Why using Real Plans weekly meal planning service has been a life changer for me.
First of all, why should you go to all the effort to meal plan?
I’ll share my story first, because I definitely haven’t always been a meal planner, unless it was one big meal, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, or for a party of some kind. And I really needed some help. I couldn't manage to come up with a weekly meal plan on my own.
*If you want resources for meal planning on your own, click here.
I’d usually go to the store with a plan for that night’s dinner, then fill in with items I knew I was out of (I would make lists for those kinds of things) and staple items that I used all the time, like onions, carrots, lettuce, bread, cheese, rice, etc.
Thanksgiving is coming up in a couple of days here in the United States.
It's one of my favorite holidays because it's purpose is spending time with friends and family, eating a nice meal, and ideally expressing gratitude what we have in our lives. It's an innately positive experience, even when we factor in the family dynamics we might be dealing with. (-;
While it's nice to have a day focused on expressing our gratitude, practicing gratitude on a daily basis has many positive effects, some of which you may surprise you.
First, though, I'd like to give a little explanation about practicing gratitude, while understanding that it can take many different forms.
What is a gratitude practice?
I just spent an hour making dinner. It's one of my favorite new recipes, chipotle butternut squash and black bean tostadas. I've also made my favorite kale and strawberry salad. The meal checks all the boxes for me. It has plenty of vegetables, it's flavorful, and it's filling. Not only that, for my lunch the next day, I'll reheat a tostada and plop a fried egg on top. Delicious!
I set the table, since everyone's been in other parts of the house doing their thing. I'm fine with that, since I go into a meditative state when I cook, or sometimes I listen to podcasts or my music. I'll add one more thing: I'm sort of messy when I cook and my husband almost always cleans up after dinner. And we both want the kids to help more with the clen up. We agree on that point.
I call everyone to dinner and the first thing that happens is my husband states adamantly, "You kids are cleaning up tonight." Chaos ensues. My daughter has homework, my son already took out the garbage, plus he "always helps," and I get irritated because I just want everyone to enjoy the meal, especially me. Figure out the clean up later, after all, even if it's a mess, it doesn't take nearly as much time as making the meal.
And the worst part is that I know stress and conflict isn't good for digestion!
This week, I am presenting several stories, or case studies of how food can impact the behavior of children.
The reason I'm talking about children is first because that's how I came to focus on the impact of food choices and second because the gut-brain connection is more obvious in children because they are less capable of filtering their what they're feeling.
I begin with my story, but be sure to scroll down to my interview with Matt Wright. It's interesting to here his story of how his childhood behavior issues were solved by food changes from his perspective as an adult.
A little bit about the gut-brain connection.
I'll go deeper into the gut-brain connection in a future blog post, but I want to provide some background for the stories I'm telling now.
The gut is being considered the second brain. It has more neurons than the brain and the spinal cord put together. Neurons communicate and transmit information throughout the body. It was thought that the brain controlled the action of the neurons in the body, but now we know that they are controlled in the gut as well.
Primary Food Part One and a Half: Extroverts and Introverts or the Introverts Survival Guide to the Holidays
Before I move on to intimate and romantic relationships, I'd like to write more about our social needs, both in our friendships and in our intimate lives.
Communication of our needs is an important skill and our needs with regard to the quantity and quality of time we spend with others can differ quite a bit.
As we move into the holidays, it can be the best time of the year for extroverts with all of the holiday parties and gatherings, or it can be an exhausting time of year that makes you want to crawl in bed and sleep for a week when they're over.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Knowing the answer to this question is key to coming up with a strategy for getting through the holidays.
There are many common misconceptions about introverts and extroverts. The first definition that popped up in my search for the definition of an introvert was that an introvert was a shy, reticent person.
What's Primary Food?
Last week in my workshop, Weigh Less, Live More, I talked about the importance of "Primary Food."
Primary food is what nourishes us beyond the plate and is really more important than what we eat.
When we are nourished by primary foods, we don't rely so much on secondary food (the food that we put in our mouths).
Think about when you were a kid or when one of your children were playing with friends in the neighborhood. That happily playing kid isn't running home every ten minutes for a snack. They'll go hours before they come home to eat. They usually aren't even coming home to eat, but because either they or their friends had to return home at a certain time (or it got dark.)
If they're bored at home, they're complaining every few minutes that there's nothing to eat!
Or think about a time when you've been really excited about a project. You aren't so worried about food. You have to remind yourself to eat. Food becomes an afterthought.
Now remember a time when you weren't feeling all that great. Maybe you didn't like your job or a relationship had just ended. That's when comfort food comes in. You turn to whatever food offers you comfort, but in never really works, does it?
The more primary food we give ourselves, the less we depend on secondary food.
Yes, we need secondary food to nourish our bodies. But, if we are being fueled by primary food, then we can consciously pick the foods to eat that do nourish us.
The four main primary foods are relationships, physical activity, spirituality, and career.
Today, I'll focus on relationships, specifically friendships. Relationships with friends, family, and even our co-workers. Next week, I'll write about romantic relationships!
The quality of your relationships tells a lot about the quality of your life and your health. It's important to cultivate relationships that are healthy and support our individual needs, wants and desires. It really is individual.
You could be eating the perfect diet, but if you are feeling isolated and lonely, you aren't going to be to be living your best life.
DON'T WORRY, BE HAPPY!
This is the first in a series of posts on how to get started in moving towards better health and well-being, but first I think the right attitude is important, or you may get frustrated and quit. Or, you'll decide changing those habits isn't really isn't very fun, or worth it, which also results in abandoning the whole idea.
Do you feel like you're being told what not to do more than what to do?
Do you know people who are so busy protecting themselves from anything deemed unhealthy or toxic, that they're completely stressed out?
Life has sped up and I don't know about you, but dinner, being at the end of the day, often gets less attention that tasks that happen earlier in the day.
When I was a kid, somehow my mom got dinner on the table almost every night. Maybe with the exception of going out for pizza or Mexican food after Little League games when they finished late.
Our family may not have been perfect, and we probably had breakfast for dinner here and there, but we did sit down together for that one meal every night.
Now family life is even busier and sometimes it seems like it's more stressful to get a meal on the table.
I'm sure you know the feeling of feeling tired from the day and trying to switch gears and figure out what to make for dinner.
On the other hand, grabbing something to eat at a restaurant on the way home from wherever, isn't necessarily less stressful.
You have to get everyone to agree on where to eat, the food doesn't come fast enough for whoever's most hungry, and then when you get the bill, it really doesn't seem like it was worth it at all.
Seriously, wouldn't you rather save it for special occasions or date night without the kids!
Why eat at home?
"A good solution applied with vigor now is better than a perfect solution applied ten minutes later." - George Smith Patton, Jr.
I was wanting more than that. I was wanting my husband to change.
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Women's Wellness Circle: From Inflammation to Vibrant Health
Hi, I’m Crystal!