The Secret to Being a Super Thrifty, Skinny, and Socially-Conscious Humanitarian: Buy Less Food

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One third.

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That’s how much of the world’s food we waste.

If that wasted food went to people that need it, world hunger would be over.

Surprise to no one, the greatest source of wasted food is North America. Through shortages, recessions, and rising unemployment rates, we continue to waste like there is no tomorrow.

We are a culture completely obsessed with food. As of 3/18/14, there are nearly twenty-four million posts on instagram tagged #foodporn. There is an entire channel dedicated to food. The hotdog eating record is sixty-nine dogs in three minutes. This video of a man eating four chipotle burritos in three minutes has over one million views.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to enjoy food, it is fantastic to love what you eat and feel happy eating it. I think that can look like eating a big bowl of ice cream or a massive order of deep fried magic, but I don’t think that’s what it usually looks like.

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Our obsession with food stems from a larger problem: we are terrible at moderation. We make that clear with our waistbands, television dimensions, and impressive debts to credit card companies. We have trouble saying ‘no’.

More than that, we put too much of our worth into what we own, and that translates into wasteful excess.

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This isn’t a problem that will be solved overnight, but the solution begins with individual commitment to change. We have to accept that we are not alone on this earth, and our decisions radically affect each other.

It’s simple: buy what you need and order what you’ll eat.

We don’t need a five pound bacon burger to enjoy and savor our food. So order the smaller dish, resist the second (or third, or fourth) appetizer, and actually eat your leftovers.

It takes energy, water, and land to create what you consume, so consume consciously please.

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Balancing Health and Self-Love

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Facts surrounding weight in America are as extreme as they are polarizing.

74.1% of Americans are overweight or obese. All the while, 94% of seventeen-year-old girls have been on some form of diet because they perceive themselves as fat.

Studies revealing that thinner, attractive people are more likely to get hired and make a better paycheck. All while, nearly 50% of people with eating disorders also meet criteria of clinical depression.

We love bread and French fries and milk stouts. It’s fun and feels good to eat big delicious meals, they are communal, comforting and joyous.

Yet we look at images of super-thin women and feel inadequate. No one likes feeling heaviness on their bodies that wasn’t there a month ago, or feeling sluggish going up a mountain because of a greasy meal the night prior, or squeezing into a dress they used to look fantastic in.

Living life fully and healthfully simultaneously can be tough. Here’s some advice for doing it better:

Coordinate mega-meals and epic activity. Plan a big hike the day after thanksgiving, go on a long bike ride after a big meal out, do the sweaty yoga class after too much ice cream (except not right after because yoga farters are the worst). Exercise fights the slump that over-eating can cause and combats weight gain.

Love your veggies. Vegetables are basically the only food group everyone agrees is absolutely great food you. So eat a large amount of diversely colored veggies. Use this stunning infographic for more ideas how.

Embrace your body. We all have entirely different genetic makeup. Our metabolisms, weight distributions, and hormone levels can all play a major role in how we gain and lose weight. Many women at their healthiest look nothing like anything you would ever see in a magazine, and may perhaps resemble one of these lovely figures:

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If you can love yourself when you eat well, move, and have the energy you need to live your life, regardless of your size or shape, you are golden.

Luckily, there are a-thousand-and-one fantastic books, blogs, and speeches about how to love yourself better. Learning to be okay with who you are regardless of anyone else’s approval is the hardest, most tiresome, completely worth it process there ever was.

No matter how you slice it, our relationship with food, our bodies, and the world is a complicated one.

Being healthy, active, and properly nourished will ultimately help us appreciate our bodies as unique and powerful, and we will feel more free to let ourselves eat the damn cupcake.

The Price of Poor Posture

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America as a whole hunches.

We are stressed out, over-worked, and most of us sit in front of a computer far too much (she types from a computer). It’s not just adults, middle-schoolers cave under the weight of 30 pound backpacks for God’s sake. It’s a mess.

Our bodies function best when properly aligned. We walk, run, and even breathe the best when our bones sit nicely on top of one another.

Chronic back pain and spinal injuries are on the rise, which can be attributed to the drastic change in lifestyle most Americans live in comparison to even our recent ancestors. We overeat and sit at desks all day.

The effects range from depression to drug abuse and can be debilitating.

In addition to all the reasons to avoid bad posture, good posture can have fantastic health benefits.

Good posture protects your joints, strengthens your core, and makes you feel better about yourself (That’s not even feel-good nonsense, it’s science.)

After a very in-depth study I preformed (I went to two coffee shops and looked around to see how people were slouching) I saw the same poor postures over and over.

Here are the common postures (good and bad) as demonstrated by my foxy friends, Noelle and Rachael:

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The hardest thing about getting good posture is remembering to do it. It takes time to build the muscle memory that keeps proper alignment. When you are sitting on your desk, check-in with your body:

Is my spine straight?

Are my shoulders away from my ears?

Are my shoulder blades pressed together?

Am I taking big breaths?

Are my knees hips-width apart?

Are my feet pointed straight?

There are also stretches that encourage proper alignment:

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Take five minutes every morning and stretch. You don’t need to run four miles before sunrise to start your day energized, but give your body a little love in the morning to set it up for greatness.

