We like certainty. When things feel uncertain, it is normal to feel stressed. Part of protecting your health is being mindful - what are you thinking?

What Are You Thinking?

We like certainty. We are hard-wired to want to know what is happening and notice threats, and when things feel uncertain, it is normal to feel stressed. And while this reaction is there to protect us, it can cause havoc when there is a sense of uncertainty and conflicting information around us. What are you thinking?

Are you feeling some anxiety? Right now, many of us are worried about COVID-19. We may feel helpless about what will happen and uncomfortable with our apparent loss of control, and this uncertainty can remind us of times when we didn’t feel safe and the future was uncertain.

In times like these, our mental or emotional health can suffer without our realizing it’s happening. Take time to notice … what are you thinking? You might feel more on edge than usual, angry, or sad. Or you might find yourself feeling depressed and less motivated to carry out daily activities.

I want to encourage you that you are not helpless, despite what you are reading in current news. You can always choose your response. If you notice that you are struggling here are some things you can do to take care of mental and emotional health in the face of uncertainty:

Separate what IS in your control from what is not

Focus on what you can do. Wash your hands. Make sure you sleep. Check out other suggestions I shared earlier this month, and limit your consumption of news (it’s not encouraging positive thoughts, right?).

Do what helps YOU feel a sense of safety

This will be different of each of us, and I encourage you not to compare yourself to others. It’s okay if you feel safer when you limit your attendance at social events, provided you are isolating yourself out of concern for infection and not because of depression.

Get outside in nature!

Even better, take a walk in nature. There are numerous studies that have documented the benefits of being out in the sun where you can see the signs of spring and hear the birds and the wind in the trees. This one practice alone will boost your mental, emotional and physical health. If you didn’t read my suggestions for supporting your immune system, check it out here.

Challenge yourself to stay in the present

Do you find your worry is compounding – you are not only concerned about what is happening now, but also the “what ifs” in the future? When you find yourself worrying about something that hasn’t happened, gently shift yourself back to the present. To do this, notice sights, sounds, tastes and sensory experiences in your environment and name them. This is called mindfulness, and coupled with deep breathing, it helps to reduce stress. Here are more approaches.

Stay connected with people and reach out for support

Talk to trusted friends or family members about what you are feeling. It’s okay to reach out to a mental health professional for support. You don’t have to be alone with your worry. It can be comforting to share what you are experiencing with someone trained to help.

Parents be aware that teens tend to feel emotions more intensely. If you have a teen who seems anxious about current events, read this article for some tips.

There may also be a physiological reason for your anxiety or depression. The microbiome (bacteria in your gut) is a key player in making the neurotransmitters that govern our feelings. When it is damaged by medications or eating foods to which your body reacts, your body will lack the neurotransmitters that it needs. Thankfully, the gut can heal and the microbiome can rebound, and I can help identify what is needed to support healing.

Life is full of uncertainty and change. It is important, as part of your overall wellness, that you take note of your emotional and mental health and mindfully take action to support yourself.

Kelly Lutman Pursue Wellness

Rather than get caught up in fear from all the reports of pandemic, you can be proactive and arm yourself for Coronavirus

Arm Yourself For Coronavirus

You cannot view any news media without coming across the latest development with the Coronavirus strain. It’s even being touted in political campaigns. What thoughts do these reports prompt? Disbelief? Concern? Fear?

How do you respond to the reports? Are you feeling that it couldn’t possibly be true, or letting your imagination run rampant and barring the door?

I’m not going to weigh into the debate about the accuracy of the reports we are hearing. Instead, I want to share some guidance on how you can support your immune system, because that is the aspect over which you have control in this crazy situation. I recommend you arm yourself against Coronavirus rather than succumb to fear.

Your Environment

Your can address risks in your environment by doing the following:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, many times in the day
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces – doorknobs and light switches are often overlooked
  • Avoid touching your face – eyes, nose or mouth
  • Practice cough etiquette
  • If experiencing symptoms protect others by staying home or wearing a mask

Observation skills are key. Notice the environment around you and what you are feeling in your body.

