A new twist on Mindful Eating

When you hear Mindful Eating what do you picture? A group of monks contemplating the grains of rice in front of them? Of course, it is not the other extreme of driving, yelling (in love) at your kids in the back seat to quit fighting, while eating the burger you picked up in the drive-thru.

Mindful Eating is not about having candlelight at every meal - but it is about the emotional environment you create.

Let’s go back to your high school biology class.  (I know: moan, groan.)  Remember the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems?  Only one of these systems can be dominant at a time.  When you are agitated, excited, upset, in crisis, angry, or stressed the sympathetic nervous system is kicking into gear.  This means that the parasympathetic system is not able to function well.  You may recall that the parasympathetic system controls your digestive system.

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Uh, oh.  We have a situation.  The exciting movie you are watching with dinner, the argument you just had with your teenager, the mulling over what your co-worker did, the worrying about whether someone accepts you, or the report that is due at work tomorrow each keep you from digesting your food well. Even just looking at the picture above probably tenses your stomach.

Living in peace and joy is important anytime, but especially at mealtime!  God wants you to be healthy.  He knows that for you to digest your food well, which allows you to absorb the nutrients to “renew your youth,” you need to be joyful and peaceful when you eat.

This also includes allowing God to be the emotional lift that you need.  Many of us (especially those of us who were chronic dieters) have trained ourselves to dull (or distract) negative emotions through eating.  When you are angry or sad or bored, before you open the pantry out of habit, tell God what you are feeling.  Ask Him to show you how to process your emotions.  God will give you strength to tolerate the discomfort until it naturally passes, which it often does.  He will give you wisdom to change the thoughts causing the emotions.  He will show you answers to stressful situations.  God will heal your heartache.

Makeover Your Pantry This Weekend Part Two

Now that you have the staples and spices you need to stock your pantry and you have the boxes/bins to organize them (Part One), it is time to invest part of a weekend cleaning out and organizing.

Why? It is so much easier to cook when you can get to everything you need quickly, without having to reach over other stuff or have things knock over.

So here’s your final step:

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  • Clean out everything that is expired or that you know you will never use.

  • Then group items into your bins, leave a little space for new foods you may purchase, and LABEL so everyone knows where to put food.

When my husband saw this transforming, he said two things -

“This makes it look appealing to cook.” (So, I get more help in the kitchen.)

“Now I know where to put something back.” (Which means I don’t have to look for things later.)



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.

3-in-1 Recipe for Cauliflower-Haters

I admit. I never thought I’d like immersion blenders (after a bad experience years ago). Now? It’s fun seeing what can be pureed.

This recipe has topped my list, because once it is made we eat it as soup, pasta sauce, or as a chicken sauce. Spicy - but not too spicy. Rich - but fresh and light. If you prefer chilled soups, this is probably not going to be a favorite. But who wants chilled soup in January, anyway?


{Pop Quiz} Are you a Path Finder?

As crazy as this may sound, I want you to take a moment to imagine this:

Imagine a world where you *really* ignored the voices saying that there is only one way to live healthy and you have to conform to that only-one-way?

How would you live?

What would your relationship with food, with others, with yourself be like?

How would you move?

What would you experience?

Yes, it takes practice, but you can become a person who is unphased by what other people or the media say about how you should live your health.

But, it doesn’t just stop there.

Picture yourself:

·         Waking up refreshed with energy, excited about the day.

·         Sticking with new healthy habits, as they come easier for you.

·         Not worrying about “lifestyle diseases” – maybe even with a decrease in meds.

·         Enjoying peace in your relationship with food, not scared of it.

·         Discovering new physical activities that enhance all of your life.

·         Savoring meals, without guilt and shame.

·         Enjoying life – whether big adventures or intimate family time – free of physical, emotional, or social limitations.

Would you believe it’s possible?

It is . . . and the “how” is your being a Path Finder: finding your path to Thrive.

