August 2008

We’ve all heard about how breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Some people translate that as “eat something, no matter what it is.” Though it’s true that eating something when you wake up jump-starts your metabolism and is better than eating nothing at all, getting breakfast right by eating healthier foods is even better.

Several people, myself included have a very busy start to their day. Since time is short, many of them get their morning fix on the way to work, usually at those quintessential diet road-bumps: fast food restaurants. In addition to their breakfast staples, chains like McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts are constantly rolling out tantalizing new premium offerings on their morning menu for participants in the rat race. Those foods are, more often than not, high in saturated fats and sodium. You may get the chance to burn off the calories from these hefty helpings during your workday, but their low nutritonal value will still slow you down. Eating a relatively nutritious alternative will keep your energy level up, meaning you could be less tempted to drink those extra cups of coffee later in the day.

Medical advice site WebMD, which creates great slide shows about nutrition and other topics, shows in a recent offering which fast food breakfasts to avoid at popular restaurant chains and which are a better bet. The foods to avoid are really not that surprising; enjoying an”enormous omelette sandwich” or a “junior breakfast burger” is pure hedonism, and the smarter and likely just as satisfying choice exists in a different breakfast.

The experts at WebMD suggests eating at home, if possible. One thing I like to do for my morning routine is to make a fast food breakfast trip a special once-a-week event. If you can make time to eat cereal, toast and/or eggs at home before heading to work, you’ll have the opportunity to start your day off with a more nutritious meal and save money. And even the most plain bagels from Dunkin Donuts will seem like a real treat if you enjoy them in moderation.


Regular exercise is a crucial part of living a healthy lifestyle and preventing health problems down the road. Experts recommend 30-90 minutes of strenuous activity for adults. This is a difficult level to achieve for many Americans, but there are ways for everyone to start. The worst exercise you can get is none at all. The Mayo Clinic details more benefits of exercise, such as mood improvement and sleeping better.

Many companies are helping their employees stay fit with gym memberships or in-house fitness centers. But as long as you have the time and take the necessary measures to avoid injury, you could just as well get the exercise you need from the comfort of your own home.

If you’ve been thinking of doing any of the following:

Losing weight
Building up healthy weight
Getting toned
Getting stronger
Being active

-then check out these do-it-yourself fitness websites and insure yourself that you’ll be on your way to getting in great shape! – If you can get by the spelling errors, this website is a great, free resource that lays out procedures that match what you want to do with your body and what you can do. The constantly-updated site also tells you how to do all the suggested exercises. – This webpage goes in depth on creating a respectable home gym without spending a lot.

Walmart continues to find new ways to make their stores contain everything you would ever want to find in a gigantic box.

With a visit to one of these singular, vast stores, consumers can buy: clothes to keep themselves warm and possibly fashionable; food to sustain themselves (and their pets); TVs and video games to stay entertained; automotive supplies to keep their cars running (even gas in some places!). And it’s all incredibly cheap, so when they finally leave that giant box they still have some money – unless they spent it on more cheap stuff like an eye exam or a sandwich from Subway, which are also readily available inside the small metropolis that is your local Walmart.

They also provide something that BenefitsVIP can whole-heartedly support: prescription drugs for four dollars. Walmart boasts that they provide $4 30-day supplies of 95% of the drugs for which prescriptions are written in the US. And recently, they began providing 90-day supplies of many of these drugs for $10.

These drugs were long priced so highly that purchasing them was a huge burden for low- and fixed-income Americans. Walmart is able to provide them at cheap prices because of what they don’t have: a brand name. They are generic drugs. They are produced not by the initial pharmaceutical company who jacked up prices to recoup high research costs, but by post-patent companies who sell them at competitive prices.

The generic drugs are exactly like the expensive, name-brand drug. As Walmart’s FAQ shows, they have the same active ingredients in the same concentrations, the same purity and stability (and the same side effects). Though many top brand-name drugs are not available for these low prices, Walmart says these cheaper copies have already saved Americans over $1 billion.

This isn’t available for everyone, though. North Dakotans have no access to these $4 prescriptions at all. Also, certain drugs are more expensive in the following states:

Despite these technicalities, most are calling the cheap drug offerings from this guy 🙂 a great opportunity to save money on health costs, especially in tough times like these. This is even starting up a bit of competition, as Target, Walmart’s chief rival in the business of empire-sized emporiums, plans to at least regionally match the $4 deal.

We at BenefitsVIP are always looking for ways for you to stay healthy and save money on healthcare. We think that a trip to the Walmart pharmacy is a good way to see if you and your family can be insured for a little less. Chances are that you’re going to Walmart anyway, whether it’s for a loaf of bread, a new pair of jeans, a Playstation, or all of the above plus a family photo!