Wednesday, August 23

Healthy, Fast and Cheap Breakfast

I'd gotten away from this breakfast for a while, but I've recently rediscovered it. It takes almost zero time to prepare and is very good for you.

Simply pour some unflavored large flake rolled oats, of a slow cooking variety, in a bowl. Add a few spoonfuls of your favorite flavor of yogurt. Stir. Personally, I enjoy adding fat free stirred yogurts with small chunks of fruit. Something like blueberry, mixed berries or even peach will do the trick.

No, I don't actually cook the oatmeal, I prefer to simply stir in the yogurt and let it sit for a moment.

Anyway, this breakfast will take you thirty seconds to prepare and probably cost you about that per serving. Oats are a good source of fiber, low GI carbohydrates and various nutrients. Yogurt is a good source of calcium, some B-complex vitamins and various minerals. Fruits, such as blueberries, are a good source of health promoting antioxidants.

Oh, and I almost forgot, studies have shown that calcium and dairy products (perhpas due to high glutamine content) are helpful with weight loss. That means this breakfast, as part of a managed diet, can also be useful for weight loss with factors such as satiety inducing fiber, low GI carbs and dairy content.

Why would you punish your body with a coffee and a donut, which costs more, when you could have this instead?

Thursday, August 10

Beware the Anti-Frugal

I'm guessing that not everyone on the planet is a frugality wizard. I know I have a few readers, particularly some other frugality bloggers, that probably are much better at this than I. However, today's post is for all those people that happen by who may or may not have gotten beyond the "frugality might be a good idea" phase.

  Umm, yeah, so, just what is this Anti-Frugal thingy anyway?

Our society has been shaped by the Anti-Frugal for many years now. You see, frugality and mass consumerism are sort of at odds with each other, which results in one of those epic struggles that you might see in those old black and white movies on public television. The Anti-Frugal is a series of choices presented to us by society to take advantage of our moments of weakness to relieve us of our earnings.

  Yeah, ok, that's a little out there, you aren't serious are you?

Well, only a little. Now hush up, it's more fun this way. Let's talk about convenience. It's friday night, you've had a long and hard work week, you've brought home the family bacon, you are tired, you need a break. What does the Anti-Frugal tell us to do? Many of us will stop by a fast food joint and pick up some food or order out for dinner after we get home. It's something of a ritual, at least it was for me. This, this abomination of throwing good money at bad food, this is the Anti-Frugal.

  Oh yeah, I love when we order out, pizza is my favorite on
  Friday nights!

Hmm, are you sure you are listening? Convenience is one of the biggest tools of the Anti-Frugal. It sits in waiting until we are exasperated, tired or flush with cash and then offers us an easy way out for a price. We are perennially suckers and we fall for it more times than not.

  Okay, I see what you are saying, but I still think you are a
  dingbat. What else have you got?

Yes, well, you stew away on the convenience factor concept, you'll see. Anyway, another tool of the Anti-Frugal is outright deception. See, if you buy this blender today, for only $49.99 we'll throw in two free bars of hand soap and a second lid, free, for a savings or over $9,933.22! Act now, quick, a steal like this won't stick around very long...

  Omg, I have to get one now, while it's on sale, I'll be saving a ton,
  where is my purse? Oh, I hope they aren't sold out.

You can't be serious. Relax, it's a made up sale. The savings are false. The silly thing is overpriced and the junk added to the sale to make it such a big deal is just that, extra junk. Besides, they'll never sell out of the silly thing, there is no big blender shortage and if you've lived this long without a blender what makes you think you suddenly need one anyway?

Anyway, I'm talking generalities here. If I want to be charitable about the situation it's all a magic act. Shiny special lighting, fit happy people, great looking food professionally prepared, and it's all just props. Of course, they presumably can't outright lie, but they sure can stretch that truth an awful long way, can't they.

  Shoot, it was such a good deal too.

Uh-huh. Oh, here's one I've bet you've heard a few times. Howabout those great credit deals. Switch your debt over to brand "Imarippoff" credit cards pay no interest for six whole months. Think of the savings!

