Thank you all so much for your honest responses to yesterday's questions. HGK blog doesn't receive that volume of comments unless I'm hosting a giveaway! I guess sometimes we all start to question whether or not we are on the right path and need feedback. So thank you to everyone who took the time to leave your thoughts. Your comments, on any of my posts, are appreciated more than you could ever know.
Because of your input, I want to take this post to tell you all some stuff about HGK and me personally, some stuff that is not obvious from the blog, and things that might answer a lot of readers' questions from yesterday.
(1) The Beck Diet Solution is NOT a "diet."
There seems to be some (understandable) confusion about The Beck Diet Solution. Yes, the name is totally confusing and it would be logical to think that it was just another new fangled food plan. Eat this, don't eat that.
But Beck isn't a food plan, it's a thought plan. One designed to get you to stop thinking the thoughts that have gotten you into a situation where you have extra weight. You know those thoughts, they sound like this one: "Uuuuugh, I shouldn't have eaten that! I'm such a mess. I might as well not even try to lose weight. I'll never succeed at this. I should just eat whatever I want for the rest of the afternoon (or day, week, month, year)."
These kinds of thoughts will never get us to where we want to be. Beck knows how to fix this using cognitive therapy. It works. That's why I keep going back to it.
(2) Why I haven't been posting a lot of new recipes lately.
Dr. Fuhrman has this great expression, "The salad is the meal." I think I heard this for the first time about two years ago, but there are moments where it really impacts me in a big way. Right now is one of those moments. I have been focusing a lot more on making my and my husband's dinner really be about the salad. There's just not that much excitement in creating post after post about the Hugh Jass salad we ate for dinner, so you can see how the recipe posts start to dwindle.
That doesn't mean our salads are not awesome! Just give me the word and I will write a post on how to build dinner salads. I'm a master!
That also doesn't mean I'm not cooking really incredible Plant-strong food, I am.
(3) What I do eat on any given day. Well, my best days. They're not all like this:
Lunch: Vegetable or vegetable/bean soup and a salad. Sometimes a more plant-indulgent vegan dish.
Dinner: Hugh Jass salad with the works and no-oil dressing. Also, soup or a whole grain dish or a green smoothie or a vegan specialty.
My challenge: after dinner snacking, aka "night eating."
(4) How I feed my family.
I consider myself very lucky and also very challenged in this arena. First off, my husband has this philosophy that since he doesn't do any of the cooking or grocery shopping, that he should just happily eat whatever slop is placed in front of him. Smart man.
Lucky that I'm his wife. You should see how he looks at age 48. He could be a Plant-strong poster boy like Rip. But that wasn't always the case. Thank you nutrient density!
The kids are a whole nother story. My oldest, who is eleven, adopted a Plant-strong diet at about the same time I did and has never looked back. She came with me to hear Rip speak, read Eat to Live by Dr. Fuhrman, and read The Omnivore's Dilemma For Kids by Michael Pollan.
I can't say she's as adventurous an eater as my husband, but compared to other kids her age, she's a model eater. Her typical lunchbox contains a bean soup and fresh fruit and then either fresh veg, whole grain crackers, hummus, etc. No meat, no dairy, no oil.
My littler ones (3 and 6) are another story. I keep a ton of fruit in the house at all times because that is where I have been most successful with them. Apples, oranges, grapes, strawberries, bananas, kiwis, blueberries, mango . . . I'm spending their college funds on fruit, so they'd better get scholarships.
They are used to almond milk, 100% whole wheat bread and whole wheat pasta (the 365 brand from Whole Foods is the best). But that's pretty much where their healthy eating ends. I'm not proud of it, but I still buy cheese ravioli, yogurt, cheese and occasionally sliced turkey breast, for them. I limit the boxed Mac-n-cheese now to once in a great while. Lower sugar processed cereals, whole grain waffles, pancakes--they eat a lot of that. Vegetables are a rarity. What I don't do is prepare them home cooked SAD meals just so they will have a hearty dinner.
I figure that when they are ready, I will expose them to the same influences that I am exposed to and let them make the choice over whether or not to eat dairy, meat, oil or processed food. Whether or not to embrace the power in vegetables. I trust that they will see the light.
(5) How does healthy food preparation fit into an otherwise very busy work/kids/exercise/social/charitable schedule?
First off, I prioritize it. I figure if I don't have my health, well, I don't need to elaborate on that one.
Part of prioritizing my health means that I spend a lot of my disposable income on domestic help. No, I don't have a private chef, but I do have hired help with other domestic duties like grocery shopping and kid schlepping. I'm very fortunate that this is even an option, and I thank my lucky stars for it every day (and for her--you know who you are! :) ). I may not have a fancy wardrobe, vacations or new furniture (I am a magnet for hand-me-down furniture), but I have the time and space to think about and prepare healthy food, and I value that tremendously.
I eat a ton of salads and smoothies, which are all about having the fresh ingredients on hand and not about cooking time. Even without domestic help, one big grocery shopping trip on the weekend could stock any kitchen with the right raw ingredients. And once you get a system going for yourself, the grocery list just repeats itself over and over and over, with a few minor adjustments for a special dish you want to try. The basics are the basics. Check out my complete list of staple foods here.
I don't cook from scratch very often, but when I do, I make a lot. I generally double every recipe that I make. I invested in a huge soup pot. When I invite guests over, I know that I want to make extraordinary Plant-strong food and then also have leftovers to feed my husband, my oldest daughter and myself for a few extra days.
I sleep a lot less now that I am a Nutritarian than I used to. This gives me all of the extra hours in the day that I would ever need to prepare any food that I would ever want to. I went from sleeping 9-10 hours per night to 6-7.
So time is not my issue. Emotional eating at night is. That's where my struggle lies.