks that cover the basics (<a href=";tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0743246268"><em>Joy of Cooking</em></a> is the classic, but there are others--any number of <a href=";;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957">cookbooks aimed at newlyweds</a>, for example).</p> <p>Once you know the basics, start by learning to fix two or three things that you particularly like to eat. Once you have those down, learn how to make one show-offy thing that you can use to impress a date, spouse, or the in-laws (or just to treat yourself, when you might otherwise be inclined to go out to eat).</p> <h2>Saving time</h2> <p>So, how can cooking for yourself save time? As I suggested above, mainly through efficiency--cook enough that you have leftovers and your next meal takes almost no time to prepare.</p> <p>There are people doing extreme versions of this--<a href="">cooking a whole month ahead</a>, for example--which is fine if that's what you want to do, but not really necessary.</p> <p>It also gives you extra control--you can decide when to fix something quick and when you've got time to spend preparing a special meal. (Ever gone into a restaurant for a quick bite that ended up taking two hours because the waitress was incompetent and the kitchen was unaccountably slow? I have.)</p> <p>Of course, to save time you have to make that a priority right from the start. There are dishes that take large amounts of prep time--but since you're in control, you just don't cook those when you're pinched for time. There are lots of things that can be fixed quickly--and other things that at least don't require much time in the kitchen. (<a href="">Crock-pot</a> meals are the classic example of the latter. Personally, I don't have a crock pot, preferring instead to use a <a href="">pressure cooker</a>.) (See also: <a href="">The 5 Best Pressure Cookers</a>)</p> <p>But you don't need to actually cook in some special way or follow some special process to save time--just choose things that can be prepared quickly: salads, sandwiches, stir-fry, pasta, roasted vegetables, poached seafood, grilled meats, etc. Breakfast dishes are typically quick to cook, and plenty of them (omelets, for example) are easily adapted for dinners.</p> <p>Even when you optimize for time, cooking and then cleaning up takes some time--but so does going to a restaurant, ordering, and waiting for your food to arrive. Of course, cooking requires grocery shopping, but if you're already shopping, the extra time it takes to buy enough to fix most of your meals isn't much of an increase (unless all you're doing now is keeping your fridge stocked with beer and soda)--just be focused and efficient. Again, it's possible to take this to extremes as well--<a href="">sort your shopping list</a> into the order you'll find things in the store, for example--but that's not necessary either.</p> <p>In fact, though, simple efficiencies like keeping staples on hand mean that you'll be able to shop <strong>less often</strong>, because you won't have to make special trips to the store due to running out of something. (Stocking up on cheap stuff also provides a <a href="">huge financial return</a>.)</p> <h2>Having it all</h2> <p>The core win of knowing how to cook is that it expands the range of what's possible. Just because you've learned to cook doesn't mean you can't eat a restaurant meal when you want to; it just means that you don't have to. Instead, you have a bunch of options that are all cheaper and mostly healthier and better.</p> <p>For example, I rather like french dip sandwiches. I can get one at a good local restaurant; around here a french dip meal might run $15 a person plus tip. Or I can go for cheaper options. At a chain restaurant I might be able to get out for $8 plus tip (except that I'd probably buy a soda or a beer, adding a few dollars to the tab). The last time I got a french dip at a fast-food joint, I think I spent a little over $7 (which included fries and a soda that I'd probably have been better off without).</p> <p>At the deli counter at the grocery store, roast beef tends to run about $9 a pound. I sometimes buy a package of sandwich rolls, and then get just enough roast beef to make one sandwch--for a total of about $3.50 (mustard plus a bouillon cube and some hot water for the dip will add a few cents to the cost). The sandwich rolls, though, come in packages of four or six, so once I've made my french dip I can make several more really cheap sandwiches (just the cost of the deli meat) over the next several days. (And they can be something different--chicken, turkey, and ham are all usually cheaper than roast beef.)</p> <p>Which brings us, finally, to cooking. For not much more than the cost of one serving of deli meat, you can get a big hunk of raw meat--if you buy a cheap cut that's been marked down because it's approaching its sell-by date. Cook that in the pressure cooker (or roast it, if you happen to find a good deal on a nice cut). For example, last week my wife found a shoulder roast on sale for about $5. That plus $2 for the sandwich rolls and maybe 50&cent; worth of onion and garlic made six sandwiches, so about $1.25 per sandwich.