Monday, December 26, 2011

Eat Well, Be Well ~ The Book!

For over two years now I've been writing of various approaches and insights into the challenge of eating well. I expect to be blogging for another two years about our relationship with food because there is so much to say about it!

Now I've condensed the material I feel to be most useful into a little book designed as a guide on this journey that we all share.

It's called "Eat Well ~ Be Well", and it will be posted on e-bay this weekend. It's meant to be used for both information as well as some personal journaling.  The messages are pretty simple ~ and they are presented as a daily practice, because daily practice is the surest route to real change. I also invite some thoughtful exploration of the reader's beliefs about his or her relationship with food, as well as a look at what emotional factors may need to be considered.

I welcome the opportunity to share it with you!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Count to Ten Before You Bite!

It really is amazing how quickly we can eat something, without giving much thought to it.

We do everything quickly these days, and multiple things at once. That's why "mindfulness" is a relatively new concept. Now you can read about "mindful" anything!

It connotes slowing down enough to be aware ~ to pause ~ to reflect. That's not exactly a Western behavior, but it's essential that we "get it;" for the health of our bodies, our minds and our souls.

I know from experience that if I'm stressed, I'll eat more ~ maybe of the wrong stuff ~ as opposed to times when I'm more relaxed.

Maybe that's part of the function of saying a prayer (or "grace") before meals, because you're taking a moment to express gratitude for the food before you.

But since not many people do that, even quietly taking some deep breaths when you're particularly busy and doing lots of things at once, can create enough of a space to make a better choice when it comes to eating! 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cutting Corners in the Kitchen

I bought a cod fillet the other day.

They're generally pricey, but I stretched 3/4 pound into two meals. I used 1/2 pound to prepare two portions sauteed with sprinkles of lemon juice and dill, sided with a sweet potato split between us, and a hearty cole slaw with added ingredients of broccoli, peanuts, figs and grapes.

Tonight, I steamed the rest of that cod, sauteed a handful of mushrooms with a few pine nuts, and mixed all of that that with some linguini and basil pesto.

The most costly items were the pound of the slaw I bought at the deli counter ($5), and the small container of pesto, also about $5. We ate all the slaw, but the pesto will be stretched to add to other noodle dishes when I want to fix something quickly.

We don't normally eat dessert, but now that Haagan Daas has these tiny containers of ice cream for about $1.50, every once in awhile I pick up a couple.

And when I go to the store, I NEVER push a big shopping cart, because I don't want to walk out with more than a couple of bags.

A big part of eating well and not spending a lot of money is thinking ahead.

What do you need to buy to go with what you already have in the cupboards or in the fridge? 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's Simple, Not Easy!

Accept it. You're human.

That means there is no "perfect" path to eating well. You start over every day, because every day brings a new set of challenges that can illicit a range of responses, depending on where you happen to be emotionally.

The more detached we are from what goes on around us, the clearer our choices. But that clarity fades during a day packed with lots of activity with little time to reflect. That's when our ego is usually in the driver's seat, and the foods with the greatest appeal will likely be those containing sugar, fat or salt.

When there's too much going on, or too much to process emotionally and mentally, we're in a state of stress which means our choices will be different than if we're relaxed. Worse yet is the increased mental chatter where we debate with ourselves how best to "fix" whatever situation we're facing.

It's how we live, driven by fear and guilt that if we don't solve the problems before us, it will reflect our own short-comings, or result in outcomes we don't want.

It's at those times that vinegar and salt potato chips never looked better, and a bag of them can be emptied in no time!

Our responsibility to ourselves and to everyone else lies in maintaining a relaxed state of mind. That's the "climate" where healthy choices thrive. Interestingly, the problems then take care of themselves, mainly because we can then view them differently!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Little Gratitude Can Reduce Those Cravings!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day ~ the day everyone gets a huge pass in their struggle with food. No need to be on guard against sugar, fat and salt this day. We all know we can indulge with full absolution!

But as human beings, we don't live by bread alone, to reference a biblical phrase. That's because hunger is not just physical. It's also emotional, and the relationships we hold dearest ideally offer connection at Thanksgiving, and that's what feeds our souls.

When those expectations fall short, as is the nature of relationships at one time or another, our recourse is to fill that void by over-eating. No right or wrong judgment here ~ it's what we do.

But there's another angle to consider ~ and that's our ability to nurture ourselves by connecting with our own hearts. We do that through gratitude. We do that by counting our blessings.

Tomorrow is a day to take stock ~ to be thankful for a meal on the table, and for those who sit down to share it with us.  We are thankful for the love that is shown to us by not counting unfulled wishes.

We fill our own hearts first, so we can love ourselves. It's from that source that we can then authentically share ourselves with others, understanding that those who seem emotionally unavailable to our needs are really simply lacking in their own level of self-love.

This is how we feed our emotional hunger. We nurture ourselves by expressing gratitude for what we've been given.

If we believe in our own worthiness to receive love ~ and EVERYONE is worthy ~ we won't look at food as our only source of comfort.

So as the turkey is carved, take a few minutes and count your blessings because there are many.

And then enjoy your meal  ~ Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Two Can Eat As Cheaply As One!

Il Bistro. a local Italian restaurant, is a bit pricey for my pocketbook right now, but I was still able to enjoy some of their great cuisine. Tonight my husband and I split an order of Eggplant Parmesan, with a side of their famous Artichoke Soup. I ordered it as carry-out ~ cost was about $15. It was pretty good!

However, the greater portion of our meal was a salad we prepared at home with what was in the fridge ~ combining red cabbage, ice berg lettuce, spinach, sliced carrots and cilantro.

The combination was just right. I felt we had a bit of the luxury of fine restaurant dining, but kept it in balance with all the nutrients and fiber in the salad. The salad factor made the meal much more affordable, and healthier.
The assumption people often make in our "all or nothing" belief system, is that they can't enjoy a little luxury until they can afford it all, or until they're ten pounds lighter.

But that's not the case, because we really don't need as much as we think we do!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Making Due!

Thanks to Google, you have a ready resource when it comes to food prep!

The other night I spotted a purple cabbage at  the rear of my fridge, but short of boiling it with salt and pepper, I wasn't sure what else to do with it. So I went on line.

What I came up with was an apple cabbage combo that turned out to be simple and yummy!

What I loved about this was that I didn't have to go out and buy anything! I've started keeping a stash of apples in my refrigerator drawer, because I usually eat one every day. (Cuts the food cravings!)

