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Module 7 - Organization & Planning

 Planning your days and weeks for shopping and preparing food MUST become a priority. In this section we will talk about various ways to do this and do it well.

 

Organization & Planning

This is such an important and in depth topic, you may want to break it up into more doable chunks. Planning your days and weeks for shopping and preparing food MUST become a priority. In this section we will talk about various ways to do this and do it well. But first, let’s talk about your FOOD PLAN specifically. I am not going to give you a food plan to follow. You must design it yourself. Think about what works for you. If you are a grazer (eating throughout the day), you may want to plan to eat only at meal times. I remember the first time I did that. It was fascinating to actually be hungry at a meal. If you are a blood sugar burner or are triggered by large volumes, you may want to eat small meals every 2-3 hours. Or three moderate meals and one or two snacks. Some people are fat burners and can go hours without food more easily. 

You want to loosely create a context in which to operate. Not perfectly. Not in a black and white manner (which can also be triggering). You want to create a loving plan at which you can win on all levels. Remember, as your body and weight adjust, your needs may adjust too. The healthier we eat and think, the healthier we want to eat and think. In the same way, when we eat foods that make us feel “off” or bad about ourselves, strangely, we may turn to more of the same, believing that this time I can handle it. This time, it will make me feel better or take away the pain. 

Eating, drinking, drugs, gambling, sex, shopping are all external ways of changing how we feel. We are not just going to take out foods or behaviors that fail us, we are going to add new healthy ones that serve us. More on that later.

Invest Money & Time

Invest money, energy and time on the healthy fueling of your body as well as nurturing your mind, heart and soul. This is mandatory. You think you don’t have time? How much time do you spend aimlessly trying to figure out what or where to eat last minute? This is all time that could be spent planning up front and saving time and health on the back end. Invariably, a client or someone in the workshop will say, but I don’t have that kind of money to shop healthy and organic. One even became very angry with me for suggesting it. 

As a child who had to dumpster dive for food and whose mother supported three children on food stamps, I get it. I really do, but I then I ask them how much was spent at Starbucks, fast food, or binges? And what do you think will be the cost of the health issues down the line? 

In my 20s, I was not great at money management. I paid my bills, bought clothes, and paid for entertainment on my waitress’s salary so at the end of the day, I could only afford popcorn to eat! And I charged that on my gas card at the mini-mart. Not good. I am not saying it will be easy if money is a consideration. I am saying it is necessary and you can/will find a way. Cut back somewhere else, move into a smaller place, get a roommate, ask for a pay raise, start a side business. Whatever it takes, make it a priority to feed and nourish your body well. It is the foundation of health for not only your body but your mind and therefore your spirit.

Microwaves -

Be sure to use microwave safe dishes only. You do not want carcinogens (from plastic or Styrofoam) released into your food. There is no conclusive evidence that the food is diminished any more radically than other methods of cooking the food but always do the research to make your own, intelligent, informed decisions. Personally, I don’t own one now. I didn’t think that was possible but it forces me to put in more time.

Shop More Frequently -

Make freshness and variety a focus. There have been studies done on the healthiest people in the world and one commonality was that those people (the French for example), shop daily or every few days for fresh foods. I would shop for a week (or two) at a time because I hated shopping and frankly, I was lazy. It would go bad or I would just freeze stuff and end up with a freezer full of fuzzy packages and I had no idea what they were. I wasted money. I wasted good food. And I didn’t nourish myself or my family as well as I could have. 

I was raised by a single mom with two sisters. When she got paid, we’d go to the grocery store and shop for the next two weeks. She was not great at money management either. She shopped for two weeks worth of food on payday because that’s when she still had the money. She worked all the time so time was also an issue, and she told us to make it last. From childhood, I and my siblings had the habit of blasting through the “good” foods in the first three days, meaning the processed, salted, sugar laden, calorie packed foods with pretty labels that made us “happy and high” were gone first. We all ended up at the end of my poor mom’s pay period with pasta, a bag of flour, a bag of sugar and a block of butter. Guess what we kids did? To this day, my sister can whip up a meal out of nothing. But it is no longer a blob of soul-sucking sugar cookie dough. No matter how you were raised, you are an adult now and you get to choose.

