Makeover Your Pantry This Weekend Part One

This seems to be the time of year for deep-organizing house projects. It is too cold or rainy to be outside, or even open the windows, so everyone is cleaning out closets and junk drawers. I challenge you to makeover your pantry this weekend - it is one adventure that will help you eat healthier the rest of the year.

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To really deep-organize your pantry for healthy meals, I teach a simple six step process. You’ll need parts of two weekends, so I’ll walk you through this in a two-part series.

This weekend focus on Steps One - Five. Next weekend is Step Six.

Step One: Review your menus for a Powerful Plate. Do you have enough combinations of vegetable, protein, fats, and complex carbohydrates? What ingredients do you need to stock up on?

Step Two: Purchase the foods you need for a Powerful Plate and order any specialty items so they will arrive by next weekend.

Step Three: Look through the food in your pantry. Begin to organize it in your mind. What goes with what? For example, “protein powder” for me could go with protein snacks (since I use it as a shake) or with breakfast/oatmeal (since I use protein powder in my oatmeal every morning).

Step Four: Take measurements. Both of the shelf space and of any items that you are going to group and crate together. For example, if you usually keep 20 cans of fruit, vegetables, and tomato sauce in stock, measure how wide a bin you will need to store them.

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Step Five: Decide on the supplies you need and then go shop. Shelf liner? Plastic bins? Wood crates? Glass jars? Shelving unit pull-out for a deep pantry?

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Step Six - next weekend is clean out and organize.

Eliminating the hassle of expired ingredients - or simply not having healthy options on hand - will make these two weekends worth your effort. Turn on some music, get the family involved … whatever it takes to make it fun and make it happen.

6 Reasons Why You Need to Learn to Thrive

While growing up I suspected I had developed an unhealthy relationship with food – and sometimes even exercise.  But it was years later at a work potluck Christmas party that I knew I absolutely had a problem and had to change.

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Everyone else was at the buffet ooh-ing and ah-ing over different dishes colleagues brought. 

I was in the bathroom terrified. 

“If I eat that _____ I’ll have to workout extra tomorrow. Who knows how many grams of ____ it has.”

“I want to try ____ but if I do I’ll probably not be able to stop eating it. I’ll lose control.”

“I’ll be good and just have the veggies I brought.  If I break my diet I’ll be bad.”

I realized I was the only one, apparently, who did not feel she could enjoy the food, the people, or the party and I stayed as far away from the table as possible.  Why?  I thought something was inherently wrong with me. 

Truth? By that party I had spent almost 20 years fine-tuning my “diet mentality,” through the various diet and exercise rules I “learned.”

And I wanted freedom.  Desperately.

I wanted to exercise just because it felt amazing and made me strong and healthy. Not because it burned calories I’d eaten the day before.

I wanted to eat a balanced meal because it was satisfying.

I wanted to enjoy a cookie without fear of eating five.

I wanted to go to a party and enjoy it all.

Scratch that.

I didn’t even know that was possible.  All I could fathom was maybe not being consumed with worrying about every morsel, gram, or repercussion after a party.

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Thankfully, that part of me is a distant memory, because …

I found my path to THRIVE.

Did you see?

I released a brand new course where I’m going to share with you the mindset, principles, techniques, tools and skills practiced by people who find – and follow – their unique path to health, wellness, and a Thriving Life.

It’s called …

THRIVE LIFE (Go here to learn more; we get started in just a few days.)

While there are so many health benefits to this way of life, the most surprising benefit has nothing to do typical health-parameters.

It has to do with relationships and accomplishing other goals.

Huh?

Let me explain.  Envision that same work party where I locked myself away in the bathroom.  If my mind had been free from food-fear, I would have been mingling with colleagues and enjoying getting to know their families, enriching my relationships.

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And when my mental and emotional space is not cluttered with how many calories I eat or burn or how much I do this or that, my mind is free to be creative and pursue dreams.  Plus, there is way less stress.

Here are six reasons why you need to learn your path to THRIVE.

#1 – You stop outsourcing your emotional health to food or over-exercise

You can learn the difference between physical and emotional hunger.

Food was created to bring you pleasure, but it is not what heals hurts or brings peace.

Exercise has many ways that it lifts your mood, but there is a point of using exercise to escape struggles vs. helping you overcome them.

When you sit with discomfort and find what actually fills you emotionally, your strength of self grows.  Your confidence to live and handle difficult situations increases.

#2 – You have mental space to pursue your dreams

This one is huge.

When your mind is cluttered with searching for the next diet or exercise program, or finding recipes that fit the new fad, or shopping for the latest exercise gear you cannot focus on what really matters most to you in life.

It may even go deeper.  If you are staying focused on analyzing food / exercise to avoid dealing with something else, it is time to move forward. 

If you are hiding your best self behind counting this or that, trying to control every bite or workout, it is time to open the curtain and step out on your stage.

#3 – You have increased physical energy

You sleep well, you wake up with energy, and it stays consistent throughout the day so you can accomplish your goals and still enjoy family and friends at the end of the day.

#4 – Your ability to enforce boundaries, with yourself and others, improves

Food police?  Exercise drill sergeant? No more.  Either from others or yourself.

You confidently handle critics.

You also are able to tell yourself “no” when a choice does not value you.

