Clean Eating Reboot- Help a Hippie Out

There are two things I learned about clean eating the last time I tried it: it works, and it’s expensive.

It’s also time consuming, but I knew that going in. Not so much a learned thing.

How do you people do this and make ends meet? I need some suggestions from folks on a budget who are making this a lifestyle.

It’s the ‘because it works’ part that I’m going back in. I’m tired of being overweight and unhealthy and I’m tired of my teenage girls feeling the same way. Time for a reboot. Beginning again isn’t going to be easy. I remember how hard it was to give up all the things that made this south Louisiana girl’s heart and tummy happy. My challenge will be finding ways to make those things clean. This could be tough.

Baking is the other tough one. Not so much that I love to bake. I actually don’t like it at all. What I like are baked goods that someone else made. And raw cookie dough. Baking seems to be where the major expense comes in as far as clean eating goes (other than meats). I mean, I can grill some veggies pretty cheap, but if I want a clean baked thing, there’s all sorts of odd and expensive flours and sugars that you need. Let’s face it, coconut sugar and almond flour aren’t cheap like white sugar and white flour are. I know why that’s true, but it doesn’t make the fact or the cookies any easier to swallow.

We are the family that processed foods were made for and clean eating laughs in the face of. We are broke and busy. Why is it that I can buy frozen pizzas for a little over a dollar each, but to cook a healthy clean meal for 4 people it may as well be a restaurant sit down dinner someone else does the work and dishes for? Why is that the way of the American grocery industry? Sure, I could grow my own food, and I do to some extent, but it’s going to be a long time before this container garden is adding anything to our meals.

Don’t misunderstand this to be a rant against clean healthy eating. It’s not that at all. My reboot, and the numbers on my scale, have just brought glaringly to mind the problems with clean eating that shouldn’t exist, because they are really problems with the American processed food industry and the other parts of feeding the American people that make healthy food out of the budget of the majority of Americans. That’s so wrong. It makes me wonder what countries in Europe are doing that we aren’t, and how we follow their example. They don’t have the land and resources we do, and yet, they eat much better than us. Processed food is rare. I remember coming back from trips abroad and wanting to keep eating the way I did in Europe. But somewhere along the way, I slipped back into the rhythm of convenience with processed food. I felt worse, but less broke.

Meal prep is a big thing with clean eating, too, and I get that it’s a good way to save some time over the course of the week, but what do people whose weekends are as busy as their weeks? I don’t have an entire day to cook and, frankly, I don’t want to eat the same thing day after day. Too easy to say, “I’m sick of burrito bowls. I’m just going to pick up something on the way home.”

So, another suggestion I need is quick and easy weeknight meals that don’t require spending a weekend doing meal prepping when there are ballgames and rehearsals that must be done. And variety. That would be good. There are tons of variations on cilantro lime chicken. I got that one down.

Cheap and quick clean meal suggestions. On your mark, get set, GO! Help a hippie out, please!

Much love!

~Nola

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Watering the Wildlife

The Back Deck bird bar gang have been around since midwinter. They have become accustomed to the feed pan, and it is part of my morning ritual. I fill it and the hanging feeder and bless them both. I’ve recently had Joe the cardinal come with his fledgling to teach it how to eat from the pan.  The wildlife have become my wild pets. They have names and personality, and are slowly warming up to me being outside with them.  The birds and squirrels like to wander around checking out new additions to the container garden, while the bunnies munch on the wild strawberries under the deck.

As the weather here in the south began to heat up, I had a pool installed at The Back Deck. Ok, so I put out a bird bath. The funny thing is, no one bathes in it. It has become a watering hole instead.  Everyone from Rockie the squirrel to Chocolate the dove pop over for a drink after their nosh.


The bowl sits beside the pan in the middle of the deck (or off to the side when I need the space for my yoga mat) so they can easily find fresh water in the heat of the day. The gang is patient and take turns, for the most part, at both. Only once in a while will there be a bar brawl over peanuts or who gets to eat first.


So, while it is noble to feed the nature spirits around us, don’t forget that life needs water, too.  The dog days can be hard on little creatures. Place a dish of water out for them near where they come to your feeders. For our precious and ever-dwindling pollinators, place a shallow dish with marbles and water so that they may land on the marbles to drink and prevent drowning in their quest to quench their tiny thirst.

Nature is wonderful company when we take the time to be still and quiet stewards of the world around us.

(My grill wheel has photo bombed big time today. I’m out of propane and never use the smoker side. May be time to turn the behemoth into a planter. )

Please like, share, comment, and follow!

Much love and light!

~Nola

Container Garden DIY Idea

Last year’s garden didn’t work out too well.  The soil is dense and rocky, and the bunnies, deer, and bugs had a field day with it.  So, this year, I decided to try some container gardening since my deck is pretty high off the ground.  As far as I know, deer don’t go up and down stairs, and bunnies are too skittish to get that close to where people may be.  It seems to be working as far as that goes, but I had another issue.  How do you grow a small space container garden on a budget?

The dollar store and some ingenuity, that’s how.  Well, those and Pinterest.  I mean, who can function without Pinterest?  Not me.

I already had a container garden tomato plant, but wanted to do more container vegetable gardening.  With my new clean eating plan, veggies are a must and nothing beats the ones you grow yourself.  Squash and zucchini are some of my favorites.  I have also developed a new love for fresh salads, especially with all the wonderful summer fruits and vegetables.  I don’t have a lot of space on my deck thanks to a tremendous grill/smoker combo that we only use one side of.  Time to get creative.

I went to the dollar store and bought some large bowls and a couple of pool noodles.  My hubby loaned me his drill and I made some drainage holes in the bottom of the bowls.  Pool noodles got cut into donut slices to use for light-weight drainage.

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Then, I filled the bowls with a mixture of potting soil and grounds for my garden from Starbucks (FREE!).  For the little zucchinis, I needed some support for the plants.  I had some tomato cages from last-year’s garden, but they were way too tall.  So, out came some zip-ties and I bent them to a good height.  More holes in the sides, more zip-ties and we were in business.  Pop in the seedlings and there you have it.  Squatty little zucchini bowls.

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I did the same thing without the cages for my lettuce bowl container garden.  They are in the festive green bowls that happen to look a bit like lettuce.  I also planted some radishes in an extra bowl.

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And there you go!  A little container gardening idea DIY for an easy container garden without spending a lot of money.  I’m a bit obsessed with this whole concept now and have added container garden herbs, flowers, and even more veggies like spinach, eggplant, peppers, and onions.

If you have some creative ideas for container gardens, share in the comments!

Please like, share, comment, and follow.

Much love and light!

~Nola