What are the traits of a Path Finder?  I’ve identified 7 qualities of a Path Finder –

#1 – PRACTICE Mindset

#2 – PRINCIPLES Lifestyle

#3 – PERSONALITY Focus

#4 – True PLEASURE Awareness

#5 – PEOPLE and Resource Seeker

#6 – PRESENT

#7 – POSITIVE POSITION

Do you embody these 7 traits of a Path Finder?

Finding a path in Colorado

Finding a path in Colorado

POP   QUIZ   TIME

Have you ever …

A) Decided to skip exercise because there wasn’t time for “all” of it?

B) Felt frustration because you tried and failed a program?

C) Been unable to stop the food police from telling you what you should or shouldn’t eat?

D) Beaten yourself up because of something (or how much) you ate?

E) Told yourself “What’s the point?” about a new healthy habit you tried?

F) Felt unable to relax as you multi-tasked a meal, or even a walk in nature?

G) Missed an important experience with your mind elsewhere?

Did you say “yes” to any of the questions?

You are not alone. 

At one time or another, we have all been there, done that, thought that.

Please DO NOT beat yourself up.

It is because of the lies we are taught by well-meaning family/friends and by the media.

Fortunately, it is never too late to discover and embrace the truth.

Here are some basic ways to begin to understand the 7 qualities of a Path Finder:

Finding a path in Utah

Finding a path in Utah

#1 – PRACTICE Mindset

            Experimenting with ways of eating and moving, with a lot of compassion for yourself.

#2 – PRINCIPLES Lifestyle

            Learning the principles (not rigid rules) of healthy living, based on research – adapting them as life situations change.

#3 – PERSONALITY Focus

            Discovering what is fun for your personality, your preferences, your needs.

#4 – True PLEASURE Awareness

            Knowing that false-pleasure never really satisfies, choosing what actually satisfies you.

#5 – PEOPLE and Resource Seeker

            Finding out what is stopping you from achieving your goals and then finding the people and resources that will help you.

#6 – PRESENT

            Embracing where you are and experiencing the present moment

#7 – POSITIVE POSITION

            Believing that you can do it, consuming only messages that reinforce your beliefs and dreams, and focusing on your reasons.

Learning and practicing these 7 qualities will change your life for the better.  I promise.

How much do you desire to Find Your own Path to Thrive?

I hope a lot (because it changes everything!)

Let’s keep this discussion going.

Diet lessons from a 100 year old textbook

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Science progresses and the old ideas we have lived by are built upon or changed.  We go to school, learn, experiment, update the knowledge base, and then start over again, mentoring the next generation to do the same.  That is an ideal. 

Unfortunately, one area seems to have stopped with this textbook from 1916.  Repackaged?  Yes. New versions? Yes.  But current long-term research no longer backs up what is taught in this book and through modern media versions.

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The picture above is a 100+ year old chamber to measure the metabolic requirement of babies.  The technology has progressed, but the science is principally the same.  I have stayed overnight, for several research studies, in the metabolic chamber at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.  (In case you are wondering, it is a small room with a bed, desk, and window.)  This technology measures how many calories a person burns during the time they are in the chamber.

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This device measures the calorie content of food.  Again, technology may look different 100 years ago, but the basic science is as today.

So, what is the problem?  Calories burned.  Calories eaten.  Simple math, right?

That is what was assumed 100 years ago.  I actually have nothing harsh to say about what they taught then.  For then.

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1400 

calories a day for a man to lose weight

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1000

calories a day for a woman to lose weight

They taught the latest information they had.  However, the knowledge base has changed since then.  Research shows (though seldom promoted by diet gurus) -

  • restricting calories this low decreases muscle mass and metabolism
  • counting (carbs, calories, fat, protein) distorts your relationship with food and creates food obsessions
  • living with food rules increases binge eating
  • dieting of all kinds decreases trust of yourself and food
  • dieting fails long-term 90-98% of the time (a.k.a. you gain the weight back, usually plus some)
  • food restrictions negatively impact relationships and mental health

So, what is a healthy way to eat?

