25 Cheap and Healthy Foods You Need to Know

Monday, October 5th, 2015

“I really want to eat healthy, but I’m broke!” Sound familiar? As a former college student and member of Club Broke, I know the feeling. Who says healthy eating has to be expensive? Get fit on your budget with these 25 cheap and healthy foods you need to know. :)

cheap and healthy foods

Note: This article originally appeared at Lifehack.

Fruits and Vegetables (Fresh, Frozen, Canned, Doesn't Matter)

Buying fresh produce is great if you can afford it, but I know it doesn’t fit every budget. Fortunately, frozen and canned varieties of fruits and veggies are an affordable way to nourish your body with vitamins and minerals that will increase your energy, immunity, and health.

1. Spinach 

Spinach is a nutritional power-house that offers a variety of vitamins and minerals, fiber, protein, and a staggering amount of antioxidants. If you’re not a fan of the taste, mix tiny chunks into a sandwich or egg-and-cheese omelet (seriously, you won’t even notice it).

Read more: 10 Delicious Recipes Made with Frozen Spinach

2. Broccoli

Broccoli is a great bang-for-your-buck vegetable that reduces your cancer risk and detoxifies waste within your body.

Read more: 11 Benefits of Broccoli to Convince Anyone to Eat It

3. Green beans

Green beans provide a hefty dose of Vitamin A, which delays the signs of skin aging.

Read more: 11 Sinfully Easy Green Bean Casserole Recipes

4. Carrots 

Carrots aren’t just for rascally rabbits; they’re a great, healthy veggie snack that you could bring to work or on a road trip. You could also improve the flavor of your soups this winter by slicing-and-dicing a carrot to add to your delicious creation.

Read More: How to Grow Food Indoors in Winter

5. Corn

Corn comes equipped with lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytochemicals that can improve your vision. Just don’t forget to use a toothpick if you’re eating it on the cob.

Read More: 33 Healthy Veggie Meals in 12 Minutes or Less

6. Tomatoes

Tomatoes could give you healthy, vibrant skin to die for. Beta-carotene protects your body from skin damage while lycopene makes your skin less sensitive to UV damage (one of the leading causes of wrinkles).

Read More: The Health Benefits of Fruit

7. Strawberries

Strawberries are another fruit that could make you incredibly good-looking. This berry is bursting with biotin, a B-vitamin responsible for strong hair and nailsAs an added bonus, the antioxidant ellagic acid prevents skin sagging.

Read More: 7-Minute Chocolate Covered Strawberries Recipe

8. Peaches

Peaches are a tasty treat that could relieve your upset stomach and put you in the mood for frisky fun.

Read More: 15 Natural Ways to Relieve Stomach Pain

9. Bananas 

Bananas pack more than 360 milligrams of potassium per 6 inches of fruit. Since potassium’s job description is “keep your heart beating,” it’s a good thing to eat more of.

Read More: 7 Benefits of Bananas You May Not Have Known About

10. Cherries 

Tart cherries are a great late-night snack; they contain the hormone melatonin, the hormone responsible for you getting sleepy every night.

Read More: Tonight Before You Go To Sleep, Make Sure You’ve Done These 10 Things

Bonus Tip #1

The cheapest fresh produce typically depends on what season it is, so be a savvy shopper. Check out this list of the cheapest fruits and vegetables month-by-month and go bargain shopping at a local farmer’s market.

Bonus Tip #2

There is zero difference between name-brands like Green Giant green beans and the generic variety offered by your grocery store, so stick with the generic labels for serious cash savings.


Wrapping your head around how many grams of protein you should eat per day isn’t easy, so let’s just keep it simple; aim for a fist-full of protein at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

11. Eggs

Eggs are the cheapest source of protein you’re going to find; in addition, creative chefs can prepare them in an end-less variety of ways by scrambling/poaching/boiling them, or mixing up the meats/veggies/cheeses used in their morning omelets. On a semi-related note, breakfast for dinner is always a good idea.

