One area where you underestimate your spending.

Inflation is running rampant. Gas prices are off the charts, rent has gone up, interest rates are rising. The key here is your income is likely not matching the pace. Maybe you got a 5% raise last time (if you are lucky). Inflation at 8%+ you’re losing money in nearly every area. Look this post doesn’t have to be long today, I’m not going to fill it up with elaboration on inflation.

There is likely one area in your life where you are underestimating how much you spend. That area is food. Yes, those $4-dollar coffee’s you buy twice a day, that organic ketchup on and on. Food prices rarely go down and the creep on food prices happens gradually. Here’s the rub, that food that you purchase, unless you buy a lot locally, has to be processed, shipped and stocked. All of that goes into the price point. So gas is going up? All of the food you’re buying at the super market was trucked in, someone had to pay for gas to get those products there.

Here is a link to a world food price index Now this is something finance professionals use to gauge real inflation numbers. I’m not suggesting you delve deeply into this. What this site does is aggregates average prices around the world for common food categories (meat, milk, sugar) and comes up with a “global average”. In 2004 the FPI (food price index) was 65.6 today it is 158.5.

I don’t care how much they charge for coffee.

A remarkable increase right? The key here is this never goes back below the prior year’s index. Unlike gas, housing and interest rates food prices keep going up. This is why your food cost is one of the most important budget numbers you have to know because the “price creep” is real. You are always going to be paying more for food, and now with inflation you are paying more for everything so chances are you are starting to lose wealth AKA purchasing ability.

Tighten up your food purchases, make your coffee at home, pack a lunch instead of eating out. Food continues to go up because we all need it; you die without out. Are you over spending here? Are you aware of exactly how much you spend a month on food? I look at how much I spent and I was blown away. I started a victory garden and that helped. Sure I don’t buy tomatoes anymore but coffee? Meh…

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Can cooking help with anxiety?

I don’t know about you but food gives me great comfort. Thankfully I am not overweight anymore, LOL. Cooking can in some cases be stressful, particularly when you are bingeing but cooking is one of the things, in some form, we all have to do. In my travels around the web I found a good article here

From the Article: “There hasn’t been a lot of research related specifically to cooking and anxiety, but a 2018 review article in the journal Health Education & Behavior looked at several small studies and found some interesting links. Cooking seemed to increase self-esteem and improved psychological well-being; it also appeared to decrease anxiety and agitation in a variety of people, including burn victims and those with dementia.”

The concept is, if you are cooking a meal the time you spend in preparation requires you to focus on the task at hand pushing out intrusive thoughts. Also, and perhaps more importantly it helps you build confidence and self esteem as you are creating something new from something old.

I know that to some people that might be a stretch but you start with a counter full of ingredients and you finish with a new dish that *hopefully* tastes good. Cooking can be really fun, particularly when you try new things. As an example when was the last time you had parsnips?

Since many of us are trapped at home perhaps now is a good time to have a cooking night. A night where you actually prepare a meal from scratch. This will give you something to focus on, and something to take you away from the news of the day which is a constant barrage of negativity in my opinion.

Any little thing helps right? You are doing awesome, one day at a time.

Work Cocoa Nibs into your diet

So this is another “super food” that I now consume. As I have said in other posts the older I get the more effort I put into eating good food. My personal goal is to eat the best food I possibly can. In my humble opinion the only better investment is buying time (a post on that another day). So does that mean giving up taste? The honest truth is in some cases yes. As an example Cocoa Nibs are bitter, these are not small pieces of your Hershey’s bar broken up into little pieces. These are the beans of the cocoa plant cut up into small “nibs” or bits.

Cocoa nibs are extremely “nutrient dense” so you won’t need a lot of them. The nutritional value for 100 grams (approx. ¾ of a cup)

Amount (kcal/grams)
Calories 228 kcal
Carbohydrate 57.9 g
Fiber 37.0 g
Sugar 1.75 g
Fat 13.7 g
Saturated Fat 8.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 4.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.44 g
Protein 19.6 g
Amount (% RDA)
Vitamin B2 18%
Vitamin B3 13%
Vitamin B6 9%
Folate 8%
Vitamin B5 5%
Vitamin K 3%
Vitamin E 1%
Amount (% RDA)
Copper 426 %
Manganese 239 %
Iron 173 %
Magnesium 125 %
Phosphorus 105 %
Zinc 62 %
Selenium 26 %
Calcium 13 %

 WOAH that’s a lot of carbs dude. It is but take a look at the fiber to sugar ratio. So this is a “good carb” as its mostly derived from fiber. What drew me to this product was the data on the minerals. Getting that many minerals from one food source is pretty incredible. Again I am not a Dr or a dietician, so I don’t know what you need or what is the “right” amount of vitamins etc. For me this achieved my goal of eating the best food I could find that provided the best benefit.

