A Healthy Rotation

Dzień dobry! I just got back from Poland where I got married for a second time, visited my husband’s family and had a wonderful mini-moon!


The food in Poland was awesome and I was surprised at the urban food scene in Warsaw that blends traditional recipes using a plant-based approach. If you are interested in the places I travelled, I have pinned the stories on my instagram page. I am definitely looking forward to playing with and developing some recipes to share with you guys soon!

Now that I am home, one thing I have committed to focusing on this summer is rebalance. I know I sound like a broken record but it is something I really struggle with. I have started writing a lot of stuff down, such as “to-do lists” and of course, as I have done in the past, a return back to meal-planning.

As a passionate cook and wannabe recipe developer, I can’t help but naturally approach meal-planning from an eclectic perspective. A little guac here, a little saffron the next day, what can it hurt?

Well, unfortunately – even with meal planning – it can hurt the wallet. If you are not coordinated with your recipes, you amp up the cost of groceries by having to stock a pantry with an array of ingredients that can go to waste if you do not remake the recipe and use up the rest of the item in a timely manner.

Repetitive meal rotations have been written about in a variety of contexts. From the minimalist perspective, eating the same items daily can help eliminate “decision fatigue” as individuals can anticipate the same nutrient-dense and well-balanced items to help them feel good. If I know that on Day 3 of my rotation, I am having spaghetti squash for dinner, then that is what I am having. If I know the repetitive meal rotation, then my grocery shopping just streamlined as I pick up the same items for a while; thus, saving me time and stress.

From a dietary standpoint, repetitive eating rotations have been associated with weight loss. Again, this is due to well-balanced and nutrient-dense meals but also due to predictive portioning. If you eat the same meal plan which has been curated and well thought out in coordination with your lifestyle (e.g., working out, weeknights, shift schedules, overtime etc.) you can truly balance your energy. Your body can anticipate what it needs to digest. You know what you are eating is good for you based on a routine.

Finally, there is a financial standpoint. When you think about the foods that are in season and use them completely, you can help eliminate food waste and save money. Furthermore, if you have a meal prepared in accordance with your lifestyle, it can help with lowering the “convenience food” budget – as I have named it in my Every Dollar App. This is the money I save just in case I end up at work late and need dinner and did not pack anything. If I have a meal prepared along with my emergency protein bars, I can hang on longer recognizing that there is something easy to prepare at home.

So what does this mean for me? As I whittle down my budget with summer unemployment, I am looking for ways to stay healthy but also keep the budget tight. While Dave Ramsey talks about “Beans ‘n Rice, Rice ‘n Beans”, there is something to be said about repetition. The challenge is as follows, a very basic 2-week meal plan in 3 rotations. Breakfasts, snacks, and lunches will be very consistent and there will be a little variety in the dinner menu. Meals will be balanced considering caloric intake based on my lifestyle as well as balance in macronutrients. It is my hope that by taking on this challenge, my wallet, waistline and wellbeing will benefit. Furthermore, while trying to look after myself, I am looking to take the burden of complex meal-planning off of me for just a little while.

Would you ever try repetitive meals? Do you find meal planning a burden? Leave your comments below!

Sleepy Time

Happy New Year, Readers!

My consistent wishes/ joke has been that I hope 2018 is more amazing than 2017 … which should not be hard given the bar is so low.

So how did you celebrate?

Both myself and my really good friend, Beverly, realized that both of our beaus were doing their own thing. Hers was hunting and Maciej is visiting his family in Europe. Upon this realization, we thought it would be a great opportunity to have a “girls night in” as well as officially engage in wedding things as she is my co-maid of honour.

When her train arrived, we went shopping and I started looking at wedding bands (and finally found one that I really like that has a fun significance!), she tried on bridesmaid dresses (and we finally settled on one) and I tried on my wedding dress again because … what can I say … I am so excited!!! It was such a fun day and definitely one of my most memorable New Years celebrations.

After we went to the cinema and saw Pitch Perfect 3. I really enjoyed it despite it being a hokey chick-flick. The plotline is in no way deep but when you are out with your girlfriend(s) and are around my age – as I found the context was very much targetted to us who are veering close to the 30 mark but not quite yet – it was a funny movie.

After the movie, we came back, I iced a homemade chocolate cake – which I cheated with a gluten-free box because I am recently over being ill LOL but I did bake it in my oven!! – and I made homemade vegan baked nacho dip for dinner. Confession: For a box mix, this cake is legitimate. Often with gluten-free, there is a weird aftertaste due to the use of potato starch or rice flour in the mix. With this mix, you cannot tell the difference between the gluten-free and a real cake … at least that is what Beverly said because I have not eaten gluten in almost three years.

