CROCKPOTS

English: Chef Pepín Slow Cooker

CROCKPOTS have to make my top 5 list for tools to make healthy living easier and more practical.

 

Is there anything these things can’t do?  Besides tasting amazing, what are some of the benefits of having one of these things lurking around your kitchen?

 

1. GOOD FOOD COMBINING and GOOD DIGESTION:  Cooking low and slow for hours creates an even “mixture” with whatever you decide to put in it.  Food is best eaten in simple combinations.  Often it is best to eat one food at a time, by itself.  However, cooking with a crockpot allows the food to “work out their differences” inside the pot.  Carrots, peas, chicken, onions, and garlic TRANSMUTES into “crockpot chicken and vegetables.”  This translates into better digestion.  Also, cooking things at a low temperature for hours is almost always better than quick-heat methods.  Cooking things (especially proteins) at very low heat is the best way to go.  This way, everything softens up for your digestion to go to work.  Ever have a burnt grilled chicken breast?  Not very appetizing to me.

 

2.  PRACTICAL:  These things are probably the most practical tool to have around the house.  Cooking and cleaning require little work.  There is no guesswork on timing.  They are super easy.  Instructions?  Chop up whatever vegetables sound good to you and your family.  Optionally throw in a piece of meat.  Set the timer.  DONE.  If you are fifteen minutes late from work or class?  Doesn’t usually matter.  Also, this is the perfect way to cook for large families without messing up the entire kitchen.  If you are single or in a small family, leftovers usually abound.  This is a great way to plan two days worth of food in a one time cook/clean job.

 

3. SAVES MONEY:  How many of us throw out old vegetables?  How about those rough cuts of meat we screw up?  This is a great way to start saving all that stuff.  Got some veggies that are starting to go bad?  Throw them in the crockpot.  Some cheaper cuts of meat are usually tough and chewy.  We can soften them up with the crockpot.  People have been doing this for thousands of years.  This is especially true of rough red meats and/or game meat.

 

There you have it folks.  I would recommend getting a LARGE crockpot.  It is better to have more room than you need to cook.  Sometimes we use ours to make giant meals with plenty of leftovers.  Other times, it can be used for simple vegetable dishes.  It depends what we are in the mood for.  Don’t be afraid to leave it on your counter.  It is easy to get hooked on the “crockpot meal.”

 

Happy Hunting =)

 

-JOE

 

 

 

Metabolic Typing

Mixed salad leaves with candied bacon, crouton...

What is “Metabolic Typing”?

Honestly, this is just a fancy way of categorizing the way we eat.  Ever wonder why there seems to be so many different diets out there that people SWEAR by.  There are vegans.  There are paleo people.  There are starch eaters.  There are low-carbers.  They all think that their way is best.  Are they all right?  Are they all wrong?  What is going on here?  Enter Metabolic Typing.

METABOLIC TYPING:  In my own words, metabolic typing is a dietary theory that leaves room for differences in genetics, ancestry, climate, age, and location.  We come from different areas of the planet.  Our ancestors ate different things.  Humans have traveled the world and filled the globe.  We are all human, yes?  Yes, but we all come from different places.  We are in different phases of life and do different activities.  Trying to fit EVERYBODY into the same box just seems a little arrogant and crazy right?  Ultimately, there are infinite numbers of metabolic types because we are ALL different and unique.  For the sake of sanity, most people break down the types into three main categories.  Let’s take a quick peak and give a few tips on how to succeed as each one.  Keep in mind that your metabolic type can and often does change with the seasons, age, activity levels, and so forth.  Listening to your body and eating real food is always a good guide.

PROTEIN TYPE:  This is the realm of the “modern paleo” diet trend.  Lot’s of meat and fat.  Regardless of what vegetarians or “vegans” tell you, some of our genes require meat and fat to do well.  How much?  It depends on the person.  Protein types are usually people who feel best having some sort of animal protein a few times a day.  They usually crave dark meat, rich meats, eggs, butter, fat, full fat cheese, etc.  Nuts are often sought after as a snack.  This person is usually inclined towards strength-training and doesn’t do quite as well with cardio exercise.  They need a bit more sleep than most to feel good.  What gets this type into trouble?  Overeating.  Especially on crappy food.  These include all pasteurized dairy products, grilled or heavy cooked protein foods, fried eggs, too much bacon or preserved meats, roasted nuts, etc.  How to balance this type?  Focus on QUALITY over QUANTITY first.  Get yourself good quality, grass-fed meats, fish, fats, and eggs.  If you kilter towards animal foods, go with raw cod liver oil, raw butter, raw or lightly cooked eggs, rare fish and other meats, bone marrow, etc.  If you kilter towards plant foods (most don’t), go for the avocados, olives, coconuts, raw nuts, etc.  Another pitfall for this type is eating too many carbs or sugar.  They will usually crash if eating a lot of sugar by itself.  An example would be drinking a LARGE glass of orange juice first thing in the morning without anything else in your stomach.  People naturally slide more towards the protein type on the scale in the winter months.

