Fall.

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My yoga series this season was “fall into yoga” and my heart feels like falling in love with everything!  So I am in my kitchen this week falling into everything the season has to offer, loving the crisp air, the honeycrisp apples, and the colours of change.

This week’s meal plan:

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  • Spinach Salad with tempeh bacon and egg. (Like a chef’s salad – for a vegetarian!)

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  • Red Lentil Rotini with Pumpkin Sauce (easy as pie to make!!)  And yes the red lentil pasta is pricey…I was hoping to give it a go and then buy in bulk at Costco.  Which we will now be doing.  We LOVED this!  Did not love the $8.99 price tag for the 12oz box…but love the 21g of protein per serving.  And no, the picture does not do this dish justice.

 

  • IMG_4506Broccoli and Cheddar Soup with crusty whole grain and seed bread (This was pulled out of the freezer from when I made it 2 weeks ago – LOVE freezer days when I don’t have to cook!)

 

 

  • Butternut squash soup and crusty whole wheat bread

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I wanted to give you a better idea of how to speed things up in the kitchen (or at least my kitchen) and also a good idea on pricing…(since I’m starting to spend a little more gearing up for Christmas). Soooo….

IMG_4507I bought a butternut squash from our local grocer. Buying it whole meant saving quite a lot of cash ($0.79/pound).  I also bought some pre-cut, and on sale ($2.99/pound)  I call it the *time saver, money spender*!  The squash cutting requires a fair amount of effort, and a sharp kitchen knife.

I think it’s worth it, considering the extra effort yields a substantial amount.  I still go back and forth, as this is one of the few things I have repeatedly cut myself doing.  And it always seems to happen at the most inopportune times.  I did not cut myself today.  Hence why I have time to write about it!

I bought about 1.5lb of pre-cut butternut squash (rang in at $4.50) and then about 3.5lb of a regular squash (rang in at $2.75) So I got more than twice as much for less than half the price.  You can see the difference in the picture of my hard work of cubed goodness compared to the store’s boxed.

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I also have started adding lentils to our butternut squash soup recipe.  We are all very active in this family and being vegetarian I try to get protein in where ever I can.  This is a no brainer here, as the red lentils don’t add much flavour to the soup, but add a good amount of protein, which I feel rounds out the meal nicely.  It also keeps us full for longer…if vegetarian fare (or soups in general) are a cause for complaint in your home. (Hi Dad!)

IMG_4509To make the soup I start by heating up the butter or oil in my large stock pot.  I saute the onion until translucent and then add the cubed squash, IMG_4514lentils, boiling water, broth, salt, and pepper.  I simmer for 20min.  After simmering I use an immersion blender to process the soup into a fine puree.  Alternately you could transfer back and forth from a countertop blender to puree.  I keep the heat on low until we are ready to eat and serve with a hearty toasted bread.  Alone this recipe can feed 8.  We split it up and freeze half so it makes a freezer meal for later.  And the kids LOVE it.  Tonight my 4 year old ate two full bowls and my 2 year old ate three full bowls (plus their bread).  And yes, three toddler-bowl-fulls is more than what I ate.  It is that good.

Pumpkin muffins also made an appearance this week.  Yeah for fall!!  They are filled with a cream cheese icing of sorts and are amazing.  Worth that little bit of extra effort.

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Like what you see?  Let me know (or share).  And if you don’t, don’t.

Happy Week!

 

 

How To Be Healthy. In A Nutshell. (Without The Nuts, Someone Might Be Allergic.)

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First off, drink milk so your bones grow strong.  But not too much, saturated fat is bad for you. Eat fish, the omega 3s are great for your brain development.  Not actual fish though, they have high levels of mercury and heavy metal poisoning.  And don’t drink homogenized milk as it has been linked to heart disease.

Dairy leads to juvenile diabetes.  Don’t eat dairy. Yogurt should be consumed everyday for the positive effects of probiotics on the gut.  However any yogurt you buy will likely contain refined sugars or sweeteners.  Do NOT eat refined sugar or sweeteners, they lead to tooth decay and diabetes.

