Friday, February 27, 2009

Taking Nutrition Step by Step

Overwhelmed. That's how I feel. Now. I'm taking a moment to sit and ponder. And, I realize, I'm overwhelmed. Duh. It is my fault, of course. I'm trying to finish the Phase 1 of my masters degree by year's end. I'm scheduling time to coordinate a new bellydance choreography for my friend Winnie's birthday party in April. I'm taking a speech-enhancement meeting every other week. I'm signing up for dinners, meetings, drum circles, and other events every week. I'm not getting enough rest during the week and the weekends. And, I am only now wondering why my food plan isn't working out?

I realize now: I need to slow it down. If I eat well and take care of my body, I will have enough energy for everything else! If I were working with clients seeking nutritional advice, I would say, "let's take it one step at a time." Step by step. Progress, not perfection is the name of the game when it comes to healthy eating. Here is my general plan to maintaining wellness:

** Before I get started, I cannot stress the importance of meal planning! It makes the week go by easier and you won't have that "what will we have for dinner?" question every night! It will save you money by not eating out all the time and not wasting food. I do my meal planning Friday nights and buy organic foods from the local farmer's market Saturday morning.

1) I fill up on fruits and (mostly) veggies with every meal. I try to eat a small salad with lunch and dinner, or at least one side salad with my main meal (dinner) of the day. I mix it up and try to have some raw and some cooked veggies every day. I find fermented veggies (see #7 below) easier to digest than some raw veggies. I drink water and very diluted tea as my main source of hydration (but not during meals!).

2) I eat very few to no grains. If I were to eat grains (which my health won't really allow much of) I would try to eat sprouted, soaked grains so they are more easily assimilated into the body. Nourishing Traditions is a fabulous cookbook that covers sprouting grains.

3) I would slowly cut out processed, refined foods, even from "natural food" stores. Donate what you can, use up what you have leftover. No need to waste... just don't buy more!

4) I would slowly switch from "bad" oils to "good" oils. I avoid all vegetable oils except maybe olive and coconut oil. A high quality organic butter made from grassfed cowmilk is doable. I wouldn't eat any other oils, except from raw or soaked/dried nuts and grassfed animal fats.

5) I would switch to organic fruits, vegetables, and meats as often as I can. Here's a good reference website for the best foods to buy organic. I snack on good, healthy nuts - soaking and drying them first makes them easier to digest. I also eat dried sea veggies, like nori, for snack for a good source of sodium and iodine.

6) I am transitioning into eating more organic grassfed or pastured animal products. These animals are not injected with hormones, corn, grains, soy, or antibiotics to fatten them up. They have better nutritional value and are worth the expense! Here is a directory of local farmers that sell grassfed products. I don't know how well I tolerate raw milk, but I would consider raw dairy from grassfed cows and pastured eggs. I cannot stress the importance of grassfed protein, especially for people like me who have food intolerances to grains and soy (not to mention skipping out on all the other junk!).

7) I eat probiotic foods -- they are meant to be easily digested because of the healthy cultures they have that will support the friendly bacteria in your digestive tract. I suggest you try these out from the grocery store first before attempting to make them, just to make sure you like them first! Kombucha is a refreshing, fizzy, low-sugar, low-caffeine drink. Kimchi is a Korean version of sauerkraut. Raw cheeses have friendly cultures (stuff that eats up the lactose). There are alot of different probiotic foods. Find ones you like!

I try to incorporate all these steps into my weekly food plan, but some weeks are better than others. This week stunk. I ended up eating corn (remember Corn Nuts? Those overly-salty, crunchy fried corn bits?) a couple of days ago and am still paying for it. My body is not happy, but it really appreciated the sauteed spinach with garlic last night. I also ended up eating out twice this week unexpectedly. Another wrench in a perfectly meal-planned week. Next week will be better. Remember, progress, not perfection. Wishing you a progressive weekend!


  1. Progress, not perfection. I need to apply that to many areas of my life, not just food. I'd like to know more about your meal planning. I also have to do Friday meal plans so that I can get what I need at the farmers' market Saturday morning. My struggle is getting what I see at the market to fulfill the needs from the meal planning. It's almost like I need to take my cookbooks to the market, walk around and see what's available, then sit down and make the plan. How do you do it?

  2. Yeah, tell me about it! It's what my DH calls, the "Superwoman" complex - LOL!

    I live in California, so with our milder weather, we tend to get "seasonal" produce all year round. I don't know how it is in your area, but I figure if you end up going every week, you'll get an idea of what's "in" and seasonal and what's not.

    What I generally do, and don't quote me on this (because I'm making progress and not perfection 100% of the time!), is that I keep my veggie dishes very simple because I don't have alot of time to cook. Sauteed spinach & garlic in olive oil, steamed cauliflower with good butter and pepper, roasted brussell sprouts, kale chips, salads, etc. I have main staple recipes that I use for most things during the week. Weekends I save for more adventurous or new recipes. I leave TBD on my meal plan for items I'm not sure but know I will figure it out when I get there.

    I know that's a simple answer, but I'm not sure if that helps you!