Get Organic Brands -

Buy organic whenever possible and NON-GMO. If not, be particularly careful of foods that easily absorb pesticides (berries, apples, etc.). In addition, usually the cheaper supplies of food are processed and in bulk. Become thoughtful and conscious of your choices. Even the super stores carry organic now. Just read labels. Become conscious and know that it makes a difference. If you are blessed with a green thumb and your own garden space, start growing your own. It is so much fun to create your own food supply. You can even get a rack for inside your apartment or house for growing your own herbs. Google it (grow your own herbs indoor kits)! 

Don’t Bring it into your Sacred Space – if you bring it home, you’ve already lost the battle -

Your health begins at the grocery store, not your home pantry. Would you bring poison into your home and leave it sitting on the table where you, your child, your cat or your friend could ingest it? Of course not! So why would you do that to yourself? Avoid the fight on your home turf and just don’t buy it. If it is an issue and you buy it and bring it home, you will eat it. Do not fool yourself into thinking “This time, I will control it or eat like a lady or gentleman.” Or maybe you think (tell yourself) you are buying it for your loved one or children. That begs the question, if it is not good for you, is it good for your child? It is your duty to honor yourself and your family. What you teach them now will serve them a lifetime.

Remember, if it is a compulsive and unhealthy choice for you and you have to leave home to get it, it is less likely that you will indulge in it. Take post mates off speed dial if that is an issue. Or, make sure you only buy one small portion if you really have to have it. Bulk buying is not your friend.

Plan Healthy Snack Choices -

What do you do when you get hungry and need something right away? You snack. Or like me, snacks are part of your daily food plan. How do you make good choices when it comes to snacks? Make sure you have at least 2-3 excellent snack choices like avocado on a rice cake, fruit, almond butter and apple, hummus and carrots, etc., available at all times. Snacks can be easy, nutritious and should be delicious.

Clear Out Your Own Personal Poisons -

The foods that have no nutritional value or that trigger your food fight buttons must be removed – immediately. You will know if a food is counterproductive, even allergic, if you continue to crave more right after eating it. Finish this paragraph and then get up and do it. Go through the refrigerator and every cupboard. Purge the kitchen and make sure you check for expiration dates of the food you do keep. You may be able to feel confident when you buy it that “this time will be different” but when the sun goes down, or you are alone, or you have a feeling and the food is in the house, there will come a moment when your defenses may not be enough. If it is not there, you have set yourself up to win that battle.

Learn Some New Recipes -

For all meals, spices add flavor, help digestion and boost metabolism. Think about taking a class. Spend some time experimenting with new foods. Ask your health minded friends for recipes. As they say, variety is the spice of life. Play! This doesn’t have to be a chore, boring or burdensome. I am not a spice person, but I make a point to add turmeric, curry, pepper and cayenne to some foods. If you don’t like cooking, rotate 4-6 great easy recipes. OR! Have a partner, lover or roommate that loves healthy shopping and cooking. You could do the laundry or clean the house instead. Enroll them in your idea! Here are just two books written by women whom I love and admire and who know how to cook easy and delicious food. Hollan Hamid’s Good Food Gratitude https://www.hollanhawaii.com/ or Nadia Damaso’s EAT BETTER NOT LESS Around the World www.nadiadamaso.com.

ENERGIZE/Alkalization -

You will notice that I do NOT spend time telling you what you should eat (or what I eat). As you begin to really listen to your body, you will know which foods hinder and which foods help your energy and your body. This section is designed to further help you in determining that. In order to be at maximum and sustained energy, we need to be conscious of what we are putting into our bodies in addition to reducing personal stress. Stress, pollution, toxic emotions, stored physical toxins, and acidic food and drink all contribute to the balance or imbalance of our alkaline vs acid balance. On a scale of 0-10, 10 being perfectly alkaline, our bodies should optimally be at 7.36. That means that our bodies are efficiently getting oxygen to the blood necessary to operate powerfully and healthfully. As the balance dips below that number, we are headed to health issues of all kinds. In fact, if we are acidic, even if we have begun to move our bodies, they are less capable of letting go of the weight. So balance is essential. 

In order to make sure you are getting enough alkaline rich intake you can make sure that at least 70% of your food is alkaline. Green vegetables and green drinks are the obvious go too. Broccoli, cumbers, seeded watermelon, almonds, avocado, spinach, cayenne peppers, bananas, kale, bell peppers, celery, cantaloupe and cauliflower are all excellent alkaline sources. 

