Hey, all of you! I hope you are all doing great, wishing each one of you a fantastic 2017.
I refuse to get pulled and pushed about making resolutions about this or that, so I am not going to ask you either. I took some time to understand the feedback given to me recently by my private clients, and I saw a wealth of information that I am eager to share with you, so let’s get started.
There was a client that I will call Emily for my Spice Up workshop. Em had a great time learning about spices. She enjoyed cooking some simple dishes using them. She was blown away by the delicious results as well. Fine, she almost expected something along these lines as she had a friend who had taken my workshop earlier.
What did surprise her was this discovery about herself: that she enjoyed cooking.
I prodded her to tell me more. She said it was delightful for her as she reached out for ingredients with her inner muse guiding her on the steps. She could do this all over again if only she were ably assisted in her kitchen, she remarked. I asked her to elaborate on what kind of assistance she would love to have. She smiled and said, ‘I’d like to play the chef.'”
She wanted all her ingredients laid out in the order she would need them. She’d like her veggies washed and chopped beautifully. An appropriate container washed and dried, ready to receive the food she prepares. And a serving plate or bowl with spoons and forks set out. Do you see where she is going with this?
And then she grandly summed up with, “THEN I would most definitely eat healthy “every day. This is a very common inference in my workshop, and I wanted to discuss this with you.
In this day and age, there is no shortage of information. There is a ton of the good and bad kind all mixed up, though. And this is a topic for another day. But knowledge is accessible to most of us. We know reasonably well that it is good to eat our meals on time, we have our ways of measuring what is right for us, and what kind is best for us. So far, so good.
But then day after day, we grab the wrong foods as we hurriedly get about our work, throw out that bag of sprouts, or that expensive bag of microgreens we picked up so fondly to eat healthily. Not to mention, that whole crisper of veggies that sat there for two weeks in different stages of wilt. You just tossed it all in the compost bin and comforted yourself that it’s not a waste after all! Sounds familiar?
Disorganization is the biggest non-food reason why we don’t eat healthily.
What do I mean by this? Like how Emily said, most of us would like to play the chef in our kitchens. We desire to enter the space and find our mise en place all set for us. When we open our refrigerators, we would like to see our veggies all washed and prepped – ready to go. Our onions to be chopped, garlic peeled, and appropriate herbs for our dish – all neatly laid out in their containers.
What we have is the exact opposite of this in varying degrees of messiness. We remember picking that peeled garlic – for a higher price, to make it easy on ourselves, and the damn thing is nowhere to be seen. The cilantro looked so fresh at the farmers market, and you bought it right away. But what you did not notice is the roots with sticky mud still clinging to it.
You put it in the refrigerator hurriedly to keep its freshness, thinking you will get to washing it just after lunch. And then, you have three knives in your cutlery tray (hiding with the eating utensils), but not one of them is sharp or to your liking. Also, veggies all need washing before you can use them. Damn!!
Organic Ginger and Organic Cilantro in different stages of wilting cohabiting with a reasonably good looking Organic Onion and Organic Bell Pepper inside the same baggie. Buying the best organic vegetables does NOT MEAN you eat the best organic vegetables.
The everyday knife, which is SO dull, was first reached out to but was found unwashed in the sink. Then remembered the knife-set received in a thoughtful gift, oh! DAMN, the two in there are serrated ones, where are the regular ones??? Aaaahhhh, want to run away from here!!!!
Every ladle and spoon there was, was in the sink – all waiting to get washed! As was the bowl, Vitamix and few pans and …!
Do you see how just streamlining this will take you a minimum of 20-30 minutes of your precious time when all you had was 20 minutes to cook and eat a simple something? Why are you surprised that you just grabbed a cookie and left the place? And when you came home in the evening, though you had the time ahead of you, this somehow did not feel like anything you would enjoy doing. So, you called for a pizza to be delivered.
Here is what I want to share my own experience about staying organized in the kitchen and eating healthy:
- If you are aiming never to fail, FAILS big time. Therefore your goal must be only to catch yourself going off track AT THE EARLIEST and get back in the groove again.
What do I mean by this? Let’s say you read this on Thursday, and you are inspired to take action, and you decide to prep for every single meal Monday through Wednesday. And you have every intention of doing the same on Wednesday for the rest of the week but missed it, for whatever reason. And you feel the pinch of it on Friday when you had friends over at short notice. Instead of bashing yourself, or saying, ‘oh well, this is just not my thing, it does not work for folks like us!!’, get back to doing your meal prep promptly on Saturday. That’s it!
- Define what eating healthy means for you, very clearly.
As in, say ‘I will make sure to have two veggies for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this week. One of them to be served raw, the other in the cooked form”. See how it carries its action steps for you? All that’s left is for you is to figure out what veggies you will need for which dish.
- Bridge the knowing-doing gap with DONE and DON’T lists.
Imagine a list like this on the refrigerator: Carrots – grated, Potatoes – boiled, Quinoa – cooked, Garbanzo and Pinto – boiled, Onions – sliced 1, diced 1, garlic – peeled, Cilantro and Mint – chopped, with a tick mark against each. Would you not feel a sense of accomplishment? It is this joy of success that will propel your next series of steps in the desired direction.
DON’T lists have their place as well. Especially if doing the wrong thing has become a habit. I have stuck a pink post-it that reads NO EMAILS on my kitchen table as it had become a mindless activity to check them while eating in the mornings. I intended to get mindful of what was going into my mouth and enjoy the tastes rather than going through emails at that time. I have similarly stuck a “STOP@5” post-it reminder on the raisins bag.
If you have to or already have organized your kitchen to cook and eat healthily, what are/were your TOP three steps? I would love for you to share the comments.