The Unknown

BeOk

I’m a planner.  I feel comfort in knowing what is going to happen next.  When things don’t fall into place the way I expect them to, I get anxious.  These past few weeks have definitely served as a reminder that I cannot control and plan out everything in life.  Being faced with an unknown is not comfortable, but it puts you in the perfect position to learn and grow.

When you start your journey to make peace with food, it will be uncomfortable at first.  The process of becoming a mindful eater will cause you to question most of what you know about healthy eating and lead you to challenge those thoughts.  Going against what you have known and practiced for a long time is scary, especially when you don’t yet know what the outcome will be.  No matter what the outcome of the process is, you will definitely grow and learn more about yourself.  That, in and of itself, is worth it.

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Slow Cooker to the Rescue!

So this time change has had me feeling a little behind and tired all week.  When you add that to an already busy week at work, my motivation for cooking dinner is almost non-existent.  I would much rather pick up something to eat on the way home, than go straight to the kitchen and continue working.  There are people out there that probably find cooking a meal from scratch relaxing.  I am not one of those people.  I enjoy cooking most of the time, but for some reason, cooking any meal that requires more than 15-30 min active cooking time makes me feel exhausted before I even begin.  That is why most of the meals I cook are pretty simple and why I LOVE my slow cooker!

When I know I have a busy day coming up, I try to plan on making a meal in my slow cooker.  If I make sure to add an extra 10 min or so to my morning routine, I am able to throw some ingredients in my slow cooker and let it cook for me all day.  As an added bonus, mine has a timer I can set so it will switch to warming once it has finished cooking.  It is so relaxing to come home to the smell of an almost complete dinner and know I only have to do a few simple things to get the meal ready to eat.

One of my very favorite meals to make in the slow cooker is chili.  The longer it cooks, the better it tastes, so it is ideal for a slow cooker.

Here is my favorite recipe from the cookbook Simply in Season.

Ingredients

1 lb ground beef, venison, or turkey (brown in a large frypan)

1 onion (chop and saute 3-5 min)

1c green bell pepper (chop and saute 3-5 min)

1c celery (chop and saute 3-5 min)

4c cooked kidney beans or pinto beans

4c tomatoes (chopped) or tomato juice

1-2 Tbsp chili powder

1 Tbsp sugar, honey, or molassses

1 tsp salt or seasoned salt

1c corn

1c mushrooms

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 hot chili pepper

Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker (except the mushrooms) and cook on high for 15 min and then on low for 8-10 hours.  Add the mushrooms, if desired, during the last hour.  Serve as a soup or over rice or pasta.

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My favorite way to eat this chili is with cornbread.  (I usually pick up some already prepared cornbread from Whole Foods because it is amazing!)  And most of the time, I serve the leftover chili on baked potatoes the next day!

Do any of you use a slow cooker?  What is your favorite recipe?

What is Mindful Eating?

Since I have mentioned mindful (intuitive) eating several times in my posts, I thought it would be helpful to explain what it is.

According to The Center for Mindful Eating, mindful eating is:

  • Allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food preparation and consumption by respecting your own inner wisdom.
  •  Choosing to eat food that is both pleasing to you and nourishing to your body by using all your senses to explore, savor and taste.
  • Acknowledging responses to food (likes, neutral or dislikes) without judgment.
  • Learning to be aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide your decision to begin eating and to stop eating.

In our society, we are great at multitasking and dieting.  Both of these habits lead to mindless eating.  When you are doing multiple things at once, it is impossible to be fully present during any activity.  It is common to see people eating while driving, watching TV, etc.  When you eat mindlessly, you are unable to be in tune with your senses and don’t notice the flavor or texture of the food.  You are also less likely to be able to notice when you are full, which leads to overeating.  When you diet, you follow certain rules about what you should eat, when you should eat, how you should eat, etc.  This causes you to be completely out of sync with your body’s needs.  You are unable to correctly recognize hunger or fullness and you also can’t enjoy food anymore.

While we have been dieting and rushing through our lives, we have become obsessed with eating the “right” things and have neglected to look at our eating behaviors.  I think our eating behaviors are just as important, if not more important, than what we eat.  When we focus on eating the “right” foods, we are just putting a band-aid over unhealthy eating habits.  It does not matter whether you eat a bag of chips or a bag of carrots after you have had a fight with your best friend.  What matters is why you eat large amounts of food to help soothe yourself.  Learning to be mindful while you eat will help you recognize these unhealthy eating behaviors.  Once these behaviors are addressed, your relationship with food will begin to heal.

My hope is to help people make peace with food through the principles of mindful eating.  If you have questions or want to know more, please contact me.  I am here to help you!