Read More: 10 Amazing Facts About Eggs You Need to Know

12. Canned tuna

Tuna is probably the highest dose/lowest cost source of protein you can find. You probably shouldn’t eat canned tuna every day due to the mercury content, but as long as you’re alternating it with another meat or two from right below here, you’ll be fine.

Read More: 8 Things You Should Know About Eating Sushi

13. Meat (beef/chicken/turkey/etc.)

Chicken and turkey are your best bets for price/value, but keep an eye out for discounts on beef and lamb. Here’s a list of vegetarian foods high in protein just in case you don’t eat meat (because if you don’t, you need to pay special attention to this).

Read More: The Ultimate Kitchen Cheat Sheet

14. Protein powder 

Whey protein is a super convenient protein source that you can grab-and-go as needed. Buy your protein in bulk to save money, and make sure you choose a credible brand, like Optimum Nutrition.

Read More: 20 Juice and Smoothie Recipes for Energy and Vitality

15. Cottage cheese 

Cottage cheese contains 23 grams of protein per serving, plus 18% of your recommended daily calcium intake for stronger bones less prone to injury.

Read More: 5 Healthy Lunch Ideas for Work (note #3 — Baked Cottage Cheese Wrap)

Bonus Tip #3

Since meat is normally the most expensive food you buy, check out your local ads to find the best deal on meat. Perform this search once or twice a week as needed and enjoy the savings.


Fat does NOT make you fat; on the contrary, consuming healthy fats like the ones listed below will help you stay full and satisfied during the day, making it less likely you’ll over-eatPlease note that eggs and meat (preferably free-range and grass-fed if you can afford it) are two of the best sources of fat you can get, but I’m not listing them here since I just mentioned them as a protein.

16. Olive oil

Just two tablespoons of olive oil per day could offer a host of benefits including improved brain function, bone health, and protection from viruses.

Read More: The Many Uses and Benefits of Olive Oil

17. Butter 

Butter is not the enemy; if you want an enemy, look in the direction of margarine masquerading as a “health food” (while truthfully being full of artificial chemicals and devoid of nutrition).

Pro-tip: if it looks like the food’s packaging is desperately trying to convince you that it’s healthy, it’s probably not healthy.

Read More: How to Make Butter at Home

18. Cheese

Cheese could save you from a dental bill; this food contains an extremely high amount of calcium, which is the most important mineral for strong teeth.

Read More: How to Make a Grilled Cheese with No Mess

19. Nuts

Nuts are a portable, protein-packed, heart-healthy snack that could increase your longevity.

Read More: How to Make Nuts Healthier

20. Avocado 

Avocado offers 39% of your recommended daily fiber intake, plus avocado’s ability to “prevent unwanted inflammation is absolutely unquestionable in the world of health research.” (Source)

Read More: 4 Benefits of Avocado That Make It More Irresistible

Bonus Tip #4

Keep a plastic bag of nuts in your purse or pocket just in case you get hungry in the afternoon; this will help you counter those afternoon cravings with a healthy fat that satisfies your hunger until dinner-time.


Despite what Dr. Atkins might have said, carbs are not the devil. Eating too much of anything — carbs, fat, protein, even fruit — will result in weight-gain. For now, consume 1 serving of carbs from the list below with every meal.

21. Rice

Rice, whole-grain or not, is a great cheap cooking accessory to keep in your kitchen. Debating the pro’s and con’s of brown rice versus white rice would require an essay (and this is already long enough!), so to dive into that debate, go here.

Read More: How to Cook Brown Rice Like a Chef

22. Beans/legumes

Legumes are a great source of carbs and protein that you can add to soups, salads, and dips. The nutritional value of legumes varies depending on type, so compare the labels in your store to figure out your best options.

Read More: 11 Sinfully Easy Crock Pot Recipes

23. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a slow-digesting carbohydrate that hangs out in your stomach for a while after consumption, which could help you control cravings since you’ll feel full longer.

