Sunday, 27 December 2015

My Habitat Home: Finances

Eating a free Frosty from Wendy's.
I should have looked all along.   Because the bills are always paid and on time, I did not.  My husband wracked up my charge card.  I consider nearly $300 for one month on fast food for just one person, excessive.  I also would never, ever charge on a card for fast food.  $450, that's the amount of money allotted to my family in food stamps.  I'm very careful about staying within that budget.

I consider myself far more financially savvy than my husband.  He's good with getting the bills paid, getting to work, holding his job, isn't abusive.  He is a great guy but he sucks with money.

When I saw what was going on I had to say something.  We, rather he, was not living within our means.  I think he must be pooping gold flakes.

We came to the conclusion that we need to get financially healthy.  He will still be the one that pays the bills but the fast food mostly be an occasional reward and only with a coupon or some sort of bargain.

Tomorrow my husband will be eating at a local restaurant that is giving the same meal free on January 18 if you keep the receipt.   I bought a year's supply of toothbrushes for him that were on sale and plus I had a coupon.  My kids and I get brushes at the local dollar store.

My Money Saving Tips:

  • Use coupons.  You don't have to be a super couponer just use them on products you use.  If you are purchasing things that you have never used, well that isn't saving that's spending and you'll have nothing much.
  • Invest in the Sunday Paper.  That one has loads of coupons and if you get it every Sunday, eventually it will pay for itself.
  • Only eat fast food with a coupon and once or twice a month.  I know, you're running and have no time to make food.  If you are reading my blog, Facebook, or any other site for an hour you have time to make food.
  • Make your own food.  I make more food than we need for our meals.  If you double your meals you can freeze them and then you have your meals for work.
  • Bring your home cooked food to work.  This really needs no explanation.
  • Shop second hand.  I once bought a $200 pair of jeans for $1.  I bought my husband a pair of Tommy pants for $1.  Except for undies and socks, you really don't need to buy brand new.
  • Buy water bottles, the kind that are permanent in the camping section.  This saves us $9 alone.
  • Learn to make your own laundry detergent.  I have no clue what the savings is but it takes 1 1/2  years for us to go through our homemade laundry detergent.  
  • Get your health in order.  Seriously, I was diabetic and no longer need meds.  I have no clue the cost of insulin and pills cause I put that behind me but it isn't cheap.
  • Use a store card that has gas points.  We have filled up the tank on so much less than regular gas stops.
  • Learn to make gifts.  Save your fabric, Popsicle sticks, pop bottles ect.  My mom made me a crochet Yoda and I love, love, love him!  My kids will not let go of the gifts that I  made for them and my husband lives for my popcorn balls.
  • Grow your food.  I've stated before, we grow several herbs and we attempt to grow other foods.
  • Dehydrate.  If you are growing food you should save it for future use.
  • Can your food.
  • Freeze your food.
  • Keep a rain barrel.  Watering your garden can get pricey.  A rain barrel evens out the cost.
  • Cut out cable.  We have none and I don't see why anyone would pay for commercials on tv.  Commercials were placed there to make tv free.
  • Take advantage of free ebooks.  I'm a book hoarder, I know what I'm saying.
  • Buy books at a second hand store.  We homeschool and most of our curriculum was built on $0.10 a book.
  • Buy one special DVD once a month and have a family movie night.  Make popcorn, drink your pop or whatever.  Walmart sells $0.99 movie candy boxes.  $60 for a family maybe once a year for an extra special movie but that's it.  
  • If possible only have one car and save the money to buy it.  Never make a payment.  It makes no sense at all to pay for a car to get rid of it and make another car payment only for it to break down by the time your done paying for it.  You will spend your entire life on a thing that only depreciates in value.  Save for a new home, not a car.  A home appreciates in value if you take care of it.

As you can see, I'm super frugal.  There are probably more things I do but I'm drawing a blank now.  Other than my husband, we rarely eat out.  These are things that are now, getting in order and it has really helped my relationship with my husband.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

My Habitat Home: It's Reversed!

