Joyful Eating for Wellness. Chemical Shit Storm? Polite Pass.

I have had numerous friends, clients, and family members ask me about what they should be eating. I usually don’t know what to say. Where do you even start? Everyone’s dietary needs are different depending on their health issues and personal tastes. It boils down to two very basic concepts. 1. Get out of your own way and come to terms with your food mentality. 2. Listen to your body and find out which foods are healthy for you in particular.

Step One: Wrapping your brain around healthy eating.

Do you want to eat healthier but have some self-limiting beliefs holding you back? These beliefs might be:

Eating healthily is expensive and inconvenient. Healthy foods don’t taste good. I don’t have time. My family will never change their diet. My kids and husband are too picky.

As long as you believe and repeat these statements to yourself and others, then you are making your goal of healthier eating much harder, if not impossible than it needs to be and you are depriving yourself of the simplest route to health and wellness.

You are worth it! No one else is going to take care of you as you can! If you are waiting for someone to give you the permission to make yourself a priority, you could be waiting your whole life. Lots of people, mostly women, internalize the idea that they have to put themselves last to be a good wife, mother, friend, etc. If you are attached to the idea of being a martyr for your whole life, I would suggest doing some introspective thinking and journaling on this concept. If it is truly who you want to be, then go for it.

One thing you might want to consider is the empty cup concept. To pour into another’s cup, you have to keep refilling your own cup. As a caregiver, lover, worker you have to give of yourself a lot. When you start to feel emptied out this becomes more and more difficult. Most martyr types that I have known (including myself) become bitter, angry and walk around with a victim mentality. They are victims of themselves!

My kids are such slobs! My boss takes me for granted.

If we stop and think about these statements, we realize that our kids are slobs because we clean up after them instead of teaching and then insisting that they clean up after themselves. Our boss takes us for granted because we didn’t even ask for the raise or say no when requested to work late hours. The truth is your kids will be grateful later that you took the time to teach them to take care of themselves and their environment. Your boss will respect you for having boundaries and guts for asking for compensation for what your services are worth. Being your own advocate will take some effort and maybe even some bravery initially but is totally worth it in the long run.

Yes, kids are messy and bosses can be jerks but remember you have the power to teach people how to treat you. It starts with how you treat yourself.

What does this have to do with healthy eating? Everything! When we take complete responsibility for our choices, it eliminates the feelings of powerlessness. If I choose to eat chocolate cake, it is not because I went to a birthday party and had to. It was because I made the choice to eat that cake and I made sure I enjoyed every bite! The sugar/gluten induced stomach ache I will probably get later is a consequence that I accept because that was my choice. Sometimes that choice is fast-food or deep dish pizza, and I am ok with that. I then usually follow up with healthier choices to try to counter-act my indulgences. Life is a constant stream of risk/reward analysis.

Fiscally healthy food is less expensive. You can get a lot more carrots and celery for your dollar than you can Fruit Loops. Enough said.

When my husband suggests a quick detour through the fast-food drive-through I often simply say, “I am making my health a priority.” We then grab some sushi or a quick fresh juice at Juice It instead. If he insists that he wants a burger and fries, I suggest that we go to both places. After all, he is free to make his own food choices as well. If my kids, husband or friends are less than gracious about my choices, I try not to take it personally and stick to my convictions. Sometimes those convictions are fries.

Affirmations to adopt:

I am making my health a priority.

Food nourishes my body and soul.

I enjoy preparing health-giving meals.

Real food tastes better than junk food.

Step Two: What to eat.

Most people skip the first step and go straight to, “What should I be eating?” Of course, there are a million different answers to that and the “experts” change their minds on a yearly basis of what we should all be eating. I am going to keep this very simple.

Eat fresh, whole, high-quality, foods. Eat foods that make your body feel light and energized. Eat what makes you feel happy not just in the short term but hours and days later. Listen to your body and your instincts. Be intentional with your choices. A healing diet will look different for different people. It might be a vegan diet or include lots of grass-feed butter and bone broths. Going gluten and dairy free may improve allergy symptoms or migraines. You will find out what resonates with you and even that might change over time as you go through different life changes and phases. Be open to new ideas and tastes! Pay attention to how they affect you.