Basically, I sliced part of the cabbage and two small apples and put them in a saucepan with a cup of water and three fourths cup white vinegar. To that was added a half teaspoon of cinnamon, and then a few dashes of cloves and allspice. I brought it to a boil and then let it simmer for about 30 minutes.

It was my main dish because it was the larger portion of the meal, sharing a plate with some salmon and wild rice.

It would have been much more expensive if I had bought a larger piece of salmon ($7.99/lb for wild- caught). Instead, I bought a little over a half pound for $5, because we don't need that much protein in a meal. That was sided with a half cup of rice. By making apples and cabbage the main dish, I heaped some fiber into my meal ~ and that promotes digestion, cleansing, and again, reduces food cravings.

I only used a quarter of the cabbage, so there's enough left to divide into a hot soup, or to add ot salads.

You can cut a lot of expense and gain a lot of nutrition with a little planning! 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Eating Well Doesn't Have to Be Expensive!

Buying organic can be nearly double the cost of non-organic produce. In these tough times, you might easily say it's a  no-brainer to buy what's cheapest.

But when it comes to food, don't let cost always be your bottom line when you're deciding what to buy. As I've said before, the average American wastes 40 percent of the food that they purchase. As an example, it's been my experience that when I buy a pound of non-organic strawberries (about $3), half of them develop mold before I can use them up.

So this morning, I bought a 9 oz package or organic strawberries for $5. But here's my rationale: I'll use those strawberries because I paid a premium for them. But more importantly, I'll savor eating them because they are actually RED on the inside ~ not white!

That also makes me conscious of not buying more than I will use, unless it's in a can or I can freeze it.

Just some extra thought and planning is money in the bank!

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Apple ~ Your Re-set Button for Healthy Eating

I've been eating an apple every day for awhile now.

There's so much impressive information out there about the health benefits they offer, it made sense that that daily investment might pay dividends. I've also tried to engage other people to do the same.

What I've gathered from random comments is that it's well worth the effort. First of all, apples reduce cravings for foods that aren't so good. They're packed with nutrients and enzymes that help bring balance to that chemical "soup" we call our bodies.

I find that when I've eaten an apple at some point during the day, it's much easier for me to pass up one of my biggest temptations: salt and vinegar potato chips! I'm not then drawn to sample a piece of fudge, or to buy a bag of chocolate chip cookies.

When we crave something, it's usually because we've got some imbalance going on. Unfortunately, generally what we crave only escalates rather than satisfies. (Eating salt and vinegar chips only makes me want more!)

But eating an apple is like hitting a "re-set" button that causes me to feel more centered; more in balance ~ not driven to satisfy cravings.

It makes healthy food choices for that one day so much easier. After all, one day at a time is all we ever have to worry about.

Try it for a few days and share your comments. I'd love the feedback!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Gotta Love a Pantry!

I have to say the combo we put together tonight was SO good!

My husband had purchased some turkey sausage a couple of days ago, and since we hadn't frozen it, we decided we'd better use it.

I had some Spanish rice in the pantry, along with cans of diced tomatoes to draw from. I also had some cans of black beans. There was a head of iceberg lettuce in the fridge, along with some apples.

So I thought about what we could combine. I fixed the Spanish rice (tomatoes included), and then added some black beans for fiber to help offset the carbs in the rice. That was served up with about three ounces each of the turkey sausage. Then I cut a couple of wedges of iceberg lettuce, added some apple slices, again for fiber; and topped that with some balsalmic dressing.

I have to say it was all delicious, and it all came from my pantry except the turkey sausage and lettuce.

Having a pantry stocked with rice, pasta, canned tomatoes, beans and broths goes a long way when you're putting together a meal.

What I did was put some things together in proportions that I thought were balanced and healthy. You don't need a recipe for that!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Good Vibrations

I tossed the bag of Ruffles potato chips I bought tonight.

Not sure why I picked them up after many many months of never buying that genre of stacks, but I think it had something to do with my frequency channel. (No, not as in "ham radio"!)

I've been reading Dr. Wayne Dyer's book, "There's a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem." Very insightful, because, in a nutshell, he concludes that our problems coincide with our energy frequency.

Mine was rather low today ~ I tried to cram too much into one afternoon, and topped it all off with an irritating phone conversation that pushed my delicate ego buttons.

Dr. Dyer says low energy frequencies resonate with and attract other low, dense frequencies ~ something that over the long term can translate into mental or physical illness. Of course, we're just talking one choice here: Ruffles potato chips.

But for folks who are less aware of what's driving their eating behavior, it's simply a marker on a path strewn with other low-frequency food choices. So when your depressed, which is going to appeal to you the most: celery sticks or brownies?

Had my telephone chat been more positive, and had I taken a few moments now and again over the course of the afternoon to just relax, I wouldn't have even walked down that snack aisle. Instead, I headed right for it.

I knew what was going on, and after chip number ten or twelve, I opened the garbage can and threw the rest away ~ knowning that bag would be otherwise be empty by dinner time.

That alone boosted my energy frequency up a notch.

I had made a clear choice.

A sliced pear sounded pretty good!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Awareness Trumps Knowledge When It Comes to Eating Well

I'm intrigued with the realization that awareness of our needs can guide our choices more accurately than knowledge.

More simply, I wasn't feeling that great last night after I had a meal of albacore tacos, rice and beans, PRECEDED by a plate of fried calamari. I didn't have to add it all up to understand intuitively what my body had to say about it. It was seeking a cleanse, so I settled on an apple and some lemon water before I went to bed. Fortunately, it helped.

Granted, this was a special occasion. My husband and I were trying out a new restaurant ~ and we love calamari. It's the only fried food I ever eat, so we ordered a plate of it. But when we left, I found I didn't have that familiar sense of well-being I associated with eating lighter in the evenings.

So tonight, while my husband enjoyed a grilled cheese sandwich and some tomato soup, I checked in with my stomach and opted instead for a sliced pear and some ginger tea.

So what does that suggest about abstinence? Absolutely nothing!

I'll go back and have albacore tuna tacos, but next time, I'll split the order with someone else (there's two to an order), and I won't have calamari, too. Or, I'll just order the calamari and a side salad, and bring several people with me to share the appetizer plate.

Because the deal is, it's never "all or nothing." We get ourselves into big trouble that way because we end up thinking the choices we made were wrong.

But every choice has a consequence. It's as simple as that. It's not a judgment or a punishment, and it's not good or bad. It's just what happens!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Eating Patterns for Our Times

These are complicated times.

