Category Archives: reader questions

Reader Question: Toxins

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What toxins are in our bodies and how to get rid of them? -Victoria

This is another great question from Victoria.

This entire concept of toxins has really spawned an entire industry based on cleansing the body.  Cleanse.  Clean.  Pure.

“Toxin” is one of those words that I’d like to see eradicated for a while.  It has created so much fear and a certain attitude of war against the body.

I’m not denying that we live in something of a cesspool of our own creation, most definitely.  However, we focus our energy on cleansing the body of the individual instead of stopping the toxic things at their source.  For example, a large part of the toxins that we ingest are in our water.  Instead of us getting really angry about that, we’ve allowed corporations to charge us money for “clean water” in bottles (plastic of course which are toxic).

Okay, reining myself back in.  That wasn’t really the question.

We are contextual beings.  What that means is that our body cannot be separated from its environment.  If you’ve ever looked at single celled organisms through a microscope, you now that they are “swimming’ through a solution of something.  There’s not just empty space between them.  It’s the same idea with us.  The “empty space” that you see between yourself and the person next to you or the tree a few feet away is not empty at all.  It’s swirling with life, dust, pollen, and all sorts of other things.  So, we are only as “non-toxic”  as our environment.

Our bodies co-evolved with everything else in our environment.  This means that we evolved all sorts of “cleansing” mechanisms naturally and within ourselves.  We have several organs who do that: the skin, the liver, the kidneys, the intestines, the lungs, etc.  A well nourished healthy body cleanses itself naturally.

However, we as a species have been very busy creating new toxins to fill that “empty space” between things.  The body may need a little additional help.

The things that we now have to deal with are pesticides in our food, radiation in the air and water, sugar, vegetable oils, genetically modified foods and strange chemical combinations created by industry.  These are the biggies.

Some of these are pretty easy to control.  Stop eating sugar and vegetable oils and GMO foods.  Source your water from a spring or use a filter for the tap.  Get angry about industry and see what you can do about your local area.  (This is hard.  Very, very hard.  Money and politics are strong forces in this day and age.)

Here are the other things that you can do:

1.  Eat well.  You eat to very literally create yourself.  What you eat is broken down and used by your body to repair and make more of you on a cellular level.

2.  Nourish your organs.  Your organs regenerate.  Your skin, your liver….you basically get new ones every few weeks to months.  So, give your body the best nutrients to build organs that are capable of cleansing the body, not just limp along trying to survive.

3.  Eat clay.  Find some edible clay and take a little bit in each day.  Just a bit.  I make toothpaste with mine.  Other times, I dissolve a little bit in my water.  This really helps with radioactivity, but it also helps with other poisons and is full of minerals.  Other mammals do this and its a traditional practice in nearly all cultures.

4.  Sweat.  A sauna is such a nice passive way to do this.  Moving intensely and with purpose is also really nice.  I’m not a big fan of gyms.  I find it far more satisfying to sweat doing something really productive.  Carry the groceries up the 5 flights of stairs instead of taking the elevator.  Scrub the kitchen floor with a brush.  Really allow your body to live in your life.

5.  Look into herbs.  There are herbs that correspond with particular organs.  I prefer to use herbs that nourish my liver or my skin instead of stronger, really medicinal ones that have an actual cleansing effect on the body.  I’d rather that my body know it has allies that are working with it instead of substances that are nearly as toxic as the substances that it is trying to detoxify itself from.

Cleansing when the body is compromised in any way can be harsh and further break down the body’s vitality.  Instead, find ways to nourish the body in little ways daily.  Keep your environment authentic.

And, remember that dirty and toxic are not the same thing.  Going outside and rolling around in the mud or playing in the dirt is actually really good for you.

Disclaimer: Everything here is my opinion and for information purposes only.  What you do with that information is your responsibility alone.

Reader question: Water?

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Larissa writes:  Water.  “don’t drink tap water.  don’t drink water from plastic bottles. use a filter. not all filters are ok., etc. etc.” are things that we hear all the time.  How is water essential to our health ? What minerals are there in water ? Is A lemon carbonated Perrier only pleasurable but also a healthy nourishing nutrient ? Salt and lemon in water to rehydrate ?