</p> <p>I spent about half an hour cooking the meat: While I cut up the onion and a couple cloves of garlic, I browned each side of the meat in the pressure cooker pot over medium heat. Then I added two cups of water, put the lid on, brought it up to high pressure, and let it cook for 20 minutes.</p> <p>I also spent a few minutes cutting the meat into thin slices for sandwiches and a few minutes more building the sandwiches--but I've waited longer than that to get served at a fast-food joint.</p> <p>I don't think anybody disputes that cooking is cheaper and healthier than eating out. It's only better, I suppose, if you're a good cook--but you don't have to be a great chef to fix stuff exactly the way you like it, you just need to practice a bit. Is it actually faster than eating out? Well, it can be--if you stick to stuff that's quick to fix, or if you go to some effort to be very efficient, or (especially) if your basis for comparison is a nice restaurant rather than a fast-food joint.</p> <p>I think it adds up to plenty of reasons to teach yourself how to cook.<br /> &nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">The new face of poverty is fat</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Healthy, frugal eating</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">The 12 Best Frozen Food Values</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">5 Easy Ways to Save on Groceries in a Pinch</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Save time, money, energy, and eat great</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Cooking frugal pressure cooker recipes Health healthy living saving money saving time saving time and money Wed, 17 Jun 2009 17:48:35 +0000 Philip Brewer 3275 at Healthy, frugal eating <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/healthy-frugal-eating" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/farmers-market-narrow_0.jpg" alt="Healthy food at the farmer&#039;s market" title="Healthy Food at the Farmer&#039;s Market" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="397" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Every so often, I get hit in the face with two facts.  First, Americans (even poor Americans) are unbelievably rich.  Second, Americans (as a group) utterly lack a cultural tradition that teaches us how to eat a healthy, frugal diet.</p> <p>The first time this really struck me was about twenty years ago.  I was listening to a radio story about people who&#39;d risen from humble beginnings to become successful entrepreneurs.  One guy, taking about a time his family had gone through a rough patch where money was tight, said, &quot;I can tell you, there were a lot of days we at bologna for lunch, and then bologna again for dinner.&quot;</p> <p>My first thought was, &quot;Only in America do the truly poor eat meat twice a day.&quot;  My second was, &quot;Why doesn&#39;t anyone teach people how to create a healthy, frugal diet?&quot;  My third was, &quot;Oh, yeah--they do.  It&#39;s called &#39;the four food groups&#39;--of course they thought they had to serve meat at every meal.&quot;</p> <p>Since then, we&#39;ve moved beyond the four food groups.  Today we teach the <a href="">food pyramid</a> and have the <a href="">USDA National Nutrient Database</a> and the <a href="">Heath and Human Services Dietary Guidelines for Americans</a> and the <a href=";tax_level=2&amp;tax_subject=256&amp;topic_id=1342">Food and Nutrition Information Center</a>.  I wrote a while back about <a href="/healthy-recipes-with-cost-data">healthy recipes with cost data</a>, free for everyone thanks to the US government.</p> <p>Thinking about all that information very nearly splits me in two.  </p> <p>On the one hand, look what we can do!  One guy (with a bit too much time on his hands and access to the internet, even if only at the library) can not just design a healthy diet--he can design dozens.  He can tweak them to allow for pretty much any personal preferences or restrictions.  Even constrained by cost, he has almost infinite choice.</p> <p>On the other hand, look at what using that information would actually require someone to do!  There are mathematical techniques for doing the sort of optimization involved.  Take a database of nutritional information, a universe of (constantly changing) costs, and a set of personal preferences--and turn that into a diet that provides all the necessary nutrients without providing excess calories, fat, and sodium, at the lowest possible cost.  But we&#39;re no longer talking about one guy using an internet connection at the library.  Now we&#39;re talking about PhD-level math and some serious number crunching on fast computers.</p> <p>So, I&#39;m not too surprised that I continue to run into stories like the one about the entrepreneur whose family ate lots of bologna.  The most recent was in a story about US educational benefits for veterans.  