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!

Learning to Run & Menu Plan – July 31st to August 6th 2017

Well here we are again! Another week has passed and I must note, the word of my week has been: stamina. 

I have two things on the go: (a) my thesis is going through its finalization process (I’m so f***ing tired. I apologize but seriously, this warrants swearing); and (b) I have begun the process of learning to run.

I have come to realize that writing a thesis is literally like building a baby. It takes months out of your life. You cannot properly be a friend, a family member or a girlfriend because you are so tired building this thing as you devote every. waking. hour. to it. (Trust me, if you want to know who your real friends are, go to graduate school). You laugh and get excited during the milestone triumphs (you know, the “EUREKA!” moments). You cry when you cannot take the process of building the parts to your argument anymore. Heaven forbid you think you have a final product only to be let down because it is not ready yet as it is returned to you with cold-hard edits by your lovely partner.  I am mentally exhausted and realistically, I am fed up. I want it submitted so I no longer need to be that awful friend who ditches every occasion or the crappy aunt whose spider-nephew hangs-up FaceTime on you because he’s pissed off you won’t come over and play (even though you really want to). I am nearing completion at this point and more importantly I am on my role. I realized yesterday that there are only a couple weeks left until I am leaving for my trip to Dublin to attend a conference and that hit me hard. I really need to finish this all up and get some additional work done as well as prepare for my presentation abroad. There is no rest for the weary, I’m afraid.

On another note, I promised myself I would learn to run and this week, I started! My stats obviously were not great. Maciej poked fun at my average of 7:04 min/km (he is half of that!!); however, I saw a quote about running that stuck with me given the challenges I have been facing:

It does not get easier, you just get stronger.

Realistically, this is true for many facets of life in addition to it encouraging me to keep up the physical fitness (something I have not been great about during university if you have read my about page).

With my thesis, at first it completely sucked; however, now that I know what I am doing, I have my role. I got stronger.

With aspects of love in my life, the first time I fell in love, it completely sucked – a whirlwind of poor decision making, really; however, now that I know how to remain true to myself with another person, I am happily in love. I got stronger.

When I started a new job and was thrusted with responsibility that no post-secondary institution can prepare you for, I panicked. I wanted to leave. However, now that I pushed myself to learn from others was humbled to reach out to those who have more experience than I do, I made a very good name for myself and carry a strong reputation. I got stronger.

When I had to bravely stand up for someone who could not stand up for themselves earlier this year and face the wrath that triggered my anxiety beyond anything I had ever experienced to the point I did not want to work again, I pushed through it and I am still ready to stand up for those who need a voice. I got stronger.

Something I have come to learn is that real success is not sheer luck. It is being malleable to your surroundings and willing to be uncomfortable while you push forward for the best version of yourself. And with that, I have this weeks meal plan to keep me fueled as I run as well as keep my mind healthy and nourished as I keep climbing these mountains.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Admittedly, breakfast this week is (albeit delicious) but very monotone. My reason for this is, I find that the iron and protein in the green monster smoothies are keeping me energized and focused while I write. I mean, like, I am totally strong and not snacking out of boredom when I have one in the morning. They are seriously magic. Additionally, I need a quick breakfast because my brain works best in the morning at extensive mental work and I am better at physical work in the evening. As a result, I aim to quickly eat a healthy and nutritious breakfast but get straight to work so I can get the most out of my day. Hence, cereal and smoothies it is!

Additionally, my dinners are very summery. Usually by August, I have no patience for full-on meals and tend to opt for BBQ type meals, fruits and salad. I have not tried the Smoky Vegan Carrot Dogs; however, I have heard about people in the vegan community making these carrot dog things and I figured after smelling the barbeque smell in my neighbourhood that it would be a fun recipe to try. I will definitely let you know how it goes!

While it is not listed in my meal plan, I have been keeping up with my water intake and the results are amazing. I have no idea how I let myself get so dehydrated because the more water I drink, the better I feel. I find I am not snacking as often, my thought processes are clearer, I feel stronger and way healthier both physically and mentally. Honestly, I really suggest everyone to try and increase their water intake because it is difficult to put in words, you just feel amazing when you do. It makes a huge difference. I will be starting up a new challenge this week, so stay tuned for that!

If you missed it last week, the blue items shown in the meal plan are linked to other blog posts (as well as a few non-blue items) which I will list below:

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

**Lightened-Up Crispy Baked Fries from: The Oh She Glows Cookbook – Vegan Recipes to Glow from the Inside Out by Angela Liddon p. 203

Snacks:

And there you have it! Very simple, mostly quick and light meals to accommodate my hectic work schedule as well as the warm weather.

Wishing everyone a productive week in hopes that you too, will become stronger no matter what challenges you face!