Healthier eating might be a huge adjustment for some. Have patience with yourself. This is not an all or nothing concept. It’s a journey that will last for the rest of your life. If you work at it, you will enjoy a longer healthier journey!

Skip the Chemical Shit Storms or C.S.S.’s. It’s no surprise that processed chemical laden foods are bad for you. What does surprise most people is that they don’t taste that good either! When you start to get used to high-quality ingredients artfully prepared you will wonder why anyone would settle for a dry sugary Pop Tart.

This Easter, my son, took a couple of bites of his big chocolate Easter bunny that came in his basket. He then made a disappointed face and said, “Mom, this is not very high-quality chocolate.”

I was surprised that he would even care. We are brainwashed to believe that kids prefer junk food. I have had parents tell me that they have to give their kids junk food so that they can have a fun childhood! I am sure those kids will be thanking their parents for diabetes later.

To my son, I said, “We will ask the Easter Bunny to bring something a little better next year.” This exchange with my son re-illustrated for me the basic concept that

high-quality food = healthier food = better tasting food.

Label reading may seem intimidating at first, but you don’t need to be a scientist to know if the box in your hand is a C.S.S. If the ingredients list is a mile long and you can’t pronounce most of it put it back on the shelf. The truth is that major food manufacturers don’t even have to put the worst preservatives and additives on the list of ingredients. They use loopholes like adding it to the packaging or can lining. They use deceptive wording to confuse and mislead consumers. Some industry’s are not required to list their ingredients. I am talking to you flavored vodkas!

A few no-brainers to avoid are hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, Monosodium Glutamate, Sodium Benzoate and enriched wheat flour.

Instead of becoming overwhelmed by it all and giving up, ask yourself, “Is this food a Chemical Shit Storm?” You will know the answer.

Here are some of my favorite go-to healthy foods:

Frozen fruit is cheaper and more convenient than fresh. I use them in smoothies, muffins, and crisps.

Pre-made gluten free flour mixes. Perfect for cookies and quick breads.

Frozen veggies. Lightly steam for a quick, healthy side dish or add to soups and casseroles.

Raw honey, we eat it on rice cakes, in oatmeal, in tea or by the spoonful-my kids call it a spunny (spoon of honey).

Fresh lemon and ginger for tea or seasoning dishes.

Coconut oil, grass-fed butter, olive oil for baking and cooking.

High-quality chicken, beef, and fish. We buy in bulk and freeze the packages for use later.

Fresh fruit and veggies for snacks such as apples, mandarins, celery and carrots.

Quick dips for fruits and veggies such as yogurt, peanut butter, and hummus.

Lundberg Basmati long-grain brown rice. It smells amazing when cooking and can be dressed up in a million different ways. I make rice pudding, stir-fry, add it to my chicken-rice soup or simply serve it as a side dish.

Bragg Liquid Aminos, real soy sauce.

Non-GMO popcorn, pistachios, almonds, organic corn chips for that salty crunch.

High-quality dark chocolate. No reason needed.

Eating out and product go-to's.

Costco for their large selection of organic products and reasonable prices.

Chipotle for delicious fresh ingredients and portions large enough for my husband.

Sushi for a light gluten-free meal. (Note: soy sauce has gluten in it. You can ask for Tamari which doesn’t.)

I hope this blog post empowers you to let go of the diets and intimidating trends so that you can start to make healthier choices for yourself and your family.

Still feeling overwhelmed? Let me get you started!

From now through the end of June 2016 I am offering 50% off my Personalized Wellness Protocol. This will include dietary suggestions that will take your current physical, mental, and emotional situation into consideration. I will come up with a customized plan to get you back on the path to living a Joyous Life. Healthy eating made easy!

What are your go-to healthy foods? What are your mental blocks when it comes to self-care? Leave a comment below!

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