For that reason, we're all seeking some simplicity. My belief is that if you can simplify eating,  other things become simpler, as well.

Just consider how much money you might be spending on food you don't need, or fixing meals that aren't that good for you. We do that without thinking while our minds are preoccupied with a roster of problems and worries.

We chomp on chips, cookies, crackers  ~ or anything that's handy when we decide we absolutely need something to eat. The question that often remains, however, is "what are we really hungry for?"

For a long time I enjoyed the pacifying, sedating effects of sugar, fat or salt when I was  feeling anxious or stressed. But now that I've incorporated heathy, fiberious fruts and vegetalbles into my day ~ specifically the apple ~ I'm feeling a lightness and a heightened sense of being. But here's the key ~ it's easier to know when I'm hungry, and define what I'm hungry for.

What this means is if you focus on getting enough of the good stuff, you won't be inclined to eat the bad stuff.

I have to say it's liberating to eat lightly, but to eat often.


Monday, September 5, 2011

One Change Affects Everything

Maybe I've said it before: "Change one thing you do every day and you change your life."

We'll see. So far, I think it may be valid.

A week ago I basically parked my car to see how attached I really am to all those monthly operating expenses for the sake of convenience. I bought a bike (soon to arrive!) and started riding the bus ~ Grand Valley Transit in this community. When the bike arrives, I'll ride it between stops, rather than walk.

So what's this got to do with eating. A lot!

Despite all we may understand and know about healthy eating, when the boredom factor kicks in, it's hard to resist culinary indulgences. (Even if it gets reduced to Cheetos!)

Emotionally, it would have probably been easier to board a flight for Africa than to give up my car. It gets me where I want to go quickly, and makes it possible to tick down a list of errands on a lunch hour. Without my car, I've had to time appointments with the bus schedule connections, and allow lots of time.

So when I leave in the morning, I have to think ahead because there's no running back to the house if I forgot something. Interestingly, the challenge has been stimulating. And if this makes any sense, it's easier to eat healthier.

Maybe it's the liberating feeling of getting out of the driver's seat, and letting go of expenses ~ like gasoline ~ and maybe car insurance!

I don't find slices of apple pie so hard to resist ~ now I resonate more with eating apple slices.  I carry my lunch ~ a half sandwich of fresh veggies, and an apple. I also carry my water bottle. It all fits efficiently into a fanny pack ~ convenient for the bike ride.

The other thing that occurs to me is how much gasoline I wasted just making unnecessary trips ~ to the mall, to the grocery store, or downtown ~ often because I didn't plan ahead.

Time is money ~ and it's energy ~ and I feel that now I'm conserving both.

Maybe that's what I've been craving!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Grounding Benefits of Food Prep

I really felt like staying on the couch this afternoon. It was raining, and I was mesmerized by watching the play-by-play of Hurricane Irene's path on TV.

Mentally, physically and emotionally I was on a low "frequency" ~ the food equivalent of which would be a combination of sugar (or carbs), fat and salt. Slide a dish of Ruffles potato chips my way and my best resolve would be finished!

That's exactly why I don't keep them in the house!

I'm on a frugal path these days, so I thought about the station-wagon sized zucchini that had lazed too long in the sun in our backyard garden, and a bowl of ripe tomatoes in the fridge. Fortunately for me, I had to get up off the couch to do some prep work if I wanted something good for dinner.

Refusing to dwell on the approach this month of my 65th birthday, I instead focused on slicing up the zucchini for grilling. I combined some olive oil, lemon juice, rosemary, basil, and some cayenne pepper in a bowl, and then basted both sides of the slices.(No recipe, mind you ~ just combining a few things I thought might work well together!) I placed them on the grill, along with some onion slices, and continued to baste them until they were tender.

Meanwhile, I sliced the tomatoes as a side dish, and heated up some left-over linguini, as well.

As I did this, I had time to once again be mindful that I'm so fortunate to be healthy and active at this age, and that it takes so little ~ really ~ to nourish me. When I finished eating, I realized I was satisfied. I didn't crave anything else. I was reminded that this is how I feel when I eat what my body needs.

I had a different frame of mind ~  on a "frequency" that didn't resonate with potato chips, or TV.

That's the challenge of the practice of eating mindfully ~ every single day!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Money & Food ~ It's All Energy!

I found after tallying up trips to the store and restaurant items on my bank statement that I was spending a lot more than I thought in that area. Nothing provides more clarity than journal entries or bank statements!

It occurred to me that we can "nickel and dime" our way into the red, just as, bite by bite, we can loose awareness of what we're eating. My resolve was to change that pattern, so on my way home from work I purposely avoided a stop at the supermarket. I knew by walking in for one item, I'd come out with three or four more.

In my car, I already had a Japanese eggplant, an onion and a zucchini that I had picked out of a box of veggies harvested from a co-worker's garden. I had stir-fried some veggies the night before and spooned them over rice, so tonight I'd do the same thing but use linguini, instead of the rice. Here's what I love about this: to the diced vegetables, I added a can of diced tomatoes (Italian seasonings included) from my pantry and a few black olives and mushrooms from the fridge, cooked them for a few minutes, and then spooned it all over a bit of the pasta. A dash of Parmesan cheese and it was perfect!

I'm careful to save "a bit of this" and "a handful of that" in the fridge rather than tossing them down the garbage disposal for just these kinds of preps.

Turns out it didn't take much time, energy or money to make that meal!

That translates into money in the bank, not to mention the huge health advantages of eating simply!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Keeping Balanced in Changing Times

As I write this, it's still unknown whether the current federal budget crisis will reach resolution in Washington. All sorts of dire predictions have been offered as to what we might expect should the government default on its debts next week.

No one knows for sure what it might mean, and Americans are nervous. At a time when many people are out of work with little prospect of finding a job, on top of that, we'll all likely face higher interest rates on home mortgages and credit cards.

In a few weeks, we may not be comfortably settled in to a past routine of paying bills and going shopping. As fragile as our economy is, it wouldn't take much of a shift to change the way we all operate.

Not much we can do about that ~ but we can control what we eat.

Our priorities may become immediately clearer ~ and those would be to take care of our health and choose good food to eat. All the stuff we surround ourselves with will be quickly devalued if we don't have our health or good food.

Fortunately, it's more affordable to eat well than it is to eat junk. The reason for that is good food satisfies hunger, but junk leaves us craving more. That's probably why it's easy to consume a lot of processed food and sugary drinks during the course of a day.