A former soldier was working on a degree, trying to make ends meet on the meager funds provided.  After paying rent and buying gasoline for his truck, things had been tight.  Explaining that he ate a lot at fast-food restaurants, he said, &quot;I sure appreciated the dollar menu.&quot;</p> <p>Only in America do poor students not only have their own apartment and truck--they eat out every day!</p> <p>Happily, there&#39;s an easier solution than solving a non-linear programming optimization of multiple variables under multiple constraints.  Michael Pollan talks about it in his book <a href=";tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=1594201455"><em>In Defense of Food</em></a> that I <a href="/book-review-in-defense-of-food">reviewed</a> a while back.</p> <p>Forget about the database of nutritional information.  If you know something about how your great-grandparents ate, you can start there.  If not, you can start with the food pyramid.  It has flaws, but if you don&#39;t have any cultural tradition to draw from at all, it&#39;s better than nothing.</p> <p>Eat food:</p> <p>Start with vegetables.  Get what&#39;s cheap.  If what&#39;s cheap is locally grown and in season, so much the better.  Eat more than one thing.  Eat a lot. </p> <p>Get some grains.  Prefer whole grains, but generally buy whatever&#39;s cheap.  Get a few different things--rice, flour, cornmeal, oats.  Here, too, get a lot, but as much as you can, get raw stuff and cook it yourself.  Still, some amount of things prepared for you (like bread, pasta, and cereal) is okay.</p> <p>Add some fruit.  Fruit can expensive, but you don&#39;t need a lot for a healthy diet--one glass of orange juice and a small apple is enough for one day.  If you can afford more--berries, raisins, melons, exotic tropical fruits--that&#39;s even better.</p> <p>Add some legumes.  Beans, lentils, split peas--whatever you like is fine.  You don&#39;t need a lot, but these are reasonably cheap, so if you like them, get a lot.</p> <p>That&#39;s really all you need.  If you&#39;re rich, you can get some meat, fish, milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, nuts, oil, sugar, etc.--but you don&#39;t need any of those things.  A diet with a variety of vegetables and grains plus a modest amount of fruit and legumes will give you everything you need.  (Billions of people only wish they ate so well.)</p> <p>As long as you eat a variety of things, it&#39;s going to be hard to screw up too badly on a diet like that.  If your only vegetable is potatoes and your only grain is white rice--well, you won&#39;t be getting all the nutrition you should.  Expand your vegetables to include a leafy one and another non-white one.  Make sure at least half your grains are whole grains.</p> <p>It&#39;s not hard.  It&#39;s not expensive.  It&#39;s just that we don&#39;t teach people how to do it.  We don&#39;t have the cultural traditions--and without a culture to fall back on, people are left vulnerable to the influence of advertising and to the concoctions of &quot;food scientists&quot; who cleverly use fat, sugar, and salt to make &quot;food products&quot; that taste better than food.  On top of all that, the people in the most dire straits--the poor, the uneducated, the homeless--have additional obstacles:  inferior grocery stores, no kitchens, cash-flow issues that make it hard to buy even a week&#39;s groceries at a time.</p> <p>Food prices are spiking up to record highs all over the world, making it really tough on people in poor countries.  In rich countries, though, things aren&#39;t nearly so bad--we just need to recreate a tradition of healthy, frugal eating.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">The new face of poverty is fat</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">12 Foods Nutritionists Say You Should Splurge On</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Healthy recipes--with cost data</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Peanut Butter: The Poor Man’s Protein</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Book review: In Defense of Food</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Health and Beauty Shopping cheap eats Food Health healthy foods healthy living Wed, 30 Apr 2008 14:46:50 +0000 Philip Brewer 2055 at The new face of poverty is fat <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-new-face-of-poverty-is-fat" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/depression-family-3.jpg" alt="Depression-era family" title="Depression-Era Family" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="223" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Twenty years ago, I parked at a supermarket, near where a poor family had just parked. I knew they were poor, because they looked like poor folks are supposed to look: Their clothes were worn (but mended and clean). Their car was an aging sedan. They were recycling a trunkful of aluminum cans. As I locked my car, they took the handful of change they got for the cans, and headed in ahead of me. There were three of them--man, woman, child--and all three were skinny. It&#39;s unusual to see that now. The new face of poverty is fat.