If you read my previous post about What I Eat & Why then you know I've made some radical changes in my diet over the years, but this recent one has been the most radical of all. And...it's here to stay (doctor's orders).
So it's time I settle in to this way of eating (egg-free Paleo), and if I'm going to do that, you know I'm going to make it as simple as possible. Enjoy another short synopsis - my meal planning journey...
1. In college I went and grabbed a bunch of food with little plan. I often grabbed easy food like cereal, frozen Kashi meals, and stuff for sandwiches. It's like I cared half the time and the other half I didn't. In this stage I wasted a lot of food hoping to eat healthy, but really craving Ramen noodles at the end of the day.
2. After college I lived on cereal and Panera. I worked full time as a teacher and worked at Panera 6 days a week. This meant cereal and Panera were literally the only things I ate (unless you count Pizza Hut on Sundays). You can imagine how much my body appreciated that! But hey - no meal planning involved.
3. Next I used eMeals to better meal plan. It took a lot of the hard work out and gave us delicious recipes of all kinds. The downside here is that I needed things like 5/16 of a bunch of cilantro and 2.5 whole chickens. See the problem? I was frustrated while shopping and paid for more than I needed. Food waste was a norm, and that bothered me a bit.
4. From there I went to a free app called Mealime. Now this one I highly recommend if you enjoy following recipes. It is the best thing I've found out there for recipe followers. It has all the features you want it to - even me! My only problem - recipes take me FOREVER to follow, even the simple ones. The measuring, the making sure I wasn't missing steps, making sure the steps were in the right order, etc. It was making me hate cooking because I felt like a kitchen failure.
This leads me to now...
I was on the hunt for a process that would do a few things better than my old systems:
1. Save me money!
2. Accomodate my food restrictions with ease.
3. Minimize or completely eliminate food waste.
4. Create the fewest number of dishes.
5. Take me less time and frustration.
So how do I shop now?
First I choose how much I'm going to spend. We spent between $60 and $70 (cash) for our family of 3 each week. This includes all snacks and splurges (if any). At the store I make sure to shop these food categories:
1. Greens (high in folate and crucial detoxers)
2. A large amount of vegetables (for varied nutrients and fiber)
3. Protein (meat) - usually 3 types per week
4. A small amount of fruit
Staples I make sure I have on hand:
1. Pepper grinder
2. Sea salt
6. Cumin if I decide to get fancy!
Where do I shop, though?
Aldi! It's how I shop organic AND keep my costs to a minimum. Shopping here also makes it harder to buy things outside the four categories, and keeps me from buying too much from any one category. I shop what's on sale and in season. I don't buy more than I'll need for the week (this keeps me from thinking I'll "need" more than I actually end up using).
I get what I can in those four categories within my kitchen budget and that's it! No prior meal planning before shopping - GASP! Don't worry, this system checks all those boxes I listed above. Stay tuned for my post-shopping meal planning system coming soon!
On my journey to finding my healthy "sweet spot" if such a thing exists I have tried many different ways of eating. Here's a quick synopsis...
My childhood (and far too much of my adulthood) overflowed with milk, cheese, and cereal. (I'm now extremely sensitive to lactose.)
At one point I was eating lots of whole grains - bread, brown rice, oats, I loved my "healthy" grains. (Come to find out I don't mesh well with those either!)
One month I went sugar free (I even limited foods such as fruits that quickly convert in the body and can spike your blood sugar just the same as any sugar.)
Then came a small bout with being mostly raw/vegan. (That definitely wasn't best for my body but it did teach me to be in tune with what I was eating more than anything else.)
After all that I went full AIP (autoimmune protocol) before I got pregnant. (When morning sickness hit all bets were off and I went back to my bread-binging ways.)
During pregnancy I experienced symptom regression and felt wonderful, but after I delivered my son I became more and more sick - even worse than pre-pregnancy. Stubborn as I am, it still took me seeing a functional medical doctor to take my eating seriously for the long haul. I was told not to touch gluten with a 10 ft pole because of a fun little thing called zonulin that may be contributing to my body's self-destructing.
Honestly - I went home from that appointment and ate all the leftover brownies. Way too many. I felt like I deserved one last hurrah I guess? I felt sad for my future self. Does that make it justified? No. I'm still feeling a little guilty for betraying myself.
Since then my food splurges have involved rice soup and a few pieces of freshly popped corn when I've been out of town. Aside from that I've been egg-free Paleo since July (eggs are a reactive food for me). Three and a half months of saying no to the food that isn't serving my health has led me here.
Through this I've learned that my body is EXTREMELY sensitive to both gluten and cross-reactors and risking cross-contamination is not worth any deliciousness. Because of this, my cooking-hating self has had to get back in the kitchen. It's where I've belonged for a long time (for my own benefit), but I've only just recently surrendered to this fact.
Now if you think this is starting to sound kind of sad, fear not! The tide is changing. Through this new transition I'm discovering the beauty in the simple. And... I'm even saving tons of money!
The way I'm shopping now is so simple, involves no weird measurements from recipes, and is cheaper and healthier than I've ever eaten before.
Want to know how I shop now? I'll be sharing my system here soon!
essential oils didn't change my life
Yep. I know how I preach about how they'll change yours. And that's kind of true-- because the oil lifestyle will change you, and our oil community will change you. But neither one of those will change you life on their own...because here's the secret:
Only YOU can change your life. Essential oils didn't come into my life and serve as a magic fix. They didn't correct my relationship problems, or clean my house, or even make me a better person. What they did is opened my mind up to the fact that maybe I didn't quite know everything yet. Maybe I had more to learn. Maybe there was more world out there than I realized.
And when my mind became open to more possibilities, that's when the real change happened. I realized I could choose my lifestyle. I could choose healthy foods. I could choose to prioritize sleep and stress management. I could choose to reduce the toxins I was allowing my body to wage war against. I could choose to take a road less traveled with friends I never knew would become family. All because they opened me up to a world of more possibilities.
Now I share this hope with others. Not just a hope that oils will change your life (although they can), but that there is a hope that lives within me, and I can share it with the world. This includes you, my friend.
And that's why I'm here. I have a hope to share with you. One that can live within. One that can change your life physically, emotionally, mentally...even financially. One that can change your future.
The question is, are you willing to change your life? That part's up to you.
If you're here-- I'm here for you.
Need encouragement? Reach out.
Looking for a hope filled community? We'll gladly welcome you.