Organic Living (on a Budget!)

Clean eating and do-it-yourself tips from a newly married couple's persepective

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I finished my last final exam and turned in my term paper today at 11:40am! I’ve been in school so long, I forget what it’s like to be myself! I’m a completely different person when school is out–no stress, I don’t feel guilty for spending time doing “nothing,” I go out and have fun with friends…I am really looking forward to the end of next semester, when I graduate with my B. S.! Literally, the moment I left the exam this morning, my world changed. I’m waiting for my brain to start working again and list all the books I’m going to read during the next 3 weeks…that’s literally what I wait for all semester long!

I was up past midnight last night finishing up my paper on Major Depressive Disorder for my biomed physics class. It’s a fascinating topic, but not at midnight. At that point, staring at the inside of my eyelids was all I wanted to do. I got up at 6:30am to finish it then headed to my exam at 9. It was a 10-question exam but it took me an hour and 40 minutes! And I was the second person to finish in class. Yikes. My hand was getting tired from all that writing. It was so gloomy this morning I thought winter had actually arrived. But by the time I stepped out of the classroom, it was bright and sunny again! Good try, Florida skies. At least I can keep my bedroom window open today! That’s a sure sign something is right with the weather.


Let’s be glad it’s so bright we can’t see how dirty the window is, K? 😉

First up after my exam was LUNCH. In the dead quiet of the exam classroom, my stomach was growling! Embarrassing! I made a simple sandwich with spicy mustard, homemade pickles (my boyfriend makes the BEST, even though he’s never tried them and he doesn’t like pickles…), ham, turkey, and cheddar. I grilled it to crisp up the gluten-free bread (the kind we get is pretty fragile).


And now I’m enjoying a cup of hot tea (something fancy & fruity from Teavana, I made it at my boyfriend’s house before I left) as I decide whether I should pack for my cruise on Monday or read a book. Hmmm.

TTYL! ❤ Gina

Currently loving:

The Jazz24 app! I discovered this radio station from Seattle online during my freshman year. It’s written my college papers with me ever since.



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Healthy Holiday Tips + Pantry Challenge

For a few days, I’ve started the morning with a cup of hot green tea with lemon before breakfast. I think of it as a gentle post-Thanksgiving detox. I was feeling so bloated after the holiday–I didn’t eat too much, but everything was high in sodium and fat, so it felt like I ate a ton! The tea has been really helping me feel lighter and slimmer again.

Want to know what I do to make sure the holidays stay healthy and I don’t un-do all my hard work at the gym?

1. Follow the 80/20 rule. Eat healthy, whole foods 80% of the time, but indulge and enjoy things that are usually off-limits 20% of the time. If eating healthy is a lifestyle, a few days out of the year are not going to ruin your weight loss goals in the long run.

2. Sample everything you’d like to try at the holiday dinner table. If your hostess insists you eat more, let her know overeating makes your stomach ache and you want to be able to try everything she made without being uncomfortable the rest of the day. This way you can taste everything, but still keep your meal on the lower-calorie side.

This pic is before the food made it into the dishes, but you get the idea…there was wayyy too much food going on! I somehow didn’t get a pic after the food was ready… hmm.


did get a picture of the pies! Pumpkin and apple, plus we had brownies too (my mom’s hybrid brownie Can’t Leave Alone Bars)


3. Exercise the morning before the big meal! My brother and I went running before Thanksgiving dinner, and like always it upped my appetite and made me feel much better about indulging. This is a semi-tradition in our family, my sister has gone running with me before Thanksgiving dinner a couple times too. I’m sure somebody will go with me every year 🙂 We might go on Christmas morning too, after the presents are opened!


4. Enjoy being with your family. Life isn’t about weight loss, eating, and looking good. It’s about love. Feeling guilty about overeating all day isn’t worth it when you could be relaxing and enjoying the company of great-aunt Louise and the cousins who are visiting from out-of-town.


That’s my little brother, Clay, my sister, Vanessa, and me.

5. Eat lighter, but not less after the big day. Yes, your body still needs food after you’ve overeaten. No, that doesn’t mean you should have leftover pie the next day for breakfast. But having a bowl of oats or some eggs and a veggie hash is necessary. No need to starve yourself after indulging…that will just confuse your body. Return to your normal, healthy diet on December 26th.

Speaking of December 26th…that brings up the Pantry Challenge.  At the fitness club I work at, we’re encouraging members to makeover their pantries the day after Christmas as the first step toward having a healthy new year and finally losing the weight they’ve been trying to for so long. It all starts in the kitchen, folks. We are what we eat. Where did you think your skin comes from?? Every 4 months (120 days) our entire body is “reconstructed” from whatever we’ve eaten during that time. And we all know by now that 100 calories from a doughnut look nothing like 100 calories from a chicken breast or a salad with dark leafy greens.

The trainers at the club are going to bring in empty containers of their favorite pantry staples to show members what to replace their usual pantry items with–since the first part of the challenge involves throwing away all the stuff that isn’t doing them any favors (like those chocolate kisses you made cookies with for Christmas, or the genetically modified microwave popcorn).

So I want to extend the challenge here on the blog, and add a twist–let’s makeover our pantries on a budget. Set aside whatever you’d like to spend on some healthy staples want in your pantry and stick to that budget. I’ll be doing the same, and posting as December 26th approaches with some of my favorite pantry items. Deal? Deal.

Here are the rules:

Email me a pic of your “before” pantry, or instagram it @eclecticflgirl

Post in the comments on my “after” pantry post with new, healthy items you put in your pantry and let us know how far under your budget you were. You can let us know how much it cost too, if you want.

I can’t wait to see your pantries “after”! I hope we can all get some good ideas from each other and try some new foods in the process. Remember, I’ll be posting “after” food ideas for you as we approach December 26th 🙂