  • Listen to when your body tells you to eat.
  • Learn what foods make you feel fantastic and energetic, and which ones don't.
  • Give yourself unconditional permission to eat - even the foods that don't make you feel great.  When you truly want them, eat them fully aware of the result and without any guilt.
  • Savor the food you eat.  Turn off the TV and put down the screen.  (Hint: research also reveals that we eat 10% more when multi-tasking a meal.)
  • Stop when you are no longer physically hungry.
  • Trust that your body wants to be at a healthy weight and it will tell you what to do.

Next time you are tempted with "I'm going to try the new ABCXYD diet" (no, that is not a new diet - at least not one I've heard of), remember it is really not new. 

It's just the newest flavor of the dieting that gained ground during the Victorian era.  (That is a history lesson for another post.)

If you truly want to try the latest and greatest research has to offer, experiment with the list above.  It is mindful-intuitive eating.  And it works. 

Six Easy Steps for Herbal Infusions

Making an infusion is similar to making tea.  Once you know which herbs you want and if you are using fresh, frozen, or dried, the rest is easy.

For this example, I am using fresh Holy Basil from my garden.  Holy Basil is an "adaptogen" - which helps the body adapt to stress.  

Step One:

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Harvest the stems and leaves before flowers form, in early morning, just after the dew is off. That's the ideal. However, these I harvested at 5:45 a.m. because that is when I needed to make my infusion.  Also, the tops had flowered, so I used them.  Amount?  Enough for 2+ tablespoons fresh per cup of water. (If using dried herbs, use 1+ tablespoon per cup of water.)

Step Two:

Rinse off any obvious dirt.  

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Step Three:

Strip the leaves and flowers to use.  (Some people also use the stems.)

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Step Four:

Chop Coarsely.

Step Five:

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Place the herbs in either a mason jar or a french press.  When I began making infusions I used a mason jar and then strained the herbs through a cheesecloth.  If you are going to make infusions several days a week, invest in a french press to save you time.

Steep for 4 hours minimum.  The longer the herb steeps (generally), the stronger the infusion.  I either make my infusion at night and let it steep overnight to drink in the first few hours of the day, or begin steeping in the morning and drink during the afternoon.

Step Six:

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Drink the infusion within a day or two, putting it in the refrigerator if over 12-24 hours.  Or freeze the infusion in ice cube trays.  This is especially useful for infusions you want to use as herbal remedies.  For example, if you want sweet basil, chamomile, and mint to steep together for 4 hours to help with digestion or headaches, you don't want to wait 4 hours for relief.  Having it made and frozen, you can pour boiling water over 2-3 cubes and have instant help.

If you have questions, or ways that you make infusions, I'd love to chat in the comments.

Basil in a Bag ... now you can try it at home

A few weeks ago I planted some basil seeds in pre-bagged product.  (See video here.)

Four of the six seeds germinated.  Now, what to do with them?  Eat with tomatoes, of course. Make a basil tea as medicine (yep - details are in the video). Store for the winter.  (Watch to learn how.)

Happy growing.

Remember, you can find your path and fulfill your potential.

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!

Behind the Scenes of Cooking with Jack

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Getting ready to launch my YouTube channel with Jack Scalfani...on his Cooking with Jack show.  

Click here for the link to the episode.  And enjoy some behind the scenes pictures below...

Jack setting up his camera (stating the obvious, huh?)

Jack setting up his camera (stating the obvious, huh?)

Checking the lighting (on my channel I'm not quite that sophisticated yet)

Checking the lighting (on my channel I'm not quite that sophisticated yet)

Filming is in progress.  Notice his great lamp in the back!!!

Filming is in progress.  Notice his great lamp in the back!!!

Great action shot!  (Actually I'm tossing away a wrapper into the trash.)

We're having fun!

The end result is YUMMY!