Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Never do anything Mundane...

For more than eight years I tended to a very elderly woman named Rose. I was less a caregiver in the traditional sense of the word than a step-and-fetch-it sort of do-whatever-she-wants kind of helper. What I learned from her is that we should never, ever do anything mundane ... if we can get someone else to do it for us. Apparently, I passed this lesson on to my kids. Rose was a fabulous (98 at her passing in July) southern gal but the days spent with her were emotionally exhausting and physically draining. I often arrived home at the end of a long day and the dreaded "What's for dinner?" question greeted my arrival. No 'hello.' No 'Hi mom.' It made me nuts. I was tired, yes, but mostly unprepared. Life is busy. My husband worked out of town all week. I really wished someone else would take the lead once in awhile. After all, when I started working for Rose my oldest was 19 and capable as was my 16 year old and my 12 year old for that matter. But being a working mom, knowing they had busy and, yes, stressful schedules themselves opened wide the vat of guilt. And I swam in it. So I cooked. Or more aptly, provided something to eat.  
As you may have guessed by now, things needed to change in the meal department. I started with some small and simple changes. I found that being organized and prepared made a significant positive impact in areas I never even thought about changing. An impact on the quality of our meals. An impact on my mood. An impact on our budget.  An impact on our health trajectory

Here are some of the steps I took:
1) I started planning meals for the week during the weekend and shopping for them, too.
2) I made meals to yield leftovers. They were either reinvented or served a second time later in the week.
3) Bought a crock pot. Fell in love with it. Use it all the time.
4) Started making grab and go staples; nutritious snacks that travel well. 
5) Involved the kids in meal planning giving them some ownership.

I became a more mindful meal planner and shopper. I even started taking meals on the road in a hot/cold food carrier to nix drive-thru visits between all the after school shuttling. None of it was really intentional, it just sort of morphed into something that worked for us. On winter weekends I started sitting with a stack of cookbooks to peruse recipes. Sometimes the kids would take an interest and help generate ideas for the week. Sometimes they would join me in the kitchen. Chat. Chop. The "what's for dinner?" question that had been the bane of my existence became if not exactly a relished greeting at least not something intolerable, unanswerable and anger-provoking. We spent less money on food, bought fewer processed, packaged and unhealthy groceries. Reduced my stress level- and we all know what they say about a happy mom. It may be time to amend the lesson from Rose- Never, ever do anything mundane...if you can make it memorable instead.  

What helps you stay on track with healthy eating without losing your mind? I'd love to hear and so would other readers. Thanks for sharing.

If you want to know more about the unpleasant truths of what is being used to cook our 'food' or served as 'food,' check this out. (Hint: Silly Putty) If you want to know how to get more of the good stuff (i.e. whole raw plant based food) check this out.

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