The unknown is always scary ~ but if we can keep body and soul together, we'll get through it. Keeping ourselves well nourished is an important part of that.

Pay attention to what you eat. It just might be money in the bank!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Another Frugal Meal

Few things are as emotionally sustaining to me as good food.

And that's generally all it takes to boost my mood and remind me how blessed I truly am.

At times when I'm tempted to measure happiness by my financial security, or lack thereof, I'm reminded that much of the world lives hand-to-mouth every day. And then I focus on preparing a meal that truly nurtures me, and I realize I really do have all that I need.

Like this morning when I looked into the vegetable bin of my refrigerator and pulled out a couple of carrots, some celery, part of an onion, some asparagus, and some cabbage. I diced the vegetables and scooped them into my crock pot, along with some vegetable broth, a couple cups of water, some basil and Italian seasoning, some frozen corn and a few black beans, and some salt and pepper. A few hours later it was ready to eat for lunch.

My husband then chopped the remaining asparagus, cabbage, and celery, and added a couple cans of beans, some chopped cilantro and red peppers, and mixed it with some barley he had cooked earlier. It was a raw salad that only need a sprinkle of vinegar and some lemon or lime juice for flavor. That was dinner, along with a small filet of tuna, seered on either side for a minute or two and sliced into thin strips.

All those vegetables left me feeling full and satisfied ~ and they were just sliced and "put together" ~ without using a recipe.

 It's a reminder that eating well is really eating simply.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Thoughts Over Supper

As I watched the commentators lay out their dismal projections should Congress not act in time to avert a major economic crisis come August 2nd, I thought about what adjustments we might all have to make if things took a turn for the worse.

I'm sure we can't imagine the ramifications.

All of a sudden, things on our wish list to buy evaporate in light of what we need to survive.

That's simple. We need shelter and we need food.

I thought about that as I ate a dish of sauteed Swiss chard and onions flavored with balsamic vinegar and lemon juice, and tossed with some linguini, with a sprinkle of shredded Parmesan cheese on top. It cost pennies to prepare, and I have to say it was delicious.

Chard ranks higher than most vegetables in nutritional content. It's also easy to grow, and if it's protected and covered, it can survive well into the winter. Good to know.

As I savored that simple, very satisfying dinner with a glass of red wine, I realized we really don't need all that much. As long as you have olive oil and pasta in your pantry, you can easily prepare a combination of a variety of sauteed vegetables to mix with it ~ pretty much whatever you have available.

We need to be mindful of those things ~ how little we really need, and what's really important ~ our health.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

People Need Absolution ~ Not Reprimand!

So this proclivity to eat more bad stuff than good stuff is something we've come by honestly.

Does it feel like your brain is on autopilot as you repeatedly dip into that dwindling pile of salty, greasy potato chips? Researchers in California and Italy report that when rats were treated to fatty food, chemicals in their gut were released that made them feel "high". The conclusion is that certain foods set off strong chemical reactions in the body and the brain.

Don'tcha think?

Advertisers appear to have been onto that for awhile. Americans are addicted to that stuff, so they overeat.

Dr. David Kessler presents a lengthy argument to that effect in his book, "The End of Overeating." He lays out our path to addiction via a food industry built on sugar, fat and salt, that later expanded its financial horizons with the ability to chemically engineer just about any taste. Thus, because those chemicals accumulate as toxins in the body, we became chemically addicted. 

So what role does good 'ol will power play in all of this? Probably in the decision whether or not to buy, but not when it's already sitting in a bowl in front of you. In that situation, most often you can be well on your way through several helpings before you realize it ~ unless, of course, you've taken time to notice what you're really hungry for.

If we're feeding cravings, we'll still be hungry ~ for whatever it is we're hungry for ~ nutrition, conversation, love, job satisfaction, less stress  ~ any of those, and more.

We seek to be nurtured, physically and emotionally. But the fatty food choices aren't going to satisfy that. That's not reason for guilt.  The key is to notice and be aware.

Once that awareness is there ~ the choices are much easier.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

It's a Gut Issue

What  does your gut tell you?

Turns out, much much more than you think.

Studies strongly suggest that obesity may be strongly linked with what type of microbial activity is going on in our intestines. The theory now is that disease begins and finds resolution in the gut, because that's where our nutrients get absorbed and put to work ~ that is, if there's enough healthy bacteria there to do the job.

The interest in raw foods comes into play because raw foods in their purest state promote those healthy colonies of microbes that are ultimately essential to good nutrition. Toxins from processed foods and poor cooking create a sludge that interfers with the proliferation of that necessary bacterial activity, and it upsets the body's metabolic balance.

All those fiberous fruits and vegetables help sweep that sludge away to promote a climate where those probiotic microbes they deliver can survive and thrive.

They in turn provide a set point for optimum health.

Hippocrates must have intuited as much when he said: "Let food be they medicine and medicine by thy food."

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Benefits of Raw Food

Here's a little something I stumbled upon this week that is so delicious, easy and healthy!

It's a combo of chopped fresh produce ~ mainly colorful stuff like chopped purple cabbage, red and green peppers, carrots, broccoli, red and green onion, cilantro; and black and garbanzo beans. My husband put it altogether in a bowl and set it in the fridge after we had watched a DVD on eating raw foods.

A small cut of salmon or other meat, and it's a meal!

But meat isn't in the raw foods plan, you may say. True, but it is in most people's diets. So if you have a heaping serving of the vegetable dish I just mentioned, you won't be able to eat a large portion of anything else because it's loaded with fiber. A note ~ don't ruin what it has to offer by dousing it with dressing from the supermarket. Instead use lime or lemon juice, or balsamlc vinegar and olive oil.

I don't have health insurance, and so I consider eating fresh fruits and vegetables a major part of risk management. I'm not always good about avoiding sweet treats, but I have to say it's much easier the more vegetables and fruit I eat. And it's less costly and less time consuming, so there's the added benefit of reduced stress.

We can choose to nourish our bodies, and we can choose the most effective way of doing that! Healthy eating is affordable healthcare!  

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Awareness Is Your Ticket for Change

A nugget to consider...When you are aware of what you are really hungry for, your relationship with food will never be the same.

That's because once you've paused long enough to notice what you are choosing and why you are choosing it, that awareness will always be there.

With awareness comes change, because regardless of what we choose from that point, the awareness in and of itself is transformational.

So there's no reason to be too cerebral about the whole food thing. Just relax and notice!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What Do You REALLY Gain From Coupon Shopping?

