How to Afford a Healthy and Fit Lifestyle

A large aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is knowing how to properly manage your money, which can be hard for a lot of young adults who are just learning how to budget. Living a healthy lifestyle requires going to the gym or hiring a personal trainer, which can lead to your body feeling healthier and stronger. When walking through the grocery store and seeing fresh fruits and vegetables, you know you should eat them, but you might end up avoiding them due to the higher prices. So, what is the solution? Read these tips below to gain some inspiration on how you can maintain a healthy lifestyle for little cost.

Limit Eating Out

When you’re living on a tight budget, one of the worst things you can do is eat out multiple times a week. This includes ordering a coffee from a café, going out to dinner with friends, or simply ordering lunch on the go. Any of these can put a significant damper on your back account and probably aren’t great for your waistline either. Save yourself a lot of cash by cooking healthy meals at home. It’s all about finding the right recipes that include healthy ingredients you love and that won’t take you forever to make.

Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time

After going to the grocery store, prepare your meals for the week ahead of time,  using reusable snack bags of course, to limit the amount of money you spend when you are out and about. Knowing that you already have a meal prepped for the day reduces your impulse to buy something at a restaurant. Plus, by planning ahead you can ensure you’ll always have a healthy option available when hunger strikes.

Know Where Your Money Is Going

While maintaining a healthy lifestyle can have a strain on your finances, it’s important to gain control of your spending in other aspects of your life. If you’re able to save money elsewhere, you’re more likely to be able to afford to contribute to your well-being. Analyzing your monthly payments will give you a better understanding of how much money you spend per month. If you have a cell phone bill that could be cut down because you’re not using as much data as you thought you were, switch to a cheaper plan. If you have a student loan that could be reduced for the time being, consider refinancing your college loans to lower the cost. Additionally, explore your current subscriptions to magazines, music apps or tv show software’s, like Netflix or Hulu, to determine if you actually need or use them as often as you thought you would.

At Home Fitness

Working out is an imperative part of keeping your body healthy and strong. Without fitness, your body suffers in a variety of ways. Other than paying an outrageous amount of money to go to a local gym or for a fitness trainer, there are other alternatives to getting a workout in with little to no cost. By using online sites, like craigslist.com or ebay.com, you can find used gym equipment or weights that are of good quality for an affordable price.

If you want to stay away from workouts that require equipment, search for a great workout video on YouTube! Whether you are a beginner or advanced fitness junkie, you can find a variety of videos to choose from on this platform for free.

Using the Nike Training Club App is another fantastic alternative for an intense at home workout. By simply pressing the download button and creating an account, you can accomplish hundreds of workouts in your living room, and again, at no cost!

Looking for more healthy living inspiration? Check out my most recent food related posts here!

 

Thistle Review

Thistle Review

Okay, I’m going to be straight up with you. When it comes to dieting, I suck at meal prep. I love to cook, but for some reason I have an aversion to cooking healthy meals all week long. So since I’m going to Hawaii for a wedding in a few days I decided to try two weeks of Thistle. Thistle is a meal delivery service based out of San Francisco. They provide healthy plant-based meals delivered straight to your door. For my first week I decided to get the lunch and dinner option + a latte and snack each day. The reason I didn’t get the breakfast is I normally don’t eat breakfast and I usually try to intermittent fast until lunch. (But question ya’ll: I recently heard intermittent fasting isn’t good for girls to do every day because of our hormones, anyone have any more info on this? Let me know in the comments below!)

Vegan meals are priced at $11.99 each if you get 5 delivery days. If you want meat in your meals it’s a couple dollars extra. Snacks and lattes were $6 each. Now onto the meal reviews.

The lattes each morning was really just a cold brew with their homemade almond milk. Okay, I’m going to be honest here; I didn’t love this. It didn’t taste as fresh to me. But I’m also not the biggest fan of cold brew. When they said it was a latte I was expecting an actual iced latte with espresso. So after my first week of lattes, I decided to take this off my meal plan for the next week.

The lunches were all salads, which I think is great. I love bringing a salad to work because it’s easy and you don’t have to heat it up. The salad options they have were all very unique and not the typical salads you would make at home. This made me feel a lot better about paying the $11.99 for the salad. It was basically like getting a salad from someplace like Sweetgreen. Overall, they were very tasty. My favorite salad that I got was Waldorf Salad with Tarragon Navy Beans – it was delish!