IMG_2195Live in moderation so you don’t end up teaching your kids that all sugar is bad.  Otherwise they will go crazy in their teenage years and only eat sugar.  Eat sugar.  And only eat homemade things as they are healthier than eating out.

Do not eat baking.  It is filled with refined sugars and flour and fat.  And eggs.  But eggs are okay, they are a good source of protein and B12.  Do not eat eggs that you can buy in a store, the chickens were likely abused.  Do not eat eggs you buy.

Do not eat meat.  Meat and animal products have been linked to cancer.  Meat also contains saturated fat.  Saturated fat is bad.  Do not eat saturated fats.  Saturated fats are solid at room temperature.

Eat coconut oil.  Rub it on your skin. Use it for oil pulling. Clean your house with it. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature.

Make sure you get enough iron and protein in your diet.  Eat meat and nuts.  Nut butters are especially good.  Not in public, someone might be allergic.  Nuts often contain alfatoxin.  Alflatoxin stimulates cancer growth. Do not ingest alflatoxin.

Don’t ingest anything that hasn’t been produced locally (to help save the environment.)  Make sure you get enough colourful fruits and vegetables in your diet, especially in the middle of winter.

IMG_3267Juice veggies in order to meet your daily quota (goodness know getting enough in can be hard some days.) Blend up a green smoothie as well.  Drink your vitamins!

Don’t drink juice, it lacks the fibre.  Without the fibre, the carbohydrates are more readily available for your system to ingest causing a glucose spike.  Glucoses spike cause strain on the system and may result in diabetes and obesity.  Use common sense. Don’t “drink” more than what you would actually eat in a sitting (i.e. 2 bananas, 3 apples, a head of kale and tablespoon of ginger).

Only eat raw food as it is closest to the source and the most natural form.

Vitamins may not be readily available unless you steam or gently cook foods like vegetables.  Cook all your food.  Add coconut oil to the cooking process, as some of the vitamins are only fat soluble.

You should get enough vitamins and minerals in the food you eat, as long as you eat a varied diet, full of all the colours of the rainbow.  Most supplements don’t contain what they say they do, as they are not regulated by any government or regulatory body.

Take vitamin D as you are likely deficient.  And B12.  Also take a multivitamin just to cover your bases.  If you are iron deficient add iron.  And if you are taking iron you should take supplemental vitamin C to ensure iron absorption.  If pregnant you should also take folic acid to prevent neural tube defects.

Exercise regularly.  But do not run.  Running causes strain on the joints and there won’t be enough osteopaths around for the knee replacements required later on.  And do not walk as it doesn’t elevate your heart rate enough for cardiovascular activity.

IMG_3807Only engage in non-linear physical activities.  Linear physical activities like running, walking, biking and elliptical trainers only provide one directional movement for your body.  Swimming could cause death by drowning, especially if you eat food (eating food could cause you to cramp up and die/drown.) So don’t swim either. Or eat.

Sitting is the new smoking so don’t do that either.  Oh and don’t smoke.  Or drink.  Alcohol is a depressant and can lead to obesity and dependance.

IMG_3900A glass of wine once a day is recommended and healthy for your heart.  It also provides you with antioxidants.  Also you should eat berries, they are high in antioxidants too.

Do not eat anything that isn’t organic.  Especially non-organic berries.  The pesticides will be harmful to you, like they are to the bugs they kill.

Organic farming isn’t sustainable for the whole world.  It is costly and not as effective as traditional farming methods.  We could not feed the world if produce was organically farmed.  Do not buy organic.

Meditation has been shown to decrease cortisol levels and improve physical and mental health.  Close your eyes and sit down to meditate at least once a day for 20 minutes.

Lastly: attack life, it’s going to kill you anyway.

 

If you like it, share it.  If you don’t, don’t.

 

 

Pain.

