Oh the New Year. What a time of hope, of promise, and of people setting themselves up for disappointment. It happens every year and it happens to all of us. We literally and figuratively bite off more than we can chew. We are so ready for the new me, that we live an unrealistic lifestyle for a few weeks. And then, by the time we celebrate Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech, our own dreams for lasting change are squashed like a mosquito party at the Indy 500.
So how can we avoid this perennial pitfall? Well, I am no Tony Robbins or Dr. Phil/Oz, but I can shed some insight on what I have seen through our members (and myself) over the years. I know we all like to think that we are unique and are different from everyone else, but we see similar trends every year. So let’s look at them proactively.
First thing to realize with our food (and I know I may be preaching to the choir here), is that food is a lifestyle choice. Our food is not what we eat in the sense that it is a noun or an object. When you get to the root of it, food is not what we eat, but rather how we eat. It is a philosophy. It is a relationship that we cultivate mainly with ourselves. And I honestly feel that there is no greater expression of self-love than how we choose to nourish ourselves. Food is the foundation for our lives and our lifestyles.
With that, I urge folks to move past staring at calorie content, fat grams, and is there high fructose corn syrup in my Twinkie. Those are just trees within a much broader forest. Stay focused on the forest amigos and not the trees. Our food forest is about establishing a routine. Something that we choose to (and can) replicate day after day.
For me, any routine has to be fun. I have been accused before of being as deep as a puddle. That life is not all about having fun. Sure we can be serious at points in our lives, but having fun is the best way to turn actions into a routine. So first and foremost, find a food lifestyle that is fun for you. If you hate drinking carrot and kale juice, don’t make a resolution to become a juicer. Let’s find the low hanging fruit first, then pull out the ladder.
My second piece of advice after you find a fun way to a healthier lifestyle is to not beat yourself up when you slip. This is one thing that happens all the time when folks start loading their fridge up with healthy Organic produce. Invariably, a little bell pepper will hide behind the jar of pickles and get all wrinkled. After the profanity subsides, the guilt jumps on your back like a 1,000 lb gorilla. You feel like a failure. You feel like you are terrible with money, as if you just blew your kids’ college fund on the blackjack table. I want to tell you it’s ok, it happens.
I hate wasting food as much as the next bear, but these things happen when you try to keep lots of freshness in your kitchen. It is better to eat tons of fresh foods and lose a little bit, than to give up and eat processed or frozen foods. Just accept that a little loss is still fine.
One of our members told me that since they got their fresh deliveries on Tuesdays, that Monday nights were always soup nights to use up all the remaining veggies they had from the previous week. That seemed like a good way to use things, and also a fun and creative way. Regardless of whether you soup it, juice it, blend it, dehydrate it, or lose a bit of it, just go easy on yourself and make changes. If kale seems to not make it around your house, sub it. That is the reason we worked so hard to get a computer system to allow you the flexibility in your ordering. Have fun with your food and go easy on yourself.
My last suggestion for having a fun, guilt-free, healthy new year is experiment with new things. I like to find (easy) recipes on the internet to try new things and new ways to cook. Leave the elaborate recipes for someone else. Grab a quick and simple recipe to prepare a veggie or protein you are not used to working with. This will be a fun way to expand your skills in the kitchen. I recently learned that if you place fresh baby spinach in the strainer then pour your cooked pasta through it, the hot water will cook the spinach perfectly and then you can toss it in with the pasta.
Let’s enjoy and have fun with our food this year. Cheers!