Lend a {Healthy} Hand #54: The World Needs More Love Letters!

Earlier this week I had one of the most inspirational experiences of my entire life.


As I shared last fall, I was chosen to be a Fitzpatrick Institute fellow on my campus and was entrusted with brining two speakers on to campus for the Fall and Spring semester. In the Fall, if you remember, I brought in Caitlin Boyle from Operation Beautiful and the Healthy Tipping Point blog and on Monday, I held my second event.


Monday marked the day that Hannah Brencher, a featured TEDTalks speaker and the founder of MoreLoveLetters.com came to campus and left a room of people empowered, inspired, and contemplating what they could do with their lives to make the world a better place. Her message 100% aligned with the mission behind the Lend a {Healthy} Hand project and that’s why I wanted to share some of the insight she put forth on the blog today. But before I get into all the wisdom she imparted, go listen to Hannah’s TEDTalk so you can get a feel for who she is, what she stands for, and how she is truly making the world a better place.

Pretty incredible, right?

The premise behind Hannah’s movement is that everyone needs a little encouragement every now and then….a reminder that they are loved, valued, and needed, and that their presence here on Earth is important. By reaching out to others through letter writing, human connection is revitalized and individuals going through the darkest of times are lifted out of their despair.

But that’s not the only power behind this movement of caring for your fellow human beings. Similarly to the Lend a {Healthy} Hand movement, often times the person writing the love letters benefits just as much as the person receiving them. What we most want to say to others to reach out to them and make them feel better, is usually what we are looking to hear and need for ourselves. It’s through simple acts like those in the MoreLoveLetters movement and the Lend a {Healthy} Hand project that truly makes the world a better place.


Through helping others, we in turn help ourselves and truly FIND ourselves. One thing I loved that Hannah said is that everyday you should head out into the world to make history. This doesn’t mean changing the world in one day or making a HUGE impact. What it means is knowing that each one of your actions affects someone else and thus becomes a part of their history. So be mindful of the choices you make…make them positive and meaningful. By turning your focus outward and in a way, forgetting about yourself for a bit in exchange for thinking about others you can find yourself and become more in touch with your hopes, dreams, and goals.


We were put on this Earth to serve others. Life is about human connection and by doing for others on a daily basis you are serving your soul in the best way possible.

So keep these things in mind on a daily basis. The biggest difference you can make in a day can come from the smallest action of kindness towards your fellow man. If you do for others, you are living as fully as you can and putting yourself on a path to maximizing the potential you have as a person.

A few other nuggets of wisdom I took away from Hannah…

-Find your passion. Not just something you love. Something you would suffer for or without.

-Sometimes people just need to know that their life is worth living and that someone out their cares for them. YOU can be that person.

-YOU WILL FAIL. It’s inevitable. You will fail over and over again, in numerous ways, at all stages of your life. But in that breakdown, you will find yourself.

-We all have a story to share…yes, that’s true. But don’t just talk…go out and LIVE your story. Take action!

-Find your identity by looking outward.

-Surround yourself with people who believe in you. There will always be ‘flower cutters’ in your life. But who you CHOOSE to surround yourself with can make all the difference in how far you go.

-Failure doesn’t make you a failure.

I pretty much walked away from the night aspiring to be Hannah when I grow up. ;) But seriously, TALK ABOUT A ROLE MODEL! I am so honored to have met such an incredible mover and shaker in the world. Someone that exudes light, positivity, and compassion. I am so lucky to have connected with her and I can’t wait to be able to meet with her again in the future! She is going far in no matter what she pursues and I can’t wait to read the book she is currently writing (due out in January 2015!).

I feel like I could write SO much more on the night, but I don’t want to detract too much from all the awesome #healthyhelp that was submitted for this week’s round-up! So let’s get into it!!!


Yoojin returned a lost credit card…Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 7.58.10 AM

Cristina: I have been showing my boyfriend’s roommates how to make their own vegan chili!

Jess W: I worked an extra shift for a coworker who couldn’t make it to work.


Sent a good luck card to a friend who has a big test coming up!

EmilyI’ve been taking one of my friends hiking with me this week to help her start exercising more regularly. She’s loving it and I love having someone to chat with on my hikes!

Natalie: Helped some colleagues at work with a hard project that required some extra hands!

Faith: I baked cookies for a friend having a bad day.

AshleyMy dad helped me prepare for a phone interview I had!

Nikki: I put someones cart away!

Kaylin: Motivated my boyfriend to go to the career fair at college this week.  Go get ‘em!  :)

Paige: Let some teammates come cook at my apartment since all the dining places were closed for mardi gras and no one else has a kitchen.

Tori: I brought over some hot cocoa and marshmallows to a sweet neighbor who helped shovel our driveway.

Rebecca: I lent my friend a pencil in Math class!

