I’ve been working really hard these last few weeks to not just eat whole foods, but to actually prepare my meals ahead of time. This has required learning how to do some basic cooking. Confession: Although I can make simple dishes (pasta!), I have very little know how when it comes to seasoning and cooking veggies or meat. Quite truthfully, I’ve been loading up on carbs my entire life, and preparing and eating veggies/meat has never been a priority. This aspect of my life has been a huge hurdle for me. Luckily, John is the cook in our family, but nowadays, as I’m trying really hard to get healthier, it was time for me to get in the driver seat of my own health bus.
So, when my dear friend Myriam (the most amazing whole food chef I know!) came to town recently, she took me to the grocery store and literally had me take notes while she gave me a tour of the entire joint. Imagine a grown lady (me) standing in front of the veggie section, getting a very thorough lesson about what this is and what that is, etc etc. It was 1 part hilarious, 1/2 part embarrassing, and a million parts useful and life changing.
We left the store with that week’s essentials and went home and cooked it all up together. Myriam showed me how to cook everything, how to season it all, etc. She made me write it all down in my book, which I’ve been referring to every weekend when I do a 2-3 hour cooking session for the following week’s meals.
Here’s what we brought home, and here’s a snapshot of how I’ve been using it:
Sweet potatoes: boiled, skins left on. I’ve been eating them with a little feta sprinkled on (SO GOOD!) or in my bowls with chicken and spinach and advocado.
Chicken: Baked with lemon, garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary. I’ve been putting some of it aside for chicken salads or bowls (chicken, lentils, greens, advocado) and created a green chicken salad with the rest of it (blender: advocado, basil, lemon, lots of spinach). The salad dressing recipes that she taught me are below (delish and easy).
Black beans: Flavored with cumin, salt, pepper, bay leaf. I’ve been eating scrambled eggs with black beans and a little advocado in the mornings with a sprinkle of lime juice. Delish!
Lentils: A whole batch of them, cooked with veggie broth and seasoned with salt/pepper. I’ve been keeping a batch of soupy lentils and a batch of drained. Drained for salads and soupy for bowls (with chicken, spinach, advocado, sauce, maybe sweet pot).
Chic peas: cooked and drained for salads/bowls. Turns out I love chic peas as they come.
Quinoa: Cooked per the directions on the box, using veggie broth instead of water. Season with a tiny bit of salt. I’m eating quinoa in either bowls or salad (spinach leaves, chicken, a bean/lentil, and a sauce.
Not shown: chili, ground turkey, fruits, nuts, lara bars, yogurt, hard boiled eggs, almond butter (with banana = new fave snack)
Here’s another view of food prep day in our kitchen. I love spending 2 hours on the weekends getting it all ready for the week. It’s so true what they say – that preparing it well ahead of time is KEY. That, and I feel capable. The capable part is really big for me. Empowered.
I’ve been eating like this for about 3-4 weeks now. I’m trying to use the 80/20 rule and not fuss too much when I eat a giant bowl of pasta now and again. But I have to say that my late afternoon, late night sugar cravings are not an issue anymore. I start eating about an hour after I wake up and I eat about 6 small meals a day – my blood sugar is happier and I’m feeling pretty darned good.
Here’s a photo of one of my bowls (salad greens, sweet pot, feta, chicken, lentils) with the homemade dressing. Really good.
Still doing a green smoothie just about every day, too. Our vitamix
has been the best investment ever for green smoothies (like butter, smooth) and other sauces. In the smoothie: loads of spinach, water, frozen fruit, yogurt, chia seeds, flax oil, and almond butter sometimes).
Getting there, friends. It’s not about losing weight. It’s about having more energy. Period. I need more energy for the kind of life I want to live. This is the biggest step I’ve taken toward my long term health in a long time. It doesn’t feel hard or limiting or unfriendly or restrictive. The prep work has been the key. I’m eating more than I was eating before, actually. Feeling powered up, motivated, and committed. I want to grow old with John and watch True grow old, too.
ps: Got great whole food EASY recipes? Send them my way. I need to insert some more variety, and fast 🙂
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