Read More: How to Cook Oatmeal Perfectly

24. Potatoes

Potatoes, like oatmeal, are rich in complex carbs that digest slowly and reduce over-eating.

Read More: How to Grow Potatoes in Your Garden

25. Popcorn 

Instead of munching on candy the next time you enjoy a movie marathon, opt for natural popcorn which includes fiber and a surprising amount of antioxidants.

Read More: Is Popcorn Healthy? 5 Ways to Keep Popcorn Healthy

Bonus Tip #5

There is an endless varieties of stir fry you could make with rice, a meat, and a vegetable or two. If you’d like some suggestions, check out these stir fry recipes. Oatmeal is another food that can be prepared in a number of ways, so check out these oatmeal recipes if you’d like to keep your breakfast fun and interesting.

Proper Nutrition: Best Practices

The best way to ensure proper nutrition is to eat a wide variety of the cheap and healthy foods on this list. To guide you in the right direction, I suggest starting with:

Have at least 1 fruit and veggie per meal (for a total of 3 per day). Aim to consume a full rainbow of fruits and veggies as different colors typically contain different vitamins and minerals.

Have one fist-full of protein per meal (that could be 2 eggs, canned tuna, or 6-8 oz. of meat).

Fat helps you stay full and satisfied, so start your day with a high fat/high protein breakfast. This is especially important if you tend to get hungry at work and snack on not-so-healthy things. A ham-and-cheese-omelet cooked in olive oil served with chopped tomato, berries, and a handful of nuts would do the trick.

The more active you are, the more carbs you need. Consume more carbs on days you exercise and less carbs on days you don’t. In other words: you may eat that bowl of pasta, but make it a workout day if you can.

Track your results by measuring your waist once per week and taking a progress photo once per month. Going in the right direction? Great! Don’t change a thing. Going in the wrong direction? First, don’t jump to the automatic conclusion that you need to eat less; many people pursuing fat loss (especially females) are not eating enough. Join an online support community to meet like-minded friends.

Click here to download a one-page budget friendly shopping guide that you can print and take to the store.

I hope this guide to cheap and healthy foods helps you get fit on your budget. If you have any other money-saving health tips, please share them in the comments.

Love this article? 

Want to contribute? Email thewallenway [at] gmail.com with a one hundred word summary of your blog, article, story, list post, or work of art.

5 Weird Ways to Sabotage Yourself (#5 Is Ironic)

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

Do you feel frustrated because you have ambition, but little to show for it? If so, you might be sabotaging yourself without even realizing it. Read ahead and I will reveal how self sabotage happens.


Note: A version of this article originally appeared at Lifehack.

1. You get carried away with rewards.

“Woo-hoo, I exercised today! I deserve a cookie.”

“I actually managed to save a few hundred dollars! Time to buy a new wardrobe.”

These quotes demonstrate a common form of self-sabotage, which is “treating yourself” with rewards in direct conflict with the value you hope to embody.

A person who values their health wouldn’t use exercise as an excuse to eat junk food. A person who wants to be rich wouldn’t splurge on unnecessary stuff as soon as they save some money.

Rewards are a good way to stay encouraged, but those rewards should never undermine your goal. Setting such a precedent could make a massive dent in your long-term progress if you get carried away with it.

2. You overestimate your ability to commit.

“I know I haven’t exercised in a year, but I’m totally going to exercise for an hour every day starting Monday!”

“It’s been 2 years since I have cooked, but it’s time for a change. I am going to prepare meals at home every day!”

These quotes demonstrate overconfidence, which leads to unrealistic expectations and a whole lot of frustration.

If you eat fast food every day and haven’t been to the gym in a year, then it would be absurd to dive straight into a strict diet and training routine. Start slow.

Mindful eating is more effective than restrictive dieting. It gives you a chance to identify triggers* that influence your eating decisions. Armed with this info, you can change your habits and social environment (which leads to more sustainable results than Yo-Yo dieting).

