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Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Planet based or not? Why I am no longer Gluten Free


black and red cherries on white bowl

Simplifying my needs when it comes to food intake why I am no longer Gluten free 

Explaining my dietary needs can be confusing to most, recently I have over hauled my diet after careful consideration and analysis of different food types paying attention to micro nutrients and health benefits.

I have been following a more planet based approach to my diet and in a previous post I have explained my struggles with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)  and how that has effected my food choices.
Like many,  I like foods to be interesting and involve different colours and textures but, be able to be simple and easily obtained without giving inconvenience to others when trying to prepare meals.

The benefits of planet based food also means that I no longer suffer intensely with the symptoms that triggered my IBS for example eating more whole foods combined with the goodness of fruits and vegetables means that i'm eating foods that are naturally sourced for me the results have been amazing, overall I feel better and feel more energized.


Why I don't consume Plant based ready meals or substitutes 

Food Consumer choice is at a point of being one of the most diverse mass markets in the world, Manufactures has taken this opportunity to capitalize on a growing popular sensation to offer an alternatives which is great, when done in the right way, my only observation on this idea is we are supposed to creating a generation of better thinkers when it comes to consumption of food choices however providing processed alternatives may further add to the the current health problems that society is already faced with.
These alternatives offer very little health benefits with many being filled with more calories then there meat alternatives.

Is Planet based more expensive and do I buy Organic versus Non organic

This does depend on location, however most dried whole foods consist of, rice, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds and pasta. These are what we eat within our everyday meals so the price here is not that different, although if you buy in bulk you will find that you save a lot of money.

Some thing to have in mind is that I had to to shop more often for fresh produce as these do have a shorter shelf life. I know that you can buy frozen fruits and vegetables  or freeze a lot of fresh produce but,  for me I never really liked the taste of frozen foods with that being said, I'm fortunate to be served very well with supermarkets and conveniences stores so this has never been a problem.

I must say that supermarkets generally have a higher price point for items, such as plant based milk, cheese or tinned foods and sauces bu,t if you buy there own brand it can be slightly cheaper.

Personally I only shop organic if its within my budget and for this I apply the basic principles of the 12 dirty dozen which are foods that should be brought organic were possible, as these would potentially  have the most amount of pesticides,  and the clean 15 which is a list of fruits and vegetables that contain the least amount of pesticides and should be OK to buy conventionally.

Lastly I would like to say that making changes in any situation should be a transition and should be discussed with a dietitian or GP if in doubt.




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Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Can we as women really have it all?




Being a women and a mother I  was recently asked this question by my daughter, as I carefully controlled my response which was pretty daunting I realised I really didn't know the correct answer to such a broad question.

It got me thinking and took me back to time when I just a child growing up in society where technology and women's rights, was in its infancy and evolving
.
I was raised by my mother who was of Caribbean decent a strong women who for as long as
I remember worked 2 jobs to raise myself and my 4 other siblings.

 I was lucky enough to have an entire army of very strong and hard working women to my disposal that being family and friends- its really true what they say cause it really did a take a village to raise me and shape me into the woman I' am today.

I remember attending a Saturday school that taught me about my heritage both African and Caribbean our history and our legacy.

This become the beginning of my understanding that being a women of such an important heritage I have so much excellence to give, I never wanted my ancestor's to have fought in vein for the right to be recognised as equals so I proceeded to take up every opportunity I was given .


I remember my mother and my aunt always telling me that anything is possible if you work hard, and have determination, They also taught me not to be naïve, that there will be some real bumps in the road but to perceiver and deal with such bumps with integrity and a learning experience.

 I was educated on prejudice and how I would have to work harder, not only due to the fact that I  was women of colour,  but also as a women in her on right. I further realised that element's on prejudice came in different forms nether the less I stayed level headed.

During this time I also attended an after school club for girls called Ajani the name translating into  he who wins the struggle that was run by women I called them women of excellence, these women knew my story cause they once lived in my shoes, they made me feel a sense of relief, that I as a women could become something great, and be an inspiration just the same way they inspired me.

These women worked hard at providing us with a safe haven and giving us light at the end of the tunnel. Its was a sisterhood, we would spend times on endless trips, activities, movies nights and team bonding but the excellence didn't stop there, individually was was all assigned our own youth leader who would then proceed to walk us home one by one after the school club was finished.

Attending church every week was a must, of which my Sunday school teacher was a women who also helped run the church choir and the summer play schemes.
Once a week I would also attend ballet lessons with my ballet teacher Alison- wow I had a busy Schedule but life was good.

