Know Your Rules So You Can Break Them

I’m a foodie. And we landed in New York City for a week.

New York seems to have a surplus of fresh foods - and a surplus of foods to indulge in.

Life is about balance. I’ve found the healthier I eat (healthy meaning fueling my body well, knowing what it does/does not tolerate) the better I feel. And I wanted to feel great, with lots of energy to explore the city!

I’ve learned to make all my own food rules so I can also know exactly when to break them.

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Five Myths of Meal Planning

So if you haven’t heard, I’m a meal prep skeptic. 

Oftentimes starting a meal plan or diet is done all at once and can feel overwhelming and time consuming.

Oftentimes doing meal prep can feel impossible.

While one-size-fits-all programs nearly are impossible for most people, meal planning doesn’t have to be!

Here are five myths about meal planning that don’t have to be true for you:

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An Unpopular Opinion: I'm A Meal Prep Skeptic

When I first heard of the meal prep trend I thought, This is too good to be true. People are telling me I can plan all my meals ahead of time, and it will be easy, fast, and healthy? No way in hell. Can you tell I’m a skeptic?

I'm not against the idea of eating clean or preparing meals. But I could not see a livable, long-term solution to the strict meal plans I saw in books and online.

So I decided to honor the most important cues my body taught me during the elimination diet: avoid gluten, heavily processed foods, artificially sweet foods, and greasy foods. I began to feel better about the meal planning process. These changes made a difference in how I felt and were livable most of the time. I learned that what I really needed was sufficient time to make the changes and to practice the new habits. I also needed time to feel how my body responded to the meal planning changes.

 

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Easy Green Zucchini Noodles - Hela's Simple Recipes

Like many of my dinners, this delicious green dish came together after scavenging in my fridge for leftovers. I found a zucchini, some guacamole, and leftover ingredients from a bean salad. I tossed them all together in 10 minutes and now it's my favorite go-to green meal.

And it's all gluten-free, dairy-free & plant based!

Now full disclosure:

**I am no chef! This recipe came together almost by accident (and honestly, the easyness is part of what I love)!

So please, if you have any suggestions send them my way! Otherwise, enjoy!

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Prism of Health - What Keeps Me Balanced

A prism is a geometric figure. A prism is also a triangular glass object that gives the illusion of transforming white light into the spectrum of colors. The prism transforms one unified beam of light to many separate but equal forms.

Metaphorically, my prism of health magnifies whole-person health into all the separate pieces. The desire for complete health enters the prism, and the individual components reflect outward.

When I focus the individual components of health in my life, I see

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How I Went From Surviving to Thriving

Sometimes listening to our bodies is complex. I was battling whole-body inflammation while also starting multiple medications. Some medications provided immediate relief. Others took time. Others had awful side effects (methotrexate hangover anyone?).

That’s when I learned: Perfect clarity isn’t the most important thing when listening to our bodies. We will never have total clarity. Even doctors don’t have total clarity (understanding this truth will save you a lot of frustration). The two most important indicators when listening to our bodies are consistency in symptoms and patterns in our health. 

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How I Survived

I decided to listen to my body and I decided to trust what it was telling me.

You know, our bodies speak, and not only from our mouths. Our bodies talk in our sleep, in our aches and pains, in our mood.

I listened when my hands hurt at work and I couldn’t open medicine bottles for patients. I listened when halfway into a twelve-hour shift, my ankles ached and I couldn’t help but limp. I listened when I woke up in the middle of the night, both feet throbbing until I soaked them in the tub. I listened when after a glass of wine, everything got worse: fatigue, pain, anxiety. My body was responding differently to the same stimuli. With my progressing symptoms, it wasn’t hard to listen.

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What I Didn't Know Was Hurting Me

Nursing school taught me how to take care of very sick people - urgent health problems requiring urgent responses.

What nursing school did not teach me was how to take care of myself. Sure, there were a few lectures about personal health and wellness. But honestly? I was working twelve hour shifts in the ICU, writing research papers, and cramming for exams.

So I tumbled out of nursing school smarter but a whole lot less balanced than when I entered it. About two years into my first nursing job I began to show it.

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