As long as we are listing foods, it is interesting to note that there are excellent foods specifically recommended for optimal brain function. If you have foggy brain or just want to improve brain function, these foods are excellent brain food. They are: avocado, broccoli, blueberries (also antioxidant), coconut, eggs, salmon, walnuts, kale, turmeric, and dark chocolate.

Alkaline water is a brilliant liquid. Since 60-70 of the human body is water, it is important that you hydrate commiserate with your lifestyle and activity level. It is not surprising that the best water for alkaline balance is alkaline water. You can invest thousands in a home machine or go to some place like Whole Foods and buy the water from their machine every 2-3 days to make sure it is still charged properly. 

Stay away from sodas, even diet sodas, completely if you can. I remember thinking that I had given up so much I was NOT going to give up DIE-T soda. Until I did. They are counterproductive to weight loss and you can clean your car battery with them. That should tell you how acidic they are and what they do to your digestion.Plus if you are drinking a volume of these liquids, you are likely not getting enough pure water. Water is critical in helping to detoxify and carry away toxins we ingest and waste from our cell production. If you are wanting to lose weight, think about it. Where does the fat go when you “lose” it? It doesn’t just evaporate. It has to be carried out of your system in some fashion. The Mayo Clinic says, Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to work properly. For example, water:

  • Gets rid of wastes through urination, perspiration and bowel movements
  • Keeps your temperature normal
  • Lubricates and cushions joints
  • Protects sensitive tissues

So how much water should we drink? The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:

  • About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men
  • About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women

Wine is acidic and if you drink, it should be followed by a glass of water. Coffee is acidic but adding soy or almond milk can help offset it. I happen to love coffee so I use a superfood or coconut creamer. Fried foods are very acidic and to be avoided if possible. 

Regarding animal meat, fish, poultry, etc. All of these tend to be more acidic but they also have benefits to humans – who are omnivores. That literally means humans were designed to eat both meats and veggies. Think about our teeth. We have canines like a lion (or dog) but also grounding teeth like a cow. So the rule of thumb in staying balanced is to keep the meat, or protein, consumption to 30% of your overall daily allowance of food. Vegetarians don’t have to worry about this but do have to make sure they are getting enough proteins from their plant based plans. Health issues arise from an imbalance of any kind. 

One last note on this topic. When I get up in the morning, I start with a glass of room temp alkaline water with a squeeze of fresh lemon. Lemon helps jumpstart the digestion, promotes weight loss, lowers blood pressure, reduces inflammation, encourages liver detox.  Then I have my green drink. I have been drinking the same green drink powder mix for years and it is amazing. I took the ingredient label to my trusted acupuncturist who was amazed and gave her seal of approval. You can find the green drink that works for you but I will share mine with you as well. It is the Premium Superfood Cocktail called Athleticgreens. Their website is the same name www.athleticgreens.com and they are based in Australia. Just for clarification, I am not sponsored by any one or any company. I am simply sharing what has worked for me in a way that is convenient for you.

Then I have my Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee with Lairds Superfood Creamer. I figure if I am going to not give up my love of coffee, I would “manage the folly” with what and how much I drink. I have two cups and I am done for the day. 

None of this id done with perfection. It is done with awareness and a vision toward optimizing my health, energy and wellness. Without a doubt, a person with a highly functioning, high energy body is far more likely to have a high energy life. As you can imagine, it affects everything and everyone in your life.

Ayurvedic Medicine -

I am not an expert in this area but I found it to be very helpful to understand my body type and what foods were best for me to establish balance. There are three doshas – Vata, Pitta & Kapha. Each of these have strengths and weaknesses with which you can work to establish balance. Certain foods, external and internal oils, and spices may be better than others for you. It is fascinating and just an aside should you be interested in supplementing your food choices. I learned as a Kapha, I need to add more spices and astringents and raw foods (to which I am not naturally drawn) for balance. A Vata would need to more grounding foods like avocados and a Pita needs cooling foods like cucumber. They run hot!

If you want to learn more about this topic, I recommend Sahara Rose Ketabi’s books, Idiot’s Guides to Ayurvedic and Eat Feel Fresh: A Contemporary, Plant-Based Ayurvedic Cookbook https://www.amazon.com/Eat-Feel-Fresh-Contemporary-Plant-Based She takes an age old system and brings it into the 21st century in a fresh, understandable and user friendly way. 



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