I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Like every time I’m on instagram or read a wellness journal. Continue reading “Wellness Trends Make my Eyes Roll”
Meal planning/prepping is my number one tip for staying on track and on budget when it comes to eating healthy.
Maybe you have self control, but if I don’t meal plan, the occasional quick fix of organic rice pasta and lemon butter turns into ‘when the hell did my pants get this tight‘! (Not that I advocate for never indulging, but you know..)
Planning ahead lets me stock my kitchen with clean ingredients and prep healthy meals and snacks for weeknights when I’m in a rush. And I’m always in a rush.
Meal planning gives me a place to start so I’m not like WTF am I going to make for dinner this week. It also stops you from grabbing whatever looks good in the store only to go home and find that you don’t have half the ingredients to make it. I’m also super type-A personality, so the idea of not planning my meals in advance just sounds ludicrous.
Anyway, I have a lot of food sensitivities, so my grocery list looks almost the same each week. I know what doesn’t make me feel like crap, and I stock up on it weekly. Things like homemade granola and yogurt, smoothies, veggies and hummus, and avo toast are quick, nutrient-dense meals or snacks that take literally next to no prep time at all.
Dinner is where most of my prep actually comes in handy. Dinner is important to me, because it’s really the only time my husband and I have together without distractions; having the labor-intensive part of dinner done leaves us that much more time to enjoy our meal together (and watch Netflix after!). We eat together almost every night, and I usually cook five nights of the week, with one day built in for take-out/eating out and one day to use up whatever’s left.
I actually really, really enjoy cooking and trying different recipes, but I have a general formula that I work with each week to figure out what I want to cook without getting ahead of myself and wanting to make a thousand and one things (<- like I said, type-A). There’s usually one meat and one fish-centered dish, one pasta or rice dish, one super healthy salad night, and one hubby’s really been in the mood for this dinner. It’s like a little grid I fill in so I don’t have to think so hard.
Here’s what’s on the menu this week:
- homemade yellow rice with black beans, chorizo, and veggies (rice)
- sesame crusted swordfish with rice and zucchini (fish)
- BBQ chicken drums with veggies and potatoes (meat)
- Mediterranean chickpea salad (salad)
- grilled cheese with oven dried tomatoes (hubby’s choice)
On Sunday, I’ll prep the black beans, marinate the chickpeas, make the tomatoes for the grilled cheese, and probably make the rice. I also always chop up a bunch of fruit and veggies and make hummus and granola to have for the week.
Some other tips I have for meal planning and prepping, cause I like to consider myself some sort of expert on planning ahead:
- Even if you don’t have food sensitivities, research has shown that people tend to circulate their favorite meals weekly without having a lot of variety. This keeps grocery lists short, affordable, and easy to manage. Be realistic about what you’re going to eat and stick with it.
- Find ways to remix the same ingredient twice. Otherwise known as tricking your husband into eating leftovers. Make a whole chicken one night, and turn it into a giant taco salad the next. Your husband won’t even know.
- Build in a night or two for leftovers or take out. Without fail, something always comes up and I hate when I’ve prepped an entire week’s worth of food and only need 5 days of it. I always always always build in one day for take out/go out/attempt to be spontaneous once in a while and one day for throwing whatever hasn’t been used up into some type of acceptable dinner.
- Write it down as soon as you run out of something. Picky husbands hate when there’s no Cholula…even if it’s their fault it’s gone! I’m guilt of forgetting to do this with spices and I always end up needing whatever I just ran out of. Good thing my mom lives upstairs!
- Be flexible, but stick to your list. Okay, I’m all for sticking to the list for budget reasons…but if something like brown rice or quinoa is on sale, just grab it and save in the long run. However, just because the chips are $2 doesn’t mean you need 6 weeks worth. Look for sales on your pantry staples, not excuses.
- Think about your plans for the week, like barbecues and birthdays. Consider the fact that you might not have to cook dinner that night. Also consider that it’s probably rude not to show up with something and plan accordingly.
- Plan for something healthy in every meal and make sure it’s on your list <- also known as tricking your husband into eating vegetables!
If you follow me on instagram, you probably saw that hubby and I just completed a 3 day watermelon cleanse.
Watermelon cleansing basically means you eat nothing but watermelon for 3 days. The cleanse is designed to provide the body with ample amounts of water in order to flush toxins out of the kidneys and jump start the metabolism.
I have mixed thoughts on cleansing (they’re super restrictive and leave me insanely hungry), but we decided to give the watermelon cleanse a shot for a few reasons:
- Despite eating healthy, unprocessed food about 95% of the time, I have terrible digestion and awful food sensitivities. No matter how hard I try to stick to “safe” foods, I end up feeling bloated and sluggish on an almost daily basis. Sometimes something drastic and cleansing is the best way to kick this back into gear…at least I was willing to try!
- Watermelon is super alkaline, with a Ph of 9.0. Alkaline foods counter balance the negative side effects of an excess of acidic foods, such as kidney and liver damage and increased risk for diabetes. An alkaline diet can also yield more energy and aid in the disappearance of chronic yeast overgrowth.