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I sat down to write this blog tonight, and frankly I just don’t know where to start.  So I’ll begin at the beginning and when I’m done will be the end.  First things first.

Pain.

The most constant thing on my mind since having my braces adjusted.  (Yes, I have braces.  19 months now.  But who’s counting right?)  And every month with an adjustment comes pain.  And soft food.  And soups. (My husband hates soups, so in effect my pain causes him pain.)

Me and my better half...and the braces.

Me and my better half…and the braces.

The kids too.  Have you ever noticed that being in constant nagging pain makes you kind of a painful person to be around?  I think if you asked my kids, and they could articulate how they really felt about me, I’m pretty sure my braces being adjusted causes them pain too. (If only in the way that the constant ache makes me less resistant to noise, like drums and whistles and screeching – in joy or not.)

So this week might be a painful read.  But I promise to give you some really good recipes out of it.  The one thing that makes me happy is filling my family with healthy food, bursting with love and joy.  And also softness (literally and figuratively) as I try to be gentle to myself (physically and emotionally).

These type of weeks are effective tools in helping me to ask for what I need (quiet please…and maybe an Advil). Also hugs.  Compassion goes a long way in the road to dealing with what’s bugging you. Even when it comes from a 2 year old.

And now the recipes! (Excitement over these is also a from of pain-escapism!)  This week’s meal plan is amazing!

  • Broccoli and Cheddar Soup (adapted from The Vegetarian Bible).  I would have taken pictures of this as I made it.  But it is ugly.  Really truly.  Boiled broccoli can have this beautiful green colour, but when you boil it down to be blended…let’s just say it’s not the same green.  Also for this recipe I do not recommend making it unless you have a food processor.  Unless you just love grating potatoes and cheese by hand for extended periods.  The end result keeps me coming back for more.   Which is good because this recipe makes a LOT.
  • IMG_4019White Bean and Kale Soup.  I know I know, I keep posting this.  But honestly it is only because I KEEP making it.  And the husband kinda sorta likes this one (as much as a soup hater could ever love soup.)  It is very easy, and hard to mess up.  Oh an freezes so well!  Yeah for leftovers!  This also uses up the GIGANTIC kale in my garden.  My kale “tree” is over a year old and now a tiny bit taller than my four year old.  Makes for a lot of great soups, smoothies and juicing.
  • Sweet Potato and Spinach Lentil Curry served with rice.  Yes, again.  I think when in pain,I lose brain power to the “dull ache void”.  So I’m less creative.  And go to old standbys (and comfort food).  And it’s soft and easy to eat.
  • Chickpea Stew.  Yum!  Seriously folks I got over my aversion to chick peas with this meal.  Packs in protein and is really really REALLY easy to make.  And freeze.  And eat.
  • Vegan Spagetti.  I have to hope that soft pasta is in my future, at least nearing the end of the week.
  • Mexican Salad in Tortilla Shells.  New recipe!  I will let you know how this goes and post if it’s good.  Very basic.  And will hopefully be at a time where my salad fantasies can be fulfilled with the ability to chew properly.

The end.

True Story. The missing piece.

 

 

I got to my hot yoga class and set up my mat on the wonderful, radiantly warmed floor as usual.  Then proceeded to go to the back corner to get my block and strap.  Dodging all the cute university girls and hippi bearded guy before returning to the 2″x7″ long place I would call my own for the next 75mins.  I sat down in my usual virasana pose. In 95F degree heat.  And began to slow my breathing.

Many women were already stretching and posing.  Posturing even perhaps, for the shirtless frat guy who was already sweating in the warmth. Maybe they were just warming up in anticipation of the upcoming gruelling asanas that would get all our butts into shape and knock our egos back into reality.  Or maybe they were testing the weak points of newly purchased yoga clothes to ensure full coverage during twisty, bendy pretzel manoeuvres that we could practice inversions from.  Either way, the room was filled with this intense energy to go, and this feeling of silent calm that whatever road we went on, we were in it together, all 16 of us, for the next 75min.

