Health Originates at Home

It’s March and our monthly project for a healthy 2014 is all about spring cleaning and detoxing the home!  I chose this topic as part of our healthy projects because it seems to me that all health originates at home.  Granted health has a lot more to do with food and exercise in the immediate sense, however; without a solid home base the food and exercise become difficult to maintain in my experience.Health Originates at Home - Homespun Seasonal Living

When we create a healthy home environment we give the rest of our healthy living priorities a strong foundation:

  • A clean and organized pantry makes for healthier and more efficient meal preparation.  It keeps us from running to the store or restaurant for less-than-healthy choices in the name of convenience.  
  • A home that is free of clutter makes it easier to clean, giving us more time to fit in a regular exercise routine and more time to devote to self-care.
  • A tidy home, cleaned with non-toxic chemicals keeps our bodies healthy and helps our our immune systems fight of colds and allergies.

As we go through this month, I’ll be sharing links, tutorials, ideas, and more about detoxing and cleaning your home.  I hope that as we go through this month, you’ll look to your home as the center of your health and find ways to make it work for you and your healthy living goals.

Don’t forget to join us on the Facebook group to chat about our monthly projects and get support!

6 Steps to Improving Body Image

Our monthly project for February is all about adjusting that attitude.  Part of an overall healthy life includes a healthy and positive attitude and dare I say a positive body image.  This is tough, I know, so tough especially because we’re bombarded with unrealistic images most everywhere we look.  There are a few steps we can take, however; to improve our body image.  It’s not rocket science but it’s not easy either, it takes time and dedication but it is possible and worthwhile doing.  Here are my 6 Steps to Improving Body Image:

6 Steps to Improving Body Image - A Healthy Determination

1. Positive Self-Talk

Don’t be so mean to yourself.  Would you truly talk to a friend or your sister the way you talk to yourself?  I doubt it.  Build yourself up.  Talk to yourself positively, remind yourself of all your good qualities both physically and mentally.  This isn’t always easy but every time you start to have a negative body image thought replace it with some positive.  Again, it takes practice but its worth doing and you might just notice that better self-talk about your body image might bleed over into other matters and attitudes in your life.

2. Avoid Triggers

Quit watching reality TV, turn off the red-carpet shows, cancel the fashion magazine subscriptions.  None of these things tend to present us with realistic images of bodies.  They’re generally air-brushed and manipulated and anything but pictures of real people.  We should never compare ourselves to other real people, let alone the computer-enhanced ones so often presented to us in a non-stop barrage.

3. Move Your Body

Exercise makes us feel better.  It doesn’t have to be traditional exercise, or even framed as exercise, really, just move.  Movement whether walking or stretching or dancing, etc. generally makes us feel better not just about our bodies but better physically and mentally.  Nothing bad ever happens when we get a mood lift and movement has a way of doing that.

4. Build a Support System

Friends who are constantly on restrictive diets and trashing themselves on a daily basis are not likely to help you build a positive body image.  Surround yourself instead with folks who are passionate about life and compassionate towards themselves and others.  Build a community of people who want to live healthy lifestyles along with you, not folks who want to attain unrealistic body goals.

5. Find Time for Self-Care

A support system is a wonderful thing, but you still need to take care of yourself.  Find time to do that – time to exercise, relax, sleep, plan for hobbies, and enjoy life.  We all have responsibilities, do those and do them well, but build in time to take care of yourself.  When we start making ourselves, our bodies, our mental health a priority a positive body image will gradually build because we’re being kind to ourselves.

6. Eat Healthy

I’m not talking about dieting, I simply mean embrace healthy foods.  I never feel more low about myself and my body image than when I go totally off the deep end of the unhealthy food spectrum.  Alternatively, I feel not only good about myself, but physically and mentally well when I’m eating good, healthy food most of the time.  Make that a priority for yourself too, it’s hard to be negative about your body when you know you’re feeding it all the best possible foods.

How are you improving your body image today?


Friday Favorites :: Valentine’s Day 2014 Edition

My recent favorites:

Also as a reminder you can follow me on : Google+PinterestFacebookTwitterInstagram

Do you have a recent favorites?  Please add your links to the comments for me to check out.

Bakend Prune Oatmeal with Chia Seeds & Walnuts - A Healthy Determination

Baked Prune Oatmeal with Chia Seeds & Walnuts

February is National Hot Breakfast Month and to celebrate I thought I’d share one of my favorite hot breakfast recipes with you: Baked Prune Oatmeal with Chia Seeds and Walnuts.  It’s a simple breakfast that comes together quickly for a hot, nutritious breakfast.

