In this article you will learn:
Some simple and powerful strategies to meal plan and eat healthfully
What to avoid in your decision-making process when it comes to food and food preparation
Take it Further:
The information in this article is a summary of some in-depth work covered in my landmark textbook, Dance Your Way Through Life. You can check out a copy on my books page and also schedule a free 30 minute discovery call with me to implement these principles into your life.
Below is a brief review of some of the eating principles I try to live by and teach others to live by. Treat these as simple reminders and if you need help implementing them or have questions, don't be afraid to reach out.
1. Have a loose plan of what you’re going to eat every week based on staple ingredients in your kitchen, but don’t over-plan your meals and make it a chore. Keep a list of healthy, satisfying foods that you always want to have in stock and allow for some variety week to week. Standardize one meal out of the day with a healthy shake, and also let one meal be spontaneous based on what your body is telling you.
2. Have a contingency plan in place for when you travel or go out so that you can still stick to your principles but also have fun. I used to bring olive oil or ghee with me in tiny bottles when I’d travel because getting high-quality fats at hotels and restaurants is very rare. Fats are expensive and most places will cheap out and use crap like soybean oil. Having fats on you will not only make your meal healthy by mitigating these problems, but also make it more satisfying as well. Another great idea is to take the leftovers home and re-combine them with some vegetables and healthy fats. This is a great way to enjoy an occasional deviation from your principles and not feel too bad about it.
3. Say grace or give thanks before every meal. Use each of your meal times as a mini-Gratitude session and put your phone away. Take a few moments of silence, appreciate your food and eat slowly. Take some time to enjoy the completion of your food when you’ve hit your last bite and really let that experience settle in so that you train your mind and body on what it feels like to be full and satisfied. Do not eat when you are stressed, and do not cause stress while you are eating- like logging into Facebook and getting into a political war in between bites or arguing with people around you or on the phone. Remember that your meal time is sacred and one of the most important times of the day.
4. If you have some cleanup to do in your eating based on what you’ve learned but are having trouble letting those things go, research and find healthy replacements that are also satisfying. When I stopped eating gluten it took a little effort at first to figure out what I’d put in its place, but it can be a lot of fun and you will get creative discovering options you never even knew existed. Rather than eliminate, learn to replace instead with satisfying, healthy options. It can take a little research and sampling, but there are lots of great tasting products out there that, believe it or not, are also good for you.
5. Forget about calories, pounds, protein grams, body fat percentage and every other
measuring system you’ve learned with dieting. Focus instead on high-quality, nutritious food that is also satisfying to your palate. Eat this food mindfully and your body will do the rest.
6. Try to eat high-quality protein and fat along with organic vegetables at every major meal. Of course, you may have a shake in the day so that doesn’t mean you need to blend chicken and broccoli together or anything, but for your major meals these components should always be present.
7. Allow yourself to taste and experience food in order to get familiar with the details of each ingredient. Become a sommelier and train your nose to distinguish fine increments of flavor. Avoid over-stimulating seasonings and food on a regular basis because they will desensitize you from your ability to be present with food and also affect your health long term.
8. Avoid refined sugar whenever possible and limit sugar from other sources as much as
possible. Even though black strap molasses is rich in minerals and some call it a “super food” — it’s still sugar. Fruits may be Nature’s candy, but they are still candy. Respect your blood sugar and it will respect you. Use stevia and monk fruit extract instead for sweet options without the impact. If you find that you have constant, serious sugar cravings, then it is a sign that something is out of balance like your microbiome or adrenal glands. Follow these eating principles along with the supplementation and testing guidelines in other articles on this blog or in my big book and I'm positive you will eliminate sugar cravings.
9. Keep it PACO - primitive, alkaline, colorful and organic. Use your intuition when going to the store and feel the energy in each piece of food you buy. Find the ones with the most lifeforce and love in them. Pamper your body with the best quality food and do not scrimp. Every meal is a vote for the quality of life you want to have.
10. Avoid alkaline water and ice water as they interfere with your digestion. Save your drinking until a few minutes after you complete your meal, rather than drinking large gulps before and during your mealtime. Remember that your stomach needs both an acidic environment and a specific temperature to function optimally. Reductions in this functioning can lead to undigested food getting into your intestines and long-term problems, especially if you have low stomach acid.
11. Try to cook your food in the least damaging ways you can. Steaming, sautéing, boiling and baking are the safest. Limit frying, grilling and toasting as these produce harmful compounds from the excessive heat. Avoid using the microwave and opt instead for a steam oven or similar tool to warm up your food. Be mindful of non-stick pans and trays because they can leach dangerous chemicals into your food regardless of the marketing behind them. Avoid PTFE coatings, avoid scratching the surface of your pans with aggressive techniques or metallic cooking instruments and use low heat to minimize any leaching.
Stainless steel is generally the safest option, and a quality cast iron pan may also be good if you know how to really take care of it. This also goes for using aluminum foil to cook your food on a regular basis. Silicone is a great option for some types of trays or tray coverings and is most likely much less toxic than aluminum. Avoid using plastic and foam containers by opting for glass or steel, and in general, don’t make a habit out of seeking convenience everywhere in your meal preparation because there is a price to pay with your health in the long term.
BONUS TIP: Unless you are allergic, don’t refuse food cooked with love and offered to you with a genuine heart. It is OK to break your principles every now and then for the sake of sharing in an authentic experience with others. Eat, laugh and create some wonderful memories — this is how you truly Dance Your Way Through Life.