Full disclosure: Larissa is one my very best friends and she very humbly allows me to think I always know what I’m talking about.  The woman is smart as a whip, however, and keeps me on my toes!  We’re going to have to get her to do a guest post here.

There are a lot of questions in this request for an answer.  Let’s try and take them one by one.

1.  How is water essential to our health?

Well, we are, on average, 60% water.  Babies are like 80%.  (That’s why they are so plump and delicious!)  The water that we drink becomes our blood.  We use water for these processes in the body: 

a.) gets oxygen to our cells

b.) between our joints, there is something called synovial fluid, the efficacy and “cushiness” of our joints depends on the amount of hydration we take in

c.) our cells communicate with each other-water make this communication more effective/efficient

d.) water maintains normal electrical properties of cells (yep, I saw the Matrix, too and yep, we probably could be used as batteries and that’s why we are in pods of fluid in those movies)

e.) our lymphatic system’s function depends on two things: 1. movement-it’s a kinetic system that requires movement to flow and 2. water-our lymphatic fluid’s viscosity is directly influenced by our water intake

f.) we are better able to regulate our body temperature when we are well hydrated (when you  consider the incredibly narrow range of healthy body temperature that we have and the incredibly broad range of environments in which humans live, you start to understand how crucial this is.)

g.) water removes waste from the body’s metabolic processes

There’s more, but I think you’re getting the picture.  The short answer is “water is important”.

2.  What minerals are in water?

This is a deceptively simple question to answer.  Water, on a molecular level, is hydrogen and oxygen (dihydrogen monoxide for my geeks out there.  holla!)  However, the hydrogen and oxygen molecules act as a matrix (little m) for other things.  The minerals in water are incredibly variable according to the water source.  (My go-to guy for all anything water related is Daniel Vitalis, for those of you interested in a vastly more in-depth study of this.)  What that means is that the minerals in Perrier are going to be different than the minerals in San Pellegrino.  Are you still with me?

Now, once you understand that, you’ll see that water from different sources really is not the same thing.  We drink water to hydrate, yes, but it is also a valuable source of nutrition.  It is not just “wet”.  I was lucky enough to grow up drinking water that came from a spring not far from my house.  We never drank milk in my house, except on rare occasions when the farmer came by with his cow.  (You’d tell him how many jars of milk you wanted-that you’d provide-and he’d milk the cow right there in your yard.  True story.)  Why do I mention this?  Because, the water I grew up on fed through limestone rock.  I can remember waiting until the end of my meal to drink my water (as is my culture) and there would be limestone sediment at the bottom of the glass, so rich in minerals was that water!  Also, no fear of calcium deficiency, either.

So, the minerals in water are location dependent and source dependent.  

3. Is a lemon carbonated Perrier only pleasurable but also a healthy nourishing nutrient?

Yes.  It is both.  For people who live in cities and source their water (actually “tap liquid”, according to Daniel Vitalis) from the tap, mineral waters are a wonderful addition to the diet.  I love to have sparkling water on a regular basis.  I tend to brand hop.  Appolinaris is a personal favorite, but I don’t do it frequently because of the whole “I love the earth and I’m paying for jet fuel and pollution by buying this.” thing.  Water is incredibly heavy!!  So, bottled water is not my favorite way to destroy the earth.  

4.  Salt and lemon in water to rehydrate?

Yes, to both.  Of course, I’m not talking about table salt, which you should probably get rid of A.S.A.P.  Table salt is pretty much strictly sodium chloride and iodine.  It will create an imbalance in the body on a mineral level, so please, sea salt.  I vary my salt intake from different sources and every single time I go home to Haiti, I bring back a quart or so of local sea salt.  True salt is also rich in minerals.  Adding salt to denatured water helps remineralize it.  As far as lemon and vinegar in water goes, I can remember reading that it helps with the availability of the water to the cells but can’t find the reference anymore, so take that with a grain of (sea) salt.  Adding lemon and vinegar does do other things that are more frequently and commonly documented, like aiding with digestion and “stronger” blood.