I caught a few minutes of that food coupon show on one of the cable channels today.

I've taken a stab at it a few times during those years when my kids were small. But I'm not so sure you gain much with all that bargain quantity.  I have to question the nutritional value of  a stockpile of all those boxes and cans ~ unless it's stored for a major disaster when grocery shelves are empty.

But barring that, my belief is you can still save a ton of money by just eating more simply and wasting less.

I made a meal for myself this evening with less food than many people throw out. I diced a quarter of a yellow squash, half a red bell pepper, a few slices of yellow onion and some fresh spinach and sauteed it in a bit of olive oil, along with some salt, pepper and basil for seasoning. Then I tossed that with some cooked linguini. It was quick, cheap, delicious and nutritious!

The remainder of those veggies can be tossed into the crockpot, along with some broccoli, carrots, celery, mushrooms and vegetable broth for a tasty soup for my granddaughters tomorrow. Not only that, with more fiber, they'll crave less later on in the afternoon. When they're hungry, they'll get some apple slices dipped in peanut butter.

I buy some canned stuff, but generally it's an array of beans when I don't have time to pressure cook them for soups and salads, diced tomatoes when they're not in season, and canned broths. I also stock my pantry with pasta, oatmeal, olive oil, peanut butter, raisins, salsas and several kinds of vinegars.

So with some fresh produce from the fridge, I can prepare a lot of different meals. If I want to incorporate some fish, or other meat for guests, I generally buy it that day, and the serving sizes are small. Why? Because we don't need that much protein to be healthy.

In fact, we don't need that much food to be healthy.

Want to save money? Instead of clipping coupons, spend your time planning meals with plenty of fiber, and drink plenty of water.

It's money in the bank because it's an investment in your health! 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Eating Right Includes Supplements!

It's a fact.

That's because we're not eating our great-grandmother's vegetables!

Yes, there are plenty of those who will say if you eat right, you don't need supplements. And there is that concern that with the plethora that's out there, you may pick some that could interact badly with prescription medications you may be taking.

But to keep it simple here, my readings convince me that if you're eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, a good quality multi-vitamin and extra vitamin D3 is a great combination. There's lots of research out there supporting taking vitamin D3 because most of us don't get enough sunlight exposure to provide what our bodies need.

And the case for a multi vitamin is a no brainer because the mineral quality of our soils has been seriously depleted as a result of large scale growing practices. That's the reason why buying organic is mainly to avoid harmful pesticide levels, as opposed to a product that's as nutrient rich as what was grown decades ago.

Look for a whole foods vitamin, rather than those that are synthetically produced, because your body will metabolize them more efficiently.

If you are dealing with a serious health issue, however, consult a nutritionist for advice on higher levels of supplementing.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

You Have to Feed Your Soul

Gary Smalley wrote a book called Food & Love, and in it he postulates that relationship issues can fuel food cravings ~ and food issues can create struggles in our relationships.

It certainly makes sense. Geneen Roth says much the same thing in her book, Women, Food & God. Solve your relationship with food and you'll clear up problems in other areas of your life.

The key here is to know which hunger needs to be fed ~ physical or emotional? Most people confuse emotional hunger for physical hunger, but despite their choices, the solution for emotional hunger isn't food.

We all crave connection ~ especially with our own hearts. Barring that, we end up looking for love in all the wrong places. Like in the refrigerator!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Emotional Dividends of Dining Together

I heard something interesting yesterday ~ that the risk of children drifting in adolescence into drug and alcohol abuse is significantly lower in those families that dine together.

That's profound, because it gives testimony to the importance of connection. The family dinner table can not only offer physical nurturing with good food ~ it can also provide the opportunity to listen, and be listened to, and that's a huge investment in our emotional health.


Not all of the exchanges at the dinner table promote self esteem, and some family gatherings regularly set the stage for what can be labeled as nothing other than abuse. Whether subtle or blatant, abuse is abuse ~ and that can create a whole new type of hunger that can become a life-long craving, making food, alcohol or drugs appear as comforting solutions.

But in a climate of mutual respect, both body and soul can receive the nourishment that allows us to thrive on all levels.

In those situations, sitting down together can be a very powerful anti drug! It's an opportunity we all have. See that you make the most of it!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Eating Well is a Life Long Journey

I've talked a lot to folks about their struggle with diets. It's perpetual for so many people, because they gain and loose the same 20 or 30 pounds over aand over again, often picking up a few more pounds each time around.

It's crazy ~ you know, that repeated cycle of doing the same thing over and over again and yet hoping for different results. It takes a huge amount of energy ~ because when you're on a diet you thnk about it all the time. It's not fun because it's a time dedicated to discipline and depravation somehow with the misplaced belief that we deserve to be on this spartan course, all the while knowing we probably won't succeed anyway. We believe we won't win ~ which we equate with reaching a goal.

But eating for health is a larger picture than just losing weight. Losing weight is closely tied to how we look, and, yes, that's important.  But if we're eating to invest in our health, that's a bigger story because it continues long after we lose some pounds.

The goal here is to create an internal, physical climate that provides us with energy and balance. Eating the right foods (and you know what they are!) can do that, along with regular exercise. If that becomes your lifestyle, the pounds will go anyway!

Feeding Children

People say it costs a lot to feed kids. Very true, if they're teenagers. At that stage, they need a lot of fuel because their bodies are changing so much.

But keeping young children fed and nourished is probably a lot more complicated and costly than it needs to be. I've noticed when I make a sandwich for my young granddaughters (ages three and six) that a half sandwich is plenty if I add a sliced apple and some baby carrots. Of course, usually just an hour or two later they're asking for something else, so I make it a practice to keep a sliced apple available on the counter, and popcicles in the fridge (made from unsweetened fruit juice).

Another option is to put some fresh fruit in a blender with some yogurt, milk and honey ~ along with a few ice cubes ~ to make a smoothie.

What I figured out is that grazing works better for kids ~ and for all of us, really.

Traveling around town is the car is a critical time when the food decisions often aren't the best.  A couple of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches wrapped and placed in an insulated lunch bag, and some small cartons of raisins can make a big difference in time, money and nutrition, when the other choice would be to pull into a drive through window at a fast food shop!

They key, of course, is to plan ahead. Even just a few bites of a food rich in fiber ~ like vegetables or fruit ~ along with a bit of protein from, say, a couple of peanut butter crackers can stop those mid-morning or mid-afternoon cravings and keep everyone in stride with eating healthier! 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Creating Space for Mindfulness

So often eating is merely a placeholder ~ something we do when there's nothing else. It fills in the blanks when we're bored and looking for something to do. It can be something we do when we watch TV or read a book.

