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!