Your Immune System

Your front line defense is your immune system. You often aren’t aware, but it is on the job every moment of every day. Your best defense in the face of daily threats is to support your immune system for effective function. Here are ways to boost your defenses:

Food – the goal is to keep the body alkalized

  • Skip foods/drinks with added sugar which depresses your immune system
  • Consume immune boosting foods – chicken broth, garlic and ginger
  • Eat lots of greens and non-starchy vegetables
  • Pass on the farm-raised fish in favor of wild caught
  • Skip the dairy products which raise acidity
  • Avoid refined carbs (flour-based foods)
  • Avoid alcohol which suppresses immunity

Supplements – because you can’t always get what you need from food

  • Supplement Vitamin C (1000mg or more), Vitamin D3 (5000IU), Magnesium (400mg)
  • Cod Liver Oil providing Vitamin A & Omega 3s
  • Elderberry Syrup which has been shown to block viral attachment in cells
  • Zinc Glycinate (30mg) to inhibit viral replication
  • Monolauren (600mg) to disrupt biofilms that disguise viruses from your immune system

Listening to the media can stir up fear, which also suppresses your immune system. Rather than wring your hands and wallow in “what ifs,” I encourage you to prepare yourself and your family and arm yourself for Coronavirus. Having a strong immune system is vital for wellness no matter what is threatening from across the ocean. The steps I have outlined above are not extreme, yet they can have significant impact.

And if you are one of the many in our population who suffers from acid reflux, I highly recommend you join my class. The effectiveness of your immune system is dependent on good digestion, and acid reflux is a sign that your digestion is weak if not broken. The good news is it can be fixed when you understand how it is supposed to work and provide the body with the building blocks to correct it.

Take a deep breath and evaluate your situation, then take the steps to prepare. You’ve got this!

Kelly Lutman Pursue Wellness

 

 

Photo by Curology on Unsplash

 

If you supplement your nutrient intake to fill gaps, you may wonder how and when it is best to take them for greatest benefit.

Timing For Supplements ….

Are you one of the growing numbers of Americans who are recognizing the need to supplement your nutrient intake? Have you explored how to take them for best effect?

I do meet people that believe supplements are unnecessary. These have often accepted the media reports that vitamins don’t work, or questioning whether the FDA has approved them. I won’t take the time in this newsletter to fully refute these positions. Suffice it to say, the media was reporting on studies that were done using synthetic vitamins. The body doesn’t recognize or use synthetic vitamins well. Bioavailable forms are absorbed and provide benefits.

When you have determined that your body needs a supplement, and you have chosen a quality form, there may still be some questions regarding how and when to take them. Let me offer some tips ….

Some are taken with meals

Most supplements are best taken with meals. This would include minerals and fat-soluble Vitamins A, D, E and K. These cannot be absorbed without fat (the fortified skim milk you may be drinking offers you no benefit for this reason). If you find that you have issues with nausea when you take supplements, you should first verify that your supplements are not synthetic and then take them with food.

You may be one who finds it hard to swallow pills or capsules with liquid. In this case, I recommend that you try popping one in your mouth just before you swallow a bit of food. That has worked for some of my clients.

If you are taking Vitamin B12 you will need a strong level of stomach acid. Taking acid-reducing or PPI medications will limit the absorption of even a quality methylated supplement. I suggest a sublinqual form of B12 supplement. And if you would like to talk about how you can break free from those meds altogether, reach out and we can chat.

Digestive support in the form of digestive enzymes or Betaine HCl with Pepsin is best taken in the middle of your meal, with as small amount of liquid as possible.