I closed my eyes and just focused on stillness, silence.  Breathing in deeply, loving the moment.  Someone new came into the room and I opened my eyes.  Not the instructor yet.  But before returning to my inner bliss, I couldn’t take my eyes away from the top of my mat.  My strap sat there all alone.  Where was my block?  I put it there specifically, just like I always do.

I turned to the girl on my right and she had a block.  Had she swiped mine while my eyes were closed?  Seriously, whoever was too much of a lazy ass to get up and walk to the back of the room to get their own damn block was going to hear from me.

I turned to my left and although frat boy didn’t have one, with the amount of sweating he was doing I thought he probably could use one.  After all, if you already look fluish before class has even started, there is no way you can expect to hold any poses without major support. I don’t care how big your muscles are.

Two mats over that girl has a block.  Her in the hot pink sports bra and tie dye pants.  And she was upside down in headstand.  Showoff.  I mean seriously who does that shit before class starts?  Bet she thinks she’s better than the rest of us and has the need to demonstrate, in case the opportunity doesn’t arise during the actual yoga class.  Bet she stole my block too.  Besides if she thinks she’s that much better than me, then taking my block while my eyes are closed probably isn’t a stretch.

Or maybe its the guy two rows up who stole it.  He looks new and anxious.  Or the girl beside him.  My eyes scan the room and find thieves on every mat.

I shift on my mat.  Glaring at everyone around me.  Where is the thief?  And who would be so brazen and rude as to swipe another person’s block?  The room feels hot and small.  I feel angry and my breathing is fast.

Then I feel it.  My block is beneath me.  In virasana for extended periods the block takes the strain off the knees, hence why I put it there because I was 10min early.  I laugh at myself.  The utter silliness.  The anger melts away.  The girl next to me catches my eye and smiles as she reaches for her water.  I can see frat boy using his towel to mop off the sweat from his brow.  His well used, obviously aged-from-many-yoga-classes, towel.  And the girl two mats down comes out of headstand and settles into a seated pace on her mat.  I am back in the same room as I started.  Warm, inviting and energizing.

And I realize the only thing I have to work on today is my own mind.

Oh yoga, if there isn’t something new I get from it every time.  Even before the class has started.

Craving Goodness.

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Cravings.  Those niggly things that you want.  Really, really, really bad.

Not often are mine very healthy.  Mind you I don’t really count “craving an apple.”  As I then eat said apple and don’t think twice about it.  It’s the things I don’t eat the minute I think of them that constitute true cravings.  Most of the time it is something savoury (for me anyway.)  Olives tend to do the trick.  Or pickles in a pinch.  It’s the salt I figure.

But the sweet stuff.  Which is usually also loaded with fat.  Those are tricky cravings.  And if you follow the same rules as me…there is just not a lot in the house in way of curbing these.  And also, if you are like me, it’s not worth the effort of going out most of the time to get them.

Here is one alternative.  These brownies are unbelievable.  They are still a treat, mind you.  But at least they are a lot healthier and filled with more nutrients than the store (or bakery) variety.  Don’t balk at the recipe, trust me if you try them without seeing the ingredients you just think you are eating some sort of chocolate fudgey goodness.  The consistency isn’t exactly like a baked brownie…more like a brownie crossed with fudge.  And the coconut, puts these over the top!

Stop reading this and just go make yourself a batch now.  It takes all of 5 minutes.  I did it while my kids waited for their snack.  And they ARE NOT patient.  Come to think of it, neither am I in a chocolate emergency.  When I am craving goodness.

Coconut Topped Brownies

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Can’t Get Enough.

There are so many things that are recurrent in my life right now.  That I just can’t get enough of! 

So here is my list from today.  The “so good I’ve got goosebumps” list.

