Last week we focused on determining how important your diet is to you, this week is part two. The question for the week is this:
2.) What do you feel you don’t have control over in your diet?
Usually we look at all of the things we can’t do. While it isn’t the most optimistic approach, it is important to look at these factors because it will help us to address issues before they arise. Ever try to change your diet, but before you know it you have 10 obstacles standing in your way? This is probably because you forgot to think about the possible set-backs ahead of time. By thinking about potential set-backs before they occur we become more prepared. We can also think about reasonable solutions.
This week, I’m listing the most common set-backs you’ll face when trying to improve eating habits. The most important part of this post is what comes after the common set-backs, the solutions. This is where we really debunk common myth that it’s difficult to follow a healthy diet.
Ready to build your own take home doggy bag ? Let’s go …
The Most Common Healthy-Eating Burdens, Debunked:
Time is one of the most critical factors in planning healthy meals. I’ve done graduate research work which also shows this to be the biggest barrier for selecting healthy meals. The fix? Plan ahead!
Most things we are successful at have come with a plan in mind. If you need to get to work by 8:00 AM, you plan when you will wake up, and when you will leave the house. Another example is when you go to the movies. You plan a time to go and leave enough time to get there …maybe even incorporating time for long lines at the snack stand 😉 . Well, You can also plan your meals in a similar fashion.
Sundays are usually a good day to prepare and cook large quantities of various foods that will last through the work week. Set aside 1-2 hours just for shopping and preparing food. For instance, you can grill 5 chicken breasts on Sunday. Each day of the week do something different. Maybe a chicken sandwich one day, chicken strips on top of salad another, make a quick soup and add some diced up chicken, chicken wraps, etc. If you’d like more ideas please feel free to ask in the comment section below.
One of my favorite winter ideas for vegetables is to buy enough vegetables to fill a gallon size Tupperware container. Wash, peel or cut each veg so it’s ready-to-go. Usually I buy a combo of broccoli, carrots, bell pepper, radish, snap peas, spinach, kale, etc. Everyday I fill a ziploc bag with the raw vegetables and make it a goal to finish the bag before work is over. I eat them as a snack or just nibble throughout the day as a way to increase my vegetable intake. This is especially beneficial in the winter because of the added immunity protection vegetables provide. You can also use these ready-to-go foods as apart of dinner or lunch. Make a quick stir-fry and add the chicken you made! Plan ahead, and be creative to avoid time conflicts with healthy eating.
Try to buy produce that is “in-season.” The US is now able to ship produce from around the world, making nearly anything readily available year round. When you purchase in-season foods there is less of a markup in price because it is more readily available. For instance buy apples during the fall months instead of spring, and switch to peaches in the summer. Click this link for a list of what is in season in your state.
An important side note to consider when factoring in cost is the following. Please feel free to skip this section if you are not interested in the US farming system.
Years ago farmers raised animals for meat production on a farm that had ample land, animals were fed a healthy diet, and the final product was mostly free of hormones and antibiotics because they didn’t require these measures.
Since the demand for meat became much greater there are hardly any farms, and instead, just a few big name corporations running the meat industry (ex: Tyson, Perdue, Smithfield).
Meat is not actually any cheaper than it used to be. It would have remained at a reasonable cost (still not as cheap as it is now, but reasonable) if we had not removed natural farming systems, and switched to high tech factories.
Here, animals are raised in extremely close living quarters in which they cannot walk, hormones and antibiotics allow the animal to grow more quickly so it can be slaughtered sooner, and the killing process is done in an assembly-line fashion by machines and some human help. The truth is, we don’t really know what our farm animals have eaten, we don’t know what injections they have received, we don’t know that the disease from one animal hasn’t spread to the entire community because of the close living quarters, in fact, we don’t know much at all.
So we don’t know how much cheaper it really is to buy chicken at $0.99 cents per pound because we don’t know what it will do to our health in the long run.
Then we look at organic meat and think “Gee this is expensive!” Most of it is expensive. If you are a meat-eater, it’s a good idea to get use adding meat to the meal instead of adding a side dish to the meal which is meat. It’s a sad fact, that we have to pay double, sometimes triple, for organic meat, just to fuel our body with a source of animal product that has been raised, fed, and killed the way it was supposed to be all along.
I leave you with one last thought about the cost of organic meat, and fruits/vegetables. If it cost more to grow or raise food in a manner it was intended to be grown or raised, what they heck are they doing to make it so cheap in the first place?
The best storage items to keep closely at hand is Tupperware, Zip-loc bags, an insulated lunch bag, cold packs, and thermos. If you have a microwave, refrigerator and/or toaster oven at work that opens up a whole array of foods you can bring with you.
The biggest key to success in this area is to experiment. Try cooking a new food in many different ways. Blanch, stir-fry, bake, roast, grill, saute, throw it into a soup, etc. try it all! Keep in mind that it takes up to 10 times to know if we really like the taste of something or not.
If you really dislike a food, then skip it! Do a little research and find out what the key nutrients in this food is. Then look up foods high in “x” (whatever nutrient/s you’re looking for). Our planet gave us a plethora of natural options, go explore this, it’s fun!
Along the way there may be additional barrier to eating healthy all the time. You’ve got to do your best, and start somewhere. Remember, you are only human …a perfectly, imperfect, human. Do your best, and tune in next week to crank up your nutrition to the next level. Get your doggy bag ready for at home for the road starting today.
Autumn arrives tomorrow! My favorite, favorite, favorite season of the year. This is a great time for change and healing. Embrace this moment, and be good to yourself.
Photo: My best friend, loyal companion, and dog, Lily – my gentle giant who I love so much.