5.  This wasn’t asked outright but was implied at the beginning of the question.  Water sources:

Worst: Plastic bottles.  Absolute worst.  Don’t do it.  We are becoming plastic people.  Literally.  Water is the more powerful solvent.  When you drink water from plastic, you are also drinking plastic.  

Less worse but not by much: Tap water.  Most of the water is flouridated (carcinogen), chlorinated (carcinogen) and completely ‘purified’-denatured and demineralized.  At least you’re not drinking plastic?  Well, maybe, but whatever anyone is flushing down their toilet, it’s eventually getting back to you.  I’m not talking about sewage, because that’s properly taken out of the flow, but prescription medications, etc.  Those chemicals are finding their way into the water source regardless.

Even less worse: Filtered tap water.  This is a good solution for most people.  Personally, I would filter it through a really good filter, the best that you can afford, and I would add a little vinegar and some salt to it.  Maybe a half a Tablespoon of each to a gallon.  (I’m spitballing here and saying what I would do.)

The good stuff:  Find a spring.  Spring water is where it’s at.  When I was living in the cabin, I would drive an hour every two-three weeks to fill glass carboys with spring water.  Since I’ve moved, I haven’t yet found an easy to get to source.  My old spring is two hours away.  It’s becoming more and more worth it to make the trek.  I’ve been drinking the tap water here and it is not the same.  At.  All.  It doesn’t taste right nor is it hydrating me.  I just have to get a couple more carboys to make the trek less frequently, but I will probably be doing the trip this weekend.  It.  Is.  That.  Important.  And.  That.  Different.

Thanks Larissa for a great question!  I hope the information provided was useful.

*Disclaimer:  Everything I say on this blog is my opinion and just provided for information purposes only.  What you choose to do with that information is your responsibility.  

 

Reader Question: Rejection?

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Kristeen writes: Can you talk about how to handle rejection?

Disclaimer: I’m not a psychologist.  What follows are my opinions based on my own experience.  What you do with this information is your responsibility.  

My mother didn’t love me.  Not in a horrid, dramatic throw me down the outhouse hole at birth sort of way, but in a steady, corrosive, no idea what to do with me sort of way.  I learned about rejection very early on.  I became quite intimate with its jagged edge.

The first 39 years of life has been all about striving to figure out why.  What was wrong with me that she had to reject me?  How was I so different from her?  How was I so the same that she couldn’t bear it?  What was it?  I plumbed the depths.  

In so many ways, that rejection formed who I am today.  

I was able to set it down as I am preparing to enter my 40th year.  It had jack-all to do with me.  Rejection is a lot of things: it’s perception, it’s real, it’s mostly about the one who’s doing the rejecting, it’s a gift.

I know what doesn’t work when trying to deal with rejection.  They are as follows:

1. Try to nail down the exact reason you’ve been rejected.  You’re not going to be able to and the amount of energy this consumes will never be returned by the answer.  You may never know.  It may be as simple as that the person had a really bad experience with someone wearing a yellow sweater when they were a kid and you are wearing a yellow sweater.  It may be as complex as you remind them of someone who rejected them once.

2. Believe that this one rejection will destroy you.  It won’t.  It is just another event that you will use to shape your life and your self-perception.  More times than not, it has nothing to do with anything that is in your control.  All it is is information about that person. 

3.  Act like it doesn’t hurt.  It really, really does sometimes.  Be authentic.  Be with the hurt of it.  The rejections that hurt the most probably raise up the self-rejections you already believe.  Meaning, when someone tells you that you really suck at ice hockey and it hurts, maybe you already believe that you suck at ice hockey and just didn’t want it to be so obvious.  When it really hurts, that’s excellent information.  It can uncover what is really important to you.  Maybe being really good at ice hockey is really important to you.

4.  Make someone’s rejection of you their problem.  it’s not.  The person may have no clue that what they did was perceived as rejection by you.  Depending on the intimacy of the relationship, this may never even need to be broached with the person who had rejected you.  If it is a relationship of intimacy, let the person know that you feel rejected.  Let them know specifically what your experience of rejection was with them.  Then, do some detective work and figure out what rejection earlier in your life triggered this reaction.  Let them know what that was, depending on the intimacy of the relationship, so that it’s clear to both people that something older is happening there.