At this stage I began to realise that  for most of my childhood, I had been highly influenced by strong educated women around me, they were my mentors,  and they were all women from different backgrounds.

After bringing my thought process back to current times, it made me wonder has much has changed and what kinds of barriers my children may face,  as they begin there journey through there childhood into there teens and then into the adult world. Can we really have it all, as women can we be business/career oriented, partners, wife's, mothers and still be able to have our own identity.

For sure this can be possible, but for me the real mentorship for my daughter was to share with her my journey, no stone was left unturned as I proceeded to answer her questions one by one, her intelligence shined as I realised she was indeed a child of excellence.

 Her knowledge and understanding was overpowering and we talked about both negative and positive experiences she has encountered. True story is that my daughter at the age of 5 and 7 had two very different encounters with prejudice, but even at a young age her mind still in its innocent's she has established coping mechanisms to deal with such behaviours.

I am happy to say that I was apart of shaping the way she not only views her self but how she views others, her peers, her elders and her care givers. The irony is we cant change the way people think but we can change our reactions and use our platforms to educate each other  moving past stereotypes

 I always say one of our strongest tools is our voice,and when used in the correct way, can be one of the most powerful sources to deliver hope, encouragement and inspire each other that it is possible to have it all .


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Sunday, 26 May 2019

Eating Healthy: Less Expensive Than You Think?


You’ve probably heard that eating healthy is more expensive than eating processed junk. (Whole Foods, Whole Paycheck, right?!) But is it really true? The answer may surprise you. No matter what, we’ve got some pointers to help both your nutrition and bank account stay on track.

The Verdict


According to a 2013 Harvard study, yes — eating healthier will inflate your grocery bill. Processed foods are cheaper to manufacture meaning that adding more produce, lean meat, and fish to your diet will cost you a lot extra.  While some budgets can’t absorb the hike, the difference between eating a balanced diet and surviving on pre-packaged food may be easier to overcome than you thought.

One Caveat


Even though wholesome foods sometimes comes with a bigger price tag, we need to be mindful of our own psychology. Recent research indicates that we tend to assign greater nutritional value to more expensive goods. When we’re wrong, our wallets take an unnecessary hit and we perpetuate the idea that a nourishing diet is financially out of reach. Rather than focus on price, we should review the product label to gauge vitamins, nutrients, fats, sodium, and sugar which are true measurements of nutrition.

Long Term Benefits


Even though your wallet may be displeased now, you’re really doing yourself a financial favour by improving your diet. Research shows that eating well reduces your risk for a whole host of unpleasant and costly conditions like cancer, dementia, heart attack, diabetes, and more. With health care expenses reaching new highs every year, it makes sense to invest a little upfront to avoid a potential fiscal disaster later.

How to Eat Healthy on the Cheap


Yes, you may pay more to eat better — but shopping smart can curb the cost. Here are several ways to boost your diet without breaking the bank:

  • Hit up farmers or your local markets and buy seasonal produce where possible.
  • Buy frozen produce — it’s cheaper, keeps longer, and packs the same nutritious punch.
  • Buy inexpensive whole grains, beans, and peanut butter because they’re tasty, versatile, and good for you.
  • Cook with cheaper cuts of meat like chicken thighs, ground turkey, and beef sirloin.
  • Buy store brand goods — they usually taste the same as name brands.
  • Shop sales, use coupons, and go to discount stores. Where you shop can make all the difference.
  • Meal plan and cook at home. You’ll be in control of the price and what goes into each dish.
  • Grow your own food. While more land and more free time equate to more crops, even busy apartment dwellers can grow herbs in their windowsill.

Check out recipes for inexpensive and wholesome meals here and here.

Final Thoughts


Eating a balanced diet does cost a bit more than eating processed foods. However, with these money-saving strategies, you can curtail the expense and treat your body better. Your future self will thank you!
article originally published at HiCharlie.com

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Monday, 20 May 2019

Newly Single? How to Financially Get Over Your Ex


Breakups are painful and confusing. All of a sudden, your life is completely different and you now need to deal with everything on your own — including financial matters. Even though your heart is bruised and mind is dazed, you need to take charge of your money and financially get over your ex. This is especially true if they handled the household budget or were the main breadwinner.

To avoid adding money misery to your heartache, follow these 10 tips:

Adjust Quickly


It’s natural to wallow in the pain, binging on ice cream and Netflix. However, you need to acknowledge your new reality as soon as possible. If you don’t, you could find yourself in a financial world of hurt. Once you’ve come to grips, you can make a plan.

