You guys, it is like 5 million degrees below zero. The kind of cold that goes through every layer that I have piled on, bone chilling cold. While I do realize that we’ve had a pretty decent winter, this cold is too much. I can handle a lot but I’m over negative degree temperatures and way over negative 30 (that is no joke folks, -30). While I know you are probably envying me in this state, in the weather ->COUGH, NOT!<- I thought it would be a good day to sit, relax and sip on a hot cup of spiced tea and talk about how to love vegetables, my meal planning advice and a few other tips. But before we go there can we talk about the spiced tea? This is just one of the awesome things you get to experience in my newest program “The Simple Cleanse.” I have to tell you, this program is top notch. I like it so much I am personally guaranteeing it to everyone who completes it.
Plus, it isn’t a juice cleanse or a smoothie cleanse and there are no crazy supplements. Nope, just real, wholesome foods designed with the correct meal timing to see ample results and enhance your natural detoxification pathways. Trust me, you will be well fed on crazy delicious food and I promise you will feel amazing. Can you tell I’m a little stoked about it? Registration opens next week ->EEK<- and it all begins in April! Check back for more details. But for now, sip that tea of yours, kick your feet up and relax as I answer some more of the questions you asked.
Q. If you could only make 2 changes to your diet, what two would you say are most important for overall health?
I loved this question! It is realistic, practical and honest. I’m a big believer in making small gradual changes every day with the focus of living healthier lifestyles. While it is great to jump all in, this isn’t necessarily realistic and/or lasting for many people. I believe in creating healthy habits that become a part of your daily routine. The things you just do without thinking, a new way of life. In fact, I have a free (yes, free) series that will be out this summer on my top five ways to lose weight without changing what you are eating. With that said, two diet or food related changes I would recommend would be;
1. Increase healthy fats in your diet. This would include things like coconut oil, olive oil, olives, coconut anything, avocado, ghee, nuts and seeds (as long as no sensitivities are present), MCT oil, etc and make them present at every meal and every snack. Providing healthy fats is one of the most crucial nutrients to the body and one of the best ways to fill up, become satisfied and all done without noticing you are actually eating less. NOTE: I am not speaking of processed oils or fats such as seed oils, only healthy ones.
2. Have a base of vegetables at every meal. While this seems daunting and less than enticing it really can be a great thing and done without making a big change. My favorite way to add more veg is through food bowls. This allows you to eat more vegetables and leafy greens while your other family members can focus more on the parts they enjoy (of course always encouraging the veggies). The food bowls eliminate the need to cook multiple meals at night, helping to achieve the big happy family who eat the same food dream…you know the one 😉 It doesn’t just have to be leafy greens, any vegetable will do. For breakfast if could be focusing on sautéing mushrooms and sweet potatoes for a hash, making a green smoothie with kale, parsley, and cucumbers, having a salad bowl for lunch and a cauliflower rice stir-fry for dinner. Different veggies, different textures, different consistencies and different flavors, just eat more veggies.
Q. Will you add some cooking demo videos or workout videos?
Funny this question got asked. This is a high priority (the cooking aspect). Currently we are in the process of brainstorming how we can make cooking less ‘scary’ and integrate it more in your daily life. While it has been brought to my attention numerous times that the ingredients I cook with are scary, I totally get it and am seriously considering how I can make these healthy ingredients something you know, something you cook with and most importantly something you enjoy. While I do think cooking videos are great I really desire to get your hands dirty and a part of the process. Because it is easier to learn from doing. With that said, we have been working on a huge and extremely exciting opportunity that is coming up for you to get involved. ->SQUEAL<- So many secrets I know but really it is all to benefit you, my beloved readers!