5. Insist that rejection with commonality has nothing to do with you.  I think of this in more of a professional way, but it can be applied to personal relationships, as well.  If you keep going for a certain type of job and keep being denied, it’s time to recuperate.  Maybe it’s not the right domain for you.  Maybe your resume needs work.  Maybe it’s because you’re projecting that it’s not what you really want.  

This is what does work with rejection:

1. View it as a gift.  Something is being told to you.  If you see rejection everywhere, do some thinking.  Why is that?  What part of you believes that you deserve it?  If rejection comes from the same person over and over, take the hint.  There are other people on the planet.  Lots of them.  If rejection is professional, rejoice!  Another avenue is waiting for you.

I hope this helps!

 

 

 

Reader Question: Small Habits

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Victoria asks:

Hi jenny! … am very excited to follow your tips and articles on living life freely.
(Could you talk about)….small lifestyle changes or habits that can make a big difference. Perhaps your top 8 or something… little routines, rituals or habits you have that make a big difference.

Oh, Victoria, I love you so much I’ll give you ten.  And, since this really is about living freely you can do all ten, just one, or NONE.  🙂

This took quite a bit of thought actually because once something is routine, it falls under the radar as an actual practice and just becomes “life”.  Some of these are probably as basic as it gets, some may seem a little strange, and I hope some are at least fun.

1.  I eat a substantial (in comparison to the S.A.D.-that’s Standard American Diet) amount of saturated fat.  Most of it is from animals as saturated fat tends to be found there, but I also love coconut oil and coconut milk.  (It’s one of two canned foods that I consume on the regular because coconut milk in a carton is such a no-go.  Read the label.  It’s mostly stuff other than coconut milk.  They have to put stuff in it to keep if from going solid in your fridge.)

Why?  Saturated fat is the most stable of all the fats.  It is the one that has been consumed forever by our species.  We make our cell membranes and create our nervous systems from it.  It is a really great source of energy.  It makes our fat-soluble vitamins actually usable by the body.  Our modern low fat diets have led to us having about 1/10 of the levels of our grandparents of these vitamins.  Remember, you can eat as many carrots as you want but without the fat, you can’t use any of the vitamin A they provide.  And still crisp boiled carrots quickly sauteed in butter with garlic and parsley?  Delicious!

2. I am in bed before 10:30 as a general rule.  Often, before 9:30 so I can be asleep by 10.

Why?  The body heals itself between the hours of 10 p.m. – 2 a.m.  The brain processes the day’s information, traumas, and events to make sense of them between the hours of 2 a.m. – 6 a.m.  If you lose out on that sleep, that healing can not take place.  Being a shift worker that works nights is one of the worst things that you can do for your health.  Shift work is recognized as a carcinogen by the World Health Organization.  Robb Wolf likes to say that you should get as much sleep as you can without getting divorced or fired.

3. I eat clay.  On purpose.  I used to drink it mixed in water but now I make an herbal toothpaste with clay as the base that I use daily.

Why?  Clay is cationic and helps bond with radioactivity in the body and helping it exit.  With the amount of computer exposure, radioactive exposure that we are all (mostly unknowingly) subjected to, this is a really great health practice.  In Haiti, there was the myth that Haitians ate dirt to ward off starvation during the embargo years.  Actually, the clay tablets, not dirt, have always been and are still sold in the markets and just make a pretty regular part of the traditional diet.

4.  I have a dog.

Why? This may not be a small habit, but it doesn’t have to be a dog that you choose to adopt.  It can be a plant, a parakeet, a cat, or a monitor lizard.  Knowing that a living thing depends on me grounds me to the natural world.  Being witness to the way that life REALLY works, like the time my dog decimated my chicken flock in 5 minutes, keeps me from falling prey to a lot of wishful thinking and sentimentality about the way I wish things work.  Also, having living species other than humans around reminds me that I have needs based on my being a human being that are wholly natural.  To acknowledge and meet those needs is wisdom and the gateway to freedom.

