The Minimalist’s Guide to Eating

Posted June 19th, 2019 by admin and filed in Eating Strategies, Foods

There’s more to life than food.   I mean gosh, we spend a hell of a lot of time in the kitchen and thinking about what we’ll eat.  We all have those days where we wish we could just inject ourselves with a liquidy goo of calories.

Well, I think adopting the minimalist approach to eating could save you some serious time.

You don’t have to own less than 50 items or live in a mini-house to adopt aspects of the minimalist way of life.   We’re just talking about keeping it simple.   Pair down your routine and you will be released from the constant struggle of decision.

And it’s healthy!

Freaking healthy as can be!   Yeah, that’s right – healthy AND easy.  It’s probably the last bit of diet advice you’ll ever need.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’d love it if you subscribed to this blog and kept hanging out and talking healthy with me- but it’s probably not necessary.  This is a philosophy you could adopt and use for the rest of your life.   You’d probably live longer and feel better.

I wouldn’t consider myself a hardcore minimalist, but I do have tendencies.  I’m fine living in a little apartment and keeping a few possessions.  Nate and I have moved twice in the last two years so we’ve kind of been forced into this lifestyle.  After selling some of the larger things (couch, bed, etc), we have been able to fit all of our possessions in a Subaru forester!!

We appreciate the sense of freedom from living a minimalist lifestyle and have begun to look for other ways to simplify our lives.   We paired down our meal-plans and grocery lists and are really enjoying it.   We still give ourselves a couple of meals per week where we make fun recipes, but more often our meals are really basic.  Today, I’m excited as heck to share our ideas with you!  Here they are:

1)  Buy Fewer Ingredients

Go to the grocery store or farmer’s market with a simple plan.  Stick to fresh veggies, fruit, milk, yogurt, eggs, nuts, grains, legumes, and maybe one or two others.   Buy essentials such as tamari,  hot sauce, spices, herbs, and oil in large quantities when it’s on sale so you don’t typically run out (maybe check on prices if getting low).   Bake your bread and get your meat locally.  Vegetarians and vegans can simplify further.

2)  Prepare Simply

Cook your foods only a few ways.   No elaborate sauces or extensive preparations.  A sprinkle of fresh herbs, a dash of salt and pepper, or spritz of lemon can go a long way.  Here are some examples:

  • Slice hearty veggies and roast in the oven with fresh herbs for around 45 minutes,  putting meat in halfway or so
  • Steam fish, rice, and veggies all at once
  • Sauté tofu and tender veggies in butter and olive oil and serve with brown rice
  • Cut up tons of raw veggies and fruit for a large salad and maybe throw in a protein (chicken, tofu, beans, quinoa, hard-boiled egg, etc).  Toss with olive oil and balsamic or red-wine vinegar.
  • Throw leftovers between two pieces of bread with cheese.

You can try using a 5 or less ingredient rule (besides seasoning & oil) – which shouldn’t be too hard.   Examples:  breakfast – oatmeal, nuts, fruit.   Lunch – (sandwich) bread, goat cheese, lettuce, tomato, sprouts.  Dinner – black beans, onion, tomatoes, cilantro, corn tortillas.

3)  Eat Less

Down a large glass of water as you begin to prepare a meal.  Use the smaller 8-inch diameter salad plates for all your meals and try to fill them halfway with veggies.  This just leaves room enough for a small amount of protein and whole grain or vegetable starch.

Do like one of the oldest living populations on the planet – the Okinawans, and only eat until your %80 full.  Don’t clean your plate completely and never go back for seconds.   Leftovers become new meals or a quick snack for later saving you even more time.

Simplify your diet and you’ll simplify your life.  Feel the weight lift and the stress melt.

Does anyone have any ideas for simplifying further?

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6 Lightning Fast Mini Dinners

Posted June 19th, 2019 by admin and filed in Eating Strategies, Foods

Written by Michelle Nardine RD. Follow me on Twitter.

(Warning:  this strategy might not work so well if you have kids or a grumpy spouse)

I don’t know about you, but when summer comes around, I’m not big on slaving away for hours over a hot stove. I like to enjoy some free time outdoors. You know – get outside and really experience life.

I’m not against cooking nice filling dinners in the summer, but doing it every night is a real time drain. I’d rather be hiking around a neat park or reading on a blanket in the shade. I’d rather be playing tennis and taking the dogs to play at the dog park. You with me?

When you don’t get home from work until 6 or 7pm, spending an hour or more on dinner is a good way to drain the rest of your energy while simultaneously killing your good mood.

As long as you get an adequate breakfast and nutritious lunch (lots of veggies), there’s no need to go overboard with big dinners all the time – especially if you’ve packed on some winter pounds.

Here are some ideas for tiny snack-like dinners that you can prepare and eat in just a few minutes. They all have enough protein to give you some energy to go out and explore the world.  And you could always toss them in a cooler with some wine and go for a picnic in the park.  (Tip: If you get hungry again close to bed, sip on some warm milk with cinnamon and nutmeg.)

