What's Been On My Mind - Pre-Fall Edition

I was taking a look back over my idea journal and realized that were some topics I've been sitting on…silently working away on for a bit and I just thought I'd give you peek because I think I may need some input from my buddies. So…

DIETS

I honestly get asked so often from friends and family about different diets and it's an interesting one for me because, as I touched on this lightly in my last blog post, there is a movement in and around the wellness space to be anti-diet. So many nutrition and wellness practitioners are actively fighting against diet culture - which I think is great. The fact is no diet or the temporary results it may or may not give you is going to make you love yourself or your body. I fully and whole-heartedly believe that.

But I think there is another message that unintentionally gets lost as we shun diet culture and that is that IT IS OK to set health and wellness goals for yourself and to make a plan to meet those goals. It's ok to want to feel comfortable in your body after having a baby (or babies) or to shed the freshman 15 or clean up your diet in order to clear up your skin. Those are all great and healthy goals and sometimes I think they unintentionally begin to get diminished when the message that is being shouted above all the noise is "say no to diets and love and accept your body the way it is." It can sound like competing messages when they really aren't. I think harmony comes from loving yourself, being grateful for your body, and making healthy choices that support healthy {and realistic} goals. <-- just so you know, if you ever work with me one-on-one that's what you're getting - it's become the structure for what I do.

I also find the anti-diet movement challenging because I think there are so many tenants of different diets and eating styles that can be useful in meeting health and wellness goals.

So where does this lead me? First, another reiteration of something I've said previously and that is to find a nutrition professional to help you set the appropriate health and wellness goals and to make a plan to help you achieve them - one that is tailored to you and your body, lifestyle, and preferences. A one-size-fits-all approach isn’t designed to help you achieve goals with a lasting impact.

And finally, I'm going to be kicking off a diet series where I unpack the most popular diets and eating styles that are being buzzed about now. I want to do this for 3 reasons: 1. I think it's important to be informed - to have all the information before you make any sort of lifestyle or diet changes. 2. I want to pull out some of the tenants of diets that may be helpful for meeting specific goals. 3.  I want to look objectively at what's happening right now in the nutrition and wellness world and help you understand too so you don't go drinking 4 gallons of celery juice with the expectation of looking like Jenna Dewan or a Kardashian.

COOKING & MEAL PLANNING

Now that we are in an official school-year routine, I've been finding myself having to evaluate my time in the kitchen. When I started this little internet project, I was clear about wanting to learn alongside all of you - I don't have everything figured out, I'm not a chef and as the dynamics of my family change with the seasons, I'm having to shift our methods and I want to make sure I'm sharing that with you all. I'm curious how often you all realistically make a meal - do you stretch leftovers? Do you order out? What does your week in the kitchen look like?

I've been taking a hard look at how I meal plan and how I can incorporate some meal component panning into my family's meal plans so that they are adaptable to a wider range of people and lifestyles. I'm also working on a longer, more comprehensive look at meal components and the ways anyone can use component planning to create healthy meals without even needing a recipe. All this is exciting and keeps me going but also requires a lot of work and research and I want to make sure I do it right.

LIFESTYLE THINGS

In one word, my current aspirational motto is: streamline. I'm really desiring for the lifestyle buckets in my life to be simple, consistent and streamlined so I'm not having to spend a lot of time thinking about it. I want to lean into routines and products that work and fit with what I'm doing.

Bucket 1: style - I'm DYING for some cooler weather. I cannot wait for a cool breeze and the need for a sweater and I think if the temperature dropped anywhere under 85 degrees I'd probably go for it…but all that complaining about the weather to say that I'm really wanting to get out my fall clothes and switch up my style. I've been low key obsessed with capsule wardrobes for a long time and have been trying my hardest to figure it out but I just don't think I've quite nailed my style yet in a way that makes a true capsule wardrobe possible. SO I'm really planning on being intentional about figuring some style things that work for me - because sometimes what I see and love just isn't compatible with my lifestyle (aka SUPER CASUAL) and that leads to frustration and just being lost when I'm trying to get dressed for anything other than school drop-off. Send help.

