Flavor, health, memories, perceptions, desires, and traditions are all things we associate with FOOD, which influences our choices and approach to eating! When I help people embrace food as a positive and exciting aspect to their journey toward abundant health, it is important to stay away from hard set “rules and restrictions”. Instead, I like to take an individual and collaborative approach using structure and strategies that will work best for each person.
We are all unique and different! That is what makes YOU so special, and why the same approach will not work for every person. That being said…there are some basic tenets you may want to consider while planning, preparing, and eating your meals that will promote good health. I strive to incorporate these myself, and I hope you find them helpful too!
- Love the Food You Choose to Eat: It honestly hurts my heart when people tell me they have been eating bland food they don’t enjoy for years, and they feel guilty for eating pleasurable food. Food is meant to be pleasurable, enjoyable and satisfying! I love hearing clients say “I love the food I am eating AND I feel amazing and happy”. One of the selling features when I bought my home was the kitchen. On the wall painted in deep red it reads, “Approach love and cooking with equal abandon”. Spend some extra time to put “love” into preparing a meal that you can’t wait to enjoy. It will empower you to eat well (and happy) for life!
- Know Where Your Food Comes From: It is more important than ever to mindfully select safe foods (uncontaminated) while also being aware of the environment, quality of the food, and nutrient density. (Think about it… WHERE did those chicken nuggets actually come from and WHAT is in them (see #3)…? (grin)). Here in Florida, we are blessed to have so many local farmers (many organic) to support! This helps not only our environment and carbon footprint but also offers more nutrient-dense produce vs. food shipped all the way across the country which often doesn’t land on our plate for days or weeks. Know where your food comes from, so YOU can make an informed choice…and make a commitment purchase more local!
- If You Can’t Pronounce It, Don’t Eat It: Yes, this sounds pretty basic but super important. Check out the next flavored drink or even that “healthy” protein powder or coconut milk you choose to drink. You may be surprised to see words that are not coming from Mother Nature! Even I get surprised at some of the ingredients in food I have purchased, despite my desire to eat as close to nature as possible! So, check your labels…ingredients can change without you realizing. (Remember these 6 to avoid)
- Step Back and Ask – Is This Food Harming or Helping? This was a big lesson for me based on how some foods impacted my health. Most of us know what foods help us feel our best and ones that don’t. I finally came to a place in my life years ago. when I decided it just wasn’t worth it anymore when I had a reaction, felt lousy, or sluggish. So you may ask yourself prior to eating, ” is this helping me feel my best, keeping me balanced, and moving me towards my health goal”? Now, we must remember that this would apply about 90% of the time. Don’t underestimate the value of sharing the occasional pint of good ice cream with your “besties”. So just like rule #2 and 3, it is important to be mindful, but not so strict that you can’t be REAL!
- Make it Last – I don’t know about you, but I don’t cook every night. I plan meals around my recipes lasting us for several days, whether it is a dish to be eaten as left overs or reused in a way to create another dish. For many (myself included), this is the only way to be healthy and have a balanced life. Let’s face it, when we are cooking every night (unless cooking is your true passion), it is easy to get burned out and just grab “take out”! Check out one of my favorite meals that I can eat all week long…
- Sit Down (and Up) to Eat – Too often we don’t stop to enjoy (or acknowledge) our meals or even those around us. In our Western world we eat while we move, multi-task, slouch on the coach, or drive in our cars. This can impact our digestion, weight, happiness, gratitude, mindfulness, and relationships! Sitting at a table (upright) with others, allows us to better digest our food by slowing down our eating and lives! One constant attribute to all cultures of centenarians is the importance of socializing and joy, particularly around meal times. We cannot overlook the health value of stopping our busy lives and sitting down to enjoy a meal with others. Priceless!
Leave a comment and let me know what “rules” you follow in the kitchen to set YOU up for success.
I would love to hear from you.
Oh, and just a “little insider”… next month I would like to help you with your Spring cleaning. Yes! Spring is coming and with it a good time to clean up your kitchen and focus on your wellness dreams. So I am feeling really grateful and have decided to offer a little “gift” to those who are part of the JBS Community.
So… if YOU have not subscribed to my Newsletter and to receive regular updates…now would be the perfect time to Sign Up!
(Only those who are on my LIST will receive the Spring treat!)
Happy cooking and meal planning!… Julie