*Click the link to instantly download a reflection exercise I typically use with my online health coaching clients. :)

3. You think you’ll do better “tomorrow.”

"I really want to lose weight, but work was stressful today. I'm going to eat a pint of Ben and Jerry's tonight because I earned it. Tomorrow I will eat a bunch of fruits and veggies to make up the difference."

This quote demonstrates the future self bias (cognitive biases are wayyyy beyond the scope of this blog, but I highly recommend reading this book to learn more about that concept).

Here's the Cliffnotes edition of how the future self bias works. Most people think they will be on their best behavior "tomorrow," so they pass the buck to their future self.

Problem with that: Your present self and future self are the same exact person (that's why you don't follow-through).

Solution: Make a positive change today. Anything else is a waste of time.

4. You waste time with busywork.

“I reorganized my sock drawer and made a to-do list. Time to take a break!”

“Too bad I didn’t exercise today, but hey, at least I read a bunch of fitness articles online!”

These quotes demonstrate how easy it is to waste time on things that don't result in forward progress.

Procrastination is so clever that it can disguise itself in tasks that look productive (but they really aren’t).

If you have projects with urgent deadlines, reorganizing your sock drawer is the last thing you need to do.

If you read a bunch of fitness tips (but never apply them), you should spend more time at the gym or yoga studio.

5. You think it could never happen to you.

“Man, I can’t believe some people are silly enough to sabotage themselves... poor souls!”

This quote shows how easy it is to believe you are “superior” (when you are far more likely to be average).

Dwayne Johnson described the importance of humility well when he said: "Be humble, be hungry, and always be the hardest worker in the room."

Arrogant people think they are better than everybody else, so they won’t acknowledge these forms of self sabotage (and thus will be even more susceptible to them).

Isn't it ironic, don't you think?

Love this blog? Please share with your friends so they can be mindful like you.

Click here to claim your free online course, Mindfulness Made Simple.

About the Author

Daniel Wallen is a writer, actor, health coach, and yoga teacher from Kingsport, TN. He recently released his new Kindle book: "Be Your Own Guru." Click here to get your copy for less than the price of a pumpkin spice latte.

4 Power Poses for Self Esteem and Body Confidence

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

Hi. Please watch the watch the video to learn how power poses can develop self esteem and body confidence (and then read the blog below for examples from pop culture to help you with application). :)

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9 Things to Remember When You’re Having a Bad Day

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Even the hardest days contain lessons that will help you be a better person. Feeling down? Here are nine things to remember on a bad day.

bad day

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9 Surprising Benefits of Being Single

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

I’m convinced most people in long-term relationships are secretly miserable. Sure, it’s nice to have a partner to cuddle with, but relationships can also be inconvenient. If you don’t believe me, consider these surprising benefits of being single.

benefits of being single

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12 Fun Facts about Yoga (Health Benefits, Common Myths, and Actionable Tips)

Monday, September 28th, 2015

Yoga is a beginner friendly exercise that is scientifically proven to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Mental health is awesome, but yoga improves your physical fitness too. Practice yoga every day and you'll develop balance, core strength, flexibility, and more. You'll definitely want to take a yoga class after you read this list.


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5 Fascinating Benefits of Meditation (#3 Will Move You)

Friday, September 25th, 2015

Meditation isn’t reserved for Buddhist monks.

Anyone can benefit from this ancient mindfulness practice.

If you suffer from anxiety or depression, meditation could ease the burdens that trouble you.

If you’re a busy parent, meditation could help you stay calm the next time your child throws a tantrum.

If you’re an ambitious professional, meditation could help you concentrate on delivering quality work that will impress your clients.

Whether you want to meditate for religious reasons, stress management, or productivity enhancement is irrelevant. A moment of silence serves you in so many ways it would be silly not to do it. Check out these fascinating benefits of meditation.

