If you're reading this it's quite possible that you have experienced a dramatic mindset change regarding exercise. Maybe it happened last month, last year, or 10 years ago. We specialize in helping people fall in love with fitness.
What once may have been a torturous chore on the never ending to-do list, exercise has become something enjoyable that we all actually look forward to! I believe that our mindset on food can change dramatically as well.
I recently hosted an informal webinar via Zoom on simplifying and learning to enjoy food again. Someone said that they could tell that my relationship with food is peaceful, exciting, enjoyable, and positive.
It wasn't always this way.
Exercise was easy to fall in love with. I found my favorite workout modalities, I added my favorite music, and I found the people I wanted to do it with. Voila! Learning to fall in love with food was not so easy.
The psychology of this is a topic for another day. Instead, I want to offer some of my actionable tips regarding general nutrition that help me keep it simple, enjoyable, and life-building. I hope it helps you too.
I find it helpful to think of the eating cycle as three easy steps.
Let's dive into each one!
Shop around the perimeter of the grocery store. Start at the produce section when you arrive. Don’t wait until the end to shop here because this is where you want to spend the majority of your time. By the end of your shopping trip, it’s likely that you’ll be exhausted and want to get out of there.
Make your hard decisions at the grocery store. If you’re considering buying an item that you know in your heart is not in your best interest (for me this means items disguised as food that are not really food) make the hard decision to leave it at the grocery store. If you bring it home, what could have been a very quick and painless two second decision at the store, becomes a long drawn out battle with the pantry for 7 to 10 days.
Finally, before heading to check out, make sure that your cart has a rainbow of colors. Micro-nutrition comes from the phyto-nutrients in plants that give them their signature color. A well balanced micro nutrient dense diet would include every color of the rainbow every day!
Many studies have been done to prove that the placement of food around your house correlates with the types of food you end up choosing to eat. Think about it as the “feng shui” of food placement. Do you remember Seinfeld? He had his cereal boxes out in the open and very accessible. It’s not surprising, then, that it was his "go-to" food. Why? It was always out in the open and easily accessible. Leave visible and easily accessible the things that you’d like to be eating regularly. A plate of cut up fruit and vegetables or nuts makes for a healthy eating drive by and sets yourself up for getting the nutrition your need to run optimally!
Be efficient with your time and while you’re cooking brown rice for dinner, cook another type of grain in the burner right next to it. This will not increase your time in the kitchen, instead, it will help you be efficient and let you have plenty of options in the fridge for future meals. If you’re roasting broccoli in the oven, throw a few sweet potatoes even though they’re not planned for tonight’s dinner. Having those in the fridge for tomorrow, could help you assemble a healthy lunch.
Switch your mindset from cooking at every meal to assembling most of your meals. If you have a lot of prepped food in the refrigerator, meal time becomes a very quick assembly of healthy ingredients that fuel your body! I’m a big fan of bowls and they are usually whatever I have left over in the fridge from previous meals. For example, Kale, quinoa, edamame, shredded carrots, beets, grilled chicken, sweet potato, and balsamic glaze.
The best part! Eating! I encourage you to spend some time every day thinking about food in a positive light. For example, how good it makes us feel, how it fuels us to do the activities that we love, and how it brings us together with the people we love.
Honor your individual preferences. Optimal nutrition is very customized to the unique individual. We are not all the same. Not everything agrees with us. We don’t all like everything. Nutrient timing preferences differ! Don’t feel compelled to follow someone’s idea of “the right breakfast” because it works for them. What if they love yogurt with berries and granola, and the idea of wet soggy cold mush for breakfast is not your cup of tea? Maybe, you should consider, having some sautéed spinach with quinoa topped with a fried egg smothered in Sriracha. Do YOU!
Eat with joy! There is no such thing as good food and bad food. There is food and non-food. As Michael Pollan would say "Eat food."
The measures of progress that we use at AG have two very important statements that we encourage people to consider regarding nutrition. The first is: I eat food that nourishes me.The second is: Eating is a stress-free, life building, and enjoyable activity in my life.
I hope that with some love and attention, these statements ring true in every cell of your being!
With so much love,