- Because watermelon is 92% water, it’s a mild diuretic and great for flushing toxins out of the kidneys. The toxins in the American food system make dieting tricky. Rather than focus on whole, real foods, we replace them with processed alternatives, such as fake sugars, that are ridden with toxins. While many dieters think they’re being healthy, they’re actually postponing results by consuming these toxins that wreak havoc on our digestion and cause hormone imbalances. Flushing these toxins from our bodies is the first step towards health and weight loss.
Despite the health benefits, I was still worried that I’d be hungry and bored for three days. But it really wasn’t that bad. I was hungry, especially at night (hello night snacker!) But, I learned to eat more frequently throughout the day and found the diet satisfying. Maybe it’s the mental aspect of chewing and convincing yourself that you’re eating, but it worked.
We also experimented with different smoothies, adding blueberries, coconut water, lemons, limes, and different herbs, to keep enough variety present during the three days.
Overall, I lost 4.5 pounds. Granted, the majority of this weight is excess water and bloat, but I’m not going to say I was sad to see it go. Though I try to keep healthy thoughts on weight loss and maintain a positive body image, holding onto excess weight because of poor digestion can be frustrating. Seeing results finally was a small win for me.
Some other thoughts…
I had to pee. A lot. I guess that’s a good thing considering the whole point is to release rid the body of toxins through something that’s primarily water. Also, I hardly drank any water and didn’t feel thirsty.
I learned that I do better eating smaller meals more frequently. I also learned that I probably snack more than I think I do. Eating only one thing really draws your attention to how often you unconsciously walk past something and take a bite.
I had a lot of energy, slept great, and didn’t feel like my food baby was in the way all the time!
I missed wine.
I don’t think I’ll be buying a watermelon for a while.
Thoughts on cleansing? Have you tried the watermelon diet?
As a proponent of organic food, I am constantly explaining and justifying my choices, often to those with misdirected comments that range anywhere from a concern of an assumed restrictiveness to the notion that I act like an “elitist” for spending excess money on a label.
Many believe that eating organic is a commodity that only the upper-middle class and the wealthy can afford; they view it as a stereotypical way to distinguish class among even the most mundane of our food choices. But, in truth, eating organic is about health. At least it is for me.
Organic food is healthier since it is grown/raised without the use of toxic persistent pesticides (that are banned in many other countries), is better for the environment and farming industry, and does not contain GMOs, which have been linked to a slew of health problems including cancer. In 2012, the Food and Chemical Toxicology published the first and only long term study under controlled conditions that looked at the side effects of GMO maize treated with Monsanto roundup herbicide, and ultimately linked the diet to tumors present in the rats.
Collective Evolution published a great roundup of scientific studies that prove GMOs can be harmful to our health.
Unfortunately, many don’t know this, since food labels don’t exactly give you the heads up that your food is contaminated. Other than the “certified organic” label and the voluntary “non-GMO project” label, there is not way to guarantee your food is GMO free. And if it’s not labeled as so, it probably isn’t. Most major food corporations use cheap, highly processed ingredients and disguise what’s really in their food under terms like “natural” and “heart healthy” that really have no labeling guidelines.
If you really knew what you were eating, I’d venture to guess you’d stop eating it…and they’d stop profiting off of our ignorance. That’s why companies like General Mills dump millions into anti-GMO labeling, claiming that GMOs will solve the hunger crisis. (In truth, there’s already enough food to feed the population with what Americans waste alone, the problem is access). These companies want you to think that organic is just another fancy term and they want you to believe it’s an unnecessary expense.
Organic farming and organic food is simply food in its most traditional form. There was a time when all food was organic. It just wasn’t organic. This was the way our ancestors farmed. For years. Until industrial agriculture took over and stocked our shelves with a rampant supply of cheap junk food and pesticide laden produce. Now, you need a label to know what is safe to eat. And that label costs a lot of money. That’s why organic is more expensive. It’s also why a lot of your farmer’s market vendors are “organic” by all intents and purposes, yet lack the label.
I buy organic food whenever I can, which is, fortunately, almost always. It is the only way I can be sure of what goes into my body (or what doesn’t). But I do sacrifice other “commodities” to be able to afford organic eating, like dining out. I’m on a budget, too, but I spend less than you would think on groceries, sometimes around $50 a week (which is equal to welfare). I conserve, I embrace leftovers, I eat less meat but a ton of produce (which is how we should be eating, anyway IMO). I spend my weekends at farmer’s markets, talking to and buying directly from those who grow my food (and not spending the money at expensive supermarkets that need to cover shipping and manufacturing costs).
I’m not an elitist or a restictive eater because I eat organic. I’m just someone who simply cares about her health.
I practice what I preach. I choose to bring awareness to a food system that is toxic, impersonal, and industrialized. Once you know the truth about our food system, you cannot simply un-know it and continue eating as if you aren’t making a choice every single time. My food choices come not from convenience but from a care and concern for my own health and the health of the planet that we are destroying…and from a deep rooted desire to fix it.
Each bite of food we take, each dollar we spend, is a choice. That is why I eat organic.