Greetings and Happy New Year!
The beginning of the New Year welcomes a time where most people reflect upon their lives and set goals for the weeks and months to come. As I am developing the Foodsense, Now! “Positive Eating Plan”, I thought that I would share with you a few thoughts. In my mind, taking care of your health through mindful eating is the best thing you can do for yourself. Of course you will be faced with a myriad of choices on how to do this. One could say, off the cuff, that adopting the basic acronym “K.I.S.S” (Keep It Simple, Stupid) is the mantra you need. Eating well is not complicated! It doesn’t require elaborate concoctions of protein powder, micromanagement of nutrients and calories or “magic” pills. If you follow some basic guidelines, you will be successful in your endeavor.
Welcome to the Foodsense, Now “Positive Eating plan”. If you are making some changes within your diet (drastic or not) then this plan might present a new outlook on how to fuel you body on a daily basis. This is not about a diet of the conventional definition. We find “diets” to be limiting and unrealistic. Diet is the proverbial four letter word. Instead, the Positive Eating plan is about a lifestyle which embraces whole, unprocessed food while eating frequently enough (5 times a day) so that you don’t feel deprived and lethargic.
Whole, Unprocessed Food This is the cornerstone of the Positive Eating plan. The Western diet has evolved into one that is laden with unhealthy fats, sugar and chemicals. And look at most of us! America is obese, unhealthy and lethargic. We recommend that you eat food that is organic or naturally-raised whenever possible.
Seasonality The Positive Eating Plan follows the seasons and celebrations in life. For example, in the spring you are more apt to see dishes which include asparagus and rhubarb; citrus and artichoke. Summer might find plans with more grilling preparations, berries and melons. Late summer will bring raspberries and corn. And you will see more stews, hearty greens and squashes in the winter. Our plans will also acknowledge holidays and provide you with ideas and recipes to stay on track
Breakfast It IS the most important meal of the day. Some of my biggest “flops” (if you will) during my quest to eating well have been on days when I have skipped or skimped on breakfast (or have eaten something just downright unhealthy!). A healthy, hearty, whole food breakfast will set you up for success for the rest of the day. As I write this, I have just finished a toasted sprouted whole-grain English muffin spread with a ripe avocado…. Conventional? NO! (At least I’ve never seen that on any breakfast menu). Tasted Great and Nutritious and Wholesome? ABSOLUTELY!!! (not to mention the alkalizing, low glycemic benefits of such a meal).
Smoothies and Shakes Another cornerstone: I’m a huge fan of smoothies and shakes. Basically you let the blender do the first part of the digestive process for you (the chewing). We list a few different kinds for mini meals, but if you are comfortable with one type, then by all means make the same one each day. One of our clients wanted (and needed) to kick a processed sugar/office candy bowl habit and did so by drinking one 12-16 ounce “Chocolate Antioxidant” shake a day (NOTE: in my opinion, it is not Chocolate that is bad for you, but all of the refined sugar and hydrogenated oils found in commercial chocolate) I’ve been on a “green smoothie” kick for the last year because I love the idea of eating raw kale but I find it difficult to get through the chewing phase—can you say bovine? Problem solved: let the blender do the chewing and you will reap all of those exceptional vitamins and minerals housed within the cellular walls of the kale. Can you say “Nutritional Powerhouse”??? HECK YEAH!!!!!
At any rate, find the smoothie recipe you like the best, or vary them day to day. Make it in the morning and put it into something portable. Enjoy as your first or second mini meal. And, on one of those days where you are so busy, you can substitute a smoothie as a meal.
Salad A quick, weekday meal is a 10 minute preparation of salad. The good thing about salads is that the cleanup is minimal. You will see 3 large salad-based meals a week for dinner in the Positive Eating plan. The other 4 nights, you are provided with healthy versions of more conventional meals. But if you are under any sort of time crunch, I recommend defaulting to some sort of crispy, crunchy salad.