#5 – You have more fun and are more fun to be around

When your excitement comes from discussing the latest fad exercise or diet, it is a boring life.

However, when you have recent adventures or a book you read or a funny family gathering or ____ to talk about, conversations have life in them.

You meet up with people, confident as you accept yourself and others, with less judgement.

Social situations around food are no longer stressful.

You have the physical fitness to enjoy the adventures you want.

#6 – You feel successful, because you are successful

When you learn what works for your body and your lifestyle, and you have the tools and techniques to stick with it, you reach your goals.

You feel successful along the journey because you are living what you value.

#7 – This is a bonus reason because I just had, an hour ago, a conversation with a client and this reason came up – so I added it: 

You become a leader and influencer for good in those around you.

This client was waiting on the inspiration to make changes to come from his circle of family and friends.  I challenged him “Think about who you want to be.  Do you want to be the person who waits to be led or do you want to lead?  Do you want to be influenced or do you want to influence?”  I challenge you, too.  When you find your path to Thrive, you will inspire others to do the same.

This is what finding your path to THRIVE brings you.  It is one of the most amazing adventures you’ll ever go on.

Go here to check out my newest course, so you can THRIVE in your LIFE.  (We start in a few days.)

A Powerful Plate

Want more power in your life?  Start with two essentials:  sleep and what you put on your plate.  On your plate, it is not as much specific foods for energy, as it is categories of food in certain ratios.

Let me know what your favorites are for your Powerful Plate!

Beginner Herb Gardening

Three different types of cilantro

Three different types of cilantro

Do you love the idea of cooking with herbs...but find it frustrating to buy just the right amount from the store?  Or you have limited varieties available?  Colleen McElroy of Colonial Creek Farm in Georgia has an answer for you.  Start a container herb garden near your window.  Then cut the amount you need...you can't get any fresher than that.

Here are some tips from Colleen:

  • If you have never grown herbs before, start with oregano, thyme, chives, and parsley in a container together.  You may also grow sage in the same container...but sage likes to be a little drier, so don't over-water.
  • To arrange the above herbs in a round container, plant the chives, parsley, and perhaps sage, in the middle.  Plant the oregano and thyme around the outside and let them trail over.  
  • To grow these herbs in a window box, grow the chives, parsley, and sage in the back (closest to the window) and the oregano and thyme in the front.
  • Mint is also a great herb to try, but it can be invasive, so consider a separate container for it. Colonial Creek Farm has over 20 varieties of mint...so pick your favorite flavor!
  • If you are bit more adventurous, you can also grow rosemary and lavender in a separate container.  These two herbs prefer very well-drained soil, so they would not grow well with your other herbs which prefer more traditional potting soil.
  • Do you love salsa in the summer, but can't get your cilantro to grow in the heat?  Cilantro is a cool weather herb.  However, you can grow Vietnamese cilantro, which prefers the heat.  I look forward to trying mine for the first time this year!
  • Remember that herbs love the sun.  They get "leggy" (lots of stem and few leaves) in the shade.
  • Last, herbs are generally "water it and forget it" plants.  They taste better if you don't fertilize them much.  

So plant the herbs you love in the soil they love.  Keep them in sun and water them.  Cut, eat, and enjoy!

Thank you, Colleen, for chatting with me at the 2016 Nashville Lawn and Garden Show.  Colonial Creek Farm is a mail order nursery with unique herbs I've not seen in other nurseries.  Their web address is www.colonialcreekfarm.com

Keep growing your food fresh for a ViREO Life!

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Duct Tape and Chocolate

Growing up we all heard, "Duct tape fixes everything."  And as an adult I learned that any meal (or day) that was a "disaster" could be fixed with piece of dark chocolate.  (Not a bag of chocolate...that just creates another "disaster"...but that's another topic for a post.)

Well, we recently learned the BEST use for duct tape ever!  Gardening!  Seriously.  Take a strip of duct tape to collect bug eggs off of leaves...they typically pull right off, sometimes with a little pressure on the opposite side.  And flying insects and small grasshoppers are easier to catch, too.  I can't grab them fast enough with just my (gloved) hand, but I can slap duct tape on them and they don't move!  This week alone we've removed over 10 sets of squash bug eggs...so our squash plants are not getting eaten this year!  Plus, the duct tape makes the removal of bugs and eggs quicker.

Chocolate?  Well, I've not figured out how to use that in the garden.  Except savoring a piece while watching the garden grow.  If I hear of anything, though, I'll pass it along.

Health eating and happy gardening!

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Help is on the way!

The lettuce/herb salad and kale/leek frittata pictured here is 70% from our garden.  If our leeks were finished growing, it would have been 90% from our garden.  Organic gardening in your backyard is worth it!

This past year has been a time of trial and error, but with a lot of success, too.  Why?  We got help!  If you are looking for help, check out the books and links below.  These have proven to be the best help for organic gardening.

  • http://www.gardenguides.com/
  • http://whiteharvestseed.com/
  • http://nashvillefoodscapes.com/
  • Book - "Organic Garden Basics" by Bob Flowerdew  (love the last name as the author of this book!)
  • Book - "The Edible Garden" by Sunset Books

Hope these help you in your organic gardening and healthy eating!