Four Ways to Love Yourself on Valentine’s Day

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February 14th can be tough on single folks. The shameless public displays of affection and bouquets of flowers that aren’t for you can get a lady down.

If V-Day is killing your vibe, do these things:

Celebrate. You have the ability to do whatever you damn well please so use that power to dance wildly to Jason Derulo’s ‘Ridin’ Solo’ (or something equally fun and single-affirming).

Take yourself on a date. Do something you’ve always wanted to do like eat Singaporean food or listen to live jazz. It is really empowering to do things alone. It feels brave, and it also confronts the silly myth that life is on hold until you have a sig.

Unplug. Turn off your phone and computer. Go on a walk, cuddle up with tea and a book, hike a mountain. Give your body and brain a rest from the screens we constantly have in front of our faces.

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Give. Buy a flower for someone who is going through a rough time. Buy coffee for the person behind you. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Valentine’s isn’t a popular public service holiday, but why shouldn’t it be? Love and service are undeniably connected.

Regardless of your relationship status, celebrate love, in every and all forms it exists in your life.

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Fighting The Flu From Your Kitchen

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Cold and Flu season is officially in full swing, and unfortunately, frequent hand washing, 8 hours of sleep, and avoidance of the sneezing lady on the bus will only go so far.

If you succumb to a winter illness, your first instinct may be to head to the doctor to get a dose of antibiotics.

Practitioners have a lot of powerful medicine at their disposal, and antibiotics have been wonder drugs at fighting harmful bacteria for decades. As time goes on, bacteria has become more and more resistant to many commonly used antibiotics, which has been frequently accredited to over-prescription. The CDC put together this handy guide if you want to know more about antibiotic resistance. Sometimes antibiotics are the absolute way to go, sometimes they aren’t.

Either way, there are natural anti-microbials all around us that can help us heal. I put together this chalkboard of commonly found flu-fighters (and gained so much respect for creative people/people who can spell/people with legible handwriting in the process).

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With these seven ingredients you can make an endless number of tonics, but I’ll share my two favorites here.

Miracle Tonic

32 oz water

4 gloves garlic, minced

1 lemon, juiced

2 tsp cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)

1 tbsp raw honey

1 knob ginger, minced

1 inch turmeric, minced

Mix and stir in a pot over lowest possible heat, sipping throughout the day. The garlic and honey fight bacteria, cayenne boosts the immune system and opens sinuses, and ginger and lemon soothe sore throats.

Oregano tea

1 small bunch oregano

1 tsp raw honey

1 tsp lemon juice

Steep leaves in hot water, add honey and lemon juice after removing from heat. Oregano inhibits bacteria growth and has 42 times the antioxidant activity of apples.

A healthy night of sleep, lots of water, and managed stress can go a long way to combatting illness, but these warm remedies can help out should a winter bug get you down.

Not All Oils Are Created Equal

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I’ve been trying to eat healthfully for years. One of the first big changes I made was switching from cooking with vegetable oil to olive oil. I felt like a champ, an informed, Italian champ.

Fast-forward to a year ago when I read a ton of frantic articles about how evil olive oil is to cook with, that when heated above one temperature or another it becomes toxic. I kept researching articles until I found this one, which seemed the most credible, scientific source.

In the end, there are safer oils to cook with at high heat, and olive oil can always be added when this dish is removed from heat. Diane Sanfilippo put together this handy guide to make it all a bit simpler.

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The Value of Vulnerability

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Until recently, when women told me they didn’t have other lady friends, I took it as a sign to run away as quickly as possible.

“Women are so catty!”

“Men are so much easier!”

“I just don’t get girls!”

My eyes glazed over and all I heard was insecurity.

We are cultured to compete with one another, which makes avoidance of friendships with other women the easiest route to success. Befriending people, and dealing with all that entails, is tough.

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People make messes of their lives that you have to see them through, go through break ups and ramble about them too much, disagree with your politics.

Friendships can also do funny things to you. You tell someone that embarrassing childhood story you’ve never told a soul and suddenly feel lighter. You find a space to share how hard work has been and how life isn’t turning out how you’d planned. You start crying out of nowhere and by some magic they don’t get up and walk away.

On the worst days, Sartre is right, and Hell is other people, and you have to spend your day off helping the girl from your Pilates class who’s obsessed with her cat move across town.

But there are days that friendships are so incredibly important and uplifting.

I’m pretty sure vulnerability is the key to keeping friendships good. And so far I’ve learned that that looks like these things:

Honesty with yourself, with the other person, with reality. If you are incredibly angry, or lonely, or you just fell on your face (metaphorically or literally), you’ve got to fess up. Otherwise, walls will build, and you aren’t vulnerable anymore.

Self-Love, an appreciation for who you are, what you do, and how you contribute to this earth. You don’t feel the need to compete or break others down when you feel confident in who you are.

Empathy, the ability to imagine yourself in someone else’s circumstance is vital to being open and receptive.

Celebrating the successes of the people you love. It is really brave to do this, and sometimes takes practice, especially when things in your own life aren’t fantastic.

Vulnerability isn’t just a feel-good sentiment, it has a powerful impact on your entire existence:

Learning all of this has changed my perspective drastically. Now, when women tell me they don’t get women, I try to convince them to get coffee with me. I try to understand, love, appreciate, and celebrate them. I try to show them we don’t have to be the worst things people say about us.