Some are best on an empty stomach

Not all supplements are effectively used by the body in combination with food. Herbal supplements often work best when taken away separate from food. Likewise, if you are taking amino acid supplements (creatine, glutamine, glycine, arginine, leucine, lysine, for example), they are best taken on an empty stomach. That would be either 30 minutes before a meal or 2 hours after you eat.

I also recommend taking probiotics on an empty stomach so that the bacteria is not used to digest your food. We want those little buggers work their magic in your small intestine rather than on your food. But you can aid their effect by including raw vegetables in the meal before you take probiotics. The insoluble fiber in the veggies will provide a meal for the bacteria and help them work for your benefit.

Nutritional supplements should never take the place of fueling your body with real food in a variety of colors and macronutrients. Yet you can supplement your nutrient intake to fill the gaps and boost the individual nutrients that your body needs as building blocks for function.

Don’t excuse your symptoms as the result of growing old or the effects of a diagnosed disease. Instead, consider those symptoms to be your body’s cries for help and begin to explore the root cause. By taking a proactive approach, you can support your body’s ability to heal, and I’m available to help!

Kelly Lutman Pursue Wellness

And aspirin a day is dangerous

An Aspirin A Day Is Dangerous

Are you one of the millions of Americans whose doctor has advised to take a baby aspirin daily in an effort to protect from heart attack or stroke? If you don’t take it yourself, I know you know someone who does. But, do you (or they) know this is no longer recommended in light of recent studies? In fact, an aspirin a day is dangerous.

Aspirin is one of a variety of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that is often used in a preventive mode against future heart attacks. Research has shown that aspirin therapy works for those who have already had a heart attack. However, there is a strong risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and inflammation with regular consumption of NSAIDs.

An aspirin a day …

The typical “preventive” aspirin dose is 81mg – the amount in a baby aspirin. Unfortunately, that dose is not effective in reducing the risk of heart attack. For this benefit, you must take about 325mg a day which creates a more significant risk for gastrointestinal bleeding.

It’s a Catch 22 – taking the low dose doesn’t have the protective benefit we have been told to expect. However, taking the high dose comes with far more risk. Even the American Gastroenterological Association has confirmed significant numbers of hospitalizations related to regular use of NSAIDs.

Are there other anti-inflammatory options?

Yes! There are anti-inflammatory options that don’t carry a bleeding risk. You’ve probably heard of them:

  • Good quality Fish Oil – I recommend that you take at least 1500mg of Omega-3s (EPA + DHA) in divided doses daily with meals. What’s high quality? Look for a molecularly distilled brand.
  • Curcumin – 500mg of Meriva curcumin (curcumin in a lipid capsule that makes it to the small intestines for better absorption) taken 1-2 times daily.

Don’t quit cold turkey!

If you have been taking either low-dose aspirin other NSAIDs (Ibuprofin, Aleve, full-dose Aspirin) on a daily basis – even for just 1 or 2 weeks – do not stop suddenly. The body’s reaction to such a cutoff can cause blood clots and increase risk. Instead, take half your dose for 2-3 weeks while incorporating at least one of the natural anti-inflammatory choices above in the middle of weaning.

Are you shocked to hear of these dangers? While we have the expectation that medications sold over the counter should be safe, that’s only when used infrequently. If you have been in the habit of popping NSAIDs for common aches and pains, you may at risk. I would recommend that you shift to Meriva Curcumin. Or consider scheduling a chat with me to see whether your symptoms are cries for help from your body.

Kelly Lutman Pursue Wellness

Is Fruit Juice Really Healthy

Is Fruit Juice Healthy or a Problem?

Did you grow up drinking a glass of juice with your breakfast? Perhaps you still drink it, along with your coffee. After all, a glass of OJ means a boost of Vitamin C, right? But is fruit juice really healthy?

I once thought – as you may have – that juice was a healthier choice over sodas and processed sugary drinks. In truth, juice purchased from the store, is quite close to a drink made of liquid sugar.

What’s the Big Deal?