Bakend Prune Oatmeal with Chia Seeds & Walnuts - A Healthy Determination

Baked Prune Oatmeal with Chia Seeds & Walnuts
  1. 1 1/2 Cups Oats
  2. 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  3. Pinch of Salt
  4. 1/4 Cup Prunes, chopped
  5. 1/4 Cup Walnuts, chopped
  6. 1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
  7. 3 Tablespoons Water
  8. 1/4 Cup Milk (Cow, Goat, Almond, Rice, whatever)
  9. 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
  10. 3 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil two ramekins.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the water and chia seeds. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, walnuts, salt, cinnamon, and prunes.
  4. To the chia seed mixture, add the applesauce, maple syrup, and milk. Whisk until combined. Pour the wet into the dry and mix until well incorporated.
  5. Split the mixture between the two prepared ramekins. Bake in the preheated oven 20 to 25 minutes until set. Serve warm topped with cream or butter if desired.
  1. This makes two servings but can easily be doubled or tripled for more. You could spread the mixture into a cake pan for one large pan instead of individual servings if desired. Also feel free to switch up the prunes for other dried fruits and the walnuts for different nuts for varied but still yummy results.
A Healthy Determination

5 Frugal Fitness Tips

I tend to believe that eating whole, unprocessed natural foods is the most important part of a healthy lifestyle.  I believe that because I know first hand that no matter how much we exercise, we can’t undo a poor diet.  That being said, physical fitness does play a role in our health and we should find ways to include it into our modern, busy lifestyles.  What that physical fitness regimen looks like is going to vary from person to person.  The one constant, however; is that it doesn’t have to be expensive.  We can hire personal trainers or buy expensive equipment, however; neither guarantee success if we don’t have motivation to keep at it.  I, personally, would rather spend my hard earned dollars on other things and so I’ve learned to few frugal fitness tricks to keep my body active and my wallet full.5 Frugal Fitness Tips - A Healthy Determination

1. Make it Do:

Maybe you don’t have fancy dumbbells, but I bet you have some kind of water bottle around that you could fill and use in their place

Don’t have a yoga mat?  Do you have a throw or even just a cushy spot on your carpet that you can use until you get something?

Look around your house for what you already have on hand, you might be surprised what you can use instead of spending money at the sports box store.

2. Think Secondhand

Look at your local thrift store.  All my dumbbells have purchased at local thrift stores for a greatly reduced price compared to new.  I’m currently looking for a slightly heavier set.  I see all kinds of things at my thrift stores – treadmills, stationary bikes, helmets, exercise balls, and more.  Be sure to peruse yours with your fitness routine in mind.  Craigslist and Ebay can also be great places to look. 

I’ve also purchased most of exercise clothing (with the exception of shoes) at the thrift store, finding moisture wicking name brands for way less than the original, new cost.

3. Get Outside:

Going for a walk or run around the block doesn’t cost you a dime, gets you moving, and some precious Vitamin D exposure.  I understand sometimes weather conditions force us inside but look for things you can do for free whenever possible.  Can you go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing in a local park?  Is a local park having a guided hike, bird-watching adventure, or some other activity?  These are great ways to get fit, learn something, and meet members of your community.

4. Seek Out the Free:

While fitness classes can be fun and a great way to learn new things.  The cost can add up quickly.  There are a ton of wonderful resources online that won’t cost you a penny.  I’m particularly fond of these channels on You Tube: FitnessBlender, PopSugar Fitness, & Tara Stiles.

5. Discounted Memberships:

My local weather has been particularly awful for outdoor runs this winter.  I found a gym that I could join for less than $30 a month and allows me to put my membership on hold for part of the year.  So, I’m using the membership through the winter and once the weather turns, I’ll put my membership on hold and run outside again (I much prefer that, anyway).  Next winter, I’ll be able to pick up my membership again without having to pay any initiation fees.  Look around your area and ask if gyms have similar deals.

It might seem overly simple, but these little bits of frugality and fitness add up.  Besides all the money you save on buying equipment can go towards buying really good shoes (an area where I don’t think frugality should be the first consideration), taking a vacation, paying down the mortgage, or any other personal worthwhile expense.

What’s your favorite frugal fitness tip?

Friday Favorites :: February 7, 2014 Edition

Some of my favorite, recent internet reads:

Please feel free to share your favorites in the comments.  I love reading them on weekend mornings with my coffee.


Cultivating a Healthy Attitude

Cultivating a Healthy Attitude

It’s February, which means another monthly project in our 12 monthly projects for a healthy 2014 challenge.  This month we’ll focus on attitude adjusting – namely cultivating a healthy attitude.  A positive attitude has been proven to lead to all kinds of health benefits including living longer.  I’m naturally a positive thinker, almost to the point of being a full-blown Pollyanna.  However, I know that’s not true for everyone and even for those of us with that natural bend there are times when we need to work a little harder at keeping that positive outlook.  Thankfully there are a few simple things we can do to cultivate a healthy attitude.