MIXED TYPE:  Ah, the mixed type.  These are the “middle-of-the-road” people.  They are usually the least picky of eaters.  They can get by on pretty much everything as long as it is fresh, real food.  Cravings will shift often.  Sometimes we want some juicy rare lamb.  Sometimes we want a big bowl of vegetables or some fresh juice.  Maybe I didn’t want any fat for lunch, but boy does it sound good at dinnertime.  Mixed types are exactly how we sound.  Everything in moderation right?  The best foods for you?  Fresh fruits and vegetables as they feel right.  Some fresh juice in the morning maybe.  Moderate amounts of animal foods.  You may find a super heavy breakfast will weigh you down.  For example, a mixed type usually will do better with a lighter breakfast, as opposed to a big plate of eggs and sausage links.  The mix between preferences for animal and plant foods usually is mixed as well.  Sometimes animal fat does the trick.  Sometimes plant fat hits the spot.  Keep a wide variety of foods around and choose what feels best at the time.  This type usually likes some bodyweight exercise as well as cardio.  Problems?  It is easy to go off-balance.  Sometimes we eat too much protein and fat and get bogged down.  Sometimes we eat like the carb type and get jittery or anxious.  This all has to do with learning your own bodies preferences.  As usual, things change with the seasons and activity levels.

CARB TYPE:  The carb type eh?  This is usually where vegetarians lie on the scale.  Personally, I believe that most people need SOME high-quality animal products to be healthy long-term.  There are few people who do well in a cold climate on a carb diet.  My guess?  Most CARBS and heavy sugar fruits grow in tropical climates.  Some of us evolved in those regions.  Others evolved in colder regions.  So what are the characteristics of the carb-type?  A little hyper.  Quick to move.  Quick to think.  Usually favors cardio exercise.  These people often get cold easily in the winter, but LOVE the summer months.  Sometimes they are mixed types in disguise.  (If I eat a ton of sugar I will be very FAST for a while also.)  The difference?  This type of thing sustains the carb-type during the day.  What are the best foods for carb types?  Primarily fruits and vegetables.  Relatively little meat and fat here.  These types usually prefer plant sources for the bulk of their protein and fat.  Maybe a few eggs or some white fish or chicken here and there.  An example of a BAD meal for the carb-type would be a giant breakfast with a lot of rich meat, butter, bacon, or fatty fish.  Being a carb-type is NOT an excuse to go eat a bunch of “junk-food.”  Just as the protein type has to be wary of bad fats and overcooked proteins, the carb-type needs to watch it with the processed starches and sugars.  Things like potato and corn chips.  Granola.  Cereals.  Sweets.  “Healthy junk.”  Gluten, processed foods, and sugar are best avoided by everyone.

So those are the types guys and girls.  As a general guideline, you will slide more towards a protein type in the winter and when you are doing strength training, or are under stress.  You will usually slide towards the carb type in the summer months, doing a lot of mental-activity, and doing more cardio exercise.  Don’t “LOCK” yourself into any one category.  We change just as the seasons change.  Let your body be your guide.  Metabolic typing can be a good system to help you figure out where you are on the scale and adjust accordingly.  Happy hunting =)


-JOE

FOOD COMBINING.

Brown bear (Ursus arctos) feeding on salmon, t...

FOOD COMBINING.  What is that?

Food combining is an ancient technique.  It is really pretty simple.  How do we get healthy?  We follow nature.  We follow what our ancestors did for thousands of years.  Enter food combining.  The “Modern Paleo” movement needs this one big time =)  Mixing walnuts, carrots, eggs, oil, “nut flour,” maple syrup, raw honey, and butter may TASTE DELICIOUS. The principle is that different foods take different times to digest and require separate digestive processes than others.  For example; a potato takes a different type of digestive enzymes than a steak.  A piece of fruit is different from either of them. Let’s look at a typical “meal” at Olive Garden.  I have nothing against Olive Garden.  It is delicious in fact.  Following are some meals other animals or our ancestors may have eaten. 