 #HealthyHelp from around the world….

Ellen’s Oscar selfie generates big bucks for great causes

Marathoners honor WWII vet in middle of race

Stranger’s kidney donation helps two lives

Employees shave heads, raise $2.1 mil for charity

The Malala Fund spotlights need to educate child refugees

Harry Launches New Event For Wounded Servicemen

This 8-Year-Old Is Making Sure No Kid Is Denied A Hot Lunch

Have you ever heard of More Love Letters?

Would you consider writing your own ‘love letter’ to someone in need?

What will you do this weekend to help someone else?

Remember! Only a few more hours to enter my Oh She Glows cookbook giveaway!! 

Todays’s Healthy Help: Nominated my mom for a contest and won her a gift card!
Never too early to start Lending a {Healthy} Hand for next week’s round-up! Tell me what you’ve done to help someone else lately!

Eating Healthy on a College Budget {Guest Post}

Hey friends! Hope your weekend is going well! A new blogger named Zach reached out to me about spreading the word about his newly created site through guest posting on mine! I agreed, of course!! I always like to help those who are just starting off! Here’s a bit about Zach…


Zach Spuckler is a college student, a vegan, and a fitness coach.  After losing 90 lbs and beating depression he decided it was time to start helping other’s achieve their goals!  You can visit his site at http://www.spucklerfitness.com/ for tips, tricks and motivation during your fitness journey.

Take it away, bud! 


As a college student, friends often tell me that the reason they don’t eat healthier is because it isn’t affordable.  After much consideration, I realized that to the untrained eye healthier food often seems more expensive, but there are some simple tricks and tactics that you can use to get yourself fit and keep your wallet fat!

Make a Grocery List

For years I used to poke fun at my mom for shopping with a list, I always thought it was easier to just go and buy whatever you’re feeling at the store.  I quickly learned that this is bad for your wallet and your waistline.

Take some time on the weekend – I usually spend Saturdays – planning out your meals for the week.  After you do that make a list of all the ingredients you need that you don’t already have and put them on your shopping list.

It’s surprising how much you can cut your bill if you buy just the food you need instead of the food that catches your eye when you are shopping.  I was able to reduce my grocery bill by at least 20% with this little “trick” that your mom has probably been using for years.

grocery list

Tip: I usually build in a small cushion of $5-$10 so that if something healthy I want to try does catch my eye, I can give it a try!

Find Local Markets or Farmer’s Markets

Where I’m at it’s the dead of winter, so there really aren’t any farmer’s markets going on right now. But there is a small produce market that I found with a quick Google Search and I do most of my produce shopping there.  Since they specially stock produce, I save a small fortune when I get my fruits and veggies there!


For example, I went to my big-box retail grocery store and avocados where $1 ea, that’s pretty pricey and I needed 6 of them.  When I went to my local market I was able to get 3 for $1!  That means I saved 66% by shopping at a local produce market!


I am currently a vegan, however when I used to eat meat I would go to a local butcher shop.  It meant that I could buy the exact amount of meat I needed to avoid excess waste and save money.  And that brings me to my final tip!

Buy in Bulk, and Only What You Need

There are two types of “bulk.”  The first is when you buy a large amount of item, paying more upfront but saving in the longer run.  The second is where you buy only the amount of an item that you need from a bulk bin!

When buying a large quantity of an item I make sure it fits two criteria.  First it must be non-perishable or last for at least a few weeks. If I know that it isn’t going to spoil I make sure that I am going to use all of it, anytime I throw away bad food I’m throwing away money!  For example I can get a whole bag of apples cheaper than if I buy per pound, but if I’m only going to eat 2-3 apples during the week it’s worth it to pay more per apple, but spend less overall and avoid waste.

The second option is to check out a health food store and buy things like beans, oats, and other dry foods in smaller amounts from bulk, it may even work out to a little cheaper than buying a large container! By doing this you are able to spend less money week to week, and you only buy what you need, again avoid waste.

Eating healthy on a budget shouldn’t be hard….it should be fun!  I like thinking about each week as a challenge, sort of like a game.  I know if I’m smart, I plan, and I use my budget, I can eat a healthy diet and never have to worry about my wallet!


Great tips, Zach!! I also wanted to share this picture of homemade sushi that he sent me!!! Looks great and makes me want to make some more of my own!! It is one of my favorite meals after all!

homemade sushi

What are your strategies for keeping on budget with food purchases?

Did you find it hard to be frugal while in college?

What’s your go-to grocery store?

Be sure to check out yesterday’s post for my BIG NEWS!


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Todays’s Healthy Help: Helped someone pick up a display that they knocked over at the grocery store!

Never too early to start Lending a {Healthy} Hand for next weeks round-up! Tell me what you’ve done to help someone else lately!