Determine Your Living Situation


If you and your ex live together, you need to decide who stays in the house or apartment. If unmarried with the mortgage or lease in only one of your names, the decision is easy. But, if it’s a joint venture, you’ll need to partner on a solution.

For owned property, the fairest route may be to sell and split the proceeds. (Or, one of you could buy out the other.). If you are navigating a divorce, the terms of the divorce will decide what happens to the home.

For rented property, you’ll need to involve your landlord. They can make official changes to the lease so that you or your ex is no longer legally responsible for paying rent. If neither of you can afford the apartment on your own, you may need to consider advertising for a housemate, or break the lease.

Regardless of whether you’re staying or going, you need to consider the financial impact. If your ex is leaving, you’ll lose their income. If you’re leaving, you’ll lose their income and need to come up with the cash to move.

Take Stock of Possessions & Debt


A moment ago, everything was shared. Now, it’s a definite case of yours and theirs. Regardless of marital status, anything owned before the relationship typically stays with you. If you’re not married, you and your ex should divvy up items acquired together, or choose to sell them and share the profits. Joint bank accounts should be split fairly and then closed. Further, if you incurred debt together, you should divide responsibility for the balances and close those accounts (preventing your ex from racking up more debt you’d be liable for). Typically, unless there is a dispute, legal intervention is not required.

If you’re getting divorced, depending upon where you live will determine you can seek legal assistance on how assets and debts are divided  (prenuptial agreements will have an impact as well). Be sure to understand the terms of your divorce or custody arrangement, if applicable, so that you can take advantage of everything that you’re entitled to.

Tip: Don’t forget to change the name on the utility accounts! You don’t want to be responsible for paying for electricity, heat, water, or internet after you move out.

Open Up Your Own Accounts


To move forward, you need to completely separate your finances from your ex. After closing your jointly held asset and debt accounts, open up any new ones that you need. Make sure that anything tied to money is in your name only.

Make (and Stick to) a Budget


You’re now in charge of running your own household and need to set a new budget to reflect that. Add up all of your expenses, including debt payments. Then, add up all of your income sources, factoring in alimony/child support, if applicable.

If your income falls short of your expenses, you need to make quick adjustments to your spending/find ways to increase cash flow. And, even though it’s tempting, try to avoid post-breakup retail therapy, which could cause you more grief and regret.

Tip: If you’re new to budgeting (or are a little rusty), try using a worksheet like this. There are also countless online tools and calculators like these that can help. 

Update Legal Documents


Unless otherwise required by the terms of your divorce, now’s the time to take your ex out of your will and off of your list of beneficiaries. Be sure to update these documents and name new beneficiaries.

Understand Tax Implications


If you’re divorcing, consider speaking with an accountant to see how your tax liability will change. Generally, single people pay higher taxes. If your income tax withholding is set as “married,” you may want to adjust it by filling out a new form with your employer(s).

Revisit Your Retirement Plan


Since you’re now flying solo, you should re-evaluate your retirement plans. Of course, a lot can change between now and your golden years, but you should ballpark how much money you’ll need if you’re just covering yourself. If you’re divorcing, retirement plan assets accumulated while married are subject to division as part of the proceedings. This monetary gain (or loss) will impact how much more you need to save. Finally, if you’re going to be financially strapped for awhile, consider if it makes sense to suspend contributions to your retirement plan until you’re back on your feet.

Keep Tabs on Your Credit


Your credit situation will change as you close some accounts and open others. Keep a close eye on your credit report to make sure all activity reported is accurate. If you haven’t already, remove your ex as an authorized user on any accounts that you’re keeping.

Tip: If you think your ex may purposefully use your cards, consider changing your credit card account numbers or freezing your credit.

Get Help


If you’re feeling lost and overwhelmed, ask for help. This is a difficult time and there are resources to make this transition easier. Your family and friends can offer support, encouragement, and distraction from the current drama. Community services can connect you with food, housing assistance, career development resources, and more if you’re feeling pinched. Finally, professionals can help with the legal, mental health, and financial planning aspects of this challenging chapter.
Since every situation is different and laws vary widely from state to state, you’re encouraged to seek the advice of a qualified professional before taking action.

Final Thoughts


Ending a relationship is one of the most difficult parts of the human experience. In a way, your world is ending. But, in a way, it’s just beginning, too. If you follow the tips in this article and lean on your support system, you’ll be well on your way to owning (and loving) your new single, empowered life.
This article was originally published at HiCharlie.com 

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