The dinners were all so unique. They were not just like your typical healthy salad meals. All of them required some heating up in a pan before eating. Some of the types of meals I got were Charred Scallion Sesame Veg and Bean Thread Noodle Bowl with Garlic Marinated Tofu and also the Sweet Potato and Lentil Bowl with Sweet Pepper Relish and Lemon-Herb Avocado Sauce. They were all pretty tasty and so unique in flavors.

The snacks varied each day as well. One day I got an almond hemp bar, another day I got hummus and veggies. The snacks were all tasty, but they were also similar to snacks I could put together myself. That is why for week 2 I decided to omit the snacks.

Overall, I really enjoyed the two weeks I used Thistle. Sadly, I only lost 1 pound using the meal service. But I did feel great eating healthy meals all week. I think this meal service is great for busy people who don’t have time to cook during the week or for those of you who just don’t like to cook. The meals itself were very unique and tasty and I would definitely get it again especially for lunch!

If you guys want to try Thistle and get 2 meals for free, use code: ESTHER180.

Thrive Market Haul

Thrive Market

Hi everyone! Today I wanted to share with you guys the items I got from Thrive Market. This is not a sponsored post, I just wanted to share it with you all because I love to see what others are buying! Thrive Market is an online grocery story that sells all things healthy at a slightly lower price. I love it because it’s so easy to shop, and it’s also great for the lazy girls like me because you don’t have to actually go into a store. I get some basics from Thrive, but I also like to try some new healthy snacks as well because they’re usually cheaper than someplace like Whole Foods. Okay, let’s get started with what I got.

Thrive Market Cacao Powder: Thrive has their own brand of foods, which is great because the quality is amazing but it’s at a lower price point. I’ve been wanting to get cacao powder to put into my smoothies and baked goods. This is a HUGE bag and will last me a long time.

Thrive Market Almond Flour: I’ve never used almond flour, but a lot of the baked recipes I’ve been seeing in Candice Kumai’s new book, or from the Tone It Up girls call for almond flour. I decided to buy it on Thrive because it’s cheaper.

Hu Cashew Butter and Pure Vanilla Bean Dark Chocolate: Simply Quinoa on YouTube put this in one of her Thrive Market hauls and said it was delicious, so I had to give this a try. She was not kidding. This stuff is BOMB.com. If you like dark chocolate, you’ll love these.

Quinoa Flakes: This was another item I saw from Simply Quinoa. She uses quinoa flakes in some of her recipes. I have never tried quinoa flakes but they look good, so I decided to get these to try out.

Coconut Aminos: This is basically a healthier soy sauce. I’m asian so I obviously love my soy sauce, but it’s not the greatest thing for you. I like to use coconut aminos in conjunction to soy sauce. Say a recipe calls for 2 tbsp of soy sauce, I will sub one of them out for coconut aminos. It still tastes great, but is slightly better for you.

Thrive Market Spirulina Powder: Spirulina power is an amazing superfood. It’s great for detoxing the body, and also has a lot of great minerals and vitamins. I’m going to be adding these to my smoothies for some added benefit!

Aduki Beans: There is a brownie recipe in Candice Kumai’s book that calls for aduki beans, so I had to get some to try out.

Cotton Rounds: I ran out, so why not just add these to my order.

Coconut Wraps: These were a free gift from Thrive with my purchase. I’m excited to try these out in replace of wraps.

There you guys have it! If you’ve ever ordered from Thrive Market, I would love to know what ya’ll get in the comments below!

Holiday Party Recipes

The weekend before Thanksgiving, my roommates and I decided to throw a last minute holiday party at our apartment. This was basically just an excuse for me to cook and try out new recipes. I wanted to share with you guys the foods that we made because they were all a hit!

Cheese and Meats: First off how cute is this marble cutting board I got from Anthropologie?? I’m obsessed! I wanted to put it to good use so we got a bunch of different cheese and meats. Put your favorites together and mix and match! Put some grapes and crackers in a separate bowl and you got yourself a snack!

Cranberry Brie Bites: I saw a video on Facebook with this recipe so I wanted to recreate it. Here is a recipe for something similar. Instead of using puff pastry I just used canned biscuits. They came out SO good! I want to make these again! They were also good reheated up the next day.

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Apple Gruyere Toast: I got this recipe a couple years ago from one of Carly Cristman’s videos. It’s my friends favorite and super easy to make! I make these at every get together we have, and they always go so quick! I couldn’t find the video because it was a few years old, but basically you take a baguette, cut it up. Place apple slices and gruyere cheese on top and bake at 350 until the cheese is melted.