Bucket 2: skincare - I'm also wanting to streamline and commit to a skincare routine. I think I've read enough and have done enough research to know what steps I need to have but the execution without spending every penny I've got is REAL hard. Someone talk to me. What skincare brands do you love and recommend? What's worth it and what's not?

Bucket 3: exercise - I like to exercise but when things get busy for me, exercise is always the first thing to be sacrificed. I'm really digging into a solid exercise routine this fall because I feel my best when I'm active and consistent. I usually shoot for 3-4 workouts a week and maybe a walk or two thrown in the mix. So if you want to go on a walk (and probably talk about food) hit me up.

A Formula for a Simple, Healthy Meal

So here's a hard truth: no matter what "foolproof" nutrition or eating plan was instrumental in helping someone meet their heath or nutrition goals, it may not work for you. YOU are an individual and YOUR BODY is different from your best friend's, your sister's, your spouse's, or your favorite Instagram influencer. YOUR BODY handles food, macronutrient (carb, protein, fat) ratios, stress, exercise, and even biological and environmental pollutants completely individually. As a health and nutrition professional, it really bothers me when I see people (especially other health and nutrition professionals) touting their one-size-fits-all plan for every person because the truth is…it's a lie. While we can make somewhat wide and sweeping claims based in science and most people (carnivore diet enthusiasts can close their ears) would agree that eating more vegetables is good for everyone, there simply is no one-size-fits-all, works for everybody plan. I know this because I've lived it. I've tried every eating plan, so many diets, and countless "lifestyle changes" for various reasons and to accomplish various goals and until I stopped, paid attention, and evaluated my own body and the way it reacted to certain foods and eating styles, I was continually disappointed by not seeing the same results as someone I had seen following whatever "plan" was my flavor of the day. Because the truth is, there are tenants of almost every diet and eating plan that can be helpful to someone out there and it's finding the right combination and balance for your body and your goals to ensure both short-term and long-term success. 

So the point of this rant is to encourage you - if you have a health or wellness goal, be your own advocate, do your own research, and seek out a health professional who can help you make a plan that fits your individual needs and goals as well as your personality because all eating patterns (and the humans who follow them) are different and distinct.

Now that we've gotten that rambling rant our of the way, I do want to share a formula that anyone and everyone can use to create a healthy plate time after time. Because even us crazy people who love to try new recipes and spend lots of time in the kitchen get burnt out and need to throw a simple meal on the table in as short a time frame as possible. And the best part is, no matter what eating style you subscribe to (maybe with the exception of a carnivore dieter), this formula can be used to create a healthy meal when you're in a pinch.

So…drumroll please…

 

2 Veggies + 1 Protein + 1 Complex Carb Source + Healthy Fats (all mixed in)

 

Practically this looks like 1/2 your plate is filled with veggies, 1/4 is filled with protein, 1/4 with a carb source + then you get some healthy fats from the method of cooking, a sprinkle of walnuts or some fresh avocado (for example). Pretty simple, huh?

And for application purposes here's what this could look like… 

Example 1:

4-5 oz salmon (protein) cooked in olive oil (fat) and seasoned with salt & pepper

Roasted asparagus (veggie 1) and baby broccoli (veggie 2) tossed with olive oil (fat) and salt and pepper

Roasted sweet potato cubes (complex carb) cooked with olive oil (fat), salt, pepper, & paprika  

Example 2 (Trader Joe's Edition):

4-6 oz baked chicken thighs coated with olive oil and seasoned with salt, pepper, & 21 seasoning salute

Cruciferous crunch salad mix (veggie 1) with chopped broccoli florets (veggie 2), chopped walnuts (fat) & favorite vinaigrette dressing

Brown rice (complex carb)

Vegetarian/Vegan Option:

Chickpeas (protein) + Massaged Kale (veggie 1) + Roasted Sweet Potatoes (veggie 2) + brown rice (complex carb) + Olive Oil (for massaging kale and cooking sweet potatoes)

Low Carb Option:

2 cups mixed leafy greens + 1 cup mixed chopped veggies like cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and red onion + 4 oz roasted (or rotisserie) chicken + avocado chunks + handful chopped walnuts + simple olive-oil based dressing 

The options are endless with this formula and you can use this handy chart to mix and match and create a healthy plate time and again (and hopefully not get bored).

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