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Farmers’ Market Deals!!

9 Apr

Hola! So as promised, I took a trip to my favorite Farmers’ Market today, (Graham’s off of 54th Avenue in St. Pete). I thought I’d share some of the amazing deals on locally grown produce with you guys. I’m apologizing in advance if the photos are coming out strangely arranged. I haven’t quite figured out how to edit photos here yet. If anyone has any skills to impart, please let me know.

Anyhoo, I absolutely adore this market! They have gorgeous produce and with most of it being locally (to Tampa Bay) grown, I’m able to nab my organic produce for nickels. Today, I bought one bushel of Florida oranges, two huge peppers, two oversized red onions, four lovely hot house tomatoes, one mango, a bacon avocado (I don’t even know what that is but I had to have one!), one bushel of garlic, two huge handfuls of raw spinach and two bundles of celery- all for under eleven bucks! You can’t beat a deal like that with a stick!


The greatest thing about Graham’s, is the fact that they prefer it when you bundle your purchases. Why buy one organic tomato at Publix for three to four bucks, when you can buy four for under a dollar?

Seriously folks. Stop wasting money at grocery chains and over-priced health food stores. Farmers’ Markets and Co-Ops are where the local organic deals thrive. When I began this health-food adventure, I was spending nearly $300 a month on produce! That’s utterly ridiculous. I ran across these Farmers’ Markets purely by chance and ever since, I never cease to be amazed at the horde of fabulous, guilt-free food I never seem to run out of- for a significant fraction of my previous costs.

Anyway, I’m off to make a salad and a pitcher of veggie juice. Till next time folks! 😀


Eating Organic On a Budget

6 Apr

So. I’m sure that I’m not the only girl out there who is a full-time student, has a demanding job and the added responsibilities of a domestic-diva. Having said that, I know what it means to feel stretched to the maximum thin. I empathize, truly I do. It’s easier to grab whatever is closest to hand in the grocery store, than it is to carefully select items according to their nutritional value. Sandwiches are easier to prepare and eat on-the-go, than pre-prepared foods thrown together in the midst of a busy schedule. Of course, that goes without even mentioning the next and perhaps biggest issue- cost.

Do I expect everyone to immediately stop making trips to the local grocery store to find something quick and easy to make? Not at all. Do I believe that incorporating organic food into an individual’s diet is a cheap and hassle-free addition to one’s life? Of course not! It’s a fact that organic food comes replete with a heftier price-tag (sad but true). It’s also an unhappy truth that shopping more effectively and eating better are time-consuming efforts, with an often laboriously slow pay-off.

But you know what? It does pay off. Progress might be slow at first but after a while, you’ll see and feel differences in your mind and body that will far outweigh the inconvenience of change. For example, did you know that around 20% of residents in the state of Florida are actively uninsured? According to the Florida Department of Health, over 150 per 100,000 residents in Pinellas County alone died of heart disease in 2010. An additional 160 died from cancer, while there was a recorded rate of nearly 50 deaths related to Diabetes. While I am clearly not a physician, it can be reasonably assumed that many of these illnesses could be related to poor dietary practices. For Diabetes and Heart Disease, the connection is common knowledge. In light of this information, are convenience and cost really worth the potential misery they may cause?

While I cannot speak for everyone, I can assure you that I’ve managed to find myself in a much healthier place than I have been in decades- merely from making changes to the way I consume food. Before making the changes I will list, I had terrible urinary problems, constant fatigue, dramatic tooth decay and poor eyesight. To make matters worse, somewhere between the ages of 25 and 29, I managed to put on almost 50 pounds.

At 178 pounds and pre-diabetic, I decided it was time to speak to my doctor.

I was told that I had the choice between being medicated and sickly for the rest of my life or to completely revolutionize my eating habits. I chose the latter.

The first change I made, was with regards to sugar. I emptied my cabinets of every sweet treat and starchy substance I could find. They were contributing to my blood sugar problem and leaching vitamins from my body. Second, I replaced these dietary fillers with their proper counterparts; organic vegetables and fruit. At first, I was horrified at all the extra effort I would have to put in, added to the seemingly ridiculous overpricing of organic foods. These are daunting obstacles, to be sure. However once I got the hang of it all, I couldn’t imagine eating any other way.

Wherever you live, in whichever city and state, you must have at least one or two farmers’ markets hanging around the fringes of your town. My advice, buy ALL of your perishable produce from one of these. Grocery stores have a bad habit of marking organic items up 100-200% to garner profits. At your typical mom and pop tent or store, you’ll spend pennies by comparison. Just last week, I popped into one of St. Pete’s more popular establishments and spent $10 for items I would normally have spent $40 on in a grocery chain. Keeping you and your family in a constant supply of healthy fruits and vegetables does not have to break the bank.

As most nutritionists will tell you, such produce should be most of what you and your family consume. Items such as eggs, meats and simple carbs, can also be procured at farmers’ markets and the odds of finding good quality, locally grown goods are often higher.

So back to the main point, how did I lose 50 pounds in a year without going broke? Simple. I got crafty. I buy strictly locally grown produce and eggs from farmers’ markets and am selective about the meats and other items I procure from the grocery store. That’s about it. I make salads with fresh vegetables and greens, eat raw avocados and organic eggs in the morning for protein and omega 3’s and consume raw fruits when I have the urge for something sweet.

In this blog, I will post quick and painless recipes that can assist anyone in making healthier food choices. I will also share photos, videos and articles that can help even the nutritional novice to reaffirm their decision to make better life choices. Stick with me kids, I’ll show you what has worked for me and earnestly hope I am able to help others make similar choices.

FIRST CHALLENGE: Get rid of the sugary snacks in your house and avoid that trip to Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts for a sugary pick-me up during your busy day. Instead, brew some green tea or organic coffee in your house and bring it along with you. If you can manage this first step, everything else will be a piece of cake.


This baby gets me through my worst sugar cravings.

You’ll need:

-A blender

-Fresh (or frozen) strawberries

-Fresh (or frozen) Blueberries (or raspberries)

-One half of a green apple

-2 cups UNSWEETENED almond milk

-1/4 cup raw baby spinach or two leaves of swiss chard

-1/2 a raw carrot

-1-2 brocoli florets

-1 cup of crushed ice

-2 tablespoons (or 3, if you want a sweeter snack) of Stevia in the Raw

Combine bit by bit, however you prefer until completely blended. For flavor and added antioxidants, add a pinch of raw cinnamon. Once blended, enjoy and be content that you’ve just consumed nearly 100% of your daily vitamin intake requirements.

Till next time folks 😀