This is a tag-along theme to my January 8th post. . .enjoy!
We’re TEN days into the new year, and resolutions are being dropped like hot potatoes (that is, if you would only LET yourself eat an actual potato).
I know, I know. Especially at this time of year, you have every intention of eating better, filling your body with only the “good” stuff, and cleaning out your refrigerator, pantry and digestive system at the same time by devoting every ounce of intention to becoming a paragon of nutritional virtue.
You’re determined to scrutinize all food labels for problematic ingredients, avoid dining out like the plague, prepare all of your meals from scratch, and painstakingly follow “clean” recipes and random blog directives touting nutritional perfection if you’ll only “eat this, not that.”
That is, until you succumb to the reality of frustration, exhaustion and potential semi-starvation after recognizing the impossibility of sustaining your restrictive approach to eating for more than 24 hours – if you make it even that long.
That’s not a criticism, rather, a reality check.
I have seen more people than I can count decide to eat better/lose weight/lower blood sugar, cholesterol, or blood pressure by adopting insanely regimented nutritional protocols. Unfortunately those protocols, however well-intentioned, did nothing more than leave them feeling once again like a hopeless failure in the “feed-oneself-well” department.
We need to just stop.
Breast cancer is enough to handle without turning yourself into a nutritional whipping post.
There’s no question that good nutrition supports risk reduction of initial diagnosis and recurrence, as well as optimal outcomes during breast cancer treatment. So if you’re intent on adding food to your arsenal to “Bite Back” at breast cancer, I raise my fork to you!
The trick to getting the most out of your effort, however, is sustaining that effort more days than not; sticking to those nutrition goals week in and week out. Unfortunately, that’s where those good intentions tend to go off the rails.
The good news? They don’t have to!
What would it look like if eating better not only supported a healthy body, immune system, and energy level, but felt attainable and realistic? Impossible, you say?
If you’re game, I’d love to have you join me in a little experiment. Below I’ve listed some ideas for adding a daily nutritional boost. Choose the ONE that is most appealing to you – don’t overcomplicate it or go all “overachiever” on me. We’re after consistent execution, not frustration, for heaven’s sake.
- Roast a large pan of veggies (choose your favorites!). Depending on the number of people living and eating veggies with you, a large pan (I used a 10″ x 15″) could last 3-5 days. Eat some each day (aim for 1/2 cup minimally) in any of the following suggested ways:
- As the filling in a crusty, whole wheat sandwich.
- Nestled atop a bed of quinoa.
- As the side dish to a veggie burger.
- Tossed with whole wheat pasta, olive oil, garlic and white beans.
This is a new favorite roasted veggie combination I tossed together recently; carrots and parsnips. Root vegetables at their peak season in the fall and winter months, these naturally sweet veggie stars are rendered quite addictive by a proper oven roasting. Parsnips = Vitamin C, potassium, fiber, folate. Carrots = Vitamin A, phytochemicals. To create: Peel and wash the veggies, then slice into similar size pieces (~2 inches). Toss with ~ 2 Tbs. olive oil, a light sprinkle of Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast at 450 degrees F for 40-50 minutes until soft and sporting bits of roasty brown color.
2. Eat a piece of fresh, whole fruit (vs. juice) each day with breakfast or lunch, or as a snack. Whole fruit provides the fiber juicing extracts. Fiber helps keep you full, but perhaps more importantly causes a decrease in levels of certain types of estrogen, which could aid in reducing risk of hormone-driven breast cancer diagnosis and/or recurrence.
3. Eat from a smaller plate (~9 inches). Research shows that people tend to stop eating when the food in front of them IS GONE – which may or may not have anything to do with your individual hunger. “Weight creep” happens when we stop paying attention to when we’ve had enough and continue to overeat. Starting with a smaller plate sets you up to eat less overall – you can always go back for seconds (or thirds), just be certain to check in on your hunger. Smaller plate = smaller waist! 😉
Ok, this is a pretty good list to get you started, I think. Remember to just choose ONE, but do it day in and day out for ONE week. Once the week is up, start again, either with a new idea or continuing with the same. Build consistency over a month and congratulate yourself when you’ve reached your goal! And by the way, you’ll be far ahead of the folks who choose a restrictive approach, only to abandon it by January 10th.