Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, organic, unrefined, raw. What does it all mean? What are preservatives, anyway? And most importantly, what does being healthy and eating clean really entail? Hi, I’m Alessandra Wezeman and I can tell you from experience that the road to a healthy lifestyle that works for you can be a confusing one. With a plethora of fad diets to choose from and a glut of misconceptions about food, being healthy may seem like a lot of work, a lot of money, and a lot of time. The truth is, eating healthy doesn’t require expensive grocery trips and a list of torturous restrictions, (spoiler alert, you don’t have to be a raw vegan to enjoy the countless benefits associated with being a healthful consumer). Food is the way we experience life and eating healthy can be a simple, great tasting way to improve both our physical and mental health. It’s time to forget everything you think you know about healthy living and take a more moderate approach towards the nutrition we put in our body.
Believe it or not, there is a way to fit a clean diet into any lifestyle, including a college lifestyle. Last year, I began my first semester as a college student at Texas State. I was officially being thrown out of the house and away from my household’s overabundance of food. Adjusting to life in a dorm meant more than just getting used to sharing a small space with another human I had never lived with before; it also meant getting accustom to a brand new diet. My mom’s chicken roasts felt so far away, while my dad’s famous pork chops seemed like a distant memory. With only a microwave and mini fridge to work with, the typical ramen noodle, easy-mac, peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwiches-for-every-meal college diet was a tempting route to take. Luckily, I had been raised in a household where my parents had made sure to provide my siblings and I with a good understanding about what nutritious food was. Determined to make the best of my small, set allowance and the lack of kitchen appliances, I began researching ways to be healthy on a budget. It was through this experience living in my dorm that I realized that maintaining a healthful lifestyle was achievable in almost every circumstance. Healthy dietary habits definitely didn’t require any extreme lifestyle changes either.
Being healthy didn’t mean I had to spend a million dollars on “health foods” I didn’t want to eat. Instead, eating healthy meant it could be a creative way to make sure my mind, body and soul were working to the best of their abilities. It meant trying new flavors and taking the extra time to read ingredient labels. It meant understanding the difference between “diet foods” and “clean foods”. I’m here to break down the myths surrounding the food we as consumers buy every day and teach you that being healthy on a budget can totally be done. All it takes is a little effort and a moderate approach towards becoming somewhat of a health freak.