OLIVE GARDEN FOOD COMBINING:  Salad, bread sticks, and soup for appetizers.  A course of baked salmon with bruschetta bread.  Finished off by a desert tart made with fruit.  All the while slugging down water, coke, or tea.

Is this a normal way to eat?  Is it feasting and is it fun?  Sure it is.  The point here is not to remove all our days of extravagance.  It is to improve our health over time by following these simple guidelines “most of the time.”  So what are these guidelines?  What is the best way to eat for energy, digestion, and health?  We are all different.  We have different digestive strengths and weaknesses.  Things are also determined by the health of our bodies.  There are some simple rules that everybody can achieve success with.  Let’s take a look.  This is in order of time it takes to digest.

WATER/JUICE:  There really is no digestion time here.  How quickly can your body absorb the liquid?  Usually about fifteen minutes or so with water.  You may give yourself a little extra time with juice.  Drinking liquids fifteen minutes before meals is great.  Drinking a lot WITH your meals is not so great.  A lot of liquid dilutes your own digestive enzymes and makes it harder to assimilate your food.

FRUIT:  This is probably the biggest one.  Fruit digests very quickly.  In a healthy body maybe half an hour to an hour.  Especially the good kind.  Juicy, plump, and soft.  So what happens when we eat fruit after other things?  It ferments.  It gets slowed down.  All the sugar stays behind.  It is generally best to eat fruit early in the day before we have eaten too much.  Eating fruit 2-3 hours after a meal is ok too.  The main idea?  Have an empty stomach with fruit.  I will admit this guideline makes me sad because this man loves trail mix =)

PROTEIN/STARCH:  Protein requires an acidic medium to break down.  Heavy carbohydrates a different one.  What is the result?  Unfortunately, our favorite foods go out the window.  Steak and potatoes.  Burgers and fries.  Pizza.  Wings and beer.  Mixing these types of food is generally not a great idea.  Protein is fine to eat with non-starchy vegetables.  Things like broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, tomatoes, summer squash, etc.  Stewing foods or crock-pot meals tend to blend the lines here.  “The foods tend to work out their differences in the pot,” was a line from a book “Healing With Whole Foods.”  This is why crock-pot   meals are so tasty =)  Starches mix well with non-starchy vegetables and fats as well.  Soups are a great way eat most things together.

MONO-MEALS?:  What is a mono-meal you say?  Basically, just what it sounds like.  A mono-meal is eating one thing for a meal.  This is imitating nature at it’s best.  Look around.  All the other animals tend to eat ONE thing at a time.  There are no three-course dishes out there unfortunately.  This is something to be eased into.  Mono-meals is a completely different style of eating than most of us are accustomed to.  So what are some examples of mono-meals?  A bowl of blueberries.  An avocado.  1/3 pound of juicy lamb.  A big bowl of broccoli, zucchini, or peas.  Are mono-meals always needed?  I think it is a great thing to ease into.  Often times, mixing foods can actually HELP digestion.  What are some examples of this?  Adding healthy fats or broth with cooked meats will aid in digestion.  Using herbs with meals will often help as well.  Adding healthy fat to vegetables is great.

So in the end, we are all different.  We are working with different equipment.  The best analogy?  Think of your body as a conveyor belt.  What happens when something quick-moving gets stuck behind something slow-moving?  Traffic jams result.  Try to let your workers process the food you just ate before moving on to something else.  They need different “tools” for different jobs.  The way we eat in this country puts enormous stress on the entire person.  Let’s make our jobs a little easier and start implementing FOOD-COMBINING into our lives.  Oh, and don’t forget to break the rules every now and then =)

-JOE

 

 

INDIGESTION?

BK Meal

What about INDIGESTION?  Does it happen to everybody?  Do we even know what it means?  Maybe it is something most of us experience, yet view as a normal part of life.  Does it sound normal to you?  INDIGESTION?

I would wager to say that it is NOT normal.  It is not something to be experienced on a night out with the guys or date night with the girls.  What does indigestion really mean?  Well, it means what it sounds like.  Your digestion is not properly digesting, assimilating, and eliminating your food.  We can run into trouble at every step, but it really is all the same.  Where your system is weakest is where the chain will tend to break down.  So what is going on here?  Why do we “in-digest” and how can we fix it the natural way?