The Best Easy Salad for dinner
I was preparing a salad for someone who came to my house for dinner. I asked him if he made salad at home. His response was “no, they always seem like they take too much time to make”. I’m thinking to myself …Hmmm….You chop some vegetables. You really just have to make sure that your refrigerator is stocked hmmm….With the convenience of prewashed organic greens, making a salad is a snap. Plus, there is a minimal amount of clean up. I eat this probably 3 or 4 times a week. I do not measure, and if you are eating alone it is nice to catch up on reading while you slowly savor each bite. Sometimes it takes me a half an hour to eat a big bowl. While bottled salad dressing is convenient, and there are some well made ones out there, I prefer to make my own. You can keep it raw, you can keep it vegan. Or you can add a bit of protein
Start with: Assorted Greens (Mesclun mix, spinach, Arugula or anything that seems interesting).
Add any combination of:
- Purple Cabbage, thinly sliced
- Red Onion
- Fennel Bulb, thinly sliced
- Bell Peppers
- Summer Squash
- Small amounts of:
- Raw nuts
- A small amount of crumbled cheese
- Nutritional Yeast
- Chopped Egg
- Dried Fruit
- Some Protein options
- 2-3 oz Grilled Fish or Chicken
- 2-3 oz Canned Wild Sockeye Salmon
- 2-3 oz Sardines or Smoked Oysters
- 2-3 Thinly sliced lean meat
- A quarter cup of leftover cooked grains such as Brown Rice or Quinoa
When you don’t have the time to shop, prepare and or cook…….
Stay ahead of the game by keeping your kitchen stocked! I always have on hand two or three ingredients for salad; sweet potatoes and avocados on the counter; cans of wild sockeye salmon, smoked oysters and organic beans in the pantry; nut butters and Ezekiel wraps in the refrigerator. In a pinch, you can prepare a salad or a wrap. I also will cook extra brown rice, quinoa or barley and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days (it also freezes in portion sizes extremely well). That way, if I want to make a quick stir-fry, sprinkle it on greens, or doctor it up with spices, herbs and fruit for a salad, it already cooked and ready to go.
Be mindful, but not militant. Sure, there will always going to be a time during the week when you are faced with a not-so-healthy eating situation; the spontaneous office birthday cake; the holiday party; the barbeque at a friend’s house; a business dinner; you’re stuck in the airport; or “d*&% it, I just wanted that deep-fried twinkie…!” etc. If you deviate from the plan, then just SAVER it!!! Then accept your actions and get back on track as soon as you can and MOVE ON. Life is a composite of senses and experiences.
Habits …..If you are someone who “fuels” continuously throughout the day with coffee and and/or soda, we recommend that you curtail this habit as much as possible. Switching first to Green Tea and then to Herb al Tea is a great way to transition.
Refrain from using artificial sweeteners. (Stevia is a natural sweetener and a great alternative to Equal, Sweet and Low and Splenda…there is a reason those lab rats developed tumors…). Savor your morning cup of coffee (or savor it in the afternoon). Limit your coffee to one cup a day. Believe me, you do not need to drink it all day. If you are one of those people who keeps a coffee cup or soda can permanently attached to your hand, remember that it is just a habit you formed somewhere in life and you can break it. But do so slowly. Incremental changes are the key to success.
Soda….I am convinced that we wouldn’t have the obesity problem (actually, epidemic) that we do today if people would cut soda out of their diets. Soda and “Energy Drinks” are typically made from high fructose corn syrup, water, and other ingredients that are difficult to pronounce. What is energetic about that? So why would you want to put THAT into your body? Diet soda??? Well, it is full of additives…. ‘nuf said!
To look and feel your best, you should exercise at least 4-5 times a week for at least 30 minutes a day. There is no diet or eating plan in the world that produce the results which you get from exercising regularly. If possible, make exercise the first thing you do each day if you find that it is a challenge for you to work it regularly into your day (if you are one of those “git ‘er done” structured people, then my hat’s off to you—you probably fit in your exercise regardless of the hour). You will then start the rest of your day refreshed, relaxed and clear-minded. And you won’t run the risk of running out of time to do it. Again, MAKE THIS A PRIORITY.
Enjoy the Foodsense, Now Positive Eating plan. We have had tremendous success with it in our own lives, and we hope that find that as well.
“Be mindful, not militant”
“Positive Eating for a Healthy Being”