Peace of Mind wooden sign with a beach on background

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15 Things Mindful People Do Differently (Introverts Will Love #10)

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

Mindful people don’t worry about a future they can't predict. They live in the present, because that’s where progress happens. Check out these fifteen things mindful people do differently for a healthy and happy life.

mindful people

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Be Successful with the Action Habit (Skip #1 at Your Own Risk)

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

Here's how to be more successful in 14 tough (but necessary) steps. Don't be afraid. #7 will make the process of achieving a big goal seem less scary and intimidating. :)

be more successful

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You Won’t Believe These Benefits of Yoga (Especially #4)

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015
Most people connect yoga with flexibility, but there's more to the story. These four benefits of yoga might blow your mind (people with ADD will be happy to see #2).
benefits of yoga

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13 Things Highly Confident People Don’t Do

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

What is confidence? Here are my thoughts in the form of a list (#13... wow, what a plot twist).

confident people

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7 Empowering Affirmations That Will Help You Be Mentally Strong

Monday, September 21st, 2015

Mentally strong people weren’t born that way. They probably used to doubt themselves just like you. To develop confidence in yourself, remember these affirmations that will help you be mentally strong (video game fans will love #7).

be mentally strong

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6 Reasons to Try Yoga Today (Who Can Argue with #2?)

Friday, September 18th, 2015

There are many reasons to try yoga. 

This ancient practice is good for your mind, body, and soul.

You will be more calm and less clumsy (yoga balance balances poses boost coordination + concentration). 

Find out how this small but powerful habit can change your life (and get started today with actionable tips). :)

reasons to try yoga

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13 Things You Can Do to Make an Introvert Feel Loved

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Extroverts and introverts have different needs.

Extroverts are social creatures. Introverts most certainly are not.

Extroverts love small talk, but introverts would rather do anything else.

It is important to be aware of these differences so we can treat others with empathy.

If you know an introvert, do these 13 things to make them feel loved (#3 is my favorite).


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Small Habits That Lead to Massive Success (#5 Is Simple but Profound)

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

Success in progressBeing a workaholic might be considered a virtue, but it isn’t necessary.

Why work to exhaustion when you could simply be more efficient with your time?

If you’d like to have more energy for the things that matter, implement these tiny success habits for massive results.

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5 Weird Reasons Why You Are Addicted to Facebook (#3 Explains a Lot)

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

Hi. My name is Daniel. I am addicted to Facebook. Or I was for a long time anyhow. Now it isn't so bad. Anyhow... (click to read more if you'd like to break your technology addiction like I did).

addicted to facebook

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15 Rants about Addiction Recovery and Other Stuff (an ADD List Post)

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

Did you know I am a bit ADD? It's true. This blog is a bit all-over-the-place (and tl;dr) but that's okay. If you're curious and like to read, check out these 15 deep thoughts about addiction recovery and other stuff.

addiction recovery

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5 Super Helpful Health Tips for Busy Women (#1 Will Change How You See Food)

Sunday, May 11th, 2014

womens health tipsBuffy the Vampire Slayer shared this blog on Twitter once.

Ask me to show you a screenshot sometime (was that the least discrete humble brag ever or what?). 😉

Speaking of Buffy, I thought this quote was appropriate...

"There'’s no such thing as a supermom. We just do the best we can." - Sarah Michelle Gellar

If you'd like to get fit and healthy (but are so busy that it's hard to find one single moment for yourself), their insights might help you get started. :) Continue Reading »

My Top 6 Favorite “Star Wars” Quotes and What They Taught Me about Life

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

"Star Wars" is one of my favorite movies in the entire Universe.

Here are my top six fave Star Wars quotes plus what they taught me about life. :)

star wars

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CrossFit Pros and Cons: A Fair and Balanced Analysis

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

pros and cons of crossfit

CrossFit – love it or hate it, you can't deny that it's made a huge impact on the fitness industry.

My hope is to offer a fair and balanced look at the "CrossFit pros and cons" to help you decide if this style of training might be for you.

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24 Ways to Be Awesome Every Day (#20 Will Make You Feel Warm and Fuzzy)

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

I used to be a banker (hated it); now I'm a writer, actor, health coach, and yoga teacher (love it). 

