Life is busy. I’m sure you have no idea what I’m talking about, right? (yeah, right). Whether you are married, single, have children, retired, or simply breathing… chances are you are busy. That’s okay. It’s part of life. But being busy can make healthy living harder. Not impossible, but harder.
Even as a stay-at-home mom I sometimes wonder how I’m going to find time to cook another meal… even though that’s supposedly one of the reasons why I gave up my job… to have time to do those kind of things.
And even if time isn’t a factor, switching over to real-food may seem overwhelming at first, or completely unrealistic. Again, I get it.
And that’s why I’m here today: To give you some simple ideas to get on the right path. Even if you don’t have time to meal plan, cook everything from scratch, make your own toxic-free products, or train for a half marathon, there are things you can do to move away from the garbage that is slowly sucking your life away. Today let’s talk about real food simplified.
Real food simplified for the busy, stressed, or overwhelmed
1. Know your real food basics
Don’t let diet dogma overwhelm you. You don’t have to have a degree in nutrition or read every book out there to improve your food. But knowing the basics between real and processed food will save you time in the long run. If something says “low fat” that naturally has fat… don’t eat it. It’s not real. Avoid rancid vegetable oils like canola, soy, and the like. Eat locally and in season. Eat a variety of plants, whole and sprouted grains, and humanely raised animal products. Need further help? Check out my Real Food Basic posts. Want it even more simplified? I love this chart by Summer Tomato:
2. Utilize your freezer
Whether you cook everything from scratch or buy quality pre-made products, you’ll get more bang for your buck and “yippee” for your time if you use your freezer wisely. Buying grass-fed beef, for instance, is a whole lot cheaper if you buy in bulk. (I’m just waiting for my second freezer and then I’m purchasing half a cow!) And you’ll save oodles of time if you make twice as much (or more) of whatever you’re eating and freeze the rest for quick-but-healthy meals later. Work smarter, not harder. Let your freezer help you.
3. Shop wisely
Contrary to what some people think you don’t have to make everything from scratch to implement a real foods diet. But you do need to shop very carefully. Read labels. On everything. You may be surprised to find that the most “simple” things like salad dressing and store bought “healthy” bread are the very things with the most mystery ingredients in them. Find a good butcher, a quality bakery, or a local restaurant who meets your standards. Build relationships, learn where your food is coming from.
I’m so excited to let you guys know about the new Village Green Marketplace! There are oodles of reliable vendors who are committed to organic, green, and sustainable products. You’ve got to check them out. If you are like me, you may get lost for an hour while you view all the good stuff. Stuff that can make your life easier without compromising your health. Perfect for the easily stressed, busy, or overwhelmed.
4. Use the buddy system
Sometimes we look back at civilizations of the past and wonder how they did it all. But we often forget that more often than not, they did it all because they did it together. We tend to get so isolated in our homes that we forget the power of working together. Find some like-minded people in your area (or educate them so they are like minded) and help each other out.
- Split the cost of high quality food purchases.
- Have a communal dinner where everybody brings one dish.
- Take turns prepping larger amounts of a meal and sharing with everyone else.
The possibilities are endless. Not only can you get more done, but you’ll be building relationships to boot.
5. Keep it simple
Food doesn’t have to be complicated, neither do your recipes. Don’t let Pinterest fool you into thinking every meal needs to be a twelve course extravaganza. Sometimes the best meals are the most simple. Especially if they keep the stress level down.
Some of my favorite quick meals:
Breakfast: Two pastured eggs fried in coconut oil with some sprouted toast slathered in raw butter. And a glass of raw milk. Bam! Simple.
Lunch: “Everything” salad with some fresh greens, lots of veggies, cheese, bacon or whatever else I have on hand ready to go. Top it with either homemade dressing or a quality store-bought dressing (look carefully!) and you have a winner meal.
Dinner: Roast chicken with roasted potatoes and Brussels sprouts. It’s a one dish wonder that will leave you super satisfied.
I also asked my facebook readers what their easy “go to” meals are. Check out all the great suggestions here.
What would you add to this list? What helped you stay on the path without going crazy?