Friday, September 8, 2017

Keep it Simple

Hi guys! This is my first post after having received my C.H.N.C (Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant™) designation. Throughout last year I gave a lot of thought as to what area I’d like to focus my nutrition practice on. Although I am still working on refining that, one theme that consistently came up for me was the idea of keeping things simple - regardless of my niche. 

As someone who experiences anxiety and easily gets overwhelmed, I found myself struggling during the course of the year. I was overthinking all the areas in which I felt I needed to make changes for myself and my family (even though we live a healthy lifestyle to begin with). I was worried about my daughter not drinking enough water, worried if I had candida and parasites, worried that all my food wasn't organic, worried if I ate something sweet and sugary...it goes on and on. That’s when I knew that I had to adopt and live by this mantra of keeping things simple. (Small steps not grandiose life changes all at once). And this doesn’t mean that I can’t still achieve optimum health; it just means that my approach and my expectations must be gentle.

Part of the requirement for the C.H.N.C designation was completing 14 case studies and providing a comprehensive analysis of each indvidual's body systems directly related to their stated health concerns. This involved generating a 3-day meal plan for each person. The main purpose of the meal plan (in this context at least) was to demonstrate our knowledge base. As a result, the meal plans were not “practical”. I remember thinking as I was completing them: “I would never follow this and I wouldn’t expect a real client of mine to – it’s way too complicated”. There are so many different ingredients, so many recipes and perhaps so many food stores to go to in order to create all these different meals!

And while I would never disagree that a well-balanced diet requires rotation, I think we sometimes complicate things by thinking that we need rotation on a day-to-day basis. In a typical meal plan, you might have an omelet for breakfast one morning, a smoothie for the next, then overnight oats or a breakfast cookie the following day.  And that’s just breakfast – the one meal of the day you’re usually eating with the most urgency! So I really got to thinking that one way in which we can simplify our lives is to focus on rotational weeks. Here’s a real quick example for you:

Typical Meal Plan – Week 1


Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Breakfast
Chia Pudding

Omelet
Smoothie
Lunch
Veggie Wrap
Homemade Soup
Chopped Greek Salad
Dinner
Hearty Chicken Curry w/loads of veggies
Salmon w/Rice & Asparagus
Grass-fed beef Fajita’s w/bell peppers & onions
Snack
Guacamole & Mary’s “gone carackers”
Hummus & Veggies
Apple & Almond Butter

Now this could be a nice little meal plan for the right person, but what if that person struggles with anxiety, has a full time job and is the parent of young children? 

How about something like this instead?

Simplified Meal Plan – Week 1



Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Breakfast
Chia Pudding (add berries)
Chia Pudding (add banana)
Chia Pudding (add tbsp. of almond butter)
Lunch
Homemade Soup
Leftover Chicken Curry from last night
Homemade Soup
Dinner
Hearty Chicken Curry w/loads of veggies
Grass-fed beef Fajita’s w/bell peppers & onions
Leftover Beef Fajita’s from last night
Snack
Banana & Almond Butter
Apple & Almond Butter
Guacamole & Mary’s “gone crackers”


As you can see, the shopping list and effort required for this second meal plan is much less. Even just making larger dinners so that you can eat them for lunch or dinner the next day is helpful. Eat the same breakfast for a week, then change it up the following week. How about eating a “big ass salad” every day but adding in different items that not only make it exciting, but also ensure that a variety of nutrients are being added? Throw some of that leftover beef from fajita night into the salad; toss some nuts and seeds into the salad if you have no protein; even add in some fruit that’s starting to go bad.

Guys, the goal is to make healthy eating a habit and if it’s too complicated, you won’t do it. Of course a weekly meal plan that has exciting and different options at every meal is great – but unless you have a personal chef to do it all for you, I suggest that you keep things simple. Who doesn’t LOVE to watch the Food Network, spend hours pinning recipes on Pinterest or even scroll through all the photos of food on Instagram!? I love it! But the truth is that I struggle enough on a daily basis trying to figure what to buy and cook for my family as it is. So instead of planning from a daily basis, take a step back and focus more on a weekly basis. Rotate the types of vegetables, fruits, grains, beans and meats you use week to week, and you will ensure that your body gets what it needs. Then save those recipes you'd like to try out (from Pinterest, Food Network or Instagram) for when you have some time (scrambling after work to put food on the table for your family doesn't sound to me like a fun time to try out a new recipe). If the recipe works out, add it to your rotation! You'll know what's involved in making it, you'll be familiar with the ingredients you need, and you'll probably already have some of the staples in your pantry or fridge.


If you have any questions about this, or would like additional help implanting such a plan, please reach out! I'll be posting on a more consistent basis and sharing some of my new knowledge. If there is a particular area around food and nutrition you'd like to learn more about, please leave me a message and I will make sure it's included in a future post. 

TTYL!

1 comment:

  1. I love your blog. I feel like I learn so much with every post. Congratulations on your designation. I'm proud of you for following your path to healthy but balanced living.

    ReplyDelete

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