1. Aloe Blacc’s “Wake Me Up” (the acoustic version)

2. Mental yoga.  Seriously, I lie down at night and do about 20min of my old yoga sequences before I fall asleep.  I can feel my muscles stretch and move and am aware of the different sensations in my body as I move through poses.  Sometimes I focus just on one pose, and all the intricacies it brings. Other times I go through sun salutes over and over and over.  Loving it.  Just loving it.  Since doing the real thing really hurts right now, mental yoga is sooo good.  There are many studies done on runners and athletes with this phenomenon.  They find the body actually does respond, the heart rate increases and certain physiological process react as though they were engaged in the actual activity.  All I care about is the feeling.  The really feel-good feeling.

3. Sunshine.  And there has been a lot here lately in this usually cloud covered city.  I am soaking it in.  All of it. No sunglasses here. Taking in the extra rays we get each day as the days grow longer.  LOVE that the days are growing longer.

4. Snuggles from my honey. (Really who doesn’t love these?)

5. Giggles from my kids.  Or any kids really. And giggles in general.  It just feels so good to giggle. Not done often enough.

6. The piece of chocolate cake my good friend dropped off.  It’s just right. And filled with everything I love, including love from my friend.  How she, or the universe knew that I needed it today I’m not sure.  But I am in love having gotten a good chocolate fix.  Should last me a while. (Yes, that good!)

7. Freezer meals.  My really good homemade ones. The times I make extras for days like today, when I need the gift of time, or a break from the stove. All the goodness and love I gifted myself a month ago when I made the meal and froze it. Love that I did something for me.

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8. The ability to sense.  Sit down and really feel. The sensation of the cold dining room tabletop on my forearm.  The warmth on the back of my neck held in by my ever-soft scarf. The smell of my chai. The sparkle of my wedding ring. Hearing my children playing, peacefully. wow. I am in awe that all of this can happen at the same time. And I only notice it if I really sit and be still and pay attention.

9. My weekly grocery list.  What can I say.  Meal planning and organization feed the OCD animal in me.  Makes me happy.  And then for 7 whole days I don’t have to think about what to make for dinner.

10. I feel like I could go on forever, the more I look for things, the more I seem to be finding.  One of them is closing this laptop and enjoying my family.

Snacks.

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Small things.

Like snacks that power my day.

And little things, like attention to detail in the way I move, think and am.

So recently, with all the coughing and pneumonia and whatnot I’ve been on a lot of codeine to supress the hacking, and the not-sleeping, and the people thinking I’m typhoid Mary (phffff I’m totally NOT, I just sound like it).

And with all that codeine comes, well sluggishness.  Being a high fibre, high activity girl this is usually a non-issue but I’ve ramped up my dietary quota just to be sure.

IMG_1767These blueberry-bran muffins are fantastic!  A word of warning though, don’t feed more than one to a diapered child (unless you have a large clean-up crew on stand-by) and use caution when consuming yourself.  Also note that increasing fibre to this extent can also interfere with absorption of other vitamins and nutrients, so don’t make these a regular snack.

For a regular snack I aim for at least one fruit or veg, one source of protein, and one carb (not counting the fruit…because fruits are filled with carbs).  The plated picture above shows a recent goodie: pomegranate, almonds, organic whole wheat fig bars and olives.  With the little ones I’m always trying to get in the omega 3s…and olives, although salty (which I cut by soaking in water for 24hours prior to consuming) have lots of healthy fats.

And now onto my mental snacks…I find these much more challenging than the regular type of consumption.

I’ve been struggling A LOT lately with my inability to get up and go.  Trying to s-l-o-w things down sounds fabulous on paper but is much harder putting into practice.  In the trying, I notice how I respond to my frustration I realize that it just causes more stress in my body (muscle tension, anxiety, increased breath rate).  So I’m working on it.  Working on being gentle to my body.  And working on being gentle to myself in my mind.  Relaxing and taking in the present moment.  Like sitting here drinking my morning coffee making my meal plan for the week.

Hey maybe I’ll even sneak in more time to share meal planning here.  And get excited about what I CAN do right now. Heck maybe I’ll even meditate.

Happy Day.

Recipe. A. Day.

