The “Convenience factor huh?” I really believe that there are only a handful of reasons that most of us choose bad habits. Time, money, effort, convenience, fears, ignorance. I think some of us play the ignorance card but that is becoming harder and harder to do with today’s culture. So what about convenience? I will admit that sometimes living a healthy lifestyle isn’t always convenient. I have faith that things are improving though. Grocery stores are popping up with more organic produce. Farmers markets are booming. Things are definitely moving in the right direction. But what about the average person on the go? Someone who doesn’t have time to cook and clean up all day. I know making your own supplements and all is cheaper but that requires time and effort right? Of course if you have the money you can always purchase your own but most of this stuff isn’t really too hard. Here are a few tips to help save time and effort when it comes to achieving true health.
1. Buy in bulk. This saves money, time, and effort. How can you lose? Fruits and vegetables generally can’t be bought this was and are better off nabbed up from weekly farmers market or grocery store trips. The best things to purchase in bulk would be healthy oils, raw nuts, grains/beans (for rare occasions/emergencies), eggs, and meats. Most good farmers have options of buying 1/4, 1/2, or even whole animals to stock up on. Think about purchasing a “chest freezer” to store all of this stuff in. Healthy oils can be purchased large quantities as well. With olive oil I would recommend getting smaller bottles as the oil is a lot more fragile and goes rancid quicker. Coconut oil can be purchased in gallon jugs.
2. SNACKS. This is the saver for a lot of people. Healthy snacks are a must if you want to stay on track. We are all busy. We are on the go. Sometimes we are bound to be hungry while we are out and about or at work. The easy route? Candy bars, pop, junk beef jerky, roasted nuts, etc. Please don’t fall on that wagon. There are easy ways to eat healthy snacks at work and on the go as well. If your work allows it, try to gain access to a “mini-fridge” you can place your own stuff in. Keep some homemade stuff ready to snack on you can grab before heading out the door. What are the best healthy snack-foods? The options are only as limited as we are. Good go to snacks would include any in-season fruit, soaked and dehydrated raw nuts, wild-caught seafood in cans, properly prepared olives, homemade jerky, high-quality protein powder, etc. Don’t be afraid to bring glass Tupperware with leftover vegetables or last night’s dinner. If you are really daring you can keep things like eggs or fish for sashimi.
3. Cook in bulk. Sometimes cooking is relaxing. Sometimes we don’t want to do it. An easy way to mitigate this? Cook in bulk. A lot of stuff doesn’t need cooking. This includes fruits, most fats, and certain high-quality animal foods. This is about the stuff that generally is better cooked. Hardy vegetables, certain meats (poultry), etc. The crock-pot is an amazing invention. They are relatively inexpensive. Get a large size. These things can hold whole chickens and pounds of vegetables. Literally all we have to do is throw the chicken in and quick-chop some veggies and boom. Dinner is ready 6 hours later. Try to eat a variety of vegetables. A good idea is to make a large pot of steamed vegetables in the morning hours to use throughout the day. These tips avoid a lot of unnecessary clean up by more-or-less cooking one large meal throughout the day. Maybe this means using the same vegetables in an egg scramble in the morning and with baked salmon or lamb at night.
4. Keep “fruit and root bowls.” This step is simple. Keep large bowls around the kitchen to store fruits and roots. In the fruit bowl can go hardy fruits such as apples or pears. In the root bowl can go all kinds of vegetables. Onions, sweet potatoes, garlic, potatoes, etc. Keeping these in bowls also helps save room in the fridge.
5. Gadgets. This is a section in itself, but keeping kitchen gadgets around can help a lot with time and convenience. Things like food processors, blenders, juicers, good quality knives and cutting boards all come in handy.
6. Try “kitchen medicine” and “super-foods” first. Before you rush out and buy boatloads of supplements try to utilize things you can just include in your daily diet. These include most kitchen herbs and super-foods. You may find that you won’t need too many supplements after a while.
7. FREEZE. I would prepare most of your meals fresh. However, who doesn’t like to just come home and throw something in a skillet sometimes? Sometimes just having easy to prepare meals at home is all it takes to avoid some quick junk. Take an hour or so and create a few complete meals to pre-freeze. These could be just vegetable meals or vegetable/protein combos. Just take them out, throw in the skillet, and reheat. Easy.
8. Implement healthy choices into your “lifestyle.” These often revolve more around mental/emotional or spiritual patterns than food. Get your sleep schedule down, get involved with a spiritual practice, watch funny movies or t.v. shows, etc. When you are cooking, cleaning, or eating; try to spend time with your family or friends. Meal times are natural times to work on our relationships.
9. Don’t buy into the hype on exercise and gyms. We truly do not need to purchase fancy gym memberships or exercise for hours daily in order to achieve our goals. The shape of our bodies are primarily going to be shaped by the food that goes into our mouths. Exercise is a stimulus. Mild-exercise is the best thing for health. Brisk-walking, light jogging, biking, swimming, kayaking, hiking, etc. Light strength training is also excellent. Bodyweight exercises are among the best. Try to keep everything rounded. We realistically do not need to sit on treadmills or elliptical machines for hours on end to achieve good results. Some stretching, cardio, strength training, and meditation practices will keep you well-rounded.
This all ties into priorities guys and girls. Sometimes working on our health is not easy or convenient. It depends on what we are willing to do to achieve our goals. There is always a way to live a reasonably healthy-lifestyle while keeping up with our job, family, etc. We usually just need to be creative and often use modern-technology to help us do it.