The sugar in fruit is fructose – the same as in the problematic high fructose corn syrup. Despite its natural source, fructose, unless it is wrapped in a whole fruit, is bad news for your body. It is known to contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and cholesterol challenges.

Drinking a 12-oz glass of OJ floods your system with a whopping 37 grams of sugar. The same amount of apple juice brings in 40 grams of sugar, which is as much as the average can of soda. At 4 grams per teaspoon, that’s a lot of sugar.

One of the biggest problems is that fruit juice contains NO fiber and is a concentrated source of liquid sugar/fructose. Juice goes through your digestive system quickly and spikes your blood sugar levels. This contributes to the development of insulin resistance, weight gain and stress on your liver, where fructose is processed. This study demonstrated what is far too common.

How is Fruit Juice Made?

There’s more to producing fruit juice than you realize – it’s not just squeezed right into the carton. Oranges are picked from the orchards and the juice is extracted, heated to pasteurize, and stored in huge vats where the oxygen is removed to extend the storage life. Removing the oxygen removes a lot of flavor, so companies hire chemical engineers to create “flavor packs” that make the juice taste fresh squeezed again. Yuck!

Though you expected to consume vitamins, antioxidants and enzymes in your juice, the pasteurization process wipes these out. Lacking fiber means that there’s nothing to slow the spike of blood sugar or feed your gut bacteria. That’s a problem!

Are There Better Options?

Yes, and they start with the foundation of hydration – water. You can add flavor by infusing your water with slices of orange, lemon, lime or cucumber. I particularly enjoy a glass of sparkling water with a squeeze of lime or a splash of cranberry juice.

And if you need more flavor, try kombucha tea. This fermented tea is low in sugar and high in healthful phytochemicals and gut-healing probiotics. You will find kombucha in the produce section of your grocery store. There are a variety of flavors available and I recommend you look for one with 8 grams of sugar or less.

Is fruit juice really healthy? While you may be shocked to learn that it really isn’t, it’s never too late to edit your approach (where have I heard that before?) and improve the effect on your body. Each edit you make can take you one step further down the path to pursue wellness!

Kelly Lutman Pursue Wellness

Bust The Holiday Stress Cycle

Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanza, the holidays can be a great time of joy for many. But for others, they are filled with anxiety and stress. You can set yourself on a more positive path – and bust the holiday stress cycle – when you understand the how to best support your body for joy.

When stress hits at this time of year, it’s easy to turn to that tray of cookies for moral support. After all, cookies won’t criticize you about your choices the way your family will. What we don’t realize is that we are self-medicating with sweets – the quick spike of sugar in our system can bring an increase in serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes feelings of well-being and happiness. Sadly, the benefit is fleeting, and we find ourselves reaching for another fix.

How do we bust the holiday stress cycle? First admit that it’s a problem, and then consciously choose some strategies to support a different outcome. I am offering you these tips for boosting your energy and outlook through these coming weeks.

Be active

Instead of reaching for the holiday goodies when you feel a lag in energy, get outside in the fresh air for a walk, hit the gym, chase your kids in the yard, or just do something physical that appeals to you. You’ll release the stress and the exercise will help release the proper chemicals in your brain to make you feel better.

Workout your mind

Your brain needs exercise too! Rather than allowing your mind to dwell on the negative things that push you toward those cookies, give your mind something constructive to do. Take 10 to 20 minutes to yourself to read something engaging for you, or work on a crossword puzzle or something else that stimulates your mind in an enjoyable way. I use my Sudoku app for this purpose. It will help you feel refreshed.

Focus on healthful eating

While it’s true that the holidays are certainly a time for more indulgent meals, when you focus on your healthful eating prior to those big family dinners, it won’t be such a shock to your waistline. Make sure you’re eating meals that have a small amount of protein, a portion of good fat, minimal grain-based carbs and lots of vegetables. Don’t skip meals. If you starve yourself all day because your job or your family (or both!) is making you nuts, you’re more prone to stuffing yourself at dinner with things that aren’t very healthful.