We drank wine and I evilly introduced her to Drop Dead Diva on Netflix. Like an old person, I took a nap a few minutes before the countdown and when the clock struck midnight, we took pictures, blew noisemakers and then we … are you ready for it *Taylor Style* … went to bed!

With the advent of a new year, many people discuss their resolutions and goals. Some are opposed to this and others use this calculation of time as an opportunity to make lifestyle changes. I personally have eight areas I am working on in 2018. One of the lifestyle changes I am trying to make is ensuring I get enough sleep! I think this is an “I am almost 30 and all-nighters are not cool anymore because I turn into a raving bitch erm … crazy lady” situation. The reality is, I am very productive in the mornings and I genuinely enjoy sitting in my favourite chair before people have started texting and e-mailing as I watch the sunrise and sip on my coffee. It is a truly hygge ritual that I value.

In the past, I have overworked late into the night and I would often sleep through alarms, become short-tempered and extremely anxious with physical symptoms. During my undergraduate degree (oh the dawn of your early 20s), it was not uncommon for me to be at school at 6:00 AM reading and drinking a coffee in the library, doing courses/ lectures until 2:30 PM to 5:00 PM, getting back on the bus home and writing papers until 11:00 PM, sleep until 4:30 AM, continue working then go in for my part-time government job for 9:00 AM and occasionally attend an evening course from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM that night! Insane … I know! I really have no idea how I pulled this off except maybe my age made the onset of the physical repercussions sneak up on me a bit slower. During this break, I have started turning off my alarm and resting up. At this point, I feel caught up on sleep and am slowly going to be pushing back to earlier bedtimes so that ultimately I am able to wake up well-rested by 5:30 AM.

One thing I am incredibly guilty of is sleeping with Netflix streaming on my iPad. I have read a lot about the negative effects of blue light on your circadian rhythm and I know this bad habit needs to be broken. Some of the effects include: a) suppression of melatonin production; b) not feeling rested after sleep due to a lack of REM cycles; and, c)  poor overall quality of sleep. The full recommendation actually indicates that devices should be shut off 30 minutes prior to sleep. I would love to get into this habit! 21st century me is already toying with what I could be doing if all devices are off for 30 minutes. Some ideas include reading a paper book and meditation/ yoga. But I recognize this is going to be a slow transition if it is going to work.

Truth Bomb: In my final year of high school, I was extremely anxious as I (thinking worst case scenario) did not want to return to high school for a “victory lap”. Complete nonsense, I know. As a result, I suffered from chronic night terrors for months! And these were vivid and terrifying. One of the times I was so scared I jumped into bed with my sister. This is when the habit started because I found that sleeping with the TV on stopped my night terrors. I did this for years – far longer than necessary; however, I was scared that my night terrors would return if I did not sleep with the TV on. Has anyone ever experienced this? Now I am at a point where I cannot sleep without the background noise.

So what do you think? Have any of you ever tried eliminating technology and ensuring you are getting a routine 8-hour rest? What were your strategies? How about night terrors? Have any of you experienced this?

Let me know and may 2018 be amazing to all of you!

Steph xoxo

14 Day Simple Hydration Challenge

Hey there!

It is 1AM and insomnia has hit me hard!

I have no idea what it is but I have had a rough go of making sure I get enough sleep. I keep rolling around and getting out of bed. I recognize that I should get 8 hours every night but here is my issue – or rather, the internal debate:

If I sleep in pure blackout silence, my thoughts race and I cycle around ultimately leaving myself feeling frustrated because … what the heck … it is 3AM and I know I could have accomplished something in the time between when I tried sleeping and that point.

ALTERNATIVELY

I often listen to a TV show on Netflix (cue endless episodes of Friends and Grey’s Anatomy), but sometimes I get hooked on the episodes and stay awake. Additionally, I hear the blue light is really bad for making sure that you are rested.

I have a feeling that my life stresses are hitting me hard and that is a major component in me making sure I get enough sleep … maybe a future challenge? Thoughts?

Speaking of challenges, onto my first blog challenge! I am admittedly very excited. I decided to make this challenge an easy (well, not easy but one that I can accomplish even though this week is incredibly busy) and healthy one. And hey – maybe this one will help with this insomnia? *sigh* I have my hopes. But without further ado,

Simple hydration.

There are a whole series of metaphors about the healing power of water. Water hydrates, cleanses, and purifies. There is no doubt about the benefits of drinking water, however – despite my better judgement – I am not great at keeping myself hydrated. I have tried various strategies like the large water bottle labelled with times on it (was very popular on Pinterest for a while), but each of these things have failed me. So instead, I present to you my system of scheduled water intake … or rather, my daily “water breaks”.

I have recently gotten into the habit of using my iCloud calendar for scheduling and I have been very receptive of my notifications so I thought I may schedule the times I drink water and see if this works.

How about you readers? Are you good at keeping your water up? What strategies do you use? Keep me posted!

Good night everyone!