 I went in for my A1C today.  Remember, I said I can be part of a FB group that says "You just have to live with it."  Ummm... no, diabetes does not command me.  I will not take meds for this, period.   My A1C was 5.4.  In other words, my body responds like one that does not have diabetes.

Seriously, don't tell me I can't reverse something because I'm known to prove people wrong.  Don't ever tell me it's something I have to live with.  No, I don't.  No, I never will accept any of that.

I only accept the path I choose and not the one you say I'm supposed to choose.  My path is one in which I show my children and family, you can change.

For god's sake!  Fruits and veggie don't give you diabetes!  crap food does and I do not allow crap to control me.

So, yeah, I've reversed it through a plant based diet and exercise.  No chocolate cream filled cookies for me.  I learned to make deserts that allowed me to reverse this.  I did not gorge on processed sugars, flour, or whatever.

I've been overweight my whole life.  If I can do this, so can you.

Friday, 2 October 2015

My Habitat Home: Insecurities About Men's Insecurities

When I knew what I had to do, to get healthy, insecurities began to pop up.  My husband actually liked me overweight and I wasn't particularly thin when we met.  I weighed 220 lbs then.

I had watched talk shows and read articles about husbands that left because she changed and lost weight.  I knew I would need change to loose weight and I knew it could mean jeopardizing my relationship with my husband.

Why would I sacrifice, potentially, my relationship?  It's really partly about me.  I don't believe a pill is going to help and I certainly don't believe it will leave me unscathed either.  One of those meds left me with a b12  deficiency and hair loss.  The kicker is I take b12 supplements.  The other part is, it wasn't fair to my kids.  My kids do not deserve seeing my health deteriorate.

As I was saying, I was worried about my relationship.  I was going through some pretty rapid changes.  Let's be clear, I did discuss all of this with my husband.  Every thought and idea I expressed nearly every day.  I believe in communication even though I am an introvert and often just write my feelings to my husband because verbally expressing is very hard sometimes.

My husband was very supportive and constantly assured me, he wasn't leaving.  I'm grateful to have that kind of husband.

More and more he tells me that I was right.  The answer is, indeed spinach.  It will not go away with a shot.  You can't even eradicate measles with a shot because it eventually mutates.  There is no money in cure.  Come on now, I live in America.  It would wipe out so much business if we all started eating spinach.

Friday, 25 September 2015

My Habitat Home: Type 2 Diabetes Update

I know I've done a horrible job of updating this blog.  Anyhow, I have been Featured on Happy Herbivore and if you would like to join my Facebook conversation, Getting to Healthy, feel free to do so.

Now, onto my updates... I weigh 164 and I'm off all meds.  No more insulin, Metformin, and no more cinnamon as of today.  Just a multivitamin and b12 because I am plant based.  I will be taking Aloe to repair my liver but that will be it once the one bottle is gone.

Remember, I said I left a group because the mantra was "living with type 2 diabetes."  Ummm... no.  I will not live with it.  I will research and get rid of it.  I do not believe in taking drugs that band aids the problem.  I believe in finding solutions and running with it.

In two months I go back for blood work.  I expect my Dr. to tell me it looks like we reversed type 2 diabetes.

Anyhow, on to the food stuff...
Salad with nuts, onions, raisins, lettuce, cucumbers, mushrooms, and red wine vinegar

This is made with garbanzo beans.  I haven't tried it yet but I'm sure it will be fantastic!

Tofu scramble seasoning and turmeric make the eggy coloring.

Banana nut muffins
1 cup wheat flour
1cup oatmeal flour
2tsp vanilla
2 tsp poppy seed
1 cup nut (whatever you like. I used pecan)
2 bananas
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp milled flax seed
1/4 cup maple syrup
1cup milk of choice
1cup water
Preheat oven to 350
Place all ingredients in bowl and mix. These do not rise like cupcakes. You can fill to nearly the top if you like. I got 18 out of this recipe and it stays in oven for 18 minutes.

Gardin' makes a brand of "fake fish"  it's pretty good.