Practice moderation

Yes, there are certainly foods we only get to enjoy during this time of year. But again, eating all of them isn’t going to do any good. So indulge mindfully and moderately. Looking forward to your sister’s famous pecan pie? Then focus on eating that when the time comes and say no to treats that aren’t as delicious.

Forgive yourself and others

No one is perfect. If you find you caved in to peer pressure at work and ate treats you declared you wouldn’t, forgive yourself and move on. Take a deep breath or two and release the situation. Get back on track with the next food choice and move your body. But above all, keep your head up and your focus on gratitude.

Make gratitude your focus

I have noticed that more and more people are recognizing how a gratitude practice is  profound in its effects. It isn’t time consuming – you are simply recording 3-5 things for which you are grateful on a daily basis. I have found it helpful to write these on an index card to review throughout the day. Something as simple as being thankful for the poinsettia arrangement my husband brought home, or the uplifting smells of spices, can shift my energy … and yours.

YOU are on my gratitude list. I am thankful for all who recognize that they have a choice related to their health. I’m passionate about encouraging the choices that will support their body and supporting those who prioritize their pursuit of wellness!

Kelly Lutman Pursue Wellness

Prioritize Self-Care

Do You Prioritize Self-Care?

December is a busy month! Many of us love the holidays, yet when you get past the anticipated special moments, there is far more demand on each of us. Will you come through the holidays with positive outlook or will you claw your way through to the end?

Are you doing the holiday cooking?
Who is hosting or organizing the holiday parties?
Are you the primary shopper? And who does the wrapping?
If you send Christmas cards, are you the one who writes the letter or signs and addresses the cards?
And then there’s cleaning the house, hosting guests …. and your daily responsibilities, too!

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired just reading this!

You could hire some help or you could come into this holiday season with a plan to focus on nourishing yourself for the tasks at hand. And by nourishing yourself, I’m not speaking of what you eat. There is more to it than food.

In my coaching training, we discovered primary and secondary foods. You might be surprised to hear that the edible stuff is secondary, and primary food pertains to your full well-being. It encompasses your relationships, career, physical activity and spirituality. You can eat healthy real foods, but if you are falling short in primary food, you won’t experience wellness.

What Is Self-Care?

We – women and men – need to nourish our minds, our spirits, our innermost beings. That’s where self-care comes in. Self-care is defined as the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress. Thriving is dependent on whether you prioritize self-care.

In an aircraft safety briefing, you are directed to put your oxygen mask on first. Does that sound selfish? How can you pour out to others without first filling up? If you would answer “yes” to any of the following questions, you need to shift your focus …

Are you feeling overwhelmed?
Do you ever feel like you’re running on empty?
Have you been feeling like you’ve lost your focus?
Have you experienced weight gain?
Are you feeling irritable or impatient?
Has your skin been acting up?

What Does Self-Care Look Like?

It can be as unique as you are, and you are the only one who can determine what will fill you up. Perhaps it’s a walk in the woods or coffee with a friend. It may be a mani/pedi, a massage or a walk on the beach. Self-Care is not usually an exhausting or sweaty activity, but rather one that recharges you. I found a list of self-care activities in this blog post to spark ideas. And it may take some experimentation to determine what works best.

Those who prioritize self-care have been known to experience positive impacts on their mental and physical health. It is an essential step to truly living a healthy, more balanced life. You, and those around you, are worth it.

As noted above, self-care is not a one-size-fits-all experience. It is important that you keep an open mind and remain committed to your self-care practice in order to reap the benefits. My goal is that you thrive this Christmas and set a new priority of self-care for the rest of your life.

You are important to so many people, and they need you to practice self-care so that you are there for them. Fill your cup to the brim for you and pour out for them. Everyone benefits!

Kelly Lutman Pursue Wellness

Should You Eliminate Gluten?