Cultivating a Healthy Attitude

1. Find Humor - Learn to laugh at yourself and find humor in the simple things of life.  Humor helps us cope and laughter elevates mood.

2. Continue Healthy Eating Habits - Healthier foods in the body feed the brain and help keep us from feeling fatigued.  Being overly or unnecessarily tired never helped a person feel more positive or healthy.

3. Remember You Have Control - We have precious little control over what happens in the world.  We do, however; have complete control over our attitude.  Use that control to your advantage and change not the world but how you see the world.  Magic happens here.

4. Avoid Negativity - Whether it’s negative co-workers or the national news, learn to avoid negative people and things.  It’s hard no matter how well you do #3, to remain positive when constantly surrounded by people focused only on the negative.

5. Do Something Stimulating - It doesn’t matter if it’s physical, mental, or some combination, just find something you enjoy that stimulates you.  Learning new things and achieving new goals build confidence, and confidence leads to all kinds of positive thinking.

All of these take practice, it won’t happen overnight but with diligent, daily work cultivating a healthy attitude is within reach for all of us.  What would you add to this list to create a positive and healthy attitude?

Shared with: Motivation Monday .

A Healthy Fridge

When I first started embarking on a healthier lifestyle, I learned quickly that I needed to keep the fridge and pantry healthy too, that I had to keep temptations to a minimum.  It can be difficult to revamp that fridge but I’ve learned a few tricks to keeping a healthy fridge to pass on:

A Healthy Fridge

1. Post a Reminder: Keep something on the outside of the fridge that inspires you and reminds you of just why you’re embarking on this journey.  The quote above is a powerful reminder for me as I deal with Rheumatoid Arthritis and helps me stay on a path of nutrition that makes me feel better.

2. Cleanliness Matters: This applies to food choices as well as actual tidiness.  This will help keep your grocery budget down too.  Make sure to not let things spoil but rather use up those greens and make salads full of fresh vegetables in season.  Don’t stock it with processed foods but rather keep it full of healthy, whole foods.

3. Avoid Temptation: As a general rule, I’m not a fan of completely depriving ourselves of the occasional treat.  However, the fridge isn’t a good place to keep those treats because it becomes too easy to indulge.  If ice cream is too much of a temptation for example, don’t keep it at home but allow yourself to have it out on occasion as a healthy indulgence. 

4. Keep It Stocked: Having healthy choices on hand will help prevent late night runs to the grocery store or stops at fast food restaurants on the way home because you have what you already need at home.  If you like cold water, keep a container in the fridge so that it’s ready for you any time you need it.

As you revamp your eating habits, remember to revamp your shopping habits too so that you can indeed keep a healthy fridge.

Packing Frugal, Healthy Lunches

As we work on revamping our eating habits in January, lunch is obviously an important part.  As I work outside the home packing frugal, healthy lunches is a necessary activity 5 days a week.  I know lots of us are in the same boat and we need to not only pack lunches for ourselves but for family members with varying tastes as well.  Thankfully there are few ways to make lunch packing easier while also keeping it free of processed, boxed foods. Packing Lunch

  1. Plan It: Lunch is a necessity, might as well include it in the meal planning.  Plan salads, soups, fruits, sandwiches, etc. and make sure to include all of it on the shopping list.
  2. Make Ahead: Make a big pot of soup on Sunday and divide it up into containers that day so that each morning, all you need to do is grab, pack, and go.  Make salads up on Sunday as well.  If you don’t have enough containers for everyone on every day, at least keep one big pot of soup or chop all the salad vegetables and store in the fridge for easy dividing and assembling each morning.
  3. Don’t Repack: If you can or freeze your own produce, just grab a container and go.  No need to repack.  I pack an entire jar of applesauce and eat it straight from the jar, leaving leftovers in the work fridge. 
  4. Keep It Simple: Lunch doesn’t have to fancy.  A bowl of soup with some fruit and homemade yogurt with walnuts is full of good, healthy nutrition that will fuel whatever the afternoon brings.
  5. Embrace Leftovers: Those odds and ends leftover from last night’s dinner make a great lunch.  A bit of chicken, some steamed veggies, and leftover apple crisp is a tasty lunch and a great way to make sure food isn’t wasted to maximize your food budget.

It might take a little practice, but once you get in the swing of preparing lunch on a weekly basis, you’ll be on the road to packing frugal, healthy lunches in no time and likely enjoying the results too.  What’s your favorite frugal & healthy lunch to pack?