</p> <p>Poor people being skinny was already getting to be unusual twenty years ago, or I probably wouldn&#39;t remember it so vividly. Now, the fat person going to the food bank is a cliche.</p> <p>I&#39;ve thought about it a lot in the years since then. How can poor people be fat?</p> <p>I&#39;ve read a lot about the topic, and there are a lot of answers. Some focus on the food (healthy food is expensive, empty calories are cheap). More focus on the people (poor people are stupid, poor people are ignorant about good nutrition, poor people are lazy, poor people are too busy working two jobs to get enough exercise, poor people are too tired after working two jobs to get enough exercise, poor people don&#39;t have access to fitness centers, poor people don&#39;t have access to kitchens, poor neighborhoods have lots of fast-food restaurants and few farmers markets).</p> <p>I think the answer, though, comes down to hunger.</p> <p>Hunger is a powerful force--powerful enough to make a question like &quot;If a hungry man steals a loaf of bread to feed his family, is it really theft?&quot; a genuine ethical conundrum. Hungry people will do almost anything to get food--and for people with hungry children, you can delete the &quot;almost.&quot;</p> <p>The feeling of &quot;hunger&quot; is constructed in your brain based on many different inputs. A lot of research has gone into understanding what makes people feel hunger. (Particularly from drug companies who could make a fortune from a diet drug that worked, but also other kinds of scientists.) It turns out, though, that hunger is deeply wired into the human brain--it doesn&#39;t just depend on getting enough calories. Among other things, it depends on getting all the important nutrients, although it&#39;s not as simple as just that either.</p> <p>If you&#39;re poor and hungry, you buy the cheapest calories you can find. If you eat that stuff until you no longer feel hungry, you&#39;re eating too many calories. That&#39;s why poor people are fat.</p> <p>It&#39;s especially sad, because it actually is possible to eat a good, healthy diet pretty cheaply. Unfortunately, it&#39;s not cheap <strong>and easy</strong>--it&#39;s really quite complex. You have to know about nutrition. You have to have the use of a kitchen, and time to cook. You have to have access to fresh vegetables.</p> <p>There are a number of good articles on the topic here on Wise Bread, starting with Sarah&#39;s recent <a href="/healthy-eating-itll-cost-you">Healthy eating--it&#39;ll cost you</a>, Andrea&#39;s <a href="/why-is-it-so-expensive-to-be-healthy">Why is it so expensive to be healthy</a>, and Tannaz&#39;s <a href="/save-the-world-and-save-a-dime-eat-locally">Save the world and save a dime: eat locally</a>. Be sure to look at some of the great articles <a href="/myscha-theriault">Myscha</a> has written on cheap, healthy eating. I&#39;ve written two: <a href="/eating-locally-on-a-budget">Eating locally on a budget</a> and <a href="/healthy-recipes-with-cost-data">Healthy recipes with cost data</a>.</p> <p>The way to get cheap and healthy together is to eat <strong>real food</strong> without worrying about whether it&#39;s organic or local or not. You can get better vegis at the farmers market or from community supported agriculture--but whatever vegis are cheap in the produce department at the grocery store will still be better than some packaged food product full of partially hydrogenated soybean oil and high fructose corn syrup.</p> <p>It&#39;s the real food that&#39;s the key. Ninety percent of what you bring home from the grocery store shouldn&#39;t have an ingredients list--it should <strong>be ingredients</strong>. Food has gotten more expensive, but rice and beans are still cheap. Only in America do the truly poor eat meat twice a day--but even meat is still cheap, if you buy what&#39;s on sale. Again, it won&#39;t be as good or as healthy as meat from animals that were locally raised in a humane fashion, but it will be both healthier and cheaper than eating at a fast-food restaurant.</p> <p>Once you&#39;re eating real food, trying to source more of it locally will get you better food--and food that is sometimes cheaper and often almost as cheap. Check out the <a href="">Eat Local Challenge</a> for lots of information about eating local food cheaply.</p> <p>Of course, the people reading this know all that. I don&#39;t know how to get the word out to the people who don&#39;t. But I do know that you can be hungry and fat. If you&#39;re poor in today&#39;s world, it&#39;s very nearly automatic.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Healthy, frugal eating</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">12 Foods Nutritionists Say You Should Splurge On</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Waste Not! Revisiting the 5-Second Rule and other Kitchen Classics</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Healthy recipes--with cost data</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Teach yourself to cook</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Health and Beauty Shopping Cooking eat local eat local challenge Food Health healthy foods healthy living organic poverty Fri, 21 Dec 2007 16:40:57 +0000 Philip Brewer 1528 at Get enough sleep <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/get-enough-sleep" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cat%20napping.