It can be a pacifier when we're nervous or upset. We're usually very quick to respond with food, but it doesn't necessarily mean that we're hungry. But when that happens, we have, in effect, eliminated a chance to take a closer look at why we do what we do.

Just as yoga poses or a long walk create the space to look at things differently, the same thing can happen in our relationship with food.

Sometimes it's just a matter of stopping long enough to ask if food is what we're really hungry for. Maybe we've used our eating patterns to mask other issues that need to be addressed in order to live the life we really want to live?

Over the past week, I've noticed that by just eating more raw vegetables, fruits and almonds, I've created more space to be reflective rather than compulsive as I go about my day. Maybe it translates into nothing more than to pause before I would otherwise eat foods with sugar, fat or salt ~ just long enough to consider if I was really hungry or just using food as a placeholder.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dining Together ~ The Missing Link

It's been a dying tradition ~ dining together.

How many people use a dining room? Countertops and bar stools have become the hallmark of convenience ~ or fitting in meals on a busy ~ or not so busy ~ schedule.

And yet, I've believe that the whole chemistry of digestion changes depending on the setting ~ or the atmosphere ~ of where you eat. Makes sense. The nurturing gained from a home-cooked meal is only partly credited to the food that is served. Eating in your own home, or as a guest at someone else's, can be a healthier experience in and of itself. We all know that.

Sitting down together opens the door for human connection ~ and it's as basic a human need as food.

That's why we can confuse hunger for food with hunger for conversation, friendship, intimacy and love. That's why we eat even if we're not physically hungry ~ because some of those very important, soul nurturing pieces are missing.

It's not as if we're trying to fill an empty pit ~ the emptiness we feel is real, and so is the hunger. The key is to distinguish whether what we're feeling is emotional or physical.

The phrase "starved for attention" can be literally that. And if that's lacking, we'll attempt to fill th void with food. We know we need something when we head to the refrigerator ~ it just may not be the correct remedy.

And so sitting down to a meal with people you care about, and who care about you, feeds both body and soul.

That's how I would interpret that well-known biblical reference: "Man does not live by bread alone."

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Thoughts Before and After Pizza...

We can fool ourselves so easily when it comes to food.

That was my thought this afternoon when I stopped at Boston's Restaurant for lunch. I was hungry, and so I ordered a personal-sized pizza. I chose a spinach and artichoke pizza with sun dried tomatoes, on a crust made with whole wheat flour.

I ordered the same beverage I usually have with a meal ~ water with lemon. No sides, no appetizers, no dessert.

When I left, I'd had plenty to eat, but I decided I didn't feel particularly energetic. What would have made me feel more energized?

I had removed some of the cheese from the top because I don't eat cheese that often. There was spinach, but just a few sprigs, and artichokes, but just a few pieces. It was mostly crust.

And that was the key.

The first few pieces were delicious. And that's where I should have stopped, because what I needed was more fresh produce in the blend ~ like a few slices of avocado over a small bed of lettuce, and some apple slices!

But Boston's is a sports bar, so the strategy would have been to order a small side salad, and bring most of the pizza back in a box for later ~ as part of Monday and Tuesday lunch!

That's where planning pays off. The day before I had picked up five or six apples at the grocery store and put them in the refrigerator.

Just eating one of those before my trip for pizza would have made all the difference!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What ARE We Really Hungry For?

It's 7 p.m. and you're headed to the refrigerator.

But is it because you're hungry ~ or is it because you're bored, emotionally upset, sad or lonely?

Unfortunately, food isn't just a nutrient for us ~ it's more often used as a balm to deaden our emotional discomfort.

Much of that comes because we feel separate from everyone else ~ for whatever reason. Our culture dwells on comparisons ~ whose life is more interesting, whose job is more exciting, who has more money, who is thinner ~ or who owns a home with hardwood floors! If we judge that we fall short, that low esteem also prevents us from seeing the wide range of choices we have!

As a result, we perceive that we're stuck. As Henry Ford said, "Whether you believe you can or believe you can't ~ you're right!"

That's when food becomes our "best friend".

Food could be our best friend ~ but in that negative state, the foods we would choose don't make us any healthier or happier.

The first step in changing that reality is to pause long enough between the couch and the cupboards to just be aware.

Just stop and ask yourself: "What am I really hungry for?"

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Being "Mindful" ~ Translated

Despite my best efforts, I got that nasty virus that circulated late this winter, and my rebound was slow. I apologize to my faithful followers for my absence!

This week I was also blessed with a fifth granddaugher ~ all of them ages six and under!

While for all of us, our energies rally and wane in our efforts to live mindfully, they remind me that we are models for the generations that will follow us. Children are mindful ~ and they pay attention to what we do.

So how do we do that? And what does it mean to be "mindful"? The word must appear as "new age" jargon to much of our population who see themselves as separate from that realm.

But of course, we all share the same realm ~ no matter what our political or religious beliefs. So being mindful ~ translated ~ simply means paying attention to what we're doing right now, every moment.

Children get that ~ and they notice when adults in their lives are distracted because it siphons the energy they receive. Every mother knows that kids begin to act up as soon as she gets a phone call. It's because her attention has shifted. Kids can't articulate that, but they know it, and they behave accordingly.

Even in the worst of crises, most will say they experienced a "calm" as their total focus was on the situation at hand. In my humble opinion, a lot of our stress comes from lack of focus ~ when our minds race like a galloping herd of wild horses.

In that all-pervasive food arena that we live in every day, an unfocused, distracted mind drives us to find some calming effect from those foods and drinks that are the worst choices for our bodies. We're looking to self-medicate all that stress and agitation ~ but we pick the wrong prescription. The more stressed we are ~ or the less mindful ~ the more we eat.

No blame here. There's no place for it. It's how we're wired.

But when we make better food choices, it's going to affect everything else. We just have to slow down ~ maybe even stop ~ and pay attention.

The kids will notice!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

There's a Niche for Responsible Restaurants

Pete recently joined as a follower of my blog. He's a young, athletic guy who commented that active folks and athletes need calories ~ more than the average adult.

True enough.

That lines up with axiom: "energy in ~ energy out". Some Americans actually burn more calories than they take in, and so their nutritional needs are different than much of the population.

