Many of us live very busy lives. Sometimes we feel like we are always running on a treadmill at 4.0 and we just can’t get off. We run from one activity to the next. We have obligations to family, friends, careers and/or volunteer work. Whatever it is that occupies our lives, sometimes our health ends up on the bottom of the list. Lack of time and lack of energy from our treadmill life, leads us to grab an energy bar, a muffin at the local coffee shop or we just skip a meal and the cycle continues. This leads us to be exhausted and cranky. Our immune systems suffer leading to constant colds or even worse chronic illnesses such as autoimmune diseases. This was my life years ago, where a bagel with butter and coffee with cream and sugar started off my day. I usually skipped lunch, was starved by 4:00 pm and grabbed anything to satisfy my hunger. Then somehow I managed to put together a meal for the family. I went to bed, woke up in the morning and hit “REPEAT” and the cycle continued. I have no doubt that this, oversimplified description of my life, years ago, exasperated my many illnesses.
However, what I would like to share with you today is my 5 P’s in a Pod method that can help you to transform the way you approach food preparation. I hope to help you get off the treadmill life and on a path toward healing and longterm health. The 5 P’s are as follows:
The first step in food preparation is to Plan. Planning means deciding what you are going to eat for every single meal the entire week, three times a day. Right now you are probably about to stop reading this blog and You want to throw something at me!! If this seems overwhelming, then you can just start with planning dinners or one dinner for the week. Planning begins first with deciding what you are going to eat. You then list every single ingredient that you are going to need for your meal(s). Next you are going to decide what foods you can double and save/freeze for multiple meals. For example, when I make quinoa or rice, I double it and save or freeze some. When I make a spaghetti squash, I will freeze half of the one I cooked. Lastly, when I sautée mushrooms and onions, I make a lot! I try to see how many meals can incorporate these anti-cancer foods throughout the week. From omelets, to lentil stir fry, or a topping on my turkey burgers, the mushrooms and onions become an ingredient for 3 very different meals.
Next, it is time to Purchase. Purchase means that you shop and purchase the food in whatever method works for you. If you like shopping directly at the supermarket, ordering online, or joining a local CSA, that is up to you to decide. It may take time to come up with a method that works for you and within your budget. I personally do a lot of online ordering from different companies that have the quality products I want and at the prices I am looking for.
Before we get to the next step of Prepare, I highly recommend the step of PLAY. To play means to find a way to set an atmosphere of fun prior to doing your preparation. Music with a mini dance party and just being silly can be a great way to set a fun tone prior to preparing your food. Listening to an interesting pod cast may be another idea. Using good aromas, like a scented candle or essential oils can also set a tone of happiness and fun.
You have all your food in your home ready to prepare for the week, and you have set a happy and fun tone. Now it is time to PREPARE. I highly encourage you to make food prep for the week a family affair. Kids are much more likely to eat food that they had a hand in helping to prepare. Even a 2 year old can rinse off a freshly peeled carrot and they will feel so proud to be a part of the process. You may even be surprised that your picky eater will pick up a freshly cut vegetable and start eating it for the first time, just because it is there on the cutting board. An important message that is sent when the entire family participates in food prep is that kids learn early on to take responsibility for what they eat as opposed to waiting to be fed. This is also wonderful bonding time as a family! It reminds children about how important it is to take care of themselves. Prep time can involve washing all your greens for salads for the week, cutting up veggies and fruit, sautéing veggies to use later in the week, soaking beans, or making some rice. Lastly when you have help from your family, preparing food for the week does not take over your entire life. This ritual can then become part of your normal weekly routine in order to have an organized and healthy week.
Imbuing spirituality into the process of food prep and cooking for the week is something that can change your entire approach to eating. When we decide to recognize that our bodies are like a holy temple created by G-d, food preparation becomes a spiritual event. Love is infused into the food since the family participated in making this nutritious sustenance available for the week. Taking the time to say a blessing and have the awareness that these vegetables, proteins, grains etc will be putting energy in your body is powerful. We can then hope and pray to heal from any ailments we may be suffering from. This can deepen our appreciation for our food.
Please look at the top of this blog and see the picture of the Kale Beet Salad, 100% Grass fed beef chili with Quinoa and spaghetti squash. This meal was made in 20 min. The Chili (which can also be made Vegan), and spaghetti squash were in my freezer. The quinoa was left over from the previous nights dinner. The kale had already been washed and chopped on my Sunday prep day. All I did that night for this 20 minute meal was warm up the food, massage the kale with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt, and chop up organic beets that I bought pre-made, vacuum packed for freshness. Making changes to improve our health takes time. The 5 P’s in a Pod system was not created and instituted in a day. The key is small sustainable changes. What is one step of the 5 P’s in a Pod system that you can institute? You don’t need to do all the steps at once or even in order. For example, if you associate the kitchen as a stressful place, start adding some fun into your cooking time with music, a scented candle or something else you enjoy. Plan ahead for one meal this up and coming week and do your prep on Sunday. You could just start saying a blessing/be mindful about your food before eating. All of these steps begin to set the tone that your health is important and a priority. Small sustainable steps are the goal with progress over perfection.
Now Go, Love You,