A Family Affair
In case you missed it, I touched base on my new years resolution of a more mindful year here.
What Does “Mindful Eating” Really Mean?
The term “mindful eating” seems to be tossed around a lot in connection with losing weight. I’ve always thought it meant paying attention to what you eat, but I suspect it’s not that simple.
Mindfulness is a Buddhist meditation practice that involves bringing all your awareness to the here and now, to the sensations in our bodies and our breathing, for example, rather than letting much of our attention slip away in contemplation of the past and future or of thoughts and images that are not real. The assumption is that when we act with full awareness, our actions are more likely to achieve what we intend, and that when we feel with full awareness, we are more likely to feel fulfilled.
A famous exercise in mindfulness training is putting a raisin in your mouth to see how long you can keep it there without chewing and swallowing it, while focusing all your attention on its taste and texture.
I decided that I would take the actual definition and tweak it for me…
January was mindful planning, I took those skills and used them during February’s mindful eating. While some see mindful eating as a weightless tool I use/used it more as an approach to being more thoughtful of what my family was actually putting into their bodies. I really wanted to focus on ingredients and more “clean” eating, not totally because I’m tired but you know the clean enough to be proud you didn’t feed your kid Kraft mac and cheese for the 8th day in a row (no shame we’ve all been there).
Trust me this wasn’t just planning healthy dinners for me it was doing a lot of making my own x,y, and z. It is SUPER crazy what you find in food. The most shocking part was finding so much gross shit in my sons food. I spent a LOT of time, money, and energy this February canning our own fruits and vegetables, making cashew and almond milk, pickles, ketchup, fruit snacks, etc. Let’s just say I have put my newly remodeled kitchen to use. I can honestly say that at the end of the month some things came more naturally and easily than others. Some things were totally worth doing while others….I’m going back to shopping for because I don’t give a fuck about making my own ketchup anymore.
I’m going to focus more on meal planning and prepping in this article but as always feel free to reach out with any questions or let me know if you want to hear more and I’ll be happy to write that up :-* moving on…
Where to start?
The easy way to start this for me was quite literally attacking my kitchen like a weight loss reality show coach, black trash bag and a rage filled judgement. Three hours and hundreds of dollars sitting in trash bags later…I realized that we had no food. Shit. Time to meal plan! Meal planning is my favorite yet least favorite activity at the same time, I’m well aware that this makes no sense. I enjoy meal planning when I have time to think and really work through the menu as well as our weekly schedule however as of late that is almost never the case.
Thanks to my mindful planning plan in January I have actively carved time out to plan. What does this mean? Whelp, I actively ignore my family and lock myself in a different room for 20 minutes until everything is written down (menu/grocery list/etc). What I have noticed from doing this, my family is a gigantic ball of attention seeking need. I’m hoping they will eventually figure it out…TBD.
After everything is planned and on paper, yes I’m 3000000 years old and still write things down using a pen/pad fight me, I look through and put the items into categories of which store(s) I need to get everything from. Normally this is several locations, which is annoying as f, but it is what it is. From there I pick a shopping day or days depending on what everyone’s schedule looks like. We’re a one car family which makes me want to kill myself almost daily…we’ll touch on that another time.
**Sidenote** As of late I’ve been utilizing Instacart because I’d rather be attacked by angry bears than bundle up my son to un bundle him to the bundle him up to food shop while he tantrums for the entire time. Sometimes I pay a premium for my sanity. The thing about Instacart that sucks is I feel like there’s always 6 things they can’t find, that you know the food store has, so it’s basically like sending your husband to foodtown with your list 45 texts and the order is still wrong. Moving on….
I bought food, now what?
Putting everything away is my least favorite activity. washing/drying/properly storing fruit and vegetables is an ongoing process that I loathe. I buy our meat in bulk so I break it down according to the menu. I’m also hell bent on a “Pintrest Pantry” so my life revolves around screaming at everyone to put shit back where it belongs and praying that the entire bag of flour will fit in the labeled container even though there is still a cup left from the last bag…. I swear I’m actually really fun, promise.
Once you have washed and broken down it’s time to marinade and/or season to protein for the next two dinners. (I usually shop for two or three dinners at a time so nothing spoils). From there, I take a large Tupperware container lined with paper towel and put all of the ingredients for that meal (sans protein) inside prepped and ready to cook. This takes time in the front end but will save you time on the back end.
What I learned…
Throughout this process I tired to keep everything as homemade clean/organic/healthy as possible. I even swapped plastic for glass. While it is a lot of work you can taste the difference in meat that comes from a farm as opposed to Foodtown. The quality of our dinners definitely changed for the better and I’d like to think our quality of life did as well. My son is still coming around to changes but he’ll get there eventually (or starve) I will continue to make changes to keep my family healthy however I will also be realistic in our lifestyle. What I’m saying is that, yes I will order a half cow from a farm and split it up 80 different ways and buy our veggies at a market instead of a footsore, but once in a while we’re going to eat McDonalds and truth be told I’m totally ok with that.
In the long run you have to do whatever you feel is best for you and your family. The people who mind don’t matter and those that matter don’t mind…still the best quote ever