Our halloween dinner wasn’t so much dinner as a continuation of lunch.  We ate hummous and cucumber sandwiches, with julienned peppers on the side.  The same sandwiches that I took to my daughter’s preschool class for lunch.  As for the recipe…umm spread hummous on bread, add thinly sliced cucumber, and enjoy (no brainer).  Well at least I thought it was a no brainer.

You see I was preschool helper/ lunch bringer.

On Halloween.

With high expectations.

The expectations weren’t mine.  But I soon learned who expected what, when fifteen 3 year olds sat down for their lunch.

A skeleton looked at me and yelled: “Candy!” Then a shark from the next table yelled: “Yeah! Candy!”  Followed by a pirate: “Cookies!”

I replied with an enthusiastic: “I brought saaaaanndwiches!  And peppers! Yumm!”  My enthusiasm didn’t seem to be shared by the crowd.

Then a superhero piped up  “NO, you brought cupcakes!  I saw them!  I want a cupcake!”

Oh boy.  Tough crowd.  Sandwiches were refused by half the kids, only about a quarter even dared to try the peppers (of which the majority consisted of my offspring).

Doesn’t anyone feed their kids these things?  Was it because they were all in costume and in alter-ego mode, feeling freer than usual to express their need for sugar? I have no idea.  All I know is a lot of kids probably went hungry that lunch.

The cupcakes were devoured by all, as the health trojan-horsed it’s way in.

Trick (or treat!)

Recipe. A. Day.

Tonight’s dinner reminded me of why it is so important for me to incorporate the most balanced meals I can, every meal, for my family.  This meal tastes fantastic, and has a phenomenal amount of nutrients and vitamins.  But it is lacking in protein.  Granted it has some (parmesan cheese is added to enhance flavour to the risotto) but not in the amounts I would like.  It’s dishes like these that give me reason to put protein into every meal.  Like snack for today, greek yogurt and fruit.  Double the amount of protein as regular yogurt , greek yogurt has 20g of protein per 6oz (packs a good protein punch.)  Then for lunch; dinner leftovers from last night filled with protein rich cannellini beans (19g protein per cup.)

Recipe Butternut Squash Risotto

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So why do I care about the lack of protein in my dinner?

The CDC (centre for disease control – American) recommends 10-35% of all calories to originate from a protein source.

The Institute of Medicine at Harvard recommends 0.8g of protein per kg of body mass. Example: An average adult weighing 160lbs would then require 58g of protein per day.  And based on calorie requirements for that same adult (approx. 1600cal/day) 58g of protein fits with the CDC recommendation of 10-35%.  And when you break that down into 5-6 meals a day you are looking for about 10g protein per meal…(breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks)

Food guides and recommendation boards such as the Canada Food Guide and the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans aren’t as specific but do give portion recommendations.  See their websites for more details.  You can also try my new favourite for nutritional info. stats.

I could throw facts at you until I’m blue in the face, but the truth is I listen to my body and fill my plate with healthy, whole foods.  I do vary my diet and always have a vegetable source, protein source and grain product at each meal.  Usually in a ratio of about 2 vegetable portions:1 protein :1 grain portion.  Snacks are where I make up the extras I feel required (like protein today.)  And water, lots of lots of water.  I focused on protein this blog.  Not because it is all I focus on, but because so many diets are so focused on increasing protein content.  I don’t recommend that.  It’s taxing on your kidneys (especially if your body is compromised, like a diabetic).  Balance is key.

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Disclaimer: I am not an expert in your life.  I am not a registered dietician.  Seek out your own answers with the health care professionals of your choosing.

Eat it.

So most of the people I talk to say that the biggest issue is knowing what to eat.  Reading into that more I see it as an “how to eat” issue.  Society forces us into a fast pace.  We struggle to s-l-o-w down.  I am adding a section to this blog called “Eat It” with my own weekly meal plan for dinners. If you are in need of a time saver (and don’t mind choices being made for you) you can follow along and use the “Recipes” section of the menu bar to create your shopping list.