I used to be crippled by shyness so severe that I couldn't even talk to a female without breaking a sweat; now I am (mostly) comfortable in who I am.

I My life used to be lame, but I've made it awesome (by "awesome," I really mean, "noticeably better," but we all have a tendency to exaggerate, don't we?).

That out of the way, I'd like to share the top twenty-four (!) things I've learned in my life adventure so far. If someone ever asks me how to be awesome, this really big list would be my answer.

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Should You Go to a Gym or Exercise at Home?

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Q: Should I go to a gym or exercise at home? 

A: It depends.

Click ahead and I'll offer two things you should definitely consider before making such an important decision.

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10 Weird Things That Happened When I Tried Intermittent Fasting (IF)

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Intermittent fasting (a.k.a. skipping breakfast) is making rounds on the interwebz.

There are potential pitfalls (and surprising perks) you should know before embarking on your own intermittent fasting (IF) adventure.

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Batman Vs Bane: What Would Happen (and a Free Weight Lifting Plan)

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

A Guest Post by Dan Trongone 

Ah, Halloween. A time of fantasy when young and old unite to forget their problems, binge on candy, and dress in silly (or slutty) costumes.

Superhero costumes will always stand the test of time for man and young boys. There is something exhilarating about putting on a pair of tights and a cape.

My favorite comic book character, hands down, is Batman. Bats has a Rogues Gallery far more frightening than his comrades in the Justice League.

The Joker? Two-Face? Killer Croc? Yikes.
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Food for Thought: Four Life Lessons I Learned In Restaurants

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Note from Dan: I believe this guest post by my friend Kedric concerning some life lessons he learned in restaurants present some interesting food for thought that you should consider. Hope you enjoy! :)

You are what you eat!”

I hear this statement thrown around every time somebody tries to convince a person to swap french fries for a salad.

To a certain extent, it's true, but I’m not here to ramble about how eating fries will make you a blob of adipose tissue (maybe another time).

I bet eating out is an important part of your life. When you eat out, you're not just filling you're body with nutrients and vitamins; you're growing relationships with the people you care about.

In a way, your entire life resembles eating at a restaurant.

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Kaizen: How to Get 1% Better Every Day for a Better Body and Bank Account

Friday, October 19th, 2012

A Guest Post by Tarek Roumie

Unless you are Superman or Wonder Woman, chances are you have something to improve in some aspect of your life.

When first introduced to the term kaizen in “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”, I was blown away. 

The term “kaizen” is Japanese for “improvement”. But the deeper meaning of the word refers to constantly thriving to improve in everything we do. Within this lies our eventual success.

Fitness itself is considered self improvement, yet most of us get lost somewhere along the path to our goals and kaizen begins to suffer. 

Let's look at kaizen from another perspective. The game of life. 

Without constantly improving, we end up going nowhere and are stuck fighting the diseases of mediocrity and boredom (Yes, boredom is a disease). 

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Be Weird (Why Aquaman is Cool Even Though He Talks to Fish)

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Be weird (and don't apologize for it).

I used to agonize over the slightest criticism:

  • Nasty blog comment
  • Back-handed insult
  • (Whatever the case may be)

I wanted everybody to like me.

But problem with that... you should only be dependent on one person for happiness (look in the mirror).

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My 3 Favorite Ways to Take a Break from Work (#3 Is Sweet)

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Here are my top three favorite ways to take a break from work (tell me yours in the comments).

take a break

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Easy Morning Habits That Will Help You Wake Up with Energy and Enthusiasm

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Wake up like you mean it!

If you have a crappy morning, chances are you're going to have a crappy day.  Too many crappy days = a crappy life.

Tonight, I'm going to teach you to wake up like you mean it.  If you revamp your morning, chances are you'll revamp your day, and possibly your life.

morning habits

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What Does It Mean To Be a Man, or My Top 10 Traits of Real Men

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

"What does it mean to be a man?" 

I cannot provide you with a final answer to that question, but I would be happy to share the ten traits of real men that guide my decisions in matters of love, business, friendship, and life.

real man

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