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="184" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I have a theory about sleep. My theory is this: everyone who routinely uses an alarm clock suffers from chronic sleep deprivation. Using an alarm clock a few times a year (to catch a plane or have a phone call with someone in another time zone) is fine. But routinely getting up before you wake up naturally is sleep deprivation, no matter how much it has become normal in today&#39;s world.</p> <p>There&#39;s lots of evidence that sleep deprivation is bad for you. It <a href=";db=PubMed&amp;list_uids=11607924&amp;dopt=Citation">weakens the immune system</a>. It probably <a href="">causes both cancer and type-2 diabetes</a>. It almost certainly <a href="">reduces the survival rates for people who have cancer</a>. It <a href="">raises blood pressure and probably causes cardiovascular disease</a>. It&#39;s <a href="">associated with all manner of health issues</a> from headaches to hernias.</p> <p>There&#39;s really no doubt about the harmful effects of severe sleep deprivation. Its use as a <a href="">torture technique</a> has led to a significant body of study. It&#39;s quite straightforward to induce psychosis with just a few days of sleep deprivation.</p> <p>It is the effects of mild sleep deprivation--the sort experienced by most people in the developed world, where waking up with an alarm clock is part of normal life--where there has been some debate. But even there, the evidence is that routine sleep deprivation is bad for you, even if it&#39;s mild.</p> <p>Every year there&#39;s an unintentional <a href="">experiment on the effects of mild sleep deprivation</a>: The spring beginning of daylight savings time, where everyone&#39;s weekend is one hour shorter than usual. The following Monday there is a significant increase in traffic accidents.</p> <p>A really interesting 1995 study of <a href="">researchers who spent a summer above the arctic circle</a> found that the amount of time they chose to sleep (when there were no external cues from daylight or timepieces) was 10.3 hours per day. That&#39;s probably closer to what&#39;s normal for humans than the 8 hours that is considered standard or the 7 to 7.5 hours that most Americans actually get.</p> <p>The internet is full of advice on dealing with sleep deprivation and with sleep disruptions caused by such things as shift work. Ignore it. Coming up with tips and tricks to deal with sleep deprivation is as crazy as coming up with tips and tricks for dealing with putting arsenic in your food. The answer in both cases is simple: don&#39;t do that.</p> <p>If your employment or schooling depends on early rising, go to bed early. In particular, go to bed early enough that you do not need an alarm clock to wake you. If circumstances in your life make that impractical, either change circumstances or change your employer or school. The only good reason to tolerate chronic sleep deprivation is to rear an infant--and then only for the necessary few months, and preferable with the sleep disruptions divided among at least two adults.</p> <p>If you can&#39;t get enough sleep at night, take naps. If you&#39;re getting almost enough sleep, a short 20-minute nap can make up the difference. On the other hand, if you&#39;re getting less than 8 hours of sleep, you probably need more than a short nap. A nap that lasts a full sleep cycle--long enough to go into deep sleep and then come out of it naturally--will actually provide some of the sleep missed during the night. Like everything else about people, sleep cycles vary from person to person and vary from time to time for one individual, but 90 minutes is a good first guess.</p> <p>I have enormous sympathy for people who suffer from sleep disorders. If the problems that keep you from getting enough sleep are not external social pressures, but rather are internal physical or mental issues, do whatever it takes to get the problem addressed. Start with your physician or visit a sleep clinic. Basically, if your sleeping life is a shambles, your waking life will be a shambles as well.</p> <p>I&#39;ve talked before about how important for <a href="/how-to-be-happy">being happy</a> it is to find the right work--work that helps people or produces something of value, work that uses your talents and is respected by your peers. Finding <em>the right work is probably the second most important thing</em> in determining whether you&#39;re happy or not.</p> <p>The <em>most important thing</em> is getting enough sleep.