On the same lines, if you live in the Eastern Iowa area I will be hosting some cooking classes beginning in April. I will also be posting more details on this but it is coming. And if you don’t live around the area…trust me you won’t be left out. As for workout videos, I would love to do a modest workout series…mostly because after birthing three children, achieving numerous stretch marks, I look less than the average fitness model but still believe that exercise is an important component in overall health and those darn fitness models can get the best of you sometimes, right?!? Unfortunately, right now this is not a part of my overall plan. But the possibility that I could also partner with someone to complete this part for me. Hmmm…things to think about.
Q. What are some simple and quick ways to spice up veggies for the family at dinner time.
My favorite ways to spice up veggies are healthy fats, spices and herbs as well as sauces. Everything is better smothered in a sauce, right? Vegetables can get boring if we are constantly eating them plain, without the flavor they deserve. So my advice, learn some spice combinations you enjoy. Cook them in butter or coconut oil, roast them in the oven. Mix up the way you prepare them, cook them and utilize them in foods.
Plus, you will actually absorb more nutrients from the veggies you eat if you pair them with fat. Yep, that means you need the fat to get more bang for your buck. Bottom line, STOP EATING PLAIN VEGETABLES! Are you wondering why? The answer is simple biochemistry. Many vitamins and minerals in our food are considered fat-soluble. This means they cannot be absorbed into the body and utilized within the body without adequate fat (1). So if you’re eating the majority of your fruits and vegetables without the addition of a hefty dose of fat, you are missing out on the numerous health benefits they contain. Cook them or at least eat them with something else.
Here are a few different ideas for veggies;
- Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad
- Cauliflower Rice
- Skillet Asparagus with Caramelized Onion
- Tomato, Cucumber and Avocado Salad
- Buttery Sweet Corn, Tomato, and Feta Salad
- Garlic Mashed Root Vegetables
- Homemade Green Bean Casserole
- Turkey Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Q. I need meal planning help. I still find I struggle on putting together a weekly menu. I do use all the information you give, but then I need to choose what to make when?
If you are utilizing the meal planning tips provided in this post or through my online programs and you’re still having trouble, I would suggest a few additional tips. Try and get a schedule down and develop a list of 10 healthy recipes you feel confident in cooking. Pick ones that are quick and easy so you don’t have to think about it and your family will eat (well mostly). Once you have your 10 recipes in your back pocket, pull from these often. It is like creating your new norm and then have the foods on hand to cook at least a couple of these recipes all the time.
I am always utilizing the food bowl ideas as my go to meal when I have nothing on hand. Utilizing what you have and being creative with putting it together can save you a lot of time. It doesn’t have to be well thought out and it definitely shouldn’t be stressful. So to start with figure out your 10 go-to recipes or if you don’t have 10, try to experiment with recipes until you get there. Once you have those, utilize them often. Develop a consistency in scheduling so your meal planning is easy and it also makes grocery shopping easy. Here is what my plan looks like.
- Sunday: 2 New Recipes (don’t feel like you need to go this extreme… my own personal goals)
- Monday: Slow Cooker Recipe – making enough to utilize leftovers
- Tuesday: Eat out (or in)
- Wednesday: Food Bowl
- Thursday: Leftovers, Breakfast or “Nacho” night
- Friday: Flatbread Friday
- Saturday: Grill or have a bigger meal
Obviously we don’t eat the same slow cooker meal or food bowl, but it is consistent. I know I utilize my slow cooker by making a lot of food on Monday and then eat it the rest of the week. Ultimately, you have to do what fits with your life and your schedule. It isn’t going to be easy at first but as you develop new normals and routines, it will get easier. Stick with it, encourage your family to get involved and have fun with it.
I’ve been really encouraged by the feedback from all of you and I’m excited to continue to jump in and answer a lot of your questions. If you want to get involved in the conversation, be sure to click the “Sign Me Up” button at the bottom of this page. By subscribing, not only do you get some awesome freebies, but you get to be involved in these types of conversations and get a chance to give me feedback. I have a lot of new things coming out this year and my subscribers are the first to hear about them. I’ve been asking for feedback on various programs I’m coming out with so be sure to subscribe and become part of the awesome SRW community!