Do you know someone who has eliminated gluten from their diet? Have you considered exploring this approach for yourself, or do you consider it going overboard? Why should you eliminate gluten?

I’ve written about the potential issues of consuming wheat-based foods in the past. To recap, the greatest concerns are the increased concentration of gluten in our modern wheat, and the use of glyphosate on wheat fields prior to harvest. That means that each bite of wheat comes with a dose of glyphosate.

I often find that my clients have some sensitivity to wheat or gluten, which is a protein in wheat. In the absence of testing for sensitivity, these are some situations where I recommend elimination of wheat from the diet….

An Autoimmune Disease Diagnosis

Consuming gluten can promote intestinal permeability (or leaky gut), which is a precursor of all autoimmune disease activation. In case you doubt this, I encourage you to listen to the first 20 minutes of this interview with Dr Allessio Fasano , a pioneering doctor who has identified gluten’s role in promoting permeability and how this permeability contributes to autoimmune activity.

Type 2 Diabetes

In this case, I recommend elimination of all wheat, though not all gluten-containing grains such as barley or rye. The primary concern with wheat is its high glycemic load in a diet for individuals with insulin resistance. This means that consumption of wheat spikes your blood glucose (sugar) levels which the Type 2 diabetic body cannot well manage.

An Overtly Obese Body

Similarly, I recommend eliminating wheat if you have an overtly obese body. The high glycemic load that comes with wheat consumption usually leads to insulin-mediated body fat increase. And that can lead to metabolic syndrome.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

For those suffering with IBD, the digestive system is already compromised, but the gluten and glyphosate from wheat (did you listen to Dr Fasano’s interview?) add fuel to the fire.

Struggle With Chronic Depression

There is increasing evidence that gluten can cause changes in brain chemistry which can lead to depression. Do you struggle with depression? Then I recommend eliminating it completely for at least 2 months before reintroducing to gauge the impact.

Do you find yourself in any of these conditions? Have you explored ways to support your body based on diet and nutrition in conjunction with your conventional medical treatment? You don’t need to find your way on your own. A Functional Medicine Health Coach can help you navigate the path. Let’s chat about your situation and how I can support you.

Are you wondering where the future will lead? The best way to get a different outcome is to change your approach. Should you eliminate gluten? Maybe. And you don’t have to go it alone.

Kelly Lutman Pursue Wellness

Got Milk – Do You Really Need It?

Do you have a friend or family member who follows a dairy-free approach to eating? Does it seem like an odd choice – one that feels slightly un-American? Do you really need milk?

We’ve all seen the “Got Milk” commercials and print ads, and I’m sure you heard your Mom tell you to drink your milk for strong bones. But is milk truly beneficial to your body? Maybe, maybe not.

If have shared about food sensitivities in the past. Some of my clients test positive for allergies or sensitivities, and I recommend that they stop eating dairy completely while we evaluate whether their body is lacking necessary enzymes to digest dairy. Even if they don’t test positive, I may still recommend that they omit dairy for if any of these conditions exist:

Have Allergies, Asthma, or Chronic Sinus

Some individuals are susceptible to an increase in mucus production when consuming dairy foods. This doesn’t happen to everyone, hence the many blog articles you may find that claim this is a myth. But the scientific study I link here shows that it has been clearly demonstrated. The best way I know to determine whether it would affect a person’s body in this way is to eliminate dairy foods for a month and then reintroduce to observe any changes.

Have Estrogen-mediated Cancer

or significant hormone imbalance. Dairy foods are reproductive substances which contain substantial levels of hormones that can cause significant shifts in your own body’s hormone balance. It is best to be mindful of the many outside sources of hormones or substances the body reads as similar to hormones so that we don’t inadvertently contribute to dis-ease.

Have Chronically Loose Stools

This can be caused by your body’s insufficient production of lactase, an enzyme that helps to break down lactose from dairy-based foods. It has been estimated that 2/3 of the world’s population is lactose-intolerant. This can speed the motility of foods through the digestive system, resulting in poor absorption of nutrients.