  Yeah, that's exactly what's in my wallet...

Sigh. Look, unless you are going to pay off those cards, the interest after the initial six months is usually astronomical. If you are routinely paying off your credit cards, then you won't have any debt to transfer to a new card anyway. Credit is a big game where everybody is having a great time stealing your money from your pocket and you sit there happy about it. Credit combined with convenience combined with deceptive advertising is the unholy trinity of the Anti-Frugal.

  Dude, like, you are frothing at the mouth, take it easy!

Arrrrrrgh. Bleah. Cough. Yeah, anyway, so it's the weekend and you are bored and your friend calls you up, hey, let's go grab some chow, hit a movie and then go shopping at the mall. Of course you squeal, say it's a great idea, and rush off to check your bank balance to see whether the day will be funded by debit or credit.

  Yeah, totally, my friends and I do that every weekend, it's
  really fun.

Yeah, whatever. I know it will strike you as odd, but you or your friends could visit each other, perhaps taking turns, and you know, prepare some food at home and share it. Heck, it might even be a bit of a social event, you bring this, I'll make that, maybe drop by to rent a movie and hang out at the pod for a bit. See, the Anti-Frugal throws boredom at us to push us out of our own financially controlled habits into the realm of paid activities as a social tool.

  I have no idea what you are talking about at all.

That's okay. I'll be here waging an eternal battle against the Anti-Frugal for as long as I can. Think about this stuff and come on back if you need some more pointers or advice, okay?

  Ewww, that sounds like homework!


Friday, August 4

Three Birds: One Stone

As my lifestyle gives me plenty of time to do such things, I decided to combine some strategies and make what seemed like a lazy day a productive day, better yet, into a leveraged productivity day (do you like that, I just made it up). I decided to take my own advice, from topics I've written about previously, and bundle a couple of them together.

Get this, I walked to the local laundromat to do my laundry. If I don't go to the laundromat I spend a lot more for the convenience of doing laundry in my own apartment building. Of course, if I drive to the laundromat I spend money on gasoline and of course I'm sure there is a bit of wear and tear. Even better, since I carried my stow bag of laundry over my shoulder both there and back I got in a good aerobic workout -- moreso than just walking.

Even better, if you recall, I am calorie cycling. The day I walked to the laundry, about a 25 minute walk, it was a low calorie day. This means that my body was primed to burn fat for energy on the walk there, while I sat reading a book during the laundry cycle and of course for the walk back. Altogether, that's at least three birds for one stone.

Best of all, with the MP3 player on during the walk, the book to read while there, and the beautiful sunny day I enjoyed the whole event. You can bet this is something I'm going to be repeating on a regular basis, at least while the summer lasts. Anyway, the real purpose of this post is to inspire you to find novel ways to combine things, assuming of course you have to time to do so. If you are trying to be fit, and have alloted time for exercise, this can be a productive and cheap way to make use of it.

Wednesday, August 2

I'm Going Nuts, Pine Nuts!

So, if you have been following along you've seen that I'm trying out a calorie cycling diet. You've also seen that I've spotted some research (see this post) which talks about pinolenic acid and it's ability to increase feelings of satiety, which would help one eat less.

Well, the store I shop at sells pine nuts. I guess you can grind them up to make pesto, which may be more appetizing and perhaps cheaper option, but I thought I'd pick up a little tub and give this a try. When I got home from the gym today I had a spoonful of pine nuts. These are the raw ones, not roasted ones. Anyway, they are sort of bland and a bit funky, I think they are enough to make me lose my appetite directly, whether or not they have pinolenic acid!

Okay, that's not really true, but while mild I don't find them all that appealing. In any case, while today is a low calorie day, I do think I seem to be less hungry than I would otherwise expect. Perhaps it is just the placebo effect? I'm pretty disciplined, so I'll give this a try for a few weeks on low calorie days and see if I consistently notice a lack of appetite when eating these things.

If I do, then I'll probably try to find an appetizing way to eat a spoonful of pesto instead. Where on earth do I get these ideas?

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