How to Stay Fit On a Budget
It’s no joke how some prices have gone up these days. Everyday we see people who try to beat this by couponing, buying less and other money-saving tips. It’s important you remember that you don’t have to compromise your health; there are ways of keeping within your diet program while still staying within budget.
1. Brown Rice
Brown rice, in place of white rice is a much healthier alternative. It’s inexpensive as well, and is available almost anywhere. It’s a less refined type of rice, so expect it to be, well, brown. However, it’s great for the digestive and excretory system. People who have trouble expelling waste may find this helpful. It’s rich in fiber and low in cholesterol. Another alternative would be red rice. Red rice is even less refined than brown rice but it has its own purported benefits.
More on brown rice:
Brown rice (or “hulled” or “unmilled” rice) is whole grain rice. It has a mild, nutty flavor, and is chewier and more nutritious than white rice, but goes rancid more quickly because the bran and germ—which are removed to make white rice—contain fats that can spoil. Any rice, including long-grain, short-grain, or sticky rice, may be eaten as brown rice.
In much of Asia, brown rice is associated with poverty and wartime shortages, and in the past was rarely eaten except by the sick, the elderly and as a cure for constipation. This traditionally denigrated kind of rice is often now more expensive than common white rice, partly due to its relatively low supply and difficulty of storage and transport.
2. Wheat Bread or Pasta
Pasta-lovers, there is hope for you yet! The difference between regular pasta and wheat pasta is the firmness; wheat pasta is slightly firmer than regular pasta. Both wheat bread and wheat pasta are also high in fiber, so it’s a wonderful addition or alternative to brown rice. Taste-wise, they are almost exactly alike. Unlike white bread or regular pasta, wheat is much healthier and is only slightly more expensive.
More on wheat bread:
Whole-wheat bread is a type of bread made using flour that is partly or entirely milled from whole or almost-whole wheat grains, see whole-wheat flour and whole grain. It is one kind of brown bread. Synonyms or near-synonyms for whole-wheat bread elsewhere in the world (such as for example in the UK) are whole-grain bread or wholemeal bread. Some varieties of whole-wheat bread are traditionally coated with whole or cracked grains of wheat, though this is mostly decorative compared to the nutritional value of a good quality loaf itself.
The exact composition of whole-wheat bread varies from country to country and even within one country. In some cases, the bread is made with whole-grain flour that contains all of the component parts of the grain in the same ratios as they occur in nature, whereas in other cases the bread may include only representative amounts of bran or wheat germ. In Canada for example, a proportion of the wheat germ may be removed from the flour to reduce the risk of rancidity, but the term “whole-wheat bread” is still used.
The term “wheat bread” is sometimes used to mean whole-wheat bread, but this is an ambiguous term because most white bread is made from wheat flour, and thus could legitimately be called “wheat bread”.
More about pasta:
Pasta is a type of noodle and is a staple food of traditional Italian cuisine, with the first reference dating to 1154 in Sicily. It is also commonly used to refer to the variety of pasta dishes. Typically pasta is made from an unleavened dough of a durum wheat flour mixed with water and formed into sheets or various shapes, then cooked and served in any number of dishes. It can be made with flour from other cereals or grains, and eggs may be used instead of water. Pastas may be divided into two broad categories, dried (pasta secca) and fresh (pasta fresca). Chicken eggs frequently dominate as the source of the liquid component in fresh pasta.
Most dried pasta is commercially produced via an extrusion process. Fresh pasta was traditionally produced by hand, sometimes with the aid of simple machines, but today many varieties of fresh pasta are also commercially produced by large scale machines, and the products are broadly available in supermarkets.
Both dried and fresh pasta come in a number of shapes and varieties, with 310 specific forms known variably by over 1300 names having been recently documented. In Italy the names of specific pasta shapes or types often vary with locale. For example the form cavatelli is known by 28 different names depending on region and town. Common forms of pasta include long shapes, short shapes, tubes, flat shapes and sheets, miniature soup shapes, filled or stuffed, and specialty or decorative shapes.
3. Water vs. Soda
Juice and soda are loaded with sugar, sodium and all sorts of preservatives. Do yourself a favor and drink water instead. Water cleanses the body from the inside out; your skin reaps the benefits of drinking water instead of juice. If you think diet soda is another alternative, you are mistaken; diet soda contains artificial sweeteners that are harmful to the body especially in higher quantities. It would be even healthier to drink the regular soda if you must indulge.
About the benefits of drinking water:
Here are six reasons to make sure you’re drinking enough water or other fluids every day:
1. Drinking Water Helps Maintain the Balance of Body Fluids. Your body is composed of about 60% water. The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature.
“Through the posterior pituitary gland, your brain communicates with your kidneys and tells it how much water to excrete as urine or hold onto for reserves,” says Guest, who is also an adjunct professor of medicine at Stanford University.
When you’re low on fluids, the brain triggers the body’s thirst mechanism. And unless you are taking medications that make you thirsty, Guest says, you should listen to those cues and get yourself a drink of water, juice, milk, coffee — anything but alcohol.
“Alcohol interferes with the brain and kidney communication and causes excess excretion of fluids which can then lead to dehydration,” he says.
2. Water Can Help Control Calories. For years, dieters have been drinking lots of water as a weight loss strategy. While water doesn’t have any magical effect on weight loss, substituting it for higher calorie beverages can certainly help.
