what you focus on you create more of
Remember this little phrase? It used to be on magnets, buttons, and bumper stickers when I was a kid.
It popped into my mind because I was pondering people say things like, "I've been bad today" when they talk about what they have been eating. Or "I was really good all day, but then I ruined it after dinner by eating 3 cookies." This constant struggle for perfection is one of the reasons people don't stick with a healthy diet.
Food is information. Food is fuel. Food is not good or bad, just like we are not good or bad because of what we eat or what we don't eat. If we can move away from thinking like that, then we are on our way to a healthier mindset and healthier habits.
What if we simply concentrated on nourishing food 80% of the time and allowed for less healthy food (in modest portions) the other 20% of the time? What if we ate real, whole, less-processed foods most of the time and allowed ourselves a treat every once in a while? I guarantee you would feel better, have more energy, and enjoy life more because of the quality of the food you were eating. In addition, your mind wouldn't be bogged down with good vs bad and the herculean effort of chasing perfection.
Perfect is unobtainable. Perfect compared to what? There is no such thing as perfect. Instead of trying to be perfect, concentrate instead on progress. Progress is eating the vegetables at each meal even when you'd rather have something else. Progress is doing so each day, with consistency. The more progress you make, the better you will feel, and the less you will be worried about being perfect.
I love a good bowl! The possibilities are endless. I especially love them these days, when I am basically just trying to use whatever we have on hand. All you need is a grain, a protein, a bit of healthy fat and vegetables and you are good to go.
We had this bowl last night.
Grain: Brown rice on the bottom. (Sometimes I will sub out riced cauliflower for me, depending on my mood.)
Protein: Ground venison. (fresh from Bruce's co-worker. This is fairly new for us, but we are embracing the fact that it is fresh, lean, and grass-fed.) You could use grass-fed beef or even chicken. If animal protein is not your thing, you can certainly omit it and stick with the beans for protein.
Veg: Sauteed orange peppers and onion. Also added some tomato.
Fat: Avocado and sour cream. (Full fat sour cream-- check ingredients.)
Other: Beans, lime
Seasonings: Fresh cilantro, jalepeno powder, dried cumin and coriander. I also used taco seasoning when I cooked the meat.
So good! I challenge you to look at what you have on hand right now and make yourself a bowl!
I have been a lot more mindful of the food that I am consuming lately. Bruce is doing the grocery shopping when we are out of the basics, and I don't want him to have to go any more than absolutely necessary. This means using what we have on hand and making lots of substitutions.
This past Saturday we didn't really have anything for lunch. Bruce remembered that he had hot dogs in the freezer, but that wasn't going to work for me. 😉 I remembered the "fake tuna salad" that I made a while back and decided that would be easy and quick. I have several cans of chickpeas in the pantry, and I happened to have everything else that I would usually put in tuna fish, so that's what I made.
Here is all you have to do:
How are you getting creative in the kitchen this week?
Make you banana pancakes, pretend like it's the weekend, now.... Jack Johnson anyone?
There was one lone banana sitting on the counter this morning, freckled and slightly scarred. While I love eating a banana by itself for the sweetness, it never fills me up. I wondered for a moment how I could enjoy the taste, satisfy my sweet tooth, and fill my belly. It seemed like the perfect time to try banana pancakes! I found this recipe on Pinterest, which I love because you throw everything in a blender. I tweaked it a little bit and I was thrilled with the result. I can't wait to make them again. I made this chia jam to put on top, and the effect made me feel like I was at a hip little breakfast joint. 🤣 I guess we gotta fake it til we make it, huh?
Here is my version of the pancake recipe:
Here is my version of the chia jam:
Baking makes me so happy. I love the way it makes the house smell, and I love knowing exactly what ingredients are in my food.
I bake less than when the kids were home, but when I do bake, I love to see how I can make healthier alternatives for old favorites. I love how this recipe doesn't even call for any added sugars. I used Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips, which do have added sugar, but there are only two ingredients, and the chocolate is healthier for you because it is 69% cacao. (The higher the percentage, the better it is for you!)
I found the recipe here, on Caroline's Kitchen. Check this young lady out! She started her website when she was still in high school!
I am trying to be intentional about my thoughts, feelings and actions as I hunker down and try to maintain my “social distance.” During this time, I am going to try to post the things that bring me joy. Today, it’s this pasta sauce (my MIL’s recipe!) that I will freeze and enjoy for several more meals. It makes a nice big pot-- perfect for throwing in the freezer for several other meals.
3-4 cans crushed tomatoes (I am loving Muir Glen organic fire-roasted lately)
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 C red cooking wine
1-2 bay leaves
1 1/2 t dried basil
1 t sugar
1/4 t dried rosemary
Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil. Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer 45-60 minutes. Remove bay leaves before serving.
You can add cooked ground beef/turkey/venison or meatballs when you simmer your sauce if desired.
What is bringing you joy today?
Hey there! How's it going? When was the last time you felt like that?👉🏽
(Even if I did feel like that, I don't think I could get that far off the ground to show it. LOL)
No matter what mood you are in as you read this, the food you have been eating has something to do with it. Just as the food you eat can change your weight, it also changes the structure and function of your organs-- including your brain. And the state of your brain directly affects your mood. There is a relatively young (around 10 years old) field of study called Nutritional Psychiatry that aims to help folks manage their mental state through nutritional changes. Food affects mood. It rhymes, therefore it is true. 🤣
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep and appetite, mediate moods, and inhibit pain. Since about 95% of your serotonin is produced in your gastrointestinal tract, and your gastrointestinal tract is lined with a hundred million nerve cells, or neurons, it makes sense that the inner workings of your digestive system don’t just help you digest food, but also guide your emotions.
Long story short- pay attention to how food makes you feel. If you have been crabby or lethargic for what seems like no reason, think about what you have been eating. Consider cutting back on the sugar and the processed foods to see if you notice a difference.
Cheers to a good mood!
This little snack is great for your next meal prep day or for the next time you need a little something sweet. They are small, but really filling. Here is what you will need:
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
extra 1/2 banana, sliced (optional- for pressing into top)
1 1/2 C old-fashioned oats
1 t cinnamon
1 T chia seeds
2 T chopped walnuts (optional)
3 T nut butter
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment.
2. Mix all ingredients.
3. Scoop batter onto cookie sheet and press sliced banana onto the top of each cookie to flatten a bit.
4. Bake for about 15 minutes.
If you don't like banana, you could probably use sweet potato or pumpkin.
If you want a little more sweetness, try 1-2 T of honey or pure maple syrup
Any other add-ins would be fun- dried fruit, flax, other nuts, mini chocolate chips, coconut, etc.
If you are ready to learn more about the power of whole food, check out for Genius Foods! The author, Max Lugavere, is a young filmmaker and journalist who became interested in the power of food when his mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases around the age of 58. In his book, he has written a chapter for each of 10 foods that can help protect our brain as we age.
It is a fascinating read and a great resource. If you don't want to buy it, you can check it out at the library. The local library might not have it, but they will get it sent from another library in the system.
Max also has a podcast called "The Genius Life." It can be found on iTunes and Spotify. He interviews really interesting guests. Some of it is over my head, so I just skip those episodes. 😜
About the Author
Kim is a personal trainer, nutrition coach, and group fitness instructor. She is a mom of two grown kiddos, and a former elementary school teacher. Most days, she can be found training clients, prepping food, thinking about food, or writing about food. She is also obsessed with mindset and habits. She is a 9w1 on the enneagram.