5.  I don’t wear underwire bras.  And frequently none at all.  

Why?  There are certainly studies on both sides of this issue.  Since I happen to think my boobs are pretty cool, I’ve decided to minimize the risks.  Some studies do say that the lymphatic tissue, dependent on movement, is healthier when the natural flow if uninterrupted by such hardcore “support”.  Also, I feel vhary ze francais when I go au naturel.

6.  I installed f.lux on to my computer.

Why?  Blue light can interfere with our melatonin production.  F.lux is an application that can be programmed to your time zone and starts to remove blue light from your monitor as blue light is being naturally removed from the outdoors as sunset approaches.  Melatonin is the hormone that is largely responsible for sleep.  As melatonin rises, cortisol (known as the “stress hormone”) lowers and you can sleep.  So, part of the issue with being on the computer past sunset (just part…there are others) is the issue of blue light interfering with the rise in melatonin necessary for a good night’s sleep.

7. I do the booty dance.

Why?  In this Western culture we tend to move forward.  Really think about how often your body moves within all the dimensions available to it.  Even our fitness model works within the back and forth and very rarely to the side to side and hardly ever in the all around.  Just the act of releasing the hips and letting them rotate all the way around helps with blood flow, helps keep certain muscles toned, and is a really good reminder that we move in tunnel vision.  It can really help with creativity as well.

**The booty dance is a dance so named by my son when he was five.  It looks something like this:  With legs hip distance apart, bend knees so that they are soft.  Rotate hips, pelvis, and well, booty, in a full circle.  Go in both directions and go as fast or as slow as feels good to you.  It’s a great thing to try every hour on the hour throughout the day.  

8.  I hug my son and anyone else who’ll let me.

Why?  When the fetus is developing, the same layer of tissue that forms the brain forms the skin.  Yeah, I’ll wait while you let that sink in.

I know, right?  Touch, loving and appropriate, is one of the things that I find most lacking in this adopted culture of mine.  We need touch as much as we need food.  We are primates.  When you spend any time watching primates, either on Animal Planet or in real life, just observe how much of their time they spend touching each other.  It’s a lot.  And, in their world, just like in ours, the animals that are touched less are not as healthy as those who are touched more.

9.  I drink herbal infusions.  I learned this from the one and only Susun Weed and she calls if one of her three best ideas.  It is.

Why?  Well, first, what?  An infusion differs from a tea because the herb is “steeped” for four hours minimum.  I don’t recommend that just any herb be used for this, but instead use the class of herbs that are called “nourishing” herbs.  My favorite ones are stinging nettle, oatstraw, comfrey leaf, linden, red rasberry and red clover.  There are a few more, but that’s my short list.

Now, why?  One of the things that we most lack in our diet is not vitamins necessarily but minerals.  There are wonderful minerals in plants.  We often can’t access them because of the cell wall that plants have and we don’t.  Taking dried plant material and pouring boiling water over it and letting it sit breaks apart that cell wall and releases the minerals to us in a way that we can really use them.  The ritual of boiling my water at night and setting the herbs to sit in it in my mason jar, then, straining the water through a sieve, squeezing the herbs to get the very last drops of nutrition and drinking throughout the day….it grounds my day.  It is a concrete reminder of my nourishment as priority AND as something simple and ancient.

10.  I don’t use soap.  

Why?  Why?  Why?  Okay, not never and not nowhere.  I use soap on my pits and my bum and my feet.  For the rest of me, I dry brush before I jump in the shower and then use oil, right now it’s sesame, while I’m still wet.  Our skin’s acid mantle is our first line of defense and soap strips it.  Dry brushing stimulates the lymphatic system, really exfoliates the dead skin off, and also increases blood flow to the skin.  Special note to my ladies:  Using soap on your lady part is a HUMONGOUS no-no.  That flower cleans itself.  Soap really disrupts the pH balance.  It is supposed to be acidic to keep itself safe.  It will bloom when rinsed well.  If you feel that that’s not enough (it is, I promise!) you can add a little vinegar or lime juice to the rinse water.  And, I don’t know if this is still something anyone does, but do NOT douche!  Pas une bonne idee!

Victoria, thanks for this great question!  As I was writing, about 5 other habits came to mind.  Maybe there will be a part two to this if you all find this useful!  I will know that you find it useful by you commenting below.  🙂

Also, Nourishing Freedom is on le livre du visage, where you are free to habitually like us.