“What works with weight loss is if you choose water or a non-caloric beverage over a caloric beverage and/or eat a diet higher in water-rich foods that are healthier, more filling, and help you trim calorie intake,” says Penn State researcher Barbara Rolls, PhD, author of The Volumetrics Weight Control Plan.
Food with high water content tends to look larger, its higher volume requires more chewing, and it is absorbed more slowly by the body, which helps you feel full. Water-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, oatmeal, and beans.
3. Water Helps Energize Muscles. Cells that don’t maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes shrivel, which can result in muscle fatigue. “When muscle cells don’t have adequate fluids, they don’t work as well and performance can suffer,” says Guest.
Drinking enough fluids is important when exercising. Follow the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines for fluid intake before and during physical activity. These guidelines recommend that people drink about 17 ounces of fluid about two hours before exercise. During exercise, they recommend that people start drinking fluids early, and drink them at regular intervals to replace fluids lost by sweating.
4. Water Helps Keep Skin Looking Good. Your skin contains plenty of water, and functions as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss. But don’t expect over-hydration to erase wrinkles or fine lines, says Atlanta dermatologist Kenneth Ellner, MD.
“Dehydration makes your skin look more dry and wrinkled, which can be improved with proper hydration,” he says. “But once you are adequately hydrated, the kidneys take over and excrete excess fluids.”
You can also help “lock” moisture into your skin by using moisturizer, which creates a physical barrier to keep moisture in.
5. Water Helps Your Kidneys. Body fluids transport waste products in and out of cells. The main toxin in the body is blood urea nitrogen, a water-soluble waste that is able to pass through the kidneys to be excreted in the urine, explains Guest. “Your kidneys do an amazing job of cleansing and ridding your body of toxins as long as your intake of fluids is adequate,” he says.
When you’re getting enough fluids, urine flows freely, is light in color and free of odor. When your body is not getting enough fluids, urine concentration, color, and odor increases because the kidneys trap extra fluid for bodily functions.
If you chronically drink too little, you may be at higher risk for kidney stones, especially in warm climates, Guest warns.
6. Water Helps Maintain Normal Bowel Function. Adequate hydration keeps things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract and prevents constipation. When you don’t get enough fluid, the colon pulls water from stools to maintain hydration — and the result is constipation.
“Adequate fluid and fiber is the perfect combination, because the fluid pumps up the fiber and acts like a broom to keep your bowel functioning properly,” says Koelemay.
More on soda effects on health:
Just about every week, it seems, a new study warns of another potential health risk linked to soft drinks.
The most recent headlines have raised concerns that diet sodas boost stroke risk. Diet and regular sodas have both been linked to obesity, kidney damage, and certain cancers. Regular soft drinks have been linked to elevated blood pressure.
Several hundred soda studies have been published over the last two decades, but most of the ones done in humans (as opposed to mice or rats) relied on people’s memories of what they drank.
Observational studies like these can point to possible concerns, but they can’t prove that sodas do, or don’t, pose a health risk.
If you drink sodas — especially if you drink a lot of them — what are you to make of all the headlines? Do you dismiss them, as the beverage industry does, as bad science and media hype? Or is it time to put the can down and take a hard look at what you’re drinking?
Most people are under the impression that the best source of calcium is dairy products. Wrong. Vegetables are excellent and better sources of calcium because dairy products contain pesticides, bacteria and even hormones, depending on the animal it comes from. Vegetables such as cabbage or lettuce may also contain pesticides, so if possible steer clear of those.
More on vegetables health benefits:
* Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce risk for heart disease, including heart attack and stroke.
* Eating a diet rich in some vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may protect against certain types of cancers.
* Diets rich in foods containing fiber, such as some vegetables and fruits, may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
* Eating vegetables and fruits rich in potassium as part of an overall healthy diet may lower blood pressure, and may also reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and help to decrease bone loss.
* Eating foods such as vegetables that are lower in calories per cup instead of some other higher-calorie food may be useful in helping to lower calorie intake.
5. Dark Chocolate
A sweet tooth is particularly troublesome when trying to lose weight because of the added calories, ingredients and preservatives. Unlike dark chocolate with a high percentage of cacao, milk chocolate and white chocolate have less anti-oxidants and contain more sugar. Dark chocolate is known for being slightly bitterer than its counterparts, but many people prefer this taste.
More on dark chocolate health benefits:
Chocolate and its main ingredient, cocoa, appear to reduce risk factors for heart disease. Flavanols in cocoa beans have antioxidant effects that reduce cell damage implicated in heart disease. Flavanols — which are more prevalent in dark chocolate than in milk chocolate or white chocolate — also help lower blood pressure and improve vascular function. In addition, some research has linked chocolate consumption to reduced risks of diabetes, stroke and heart attack. One caveat: The evidence for the health benefits of chocolate comes mostly from short-term and uncontrolled studies. More research is needed.
Source: Mayo Clinic
So you see, there are ways to keep eating healthy without doubling your expenses. In this economy, that’s one of the deciding factors in a lot of households — budget. Change sometimes takes a little getting used to, but the payoff is worth it; you are investing in you and your family’s health and that in itself is priceless.
One practice in small towns is buying in bulk and finding someone to split it with. That way, the items are bought cheaper because of the quantity, but at the same time you are not spending more than usual because there is someone else who needs the items and is willing to pay for their share. Make this common practice in your community for even greater savings.