Hello Everyone! I know it has been awhile since I’ve posted a Blog. I’ve written many, but just haven’t felt they were publishable. This is one I have been kicking around for a while. Some of you know that I help folks & families move forward with their desired eating habits, or even Doctor recommended restrictions. So what follows will be some of the tips I have come up with working with folks & myself (yes, I constantly change my diet to match some of the most severe families I have to provide an excellent service).
“If you can change your mind, you can change your life” – William James
The Dreaded “D” Word – DIET
Folks, please recognize this is just a word, and if you follow the Noun, it simply means “the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eat”. See how the simplest meaning feels much more approachable than the dreaded “D” word! I sometimes recommend folks call it their “culinary lifestyle”, then it even feels swankier, and goal oriented. But it really boils down to putting a term together that won’t make you wince when spoken.
Consistency, Cheating & Limitations
One of the most popular questions I always get when starting down the path with someone is “when I can I cheat”? The short answer is; if you make a true commitment to yourself, basically a pact then you won’t be focused on the cheat day(s), instead you’ll be more interested in discovering the food(s) that your body is really asking for. Yes folks, Everyone Cheats! Let me say that again, EVERYONE CHEATS! I believe the key is being consistent; whether you have a cheat day each week, or once a month. When starting out aim for a minimum of following your new culinary lifestyle 85% of the time. Also, when choosing a cheat; Make It Worth It! Instead of eating that $3 fast food burger, go to a restaurant where you know the ingredients are better, and pay the few bucks more for a real burger.
I hear all sorts of reasons why someone cannot follow a culinary path. A lot of time I will reply with one of my favorite quotes from Richard Bach – “Argue your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours”. I think that quote is simple enough to understand without a translation. I will say, if you keep yourself pretty dietarily honest, and you’re not happy, then look at what you are doing and make adjustments. I do not believe that there is one set way that works for everyone. While parts may work for you, other parts may not. The trick is identifying and changing.
Folks the scale is one of the best and worst inventions of all time. Due to water weight and other factors your weight can easily fluctuate 10 pounds a week, in either direction. I always recommend a quick starting weight, then throwing that damn thing away for 3 weeks. After 3 weeks, put on the same cloths you wore previously and hop on. For a lot of people that seems to be a decent amount of time to see real change which generally helps propel them further into the realm of real food.
Some may ask why 3 weeks. I have noticed it to be a common theme for most things like meditation, yoga, and plank challenges. I believe that it follows the theory of it takes 21 days to create a habit. In other words, consistency (there’s that word again) is key.
Food is a funny thing, it is not just something that fuels many of us, but we also have attachments to it on many levels. It can spark a memory of times past, it can soothe or amp you up, it can create a smile or a cringe. Because of our attachment I feel it is only fitting that we find a way to mourn the ingredients so you can then move forward. Close out that chapter to create a new one!
Picking the Path
First of all, pick something that you can easily understand and be prepared to ask for help. I cannot stress this enough as I meet with many folks that aim for newest fad or get handed so much ridiculous information from their doctor that they become confused, frustrated, and resentful of something they should be excited to try. I follow the old acronym KISS ~ Keep It Simple Stupid! If you can’t comprehend, visualize, or plan for it; Don’t Do It! Or better yet call Seattle Chef Joe, we will help you boil it down to its simplest terms, then slowly build upon the basics so you feel comfortable.
Second is to remember that food is a huge part of your lifestyle. Meaning relax, chew slowly, have a conversation with someone over a meal. Basically enhance every experience to the highest degree possible.
Last of all build in some accountability into your plan. Whether that means a weekly check in with a friend to discuss the challenges or calling your friendly neighborhood Personal Chef Joe (yes that’s a shameless plug). Every week when I see some of my families I ask how the prior week treated them, and if there were any trouble moments. Then together we put a plan together to change what we can.
To Be Organic or Not To Be
If you are not used to buying Organic, Free Range, Etc… When you receive your bill you will give me a look like I punched your puppy. I always recommend following the “Dirty Dozen” Lists. Basically these are items with higher pesticide or pesticide residues, so when starting out it makes more sense to buy these Organic. Here is the list for 2016: Strawberries, Apples, Nectarines, Peaches, Celery, Grapes, Cherries, Spinach, Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Cherry Tomatoes, and Cucumbers.
Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you thought this post. ~ Seattle Chef Joe