Episode 6: Small, easy steps to eating better
Experts discuss the benefits of mindful eating, time management techniques, personalized meal prepping, and budgeting tips. Find out what super foods to buy in your next grocery haul and even learn a quick and easy recipe.
What health care advice would I give my younger self? Wow. The health advice I'd give to my younger self
would probably be to clean up the diet a lot. Eat as healthy as possible. Perhaps fewer burgers.
I think the fuel that goes in your body determines your overall health. Remember that a health journey is a marathon.
Now that I'm eating a lot healthier, hopefully, I can insure myself for a brighter future.
Eating better can feel daunting. It's not just changing what you eat, but it's how you shop, what you crave, how social you are.
There's a lot of things involved with food, right? How can we make this a less intimidating conversation?
So the first thing that I say to people is, really, when we're talking about nutrition is we're talking about you, the individual.
When I work with patients, we talk about patient-centered care. The patient is the person that knows their health better
than anyone else. Now, I can have a patient that comes in, and I can see that their cholesterol is incredibly high. And I can make a judgment about why that's high.
In patient-centered care, I'm going to allow the patient to tell me their story. And with food, we have to allow people to tell us their food
and nutrition journey. It's also the job of the individual to say, you know what? I have a learned experience around food.
There's no judgment there. It is what it is. And if I want to make modifications, then I have to acknowledge what I have learned
and the patterns that I've been following. And I encourage people, really, to think about what are you looking for and where do you
want to be, and then really remove the guilt, right? We're going to take that off the table completely.
It's about you the individual. What are the small steps that you can take? And it can be as simple as, you know what?
I'm going to go to the grocery store, and I'm going to buy a fruit in its whole and minimally processed form. And that is good, because guess what.
Good is good enough, right? We're not looking for perfection. Mindfulness is about being present with what's
happening in front of you. And when we are talking about eating specifically,
we put more attention to the actual act of eating and being mindful. I don't know if any of you have ever experienced this,
but I have-- when I'm eating at my desk and I'm working, my food is completely gone, and I still feel hungry.
Because when we're eating at our desk, we're not fully present with our food.
So I think that that's the one issue that I always find with my students with wanting
to be more mindful about their food, or what they're eating. It's like really engage your senses. Create time.
Create space. And really allow yourself to immerse yourself into the practice of eating.
The only way to really eat well is to plan. Finding the time to eat well and organize their food
is a very common question with clients. Eating well requires planning.
It requires deciding what eating well means to you. And it's so tied into time.
When people are so busy, and they haven't planned their meals, they haven't planned when they're going to eat, what they're
going to eat, and have the stuff available, we all just grab for whatever is nearby
and kind of quick, which is not always the healthiest choice. And it's not as intentional. And I think the other thing is people
are overwhelmed with the options. I think there's a little bit of alternative overload.
And then people don't make a choice. Both of these obstacles, the time and kind of the overwhelm, are things we can overcome.
Make some decisions. Do some planning. Build in the time. And really, just keep it simple. Simplicity is key.
When we slow down, we can really take advantage of both the automated choices that we make in our life and a mindful approach that
might help us to reorient where we need to choose differently.
When we're thinking about what we eat, oftentimes a challenge is mindlessness. We're engaged in a really great conversation.
And we've not realized that all of a sudden we've eaten this entire entree that we intended to take half home for lunch tomorrow.
Or we're going for a snack, and we mindlessly grab the first thing that we see off the shelf. Instead, if we can introduce more mindfulness,
then we might make better choices for ourselves that align with what we hope to do.
So how can we introduce more mindfulness? Slow down. Oftentimes, we're moving too fast in this world,
and we just do what's easiest, what's fastest, what's quickest. And that might mean grabbing the unhealthy junk foods off of the shelf because they're what's most accessible.
What we can do when we're out with friends, choose to look first at the appetizer or the small plate section of that menu, and find something delicious there,
rather than starting first with looking at all those entrees that might be more than what we had hoped for our dieting
or healthy eating habits. Those are ways that we can mindfully direct ourselves and nudge ourselves into making choices that align with our health goals.
Health exists on a spectrum, and it really looks different for everyone. So start with you and what works in terms of your cultural norms.
When you're thinking about making these positive, gentle nutrition changes, I want you to think about who you are.
I want you to choose foods that are culturally relevant for you, right? Because if you're eating something that's not important to you, you're
not likely to show up and have that healthy thing again. The next thing that I say is think about how you can add more plants into your routine.
You often hear people say, eat the rainbow. And when I say eat the rainbow, I mean everything from the white to the completely dark colors.
We know that plants offer incredible antioxidant capability. They're involved in improving all areas of your health.
So really, eat the rainbow. Think about how you could add more plants to your routine. The other thing that some of my patients
really benefit from doing is kind of thinking ahead, making a long-term plan. What does my upcoming week look like?
And where can I batch prepare foods or really prep those foods in advance so that I have access to nourishing foods that support my desired health
outcomes? And then the last thing that I say to people is think about your budget, right? Food and nutrition, we want it to be accessible and simple.
If we're talking about increasing your plant intake, frozen foods are absolutely fine. If you're going to have frozen vegetables, read that label.
Be an informed consumer. Make a choice based on your budget and what's accessible. When people are intentional about the foods that
show up on their plate, they're like, wow, I feel better. There's a shift in cognition. We see more energy.
We see that they're better able to sleep. We see also that they're motivated to continue to engage in that positive, gentle nutrition
and movement. [MUSIC PLAYING]
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