Nothing is set in stone and most of the time I don’t eat as much as planned for.  If you still find yourself hungry consider all raw fruit and veggies (no dips) as a completely free food to gorge on (hint: if you aren’t hungry enough to be eating that than maybe it’s not hunger you are looking to fulfill…)

We as a family try very hard to follow a rule I read about in a book called Body for Life and that is that we can have one free day per week to eat junk or whatever we’ve been craving.  This usually extends to our weekend (so of the 7 days in the week we are allowed “bad” foods on weekends.) This rule also applies to alcohol.  The only exception to this rule is one piece of dark chocolate after dinner to kill any sweet cravings we may be having – we have also found that an expresso will do the trick nicely.  In addition to that, I will use my recipe for **raw chocolate pudding** to kill cravings if I don’t feel enough fat has been in place in my diet that day (or if I have been lacking in omega 3s).

We buy organic when we can, and local as much as possible. (This is especially so after reading **The Omnivores Dilemma**.)   Having said that I don’t dwell on it.  I make a shopping list for the week based on my meal planning and I stick to it.  I try to make use of large quantities of food through the week.  For example in one week’s meal plan I would have bought a very large bag of baby carrots and a huge container of blueberries, to use in recipes and as snacks through the week.  I spend as little time running around and preparing as I can.  This is also why dinner one night becomes lunch the next.  I consistently try to always make extra to use the next day, or to freeze.

Time savers: when making meals double the recipe and freeze if you are able.  That way nights when you are tired or busy dinner just needs to be reheated.  When doing meal prep I try to always to extra.  i.e. Cutting up an onion – do two and bag one for tomorrow’s meal.  Washing lettuce? Why not wash the whole bag, pat dry and put in a bag for the rest of the week.  If you know you will be tired this week or short on time buy the pre-washed lettuce.  Baby carrots are a lifesaver.  You might save money by doing things yourself but ask yourself if it’s worth your time.  There have been nights I would love to have a salad but have been too tired and don’t make the effort, which leads to junk eating later.  Prep work is key.  I will even do some in the morning if I have a minute to make dinner go little faster. Time savers like apple corers and eggs slicers are great, as long as the time saved isn’t spent on clean up afterwards.

Sit down for every meal or snack.  Period.  Pay attention to your food, the way it tastes and the way it makes you feel.  I am always grateful for the ability to prepare, enjoy and be able to obtain nurishment.  Even if you are running late and have grabbed a sandwich while you are out.  Find a bench, park your butt and pay attention to your fuel.  I honestly think intention and awareness to what we are eating helps us become more connected to how we feel.

Water, water, water.  If you are still hungry after what you feel is an appropriate amount for dinner, drink a glass of water and wait 10 minutes.  If still hungry grab seconds of dinner (not something else.)  Drink at least one glass of water with every meal. 8 glasses a day should be minimum.  It helps to control hunger and flush out the body.

Cravings.  ugh.  This one isn’t easy as I don’t believe in depravation.  Most of the time the “Body for Life” rule is enough to make me feel like I’m not depriving myself (Chips is my big one and if I can just wait till Saturday I can eat a whole bag to myself if I want…just knowing that gets me through to Saturday and usually by then I don’t need the whole bag, or any at all sometimes.) For sweet cravings the dark chocolate helps, albeit ONE piece.  My new favorite is Theo chocolate (especially the coconut or chili flavour)  I find that sometimes I can find alternate foods that will help.  I replace club soda with a wedge of lime for pop cravings, and will do a small bowl of plain yogurt with frozen raspberries and a little bit of cocoa to kill really bad dessert cravings (or the raw chocolate pudding.)  For my salty cravings I usually find pickles, olives or rice crackers and humous help.  I limit the amount I eat though as the salt will tax your system (i.e. 2 pickles, or 5 olives).  And pay attention to my body…am I eating because I’m hungry, or bored?  Is it just salt I am craving or fat as well? What should I change in the next meal to try and restore balance?