Peppermint and White Chocolate Pretzels from Trader Joes: These are seriously my crack. I can’t get enough. I can pretty much eat an entire bag of these in one sitting.

Puppy Chow: This reminds me of my childhood. It’s such an easy snack to make and is perfect for the holidays. Here is the recipe for that.

Lemon Snowball Cookies (not pictured): I also baked these lemon snowball cookies that were AMAZING! If you love lemon then you’ll love these cookies. They literally melt in your mouth. Here  is the recipe for that.

There you guys have it! Those are the things we put together for our last minute holiday party! What are some of your favorite holiday recipes? Let me know in the comments down below!

Bibibop Review

 

Bibibop is a Chipotle inspired restaurant with a Korean twist. They started in Columbus, OH and just recently opened a bunch of new locations in Los Angeles. I was lucky enough to be invited to Bibibop over the weekend to test out their food! Being half-Korean, I was super excited to try out this Korean inspired restaurant.

When you walk up to the counter, you immediately see a variety of different options to create the perfect bowl for you. The great thing about Bibibop is you can add as many, or as little toppings as you want. What I really liked is that you could add multiple bases and proteins to a meal without the extra charge. For my bowl I started with a base of purple rice and lettuce. I then topped it with steak and spicy chicken. For my veggies I went all out. I added kale, carrots, cucumbers, purple cabbage and corn. I also got a side of Kimchi (because duh Kimchi is great, not only does it taste amazing but it’s incredibly good for your gut!). As for sauces, what I really liked is they had their own sauce station. I hate going to a place like this where they put the sauces on themselves. Sometimes they put too much, sometimes not enough. It was great that Bibibop allows you to add your own sauces to the meal. The sauces I chose to try were the Korean red (my favorite! this is like a gochujang sauce that’s a little less thick), teriyaki and sesame ginger.

For a drink I chose their Aloe Vera juice with Watermelon and Peach. This was AMAZING. If you’ve never tried Aloe Vera juice before where have you been? It’s good for you, and tastes amazing. Everyone can also get a free side of miso soup, which was great!

Overall, I really enjoyed my Bibibop bowl. The ingredients had such great flavor! They definitely give you a big portion so it’s great if you’re super hungry or you can save some for later. I really liked how you can customize your bowl to whatever you want. It’s a great healthy option for those of us that are always on the go!

For more information on Bibibop, check out their website here.

Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary meal for this review.

Cauliflower Mash Recipe by Catherine Marchetta

Hey Everyone! I am Catherine, from my self named blog Catherine Marchetta bringing you healthy living recipes and life tips. Today I am sharing Cauliflower Mash, it is super easy to make and delicious. I promise you won’t miss the potatoes in this recipe, the consistency and taste is so similar, it may even be…dare I say, better.

Recipe List: 

Frozen Cauliflower
Butter
Milk of choice (I used Almond)
optional: thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper

*Disclaimer: you will need a food processor, trust me on this…possibly a Vitamix would work too. Do not use a hand mixer, you will have cauliflower flying all over your kitchen. I may have learned that the hard way.

Firstly, you’ll need frozen cauliflower because we are busy and don’t have time to wring out the water in fresh cauliflower. Am I right? I love buying Trader Joe’s frozen grilled Cauliflower its gotta be one of my favorite items from there.


Directions:

Step 1: Place frozen Cauliflower or frozen riced Cauliflower (gather whatever serving size your heart desires), into a microwave safe dish with water covering cauliflower and microwave covered for 7 minutes.

Step 2: Drain water out of cauliflower dish and transfer to the food processor

Step 3: Add cauliflower, butter, garlic clove, splash of almond milk (you won’t need much since cauliflower is very water based) and pulse until smooth

Step 4: add salt, pepper, thyme and parmesan cheese.

Honestly this recipe is so easy I just eyeball everything measurement wise. It is super versatile and can be paired with vegan or paleo dishes and you’ll be sure to have leftovers.

If you’ve ever tried cauliflower mash before, comment below!

Until next time!
xo Cat

Be sure to check out Catherine’s blog here, and follow her on Instagram and Facebook! *PS: I have a guest post on her blog as well so be sure to check it out!

Thrive Market Haul

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I’m going to let you guys in on a little secret: Thrive Market. This has quickly become one of my favorite websites. Thrive Market is an online market where you can get healthy foods that you would normally find at Whole Foods for much cheaper. I love using it for staple pantry items as well as trying out new healthy items. Now there is a cost with having a Thrive Market membership, it’s a $59.95 annual fee. But it’s great because you definitely make up for it in savings.