Low carb tortilla shell and lots of toppings make a vegan pizza.

Tofurkey and daiya make make awesome toppings!

Chocolate oat flour cuppies
2 cups oat flour
2 tsp milled flax seed
3/4 cups maple syrup
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup sugar free apple sauce
1 tsp vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine all ingredients place in cupcake liners using an ice cream scoop (perfect measurement)
3. Place in oven. Check with a fork after 15-20 minutes. These seem to cook faster than regular cake mix so keep a close eye on them.
Let cool before adding icing.

1 cup oat flour
3/4 cup almond flour 
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup vegan milk
1 1/2 tbsp apple sauce
2 tbsp milled flax seed
1/2 tsp vanilla
(Little water optional)
1. Combine all ingredients
If you find the consistency too thick, add water.
2. Place on a non-stick griddle. I use an ice cream scoop because it has the perfect pancake size.
These cook a little longer than regular pancakes. I topped mine with maple syrup, frozen fruit, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, and turmeric.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

My Habitat Home: I Can't Live With Diabetes

I was a member of a Facebook group that I just left.  The reason I left was because I can't live with diabetes.  Everyone is all "We need to live with this disease."  and I'm all, "No!"

I will not conform to the diabetes diet that a doctor that had three hours or less of nutrition studies advises.  I will, instead, become my own nutritionist.

I will find foods that reverse diabetes.  Why?  Because I do not accept diabetes.  I refuse to allow my children to see this life and death struggle and I refuse to be on a diet that makes no sense at all.

Why would I want to eliminate a plant from my diet altogether?  Really?  If you have type 2 diabetes, I'm going to assume you know what got you there and it was not a bowl of pinto beans.  I'm going to assume it was sugar, ice cream, breads, cakes, saturated fats, and an excessive amount of meat foods.  That was certainly the case with me.

I refuse to "live with the disease."  I think that is the difference between myself and most diabetics.  I don't do the "Oh, poor me!"  I give myself a week to morn my carefree ways and then read every scientific study I can find.  I study nutrition like a mad woman.  For diabetics there are more articles supporting beans than meat.  In fact, many of the studies I read, link meat to being carcinogenic and it increases toxicity if you grill it.

Corn... yes, let's go there!  Sure you should not consume it like a crazed lunatic.  One ear will be fine.  I have never had raised sugar due to corn. Ever!  My two highest numbers, I ate meat and to be precise it was grilled chicken.

Bread... find either a whole grain or low carb option and for God's sake don't eat that like a crazed lunatic either! Grain for breakfast and lunch and then do plants for dinner.  Large salad with nuts or beans and a salad dressing made with Tofutti sour cream, vegan milk, and herbs.

How do I know this works?  My numbers were checked.  Fatty liver disease, gone. High Cholesterol, non-existent, My blood pressure was normal but that went down by 10 points.  My diabetes A1C number wen from 10.9  to a 5.7 at the last check up.

Do I struggle?  When my family is in "I support you" mode no.  When they get tired of not seeing ice cream or chips, yes.  I absolutely do struggle when the junk is brought in.  If they gave a fair warning and I was able to slice bananas and freeze them it would go over better but they usually don't give me time to prepare my equivalent.

I'm not saying I'm perfect.  I am saying research your disease.  Don't just go for a diet because you want to live with a disease.  Go for a diet because you can't live with the disease.  I am quite aware that everybody works different but  let's be real.

You watch enough tv to know what foods are crap.  There are plenty of nutritionists on tv even if you eat a meat diet.  You do know a portion is the size of your fist right?  Gah!  I just cannot be part of any group that make no sense at all.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

My Habitat Home: Plant Based on a Budget

I have mentioned in previous posts that we are on a tight budget.  We spend about $450 a month on food for our household.  I maintain a plant based diet and my family does not.  How could we possibly afford this?

First, I shop the ads.  I look for products we eat on sale at Aldi's, Kroger, Walmart, and Sav-Alot.  We mostly go to Aldi's for the bulk of it.  Second, I see if I have coupons for the sales.  Kroger will often give coupons for free things like water, cereal, and sometimes veggie burgers.  I believe you have to sign up through their website for those coupons.