A few things of note:

  1. Cocoa nibs do contain caffeine. It’s not a lot but it’s there so if you area already consuming coffee that’s a consideration.
  2. Great source of Iron. Most iron sources are meat based so this is a good substitute for non-meat eaters.
  3. Cocoa nibs contain Theobromine which is a benefit of dark chocolate as well. This is a stimulant but there is ongoing research on its benefits.
  4. Cocoa nibs contain Polyphenols. These are still being studied in clinical tests so I can’t say definitively what benefits they provide. The evidence so far suggests they help blood flow and act as a natural anti-inflammatory.
  5. They taste  bitter, slightly earthy, and are not sweet. They have an over powering chocolate flavor.

So how do I eat them? I throw them in yogurt, but I mostly get these as part of my homemade trail mix. So get some nuts, dried berries, and Cocoa nibs throw them in a bag mix them up enjoy.

Source data:

Work Goji Berries into your diet

The older I get the better quality food I consume. It’s not a diet it’s a lifestyle change, I’ve made it and you can to. Eating the best food you can is the basis for the lifestyle, there are huge benefits to nearly every aspect of your health. My personal energy has increased tremendously as well as my mood. I have made a lot of changes, I will reveal some of them in future posts but the one I’m going to talk about today is Goji Berries.

Dried Goji berries specifically, so here is what you get out of a ¼ of a cup:

¼ cup (85 grams) of dried goji berries has about:

  • Calories: 70
  • Sugar: 12 grams
  • Protein: 9 grams
  • Fiber: 6 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Vitamin A: 150 percent of the RDI
  • Copper: 84 percent of the RDI
  • Selenium: 75 percent of the RDI
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): 63 percent of the RDI
  • Iron: 42 percent of the RDI
  • Vitamin C: 27 percent of the RDI
  • Potassium: 21 percent of the RDI
  • Zinc: 15 percent of the RDI
  • Thiamine: 9 percent of the RDI

In addition, they are packed full of powerful antioxidants, including carotenoids, lycopene, lutein and polysaccharides. In fact, polysaccharides make up 5–8 percent of dried goji berries.

The sugars are a little higher than what I would like but in terms of “bang for the buck” it’s totally worth it. The antioxidants are really the main benefit here. Many diets today lack these and they are critical as we age. There was a study in mice that showed that goji berry extract inhibits glycation which ages skin. I’m unsure of dosages and amounts but here is a berry that has a good amount of protein, has huge amounts of antioxidants, has, by volume, a competitive amount of Vitamin C and also gives a good chunk of Iron (critical for women).

I’m not saying you should be eating these with every meal but here are two meals I use it with. You can just eat them on their own they don’t taste bad but I usually throw them into a “carb load meal” for extra punch.

                              Carb meal 1 – I eat this when I’m on what I call a “long haul” so as an example on Sunday I am taking a long car ride. I could stop and eat but I will consume this meal around 8AM and I won’t eat again until 3 PM.

  • Oatmeal (you decide the portion) I use Bob’s Red Mill Organic Whole Grain Steel Cut Oats. You can find these at almost any supermarket
  • Fresh Cream. I live by a dairy farm, I can get fresh milk, cream and butter. I use the cream to add a little fat into this meal.
  • Goji berries.

                              Not to complex, shouldn’t take you long to prepare. Very high carb meal but the SOURCES of the carbs are of the best quality

                              Carb Meal 2 – This one is even easier. I use this for a quick carb load. Example I am going to mow the lawn which takes me 2 hours. Most of my diet is protein and fat, I have a push mower and this will be a lot of cardio.

  • Best organic Greek yogurt or cottage cheese you can find. (I use Chobani products
  • Goji berries

                                        Mix and consume

Goji berries are a nice addition to your food intake, you can throw them into a homemade trail mix, put them in pancakes and many other foods. Try them and decide for yourself.