My roommate and I place an order through Thrive every month or so. Here are some of the items I got in my last Thrive box.

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Newman-O’s – $3.95: We have an Oreo jar on our coffee table, which can get pretty dangerous. Instead of eating dozens of Oreo’s, I wanted to switch it for a healthier version. These “oreos” are made with organic flour and sugar. Taste wise, it’s pretty darn close to the real deal.

IMG_2039Mrs. Meyers Basil Hand Soap – $3.45: I’ve been trying to use more natural products in my every day life. Soap is one of those things you use multiple times per day (I hope!). I really love the scent of this soap, it’s light and refreshing. It’s also a great soap that doesn’t dry out your hands.

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Miracle Noodles – $2.45: If you guys have never tried Miracle Noodles stop what you are doing and go get you some. If you are a big pasta lover like me, this is a great no calorie alternative. Shirataki noodles virtually have no carbs or calories and honestly really don’t taste like much. But they give you the same texture as pasta. It’s a great alternative to pasta. I love to add some bolognese sauce to this!

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Cocomels Coconut Milk Caramels – $3.95: I heard about these through another blogger and decided to give them a try. I wasn’t in love with them, they’re good but not my favorite. They taste very heavily coconut flavored which usually I like but these just weren’t a hit for me. I probably will not be repurchasing these.

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Thrive Market Bone Broth – $8.49: I love bone broth. It’s so good, and so good for you! I haven’t tried this out yet but I have high hopes for it. The only thing that sucks is it’s pretty pricey for a small amount.

Annie’s Grass Fed Mac and Cheese – $2.95: I am a die hard Kraft Mac and Cheese girl but I know it’s terrible for me. I wanted to try this Annie’s mac and cheese since it’s from Grass Fed cows which are healthier for you. I was surprised as to how much I really loved this. I will definitely be repurchasing these!

IMG_2045Simple Mills Cake Mix and Frosting – $0: Thrive is great for doing a lot of promotional items where if you spend over $59 you get something for free. This time we got free cake mix and frosting. We haven’t tried these out yet but I’m excited to!

Overall, I really love using Thrive Market. I think it’s a great way to save some $$ and get some healthier pantry staples. If you guys have ever used Thrive I would love to know what you get, I’m always down to try new items!

Brunch Diaries: Jackson Kalb from Bottlefish

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Hey hey hey! I’m back!! It seems like it’s been forever, and it has been. Sorry I’ve been MIA but I was on the east coast enjoying the holidays with family and friends and then I got super sick so time just escaped me. Can you believe it’s already 2017?! Like what?? I wanted to kick off 2017 with a brand new Brunch Diaries! Ladies and gents I introduce you to my friend Jackson Kalb. I’ve known Jackson since moving out to LA and he’s a bomb chef and is currently the executive chef at Bottlefish. Bottlefish is a new restaurant that just opened over in Brentwood, here in Los Angeles. Created by the same owners as California Pizza Kitchen, Bottlefish is a hip new upscale seafood restaurant. I had the pleasure of going to Bottlefish’s friends and family preview night, and let me tell you…the food was BOMB thanks to my friend Jackson! Get to know Jackson a little more below.

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CAREER LIFE:

What is your occupation?
I’m the executive chef at Bottlefish.

How did you get involved with Bottlefish?
Total coincidence. My friend Danny was playing a pickup game of soccer with the GM, Arthur, before the restaurant had a chef. Arthur and Danny started talking and Arthur mentioned that he was looking for a chef. It turns out we all went to the same high school, so we had that rapport immediately.

What has been the hardest part about opening a new restaurant?
Pretty much everything. There are so many moving variables. Between staffing, training, HR, operations management, and everything in between, it’s all done by management and we’re all doing our part to get it done. Luckily, our founders are some of the most successful, experienced restaurateurs on the planet, so it goes without saying that we’re in good hands.

What is your favorite dish on the new menu?
My personal favorite is the scallop crudo. It’s so simple, but not easy. When you clutter a plate with garnishes and sauce, it’s easy to hide behind B-grade ingredients or improper execution. With our scallop crudo, everything has to be executed perfectly, because it’s only five ingredients.

We’re really showing off the intensely sweet flavor of the Nantucket bay scallops in this dish. It also shows off the natural product itself, which is the true star of the show. Often chefs take credit for the dish, but if the ingredients aren’t top quality, it doesn’t matter how much manipulation a chef does to it.