Have High Levels of Inflammation

Dairy products can increase acidity in the body and stir the fire of inflammation. Already dealing with an inflammatory diagnosis? You can cool the fire by removing all dairy from your diet.

Have Irritable Bowel  Syndrome or Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Those who struggle with IBS or IBD often find that diary-based foods cause flares in their symptoms due to hyper-fermentation of lactose.

Have you been focused on improving your wellness and felt as though you were missing something? I’ve seen simple adjustments like omitting dairy have a significantly beneficial effect.

Granted, an online search will present articles that assure you that dairy isn’t a problem. I would suggest you consider the source of these articles. Perhaps the dairy industry connected to the authors of those articles. Is there a conflict of interest?

Will elimination of dairy work for you? Only way to know for sure is to test it. I must be 100% elimination. Your body is immensely intelligent and knows when you consume even a “taste.” Could you benefit from the support of a coach? I’m here for you.

Kelly Lutman Pursue Wellness

When you want to improve the way you are eating, home-cooked meals are the best approach. How do you fit cooking into your busy schedule? Meal prep hacks!

Meal Prep Hacks For Your Busy Schedule

When you want to improve the way you are eating, home-cooked meals are the best context for success. Yet you may think that your busy schedule leaves you with no hope for making your own meals, even if such an approach would save you money. The answer? Meal prep hacks.

I completely understand. I hope to show you some hacks that could work for your unique schedule and lifestyle. Today, I’m sharing a few meal prep hacks so that you don’t have to stress about not having enough time.

Build your meals around your main dish

Try switching it up so that you don’t feel like you’re eating the same thing every day and build the rest of the meal to complement your main dish. For example, you can make chicken with steamed veggies and brown rice for one meal-prep batch and teriyaki salmon bowls for another. This will streamline the process behind meal-prepping while using most of the same ingredients.

Try ingredient-prepping

Sometimes, packaging ready-to-go meals a week in advance can leave your food looking soggy and a bit unappetizing. Plus, you might change your mind as to which ingredients you want to eat in a meal. Instead of creating an entire meal, you may prefer to prepare the individual components. Chop different vegetables, cook a batch of brown rice or quinoa, and separate your fruit into portions. Then, you can assemble your meals and season them according to your mood. The washing, cutting, and cooking take the longest when you meal-prep. If you do that one session on the weekend, the rest of the week should be smooth sailing.

Always make enough for leftovers

Nobody wants to spend more time in the kitchen than necessary, but we all have to eat. If you’re already cooking, double the portion sizes so that your efforts result in two meals. If your dinner doesn’t seem like a convenient meal for packaging to save, then double-up the individual ingredients. For example, if you’re making rice, make double, eat half for your dinner and store the other half of it away for your meal prep. If you’re already chopping up some sweet potato to roast in the oven, add a few extra. This will save you a lot of time.

Switch up your sauces and dressings

This is the best way to avoid your meal-prep becoming boring and bland. If you’ve followed tip #2, you should have your ingredients all ready and prepared to go. The ingredients should be unseasoned unless you have to marinate in advance. When preparing a meal, you can quickly add whatever dressing or seasoning you want. You should also prepare your sauces and dressings in advance so that you don’t have to throw on some store-bought condiments that usually contain a lot of artificial preservatives and sugar. Homemade hummus has a long shelf-life and is so versatile. You can also make a variety of different salad dressings or even pasta sauces, which should last you the whole week.

The best way to improve the quality of your food for the sake of your health is to prepare more of your meals yourself. I’m not saying you have to prepare all of your meals yourself, yet each meal made at home from natural ingredients is a step toward better health. Start small with a few meals and explore ingredient combinations that work for you, then add a few more. If you need some ideas, here are a few that you can try. Your body will thank you.

Kelly Lutman Pursue Wellness