CAUSES:  We need to look at the causes of indigestion first.  Most of these aren’t too hard to guess on, but some are a little harder to avoid than others.  FOOD is obviously the primary culprit here.  Simple put?  WE EAT THINGS WE WEREN’T DESIGNED TO EAT!  So that puts us at a disadvantage already.  What are the worst offenders?  As usual; gluten, pasteurized dairy, processed foods, sugars, most quick-prep grains, overcooked food, “instant-food,” etc.  Surprisingly, high-fiber vegetables and fruit can be offensive as well.  Eating large amounts of high-cellulose salads, raw veggies, and unripe fruit can cause problems for people as well.  Add on to this the sheer BULK of food we eat at one time.  We often eat gigantic portions of food.  Usually we eat them in horrible combinations as well.  Do we really think a burger, fruit salad, french fries with cheese, and a large coke is a good thing?  You can add stress to the list of causes as well.  Eating while anxious, stressed, in a hurry, or emotional can all cause indigestion.  So what can we realistically do about all of this?  There are a few simple remedies that will keep indigestion at bay and keep you free from OTC medications.

DIET:  As usual, the diet is the biggest factor for most of us.  Cut out the offensive foods.  Eat smaller portions more frequently.  If roughage veggies and fruits bother you; don’t eat too much of them.  Juicers and blenders are great here as well.  Try to follow good food combining.  This is a post in itself (maybe tomorrow), but there are some easy things to remember.  Eat fruit alone on an empty stomach.  Fruit digests quick and will ferment and produce gas if it is eaten after a major meal.  Don’t mix heavy starches and proteins together at the same meal.  Unfortunately this cuts out most people’s favorites.  Mashed potatoes and steak.  Burgers and fries.  Pizza.  The list goes on.  Those are the biggies.

STRESS:  Figure out where your stress is coming from and try to eliminate it.  Don’t watch upsetting news or stimulating movies while eating.  Don’t argue with your spouse or children.  Try to create relaxed mealtimes.  Having family time and blessing your food is a great habit to get into.  If possible, don’t rush yourself.  How are you supposed to digest anything well when you are already somewhere else in your mind?  Plan ahead, cook in bulk, etc.  Do what you need to do to be able to have relaxed, pleasant mealtimes.

CLEANSE:  For most of us; some form of cleansing will be necessary to completely fix the problem.  Why is the diet not good enough?  Maybe it is.  Maybe it isn’t.  How clean are you willing to go?  The problem is that most of us have YEARS of bad habits behind us.  Think of adding up all the cereals, the cheese, the bread and pasta, the pizza, etc.  You get the idea.  So you end up with a big job on your hands.  Cleansing can speed up the process for most of us.  Simple things like herbs can really help.

So there you have it.  INDIGESTION.  As usual, eliminating the causes is the most important step.  The body will always heal itself when given the opportunity =)

-JOE

Be Careful with PALEO

Mmm... Cajun recipe sausage and eggs

 

“What can I get for you today?”

 

 “Yes, can I please have the well-done burger fried in vegetable oil with cheese?”  “Skip the bread though, I’m on a PALEO diet.”

 

Be careful with PALEO guys.  What is “paleo” anyways?  It is everywhere today.  Eat a paleo diet.  Well, what does that exactly mean?  Is it an excuse to eat fried chicken wings, bacon, sausages, lunchmeat, and cheese all day?  I think too many people get sucked into the paleo bandwagon without really understanding what it means.  Do I agree that we should all be eating a diet like that of our ancestors?  Absolutely.  Do I think that most modern paleo eaters eat a diet like that of our ancestors?  Absolutely not.  This bothers me sometimes as some people get sucked into believing they are eating a healthy diet.  To keep this short today, I will give a little list of traditional foods versus “modern paleo” foods.

 

TRADITIONAL:  raw or lightly cooked eggs with a little raw olive oil.  Crock-pot or slow cooked lamb and vegetables.  Raw dehydrated nuts and seeds.  Fresh or frozen fruit.  Fresh pressed juices.  Fermented cod-liver oil.  Fresh raw or cooked vegetables.  Raw dairy, cream, kefir, and butter.

 

MODERN PALEO: eggs fried in pasteurized butter. Fried steak in fried olive oil.  Roasted almond butter with maple syrup and vegetable oil.  Pasteurized fruit with added sugar.  Pasteurized fruit and vegetable juice.  High-heated fish oil “capsules”. Fried vegetable “chips” made from corn, sweet potatoes,etc.  Pasteurized yoghurt and cheeses.

 

The list goes on and on but you get the idea.  With this “paleo movement,” a lot of us got sucked into thinking some of the “junk-food” in our modern supermarkets and restaurants were healthy for us.  Let’s be careful with this bandwagon.  Let’s not let the “modern paleo” diet catch on for too long.  Is it fine for treats and cheat days?  Sure.  But let’s not pretend it is a healthy diet.  Junk food is still junk food, even if it is PALEO.  Let’s make our ancestors proud =)

 

-Joe

 

Healthy KITCHEN Gadgets and Appliances

English: Food dehydrator Français : Déshydrateur

 

Being healthy is always possible without modern tools.  However, they seem to help a lot with the convenience of it all.  They usually save time, effort, space, etc.  Most of these are helpful for our food preparation and storage.  So what made the list?  In no particular order.