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">People Who Love Their Bodies Never Do These 17 Things — Do You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Healthy People Have These 10 Things in Their Homes — Do You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Healthy, frugal eating</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">The new face of poverty is fat</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">6 Foods Scientifically Proven to Increase Your Lifespan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Health and Beauty Health healthy living sleep sleep debt Sat, 15 Dec 2007 08:10:47 +0000 Philip Brewer 1501 at Healthy recipes--with cost data <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/healthy-recipes-with-cost-data" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/farmers-market-tomatoes.jpg" alt="Farmers market tomatoes" title="Farmers Market Tomatoes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="158" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Want to eat a cheap, healthy diet? Want some recipes that use real food instead of packaged food products? Want to argue about how much it costs to feed a family a healthy diet? Here's a free tool, created by the USDA, that will help you with any of those.</p> <p>Can you eat for $21 a week? If you had to feed yourself using just food stamps, that's about how much you'd be able to spend. To help people trying to do that--and probably to help policy-makers arguing about the food stamp program--the USDA created a database of recipes and then used cost data from stores (gathered by AC Nielson in 2001, and adjusted based on the CPI) to calculate the cost of each dish. Even if you're neither on food stamps nor a policy maker, the USDA's <a href="">Food Stamp Nutrition Connection Recipes Finder</a> is available for free.</p> <p><img width="183" align="right" height="350" title="Nutrition Facts for Bluet Corn Pan Bread" alt="Nutrition facts for blue corn pan bread" src="/files/fruganomics/u203/blue_corn_pan_bread_nutrition_facts.gif" />It's kind of a cool tool. You can search by recipe name or by ingredient--that latter being very handy if you bought a bunch of something because it was cheap and are now trying to find a new way to use it. It provides not only cost per recipe and per serving, but also nutrition facts--a nice chart exactly like the one you find on any packaged food. It also lets you print the recipe in several different formats.</p> <p>Another cool feature is that it will maintain a shopping list for you--click &quot;add to shopping list&quot; for the recipes that you plan to make and it will keep track and give you a list of everything you need. (Sadly, it doesn't total up the amounts when the same ingredient is used in several different recipes, but it does list them all together, making it easy enough to figure out yourself.)</p> <p>As we've discussed in several recent posts, adjusting 2001 prices with the CPI is likely to underestimate actual costs. Since the data is based on national averages, though, regional and seasonal variations will probably be a greater source of inaccuracy than the inflation adjustment. (I couldn't immediately find a way to get at the price data used--it just presents aggregate prices for the recipes--so it wouldn't be easy to spot-check the prices for accuracy.)</p> <p>Still, despite its limitations, it seems like a cool free resource for anyone who wants to make cheap, healthy meals out of real food.</p> <p>The <a href=";rec_id=323">Blue Corn Pan Bread recipe</a> looked good. They say you can make the recipe for $1.43, which comes to just $0.12 per serving:</p> <h2><strong>Ingredients:</strong></h2> <ul> <li>3 cups water</li> <li>2 cups blue cornmeal (yellow may be used)</li> <li>1 cup yellow cornmeal</li> <li>3/4 cup raisins</li> <li>1/2 cup sprouted wheat*</li> <li>1/3 cup brown sugar</li> </ul> <p>*To sprout wheat: Wash untreated wheat grains; drain but do not dry. Spread in a single layer in shallow pans and cover with damp cloths. Keep damp in a warm, dark place.</p> <h2><strong>Instructions:</strong></h2> <ol> <li>Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line 8x8 inch cake pan with foil.</li> <li>Bring water to boil in a large pot. Add each ingredient, one at a time.</li> <li>Stir well until mixture is smooth and pour into foil-lined cake pan. Cover with a piece of foil.</li> <li>Bake for 2 hours. Bread is done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.</li> </ol> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Healthy, frugal eating</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">The new face of poverty is fat</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">10 Foods With the Most Bang for Your Buck</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">12 Foods Nutritionists Say You Should Splurge On</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Frugal Gluten-Free Living: Homemade Gluten-Free Noodles</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping cost government Health healthy foods healthy living nutrition recipes USDA web site Sat, 17 Nov 2007 16:34:46 +0000 Philip Brewer 1401 at