What advice would you give to future chefs?
Don’t watch TV and think you want to be a chef. Do it only if you are passionate about it. TV has glorified the occupation. There’s nothing wrong with glorifying it, as long as you know the reality of the job. If you’re spending more time on your hair then you are learning the fundamentals of cooking, you are in it for the wrong reason and will never be satisfied.

I’m all about showcasing chef’s capabilities on TV and hope to do something in front of the camera myself one day soon. Just don’t consider yourself a chef after going into massive amounts of debt to graduate from culinary school. If you want to learn culinary skills, go to a restaurant (or come work for me) and learn the trade. You’ll actually get paid to learn, and if you’re hungry, the shitty pay in the interim will pay off dozens of times over.

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SOCIAL LIFE:

Where is your favorite place to brunch?
I don’t really eat out during brunch in LA. We’re working on a brunch menu at Bottlefish which will hopefully be happening in Spring 2017, so let’s just say Bottlefish will be my future favorite spot.

Favorite restaurant to take out of town visitors?
Sotto for a nice sit-down spot. Leo’s taco truck (which is also the best restaurant in LA) for pastor tacos.

Favorite cocktail?
I’m classic for cocktails. Negroni or a Hendrick’s martini, sub cucumber for olives.

If you’re throwing a dinner party, what is your go-to meal?
I don’t think I’ve ever made the same dish twice at a dinner party. Most people know that they’re my guinea pigs during dinner parties. **cough cough Jackson, where’s my invite??!**

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REAL LIFE:

Who inspires you?
Josiah Citrin. He made me who I am today. As distant as we’ve become over the years, I still owe most of my culinary capabilities, and all the opportunities and personal drive that came from it, to him.

Best advice you’ve ever gotten?

Be kind.

What’s the one thing you cannot live without?
Friends and family. Material objects don’t carry the same value. If you don’t believe me, try being alone (no human interaction, no social media) for a week. You’ll go crazy, I promise.

Where is one place you would love to travel to?
Japan. Such a huge cultural difference, as most parts of the world are. I’m just very interested in visiting there right now.

What’s next?
If this pans out long-term, we plan on growing Bottlefish to multiple locations. When we reach our limit, we have a few other concepts in the works. I’m also helping with a small startup downtown and planning a wedding, so I’m extremely busy and couldn’t be happier about it.

Thanks Jackson for the interview! If you guys are ever in the Los Angeles area, definitely go check out Bottlefish and say hi to Jackson!

5 Easy Ways to Drink More Water

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We’ve all heard it before, our bodies are made up of mostly water. Water is crucial for your health, both internally and externally. I used to struggle HARD with drinking enough water. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized how important drinking enough water is to my body. Not only does it help clear your skin, it also helps to flush out all the gunk in your body. I’ve noticed on days I don’t drink enough water, I feel lethargic and my skin feels dry. Let’s be real, no one wants that. Here are a few tips that can help you drink more water daily.

1. Infuse your water with fruits

This is one of the easiest ways to make your water more fun. My friends at Live Infinitely have this awesome 32 ounce fruit infuser water bottle that’s perfect for infusing water on the go. I love this water bottle because it’s super cute with the fun colors, and it’s large enough to fit a lot of fruits and veggies. Some of my favorite combos are strawberry + raspberry (pictured above), strawberry + basil, cucumber + lime, and orange + lemon. For a chance to win one of your own fruit infused water bottles, check out my Instagram for a giveaway!

2. Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning

Drink a big glass of water as soon as you wake up. Make it become a habit so you don’t even think about it. Eventually your body will start to crave water as soon as you wake up. Also, drinking a glass of water is a great way to get things moving, if you know what I mean.

3. Sip before every meal

Whenever you go to a restaurant, you’ll always find have a nice glass of water at the table. Drink as much of the water as you can before your meal. Not only will this help you not to overeat, it will also just become a good habit.

4. Choose sparkling water

If you’re anything like me, I love soda. I know, I know, soda is terrible for you but sometimes you just want that fizz. A great alternative is sparking water. I love the La Croix brand, they have some amazing flavors! It’s a great way to get your daily water intake, but also replaces that soda craving.

5. Eat water-based foods

Many fruits and veggies are filled with water. Some of my favorites are watermelon, cucumber and grapefruit. Add some into your daily meals, and you’ve got some added water!

Be sure to check out my Instagram to see how you can win your own Live Infinitely water bottles!