No-Cost Holistic Living

By: Callie McBride

If a fear of costliness is preventing you from delving into the wonders of a holistic lifestyle, you are not alone. But, you may also be confused. Its no secret that organic meals and bi-weekly yoga classes can burn through your pocket quite quickly, but there are ways around those bright green dollar signs that offer you the same incredible benefits of living naturally and healthfully. The trick is to simply open your eyes! Scour the web, check out coffeehouse postings, and chat with your fellow yogis to learn about free deals; you will be amazed with what you will find.

Yoga, etc.

Often times yoga and pilates studios, as well as fitness centers, will offer complimentary classes to new customers. Core Power Yoga , Lulu Lemon retail stores, and YoGoer all offer free trials, just to name a few. Let Google be your friend and check out what studios in your areas do the same. Take advantage of those introductory classes to both try out different locations around your city and possibly discover a new favorite spot. I recently browsed the Internet for a martial arts class in Manhattan, and in about ten minutes I was registered for a free one-on-one lesson for the following week, that easy!

There are also studios that generously run classes by donation; if $5 is all you’ve got, they will gladly take it. Both Yoga To The People and Brooklyn Yoga School in New York boast this deal.

During the summer, outdoor yoga skyrockets and prices dip lower than ever. In fact, they disappear. Well and Good NYC puts together an annual Summer Fitness Guide for New Yorkers filled with free yoga, pilates, and bootcamps around all 5 boroughs. Classes include Bryant Park Yoga, Sixth Street Pilates, Washington Square Park Yoga, and much more.

Let’s not forget the wonderful online world of Youtube, home to plenty of fantastic fitness instructors that post free videos to do at home-my favorites are Tara Stiles and Cassey Ho of Pop Pilates. These women are consistent with uploading new videos and have mastered the art of training through the camera.

Meditation

Another important aspect of a holistic lifestyle is meditation, which can always be free. This summer, grab a blanket and pick a park to visit during your free time. Of course, chanting is optional, but ultimate relaxation and peace of mind is garaunteed. My NYC picks are Central Park, Prospect Park in Brooklyn, and Riverside Park on the Upper West Side. With no shortage of parks wherever you live, meditation can be a quick and effective way to check in with your body and maintain a focus on your goals of healthy living.  If you need some guidance on how to start meditating, keep your eye out for guided meditation challenges from Deepak Chopra and other wellness experts!  There are also tons of free guided meditation apps available for your phone or iPad.

Organic Produce

No-Cost Holistic Living 2 | The Organic Beauty Blog

Organic and healthy foods generally aren’t free–though if you know of a place, shout it out. That doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the bounty of organic food made available to us. For those of you who like to stock up on organic fruits and veggies, consider shopping wholesale. In New York, the Wholesale Greenmarket is your best bet. The vendors there grow their own produce, and “straight from the farm each morning, their products travel a very short distance ensuring premium quality, and greater food safety and traceability”. (grownyc.org/wholesale) By purchasing your fresh produce in bulk, or least in larger quantities, you’ll save both money and daily trips to the grocery store. The San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market is another example that looks great and includes a huge list of merchants who deliver fresh produce each morning (www.sfproduce.org).  A local CSA can also be a super affordable option to eat organic.  NextDoorganics is an amazing CSA delivery that sends a huge bag of local organic produce and other goodies to your door for as little as $35 a week!

To sum up, cheap healthy living is entirely possible with a little determination and research. Once you find your collection of free and/or cheap spots, spread the word and get others in on the wonders of holistic living on a budget. Enjoy your mission to locate deals and steals throughout your city, and share what you find in the comments below!

Eating Healthy On a Budget

By: Cindy Moustafa

Eating Healthy On a Budget 2 | The Organic Beauty BlogIf you’re like most people, the idea of starting to eat healthier comes with the fear that your wallet is going to get as thin as your waist. While it’s true that certain health foods are pricey, due to items like chips and soda being subsidized by the government but not fruits and vegetables, there are ways to not break the bank.

To help I’ve put together 3 easy-to-follow steps. Just remember the 3 P’s : Plan, Purchase, Prepare. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to living a healthier lifestyle on any budget.

Step 1: PLAN!

Like everything in life, planning ahead is the key to success.  The first step is to compile a shopping list before going to the supermarket. Assess the fridge and food pantry (hopefully by now you’ve thrown out anything that contains ingredients you can’t pronounce). The list should include foods that you know you need to make healthy meals throughout the week. For example, eggs, peppers, onions, ground turkey, apples, etc. 

You can take this a step further and actually make your own menu. This is helpful to anyone from a college student to a mom of 3. So for example your list may look something like this:

Monday: Baked Salmon, baked sweet potato “fries”,sauteed spinach.
Tuesday: Spaghetti Squash with homemade pesto and large arugula salad.