Here is the key to affordability, soups.  Yup, you read right!  Soup is the key.  You purchase lots of dried beans garbanzo, pinto, kidney, lentils, navy etc and then you buy a tray of crushed tomato, a tray of diced tomato, and a tray of mushrooms.  Your veggies for most of these soups include onions, peppers, zucchini, leeks, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, kale, spinach, cabbage, and carrots.

With those few ingredients you have so many meals!  In my freezer I house chili, butternut squash soup, spaghetti squash (made like spaghetti without meat), lentil curry, lentils and spinach, cabbage soup and more!

I also have to make meals for my meataterians.  Soups are a key component here too.  I find meat to be horribly expensive.  It doesn't even matter what it is,  it costs an arm and a leg.  I truly don't understand the "vegetables are too expensive" attitude when the truth is, meat is horribly expensive.

The soups for my family include beef stew (I buy a large package of the meat and divide it into three or four portions), chicken noodle soup, chili and then they also eat the vegan stuff because it's really abnormal to not eat veggies at all.

I buy other ingredients to make massive amounts of homemade bean burritos (mine have a low carb tortilla which costs extra but the key is, you eat only one), chicken fajitas for them and mine are a soy based fajita.

I have a garden so we eat lots of salad while in season and we eat weeds like dandelion, blackberry and raspberry leaves, and grape leaves.

We have a large freezer in our basement so we have tons of things for the family on ice.  What we do not have is tons in the refrigerated part.  We run out of refrigerated stuff the closer to the end of the month we get.  Which is ok because we have soup and frozen veggies.

Maybe, I'll start posting some of the recipes soon because they have helped in getting my blood sugar where it belongs.

Monday, 1 June 2015

My Habitat Home: Random Thoughts

 I've been pretty busy working on my plant based meals.   I don't eat meat but I refuse to call myself vegan.  Why?  I have experienced some of the most nasty attitudes toward others trying to be healthy and live healthy.   I will never, ever be a vegan because self preservation will never allow it.

I do love animals but I am also into survival skills for my kids.  Let's say there are no plants left.  What then?  Never say it won't happen.  We already have an issue with bee reduction.  We will be lucky if we survive that.

I've already had the "pleasure" of seeing first hand what a water shortage could do through poison in the water and nine times out of ten, it's due to corporate greed.  Corporate greed is also why a vegan is a vegan.

 As I said though, I do not think of myself as vegan.  I have no clue what a vegan would do with leather boots they previously owned.  The environmentalist in me says please don't toss them!  You toss them and you contribute to part of your animal issues.  Animals are killed from us tossing stuff out, water destroyed, your leather shoes destroyed an entire environment and then vegan shoes... I'm not certain that they biodegrade.  Leather does biodegrade but synthetics have a harder time of it.  This is what I don't get about the whole vegan thing.

You think you are solving an issue but maybe you are creating another issue and it has potential to be far worse.  I think I'll just be happy eating my plants and avoid the Facebook vegans.\

 This weekend my husband and I took the kids to an event called Beyond the Back Yard.  We saw a lot of animals.  They got a chance to go fishing, shoot with a bow and arrow, and learn to safely shoot a Daisy bb rifle because these skills are important.  It's not like we live in a big city where the only guns owned are by gang owners.  We live where people hunt to survive.

 Last but certainly, not least, there's homeschool.  I have been working on next years' schedule.  I'm so happy I will have my daughter join us and we will have more field trips and activities because we ditched public school.  This is the end of that.  I'm tired of my kid getting bullied.  Maybe if I were more confrontational.  I really hate calling school and asking what the heck is going on here?

My daughter's grades went down and she has suffered migraines over this junk.  No, no brat is allowed to take my daughter's health from her.  No brat is allowed to make my kid miserable.  No brat is allowed to turn a public school that's ok into an inner city school with metal detectors.  Just stop!  And for God's sake take parental responsibility!