1.  Banana w/ nut butter and granola. Grab and partially peel a banana. Use a knife to spread a blob of your favorite nut butter on the next bite of banana. Dip it into a bowl or bag of granola to coat.  Eat and repeat.

2.  Tuna in a pouch. (made using the solid-white albacore tuna in air-tight pouches)  Cut open the tuna pouch and throw in a small forkful of mayo (or avocado instead) and some random stuff from the fridge. Maybe toss in some grapes or nuts or a little lettuce and some radish. Eat straight up with a fork or on crackers (my favorite crackers are Wasa).

3.  Fresh mozzy’s. Cut up a fresh mozzarella ball and put on toasted bread, crackers, or in a wrap with fresh basil and tomato. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and add a sprinkling of salt and pepper and enjoy.

4.  Simple  salad. Grab a handful of spinach or micro-greens and throw on a hard-boiled egg  (precooked earlier in the week) or goat cheese. Add a couple other veggies of your choosing (onion, radish, broccoli, etc) and drizzle with a quick dressing (whip together extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and fancy brown mustard). You can crumble some cracker on top if your feelin’ it.

5.  Cottage cheese with strawberries. Pretty simple stuff here, just slice strawberries on some cottage cheese (or yogurt if you’d rather) and eat with a fork or wrap in lettuce and eat with your fingers.

6.  Yogurt dipped veggies. Combine just a little bit (to suit your taste) of a ranch seasoning packet with some plain yogurt. Serve with raw veggies of your choosing.

So, there you go. I’m giving you permission to eat small for dinner once and a while. Permission to get out of the kitchen and out enjoying the world.

Do you have any idea’s of your own?? Leave them in the comments.

If you enjoyed this article, do me a HUGE favor and share it with your twitter or facebook friends. That’s pretty much the only way my writing reaches new people. Thanks a ton for your support as always!

(photo by Antikris)

Cold Fighting Meal Plan

Posted June 19th, 2019 by admin and filed in Eating Strategies, Foods

Damn!!  I’ve got a cold.

My nose is running and starting to get pretty raw from blowing it.   My head is foggy and eyes are running.  I can’t function all that well. You know how it is….

Colds viruses are extremely contagious.  No one is immune to getting the cold no matter how much you exercise or how healthy you eat.

Cold medicine may give you temporary relief against the symptoms, but it won’t shorten the duration of your cold. And I don’t know about you, but I’m not big on taking medicines in general.   Fortunately, certain foods HAVE been scientifically proven to shorten the duration of colds.

Eat foods that have been clinically proven to benefit people with colds.  Foods that promote draining, shorten your cold’s duration, and relieve pain.  These foods include:

  • Hot Peppers – Capsaicin, the chemical that gives them their spicyness, is the key to their cold-fighting effectiveness.   It acts as an expectorant, pain reliever, and decongestant all at the same time.  They are also loaded with vitamin C.
  • Orange Juice – Fresh-squeezed orange juice has around 120 mg of vitamin C, which has been shown to reduce the duration of cold.
  • Ginger – Studies have shown that it may fight certain types of viruses and have mild pain relieving properties.
  • Chicken Stock – According to the University of Nebraska Medical Center – yeah, your mom’s chicken soup really did help you get over your cold quicker.
  • Garlic – The chemical allicin in garlic kills viruses left and right.
  • Water – Milk/Dairy thickens your mucus and makes it harder to drain.  Water will keep it thin and draining properly.  I won’t include this on the meal plan, but make sure and drink around 10 glasses a day during your cold.  I drink one glass an hour starting at 7am and slow way down after I get my 10.  That way I don’t ruin my sleep by having to get up to pee.

Here is your sample meal plan to get over your cold and moving on with your life.

Breakfast – (garlic, orange juice, hot peppers)

You need a good, hearty breakfast to give you energy for the day.  Try this:

  • glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice (or two oranges)
  • 2 eggs scrambled with tomato, fresh spinach, raw minced garlic, and generous dash of cayene pepper.
  • 1 slice whole-wheat toast

Lunch – (chicken stock, ginger)

No one feels like cooking when their sick, so go to the store and buy the most delicious can of chicken soup you can find.  Make sure you get one that has chicken stock (not vegetable stock).  Drink a glass of fresh ginger tea.  Here is a good ginger tea explanation video for you.

Dinner – (garlic, hot peppers, chicken stock, ginger)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Sauté or bake chicken and cube.  Cook brown rice in chicken stock.  Saute garlic and jalapeños for just a little bit and then add diced tomatoes and a grating of fresh ginger, the cooked rice, and diced chicken.  Remove from heat.

Cut a hole in the top of red, green, yellow, orange, or (preferably) poblano peppers (cut a slit in side if using poblano, they don’t stand up well).  Remove the white pulp and rinse them out.    Stuff them with the rice mixture.   Bake them for 20 to 30 minutes.

I’m going to follow this plan and we’ll see how it works.

If you want to prevent colds from ever occurring, make sure your lifestyle is good for your immune system.   Get moderate outdoor exercise (gyms contain tons of bacteria) and eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.   Reduce stress through meditation or yoga and smile away your worries.

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