Seems like a marketing opportunity for those in the restaurant business ~ per menu options, or the entire restaurant's venue. Generally, Americans are unhealthy, and generally, they eat too much of the wrong foods. We have an obesity crisis ~ which translates into our health crisis.

Young, health-aware people like Pete will be always be able to seek out what they need without much trouble. I think there'll always be plenty of calories to be had, and most likely they won't eat more than they need.

That's the key. I'm betting people like Pete know the difference.

It's all about being aware. And restaurants, I believe, have a role to play in providing food options for those who are not.

Friday, February 25, 2011

We Don't Need That Much Food!

My friend and I had dinner the other night at a nice little Italian restaurant near Vail. There was a grilled zucchini dish with mozzarella and linguini on the menu, so we decided to order it.

But instead of each ordering that entree, we asked to split a single order.

Good choice, because it was a lot of food. That's typical in most restaurants. They give you big plates, and those plates are full ~ probably to justify the price.

This item was $13.50. Turns out, cut in half, the portion was just right. It also came with olives, hummus, and roasted garlic, and a bowl of warm grain bread. But I would have paid $10 or $11 for the same amount, rather than what turned out to be roughly $7.

My point is, I feel well served at a restaurant when I get a nutritious meal that isn't crawling off the plate. I want to finish it all and feel satisfied, but not stuffed!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake!

So does healthy eating mean you never again swing through McDonald's? Is chocolate cake forever off the menu for you?

I heard Rush Limbaugh this week criticize national food maven Michelle Obama for eating barbeque ribs!

If you're going to eat well, and not be in a constant state of vigilance, it can't be an "all or nothing" proposition. Culturally, we frame things that way. And it sets us up for failure.

The challenge is to be aware of your choices.

Maybe your day is packed, you forgot the sandwich you had wrapped the night before and placed in the fridge, and you only have a half hour to eat and get to a meeting. McDonald's can be the solution ~ just be aware of what you're ordering.

Eventhough most of my meals are prepared here at home using fresh stuff, tonight I experimented with Campbell's tomato soup. I combined a large can of it with a 14 oz can of diced tomatoes, a dash of garlic salt, and some dried basil. After it was good and hot, I topped it with some shaved Parmesan cheese. (If I had some fresh tomatoes, I would have used them ~ but they're out of season here so I don't buy them)

The soup was cheap and delicious. I won't be having it every night, but once in awhile it's an easy way to add more nutrients to a plain old can of tomato soup. A few slices of sauteed onion or scallions would have made it even better!

The point here is that you are mindful to make everything you eat as nutritious as you can. It's your body's fuel. Some meals will be better than others.

A keynote to help keep you on course is water. It's truly the elixir of life, and a constant reminder that simplicity should be the litmus for living well!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This...

Anyone under 50 may not recognize these lyrics ~ they "date" me!

Basically, the message is that there are good days and bad days ~ and that's especially true when it comes to eating!

No matter what you're level of resolve, there will be days when you don't eat well. Under stress, we gravitate towards sugar, fat and salt ~ and there are plenty of offerings wherever we look. It happens, but it doesn't necessarily mean you're "off the wagon." You've just diverted your path a bit.

My very pregnant daughter-in-law commented her last several credit card charges were to McDonald's. Right now she's caring for her two daughers, ages 3 and 1, and waiting for baby number three, while her husband works overseas. She's been pretty careful about how she eats until recently ~ but its understandable that the whole eating equation looks very different right now.

The key here is awareness.

If you've had the opportunity to notice that eating some foods give you energy, and some foods take your energy away, you've made progress because your choices are clearer than when you never noticed.

When we never notice what we're really doing, our actions are mindless ~ whether it's eating, drinking, gambling, drugs ~ it doesn't matter.

We all know life can be better ~ no matter what our circumstances.

The key is to believe in your ability to choose ~ and to recognize those opportunities.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Same Food ~ More Grounding Experience

I had salmon pasta with spinach and capers again last night ~ but it was a totally different experience than the meal I wrote about in my last blog.

First of all, it was left-over food from our restaurant dinner four or five days earlier. There obviously wasn't as much, but I heated it up in a pan along with baby spinach leaves. I fixed a salad with crisp, romaine lettuce and sliced some red onions, topped with a drizzle of olive oil and vinegar dressing.

My husband decided he wasn't hungry, so I ate alone. It all felt "right" to me.

This time, I hadn't created an expectation by suggesting we go out for dinner ~ we clearly had two different goals that evening. I was also hungry for connection, and he was just hungry for ~ well, food. As I mentioned earlier, the result was that we both ate too much.

Last night our choices were much healthier and satisfying. My husband didn't eat just because I was eating. He decided he really wasn't hungry, and opted instead to create time and space for himself and read his book. I, too, enjoyed the time to reflect in the quiet, and noticed that I was plenty satisfied with a third of the food I had been served on our night out.

But the other interesting thing here was that we were each connecting with ourselves in this period of solitude. The TV was off ~ and we were each operating in our own "space," with no expectation from the other. It was nice to know that that was just fine ~ for both us.

No one was in a snit or manipulating with silence ~ we've all done that, and we all know how crappy it feels!

What I found interesting was that neither one of us felt drawn to scan the cupboards or troll through the refrigerator later that night ~ perhaps because we had been truly mindful of what we were truly hungry for!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

In the Company of Others

There's much to be said for dining with friends ~ particularly when it comes to eating out.

I think there's a certain tedium that can be present when you eat with the same person every night (as in husband or wife). Occasionally sitting down with another couple tends to elevate the whole experience, and everyone leaves the table a lot more satisfied.

I was struck by this the other night when my husband and I decided to go out for dinner after work, rather than go home. In my mind, it would be a "date" night. My husband of thirty years was probably looking at it as just eating somewhere else. Turns out, it was pretty much that.
Our conversation was predictable ~ he knew what my responses would be, and I, his.

So that meant that the food factor was pretty much the main event. It was certainly good enough ~ linguini mixed with salmon, capers and spinach. The problem was, there was too much of it. We were just ~ well ~ eating!

"Do you think it was worth $50?" my husband asked as we left.

"I think when we go out to eat, we should invite another couple," I replied.

He agreed.

Not to make a pun here, but we really weren't bringing anything new to this expensive table. Nurturing involves more than eating ~ it's feeding our souls, as well. The dynamic of sitting in the company of others adds that dimension, so it isn't all about the food.

Because if it's all about food, you'll only crave more of what you don't really want!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Eat in Good Company ~ An Important Ingredient!

The power of dining together can't be denied.