1.  JUICER:  Juicing is something most people have heard about by now.  You basically extract the juice out of fruits and vegetables and consume.  The price range on these things is huge.  I wouldn’t recommend getting the cheapest one you can find.  I also don’t think there is any need to get the most expensive one either.  Get a solid unit that has a powerful motor that won’t break down on you.  Juicing is a great way to start “re-alkalizing” your body and to start pumping in powerful nutrition.  One glass may contain 4-5 servings of vegetables.

2.  CROCK-POT:  These things are invaluable.  They are especially handy in the winter when animal products become more and more useful.  I would get a large one.  This way you are able to fit family sized meals in one pot.  Things like whole chickens, legs of lamb, roasts, etc.  The ability to throw stuff together and slow-cook it all day is great.  The more we learn about cooking, we realize that “low and slow” is the way to go.

3. DEHYDRATOR:  A little less essential but still valuable.  It really depends on who you are and what your schedule is.  A dehydrator can help you create high quality raw soaked nuts and seeds, dried fruits and vegetables, homemade meat and fish jerky, and more.  Personally, I think of these as more snack or travel foods instead of regular food.  However, many people find correctly prepared nuts and seeds to be a great part of their diet.

4. GOOD KNIFE/CUTTING BOARD:  Who wants to cut vegetables or fruit with bad knives?  We have all used bad knives before.  The words “flimsy” and “dull” come to mind.  I certainly don’t want to chop up anything with one of these things.  Buying an expensive knife set is not needed.  Invest in one or two high-quality knives and a sharpener.  Keep your knives sharp and you will have a lot more fun doing kitchen work.  Keep a large cutting board around as well.  Make sure it is large enough so that the things you are chopping don’t want to wander off.

5. FOOD PROCESSOR/BLENDER:  I don’t have much experience with these, but I know how valuable they can be.  Food processors can be used to chop vegetables far quicker than we can chop them.  This may be great for large families.  Using them for small meals or personal proportions may be going overboard.  Cleanup may be an issue here.  Blenders are a little bit different, although many machines are starting to do both.  Blenders are as valuable as their motors and blades.  These can be used to do a lot of great jobs in the kitchen.  Creating smoothies and other similar creations can be helpful on the go.  Cleanup is not too bad with certain models.

6.  MASON JARS:  Mason jars can be used for all kinds of things in the kitchen.  They can be used to create fermented vegetables and drinks.  Storage for foods like sauerkraut, raw kefir,  fermented salsa, etc.  They can also be used to keep herb mixtures around for easy usage.  Definitely find the older-style ones made out of glass for these.

7.  COFFEE GRINDER:  This isn’t necessarily for coffee folks.  These little guys don’t take up much space in the cabinet.  They are inexpensive.  What do they do?  They can help you process fresh herbs and spices.  Fresh cinnamon tastes a lot different from stuff that has been sitting on a shelf for a year.  The same goes with cloves.  Many freshly dried herbs can be processed in coffee grinders.  Creating small batches of things keeps it fresh.

8.  GLASS TUPPERWARE:  Go with the glass guys.  Get different sizes.  It is always nice to have storage containers around for leftovers.  These can also be used to store homemade things like raw butter, pre-made meals, etc.

9.  HEALTHY COOKBOOKS:  Some people hate cooking.  Some people don’t like cooking with cookbooks.  Some like cooking with cookbooks.  It is always nice to have some recipe ideas sitting around that we can whip up.  These keep things fresh in the kitchen.  It is amazing how easy it is to fall into eating the same stuff day in and day out.

10.  SKILLETS/POTS:  These are essentials.  Stainless steal or ceramic is best here.  Drop the teflon and “non-stick” varieties that usually have chemicals in them.  Cast iron is another good option.

11.  STEAMER:  Another essential.  Steaming vegetables is one of the healthier ways to prepare them.    You can’t get much easier either.  Most vegetables are done in 5-10 minutes.  I would try to find a stainless steel one.

This list could probably go on forever guys.  These are the basics.  Each one of these things will help keep the kitchen fresh and pumping out healthy food.  It sure beats slicing vegetables with that old knife.

“The CONVENIENCE FACTOR”

Meal

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.

-Joe