So you would know for Monday and Tuesday you need to buy (wild atlantic) salmon, sweet potatoes, spinach, spaghetti squash, basil, pine nuts and arugula. You just need to adjust for how many people you’re cooking for. When you’re set up for the week you’re less likely to spend needless money in the supermarket or reach for something unhealthy. We like to call this a win-win situation!

Don’t forget to include good foods for snacks on your list. After you complete this, go online and try to find coupons for some of the foods on your list. The days of having to wear a disguise to avoid the embarrassment of using coupons are over. It’s actually becoming trendy-thank you recession! So take advantage and go to the supermarket’s web site or some of the more popular coupon sites and save, baby, save!

Step 2: PURCHASE!

Now that you’ve got the planning down, it’s time to actually go to the store and purchase the foods you need. Make sure not to go to the store when you’re hungry. You’re more likely to throw caution to the wind and a bag of Oreo cookies in your cart. Also, make sure that you stick to your list. Don’t stray!

Once you’re in the store and sticking to the “plan”, there’s ways to save even more. Don’t look at the price of food items, but rather the unit price. The unit price is the price of food per pound, so you will actually save in the long run if one food is cheaper in unit price. For example, if you’re buying brown rice and the larger bag has a $.33 unit price, and the smaller one has a $.55 unit price, go for the larger bag! It’s cheaper and will last longer.

With shelf items such as rice, go with the cheaper brand. However, there are some items you must get used to paying a little extra for. These include items like organic eggs and grass-fed meats. You are only as good as what you put in your body so make sure you’re only putting good stuff in there! Think of this in the same way you shop for clothes. There’s just some pieces that you splurge on because they’re worth it-such as a good quality handbag or the perfect little black dress. Well, people, something like cage-free eggs are your little black dress.  Another place to spend a little more is organic berries, since they have the highest amount of pesticides.

Even though certain items are more costly, the money should even out if you’re doing a lot less waste spending with the 3 P’s plan.

Step 3: PREPARE!

It’s time to put theory into practice and actually take the time to prepare the food. Items like quinoa and rice can be prepared for the whole week on Sunday, which is a time saver. Also, another place to save it by taking these foods for lunch. A good way to extend shelf life is to marinate or cook fish/meats/chicken/turkey. This will help the food stay fresher longer. You can also chop all your vegetables so that you don’t waste time prepping before cooking during the week.  Items like fresh herbs can be put in a Ziploc and can stay in the freezer for months.

Use the preparation phase to help make bringing lunch with you to school/work easier. This is another great way to save money. The average person can spend up to$20 a day on food. That’s $100 for a 5 day week! Put that money in a savings account and buy yourself something pretty instead of a fattening sandwich at your local deli.

Cooking instead of eating out is
the easiest way to save and keep healthy!

Affordable Organic Makeup!

Affordable Organic Makeup! | The Organic Beauty Blog

Organic wear 100% Natural Origin Pressed Powder

$13.95

This is for all you readers out there that living the organic life is prohibitively expensive… It’s just not true!  There are SO many all- (or mostly-) natural and organic beauty products out there that are available at your local pharmacy and won’t break the bank.  All it takes is reading your ingredients!  One of my latest faves is the Organic Wear line by Physician’s Formula, which I stocked up on the other day when a bunch of my makeup products ran out once, and I couldn’t wait long enough to order my stand-bys online.  I had used their pressed powder and Jumbo Lash mascara before and was impressed by the quality of the products, and the more or less decent ingredient list (the powder does contain mica, but in a pressed powder that is not inhaled, it is much less dangerous).  The entire line is free from harsh chemicals, parabens, GMOs, and synthetic preservatives, which, along with being 100% natural origin and anywhere between 15-45% certified organic, already puts them miles ahead of any other products sold at conventional stores.  And they are totally affordable!

Organic wear 100% Natural Origin Mascara

$9.95

On my last trip, I purchased the bronzer, the regular mascara (I found the Jumbo Lash to be a little too clumpy, but the regular version is great), and the eyeliner, all of which I was super happy with.  In a pinch, even the regular Physician’s Formula line is still a decent choice, in the absence of other options, with no parabens, and a lot less toxic chemicals than most conventional makeup lines.


I totally realize we all can’t afford the fancy 100% organic and natural beauty products out there, but as the beauty industry catches on to the huge demand for more natural and safe products, we have so many more options available to us beyond the more mainstream Revlons and Clairols of the world.  Every purchase we make, regardless of our budget, is a statement.  Do we want to support companies that test on animals and continue to use toxic, carcinogenic chemicals and sub-par ingredients just because they are legal?  Or do we want to make it clear to the beauty industry that we have smartened up, and we won’t settle for products that are harmful to our bodies, animals, or the environment?  Even on a tight budget, I think the choice is clear!