Purposely sitting down with one or two people, or a table full of people ~ brings a dynamic the contributes in no small way to the health and nurturing of each person present.

That's what we're doing now on Tuesday nights over at Yoga West Collective. We bring a small dish to share ~ something healthy ~ and enjoy it in a spirit of ceremony. We take a moment to give thanks for the food we're going to eat, and the efforts and produce that went into preparing it.

What's interesting is we find we don't need to fill our stomachs to feel nourished. The setting is quiet and relaxing, and there's no contention or toxic comments (often not the case at the average family dinner table). No one leaves with a stomach ache!

There's a spirit of acceptance that assures everyone sitting down together that all sincere opinions are accepted and valued (often not the case at the average family dinner table).

So we find we're not craving more as we leave. Our hunger for food, validation and connection have been satisfed.

And that's a recipe for healthy bodies and healthy spirits!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Breakfast ~ A Good "First Step"

It's a tough habit to break when you dash out the door every morning and grab a "breakfast latte" at drive through. Of course, it's because there's SO much to do... no time to sit down and eat.

If you have time to do your hair and apply make-up, or sit and watch the morning news ~ you have time to eat breakfast. To take it further, if you value your body and your health, you make the time. Do it once, and it's easier the next day.

Reinforcement for that new behavior is to notice how much better you feel when you've got some nutrition working for you early in the morning!

Try this.

Make sure you have some fresh fruit ~ berries, an apple ... anything like that, some raisins and chopped nuts, and some peanut butter and oatmeal. The next morning, cook up a bowl of oatmeal (it only takes a few minutes!), then toss in some fruit, some raisins and chopped nuts, and a teaspoon of peanut butter. Mix it up and take a bite. Take a minute to savor and appreciate all the good stuff you're taking in!

Notice how you feel as you start the rest of your day. Would the word "fortified" apply?

What you've done is jump started your metabolism to start working earlier to convert calories to energy. You've also taken in a nice amount of fiber to stave off cravings for stuff that's not so good for you. You've made a choice that benefits your blood pressure, your cholesterol and blood sugar levels ~ even your mood!

Even if you don't change another thing about your eating patterns ~ make a high fiber breakfast a priority ~ a practice ~ every morning. Remember that you're doing something good for yourself because you deserve it.

Then just pay attention. Notice what changes!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Gratitude ~ An Appetite Suppressant!

Last night at our weekly "supper" at Yoga West, we decided to add some ceremony to the experience.

First we shared our gratitude for the food we were about to eat. Then we took a few moments to acknowledge what our hearts were hungry for ~ and we validated those feelings for each other.

We found the exercise to be emotionally satisfying ~ eliminating feelings that might otherwise be confused as physical hunger.

Not a small thing when it comes to eating!

It's particularly significant because there wasn't a large volume of food to share, but it was certainly quality stuff!

We dined on a salad of sliced cooked beets that had been marinated in rice vinegar, lying on a bed of mixed greens, topped with sliced purple onion (also marinated in vinegar), goat cheese, toasted walnuts, basil, pepper ~ and then topped with a dressing of olive oil and balsalmic vinegar, with a bit of orange juice mixed in.

With that we had flat bread crackers and a tasty guacamole garnished with a generous dose of fresh squeezed lime.

To begin with, it was a very colorful presentation ~ which is also a satisfying element when it comes to food prep.

As we savored our meal, we enjoyed conversation that revolved around sharing all the wonderous aspects of living in these times.

It was both relaxing and nurturing. That's what dining together should be about ~ feeding the body and the spirit!

Why crave more?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Exercise ~ An Important Link to Healthy Eating

It's not a good thing to be too cerebral about the whole "healthy eating" thing. That's because thinking about anything too much elevates it to mythical proportions. It's a good way to get stuck.

So factor in exercise.

It doesn't have to be vigorous ~ just moving in a way that gets you out of your head. The most effective way to make that happen is to do it when it's not convenient; when you have a million reasons why "tomorrow" would be better.

Psychologist Roger Mallot has said, "If you want to change your life, change one thing you do every day." That means when you pass by the cupboard where yoCheck Spellingur Cheetos reside and reluctantly tie up your tennis shoes and head out the door for even a ten minute walk, you'll return with a different brain chemistry than when you left.

That will change even more the day after that ~ and even more the day after that. It's called "discipline" because you may not want to walk every day ~ or do yoga stretches, or ride your bike, or run ~ but you do it anyway.

As a result of that, your relationship with food changes because you've changed. You're less stuck. Then the choice between whether to eat an orange or a brownie gets easier.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Bit of Housekeeping...

No amount of resolve or cooking know-how can survive a cluttered, disorganized kitchen, and a crowded refrigerator with spoiling food to the back and down below. It hardly motivates you to put on your apron ~ but rather to grab your car keys and head for carry-out.

But changing that isn't as daunting as you would think. At the start of this new year, I've contributed some tips that might be helpful.

Get rid of duplicate cooking utensils, and pot or tupperware lids with no matches.

Dump any expired spices or other food items, including any spoiled vegetables or fruit in the fridge.

Create a clear counter space. Don't use it as a temporary desk!

Stock a simple pantry with items you would frequently use for healthy eating, including canned tomatoes, pasta, broths, a variety of beans, olive oil, oatmeal and a few spices like cinnamon, red pepper flakes, basil, oregano and cumin. Always have a few onions, stalks of celery, carrots and potatoes on hand for a quick soup!

Oh, yes ~ and remember to unload the dishwasher after every washing so dirty dishes can go right in, rather than stacking them in the sink.

Just a few of these changes can make your life a lot easier!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Consider HOW You Eat

For years I never considered HOW I ate until a friend made a comment that whenever we had lunch, I was always finished eating long before she took her last bite. I dismissed it because nothing registered when she said that.

That was eight or nine years ago.

I finally realized that I really wasn't savoring what I ate, I was just ~ well ~ eating! Truth be known, there was little mindfulness about it, probably because my mind was somewhere else. I just wasn't present because my mind was off and running!

While what we choose to eat is certainly important, we can sabatoge our best efforts to eat well by not paying attention to how we eat.

If we slow down long enough to take a moment to be grateful for the food we have to eat, and the friends or family we're sharing it with, we're also feeding our souls as well as our bodies.

The flip side of that is that if we don't appreciate these blessings, food then becomes just the volume it takes to fill up our stomachs and our empty hearts. If we're trying to satisfy both with food we'll always crave more, because only love and gratitude can feed our hearts!