Reader Questions – Cycles and chocolate

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Emily writes:
 
1. On the sweet-tooth: First why do I get seriously poignant cravings for sweets right before I start my period? There are generally certain times of the month when my sweet-tooth kicks into high gear. What’s with that? Second, is it possible to have a genetic predisposition to be addicted to chocolate? 
 
2. Relatedly, is a small portion of dark-chocoalte a day a healthy indulgence or just one of those things women tell themselves to keep worse indulgences at bay?
 
Ah, menstrual cycles and carb cravings.  First, a question back at you.  Do you only have intense sugar cravings before your period?  If not, you may be a little carb focused in your metabolism.  If you only crave sugar before your period, your serotonin levels may have something to do with that..  The body does use carbs directly on the serotonin pathway. But, vice versa, the level of serotonin acts on your body’s release of insulin and cravings for glucose.  There is also a connection between the rise in estrogen and a drop in blood sugar as well as a drop in serotonin.  (There has long been the understanding that serotonin is our “feel good” chemical and that is what we often call it.  The reality is a little less cut and dry.  There isn’t necessarily a direct correlation between serotonin levels and feeling good, but I digress.)  In other words, you’re perfectly  normal.  I have found in my experience, the less sugar I eat and the more fat-adapted I have become, the far less dramatic are my cravings.  The cravings would be best met with sweet potatoes, sushi, berries, and full fat dairy if you don’t have a problem digesting them.  And, of course, chocolate.
 
Full disclosure:  Emily, I know your mother, so I would not be at all surprised if the very real dependence on chocolate be a phenomic expression of your genome.  
 
Now, question 2.  
 
Chocolate has been used as a part of the human diet for a very long time.  However, it has been traditionally used for rituals, for royalty, and most often unsweetened, mixed with spices.  It is a fermented food.  (Yep, it is.)  It is brimming over with anti-oxidants (which can decrease photo-sensitivity) and helps to reduce systemic inflammation.  It also helps with blood flow which means that your brain is more alert.  Then, there is theobromine, which is often touted as an aphrodaesiac.  (Might have a little something to do with the increased blood flow? 🙂 )
 
It has less caffeine than coffee and has the added benefit of being chewable (unless you’re drinking Haitian coffee properly made so your spoon stands up).  
There are only a couple things to know when it comes to chocolate.  
 
1.  They are not all equal.  Sorry, Hershey’s, but step up your game!  Go for dark.  The darker the better.  I eat a couple squares of 100% cacao almost daily.  I don’t think that anything below 85% is much good except as a rare and special treat.  (I know, it sounds nuts and takes some time to work up to.  I actually had 95% a couple weeks ago and found it far too sweet!)  I also keep unsweetened cocoa powder around to use in my smoothies and to make hot chocolate.  (I always make this in the more traditional way using several warming herbs, like ginger, cinnamon and sometimes cayenne.) 
 
2.  Theobromine in extremely high doses can be toxic.  So, chocolate can be a healthy PART of the diet, not the whole diet.  Although….I wouldn’t mind risking it.
 
3.  For anyone with the herpes virus, chocolate can be irritating and lead to outbreaks.  
 
4.  If you’re particularly sensitive to caffeine or are adrenally exhausted, I’d slow my flow with the chocolate.  
 
5. High heels making us look better is something that women have totally made up to keep worse “indulgences” (like butt implants…NO…JUST…NO) at bay, but eating chocolate on the regular?  That’s for real.
 
Like us on the book of face and any questions can be directed to us there or to nourishingfreedom@gmail.com

Reader Question-Meal management

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A while ago, I wanted to know what people were wanting to know.  This was my very first question that came back and I LOVE it.  So often, we pretty much know what to do, but the how can seem a bit mysterious and out of our point of reference.  How DO I nourish myself without being chained to the kitchen or grocery store?  For someone as busy as this (and who isn’t in one form or another these days?), I hope that my suggestions are helpful.

 What up Jenny?! I love reading your posts. I have been trying to grapple with time management in regard to meals. I want to eat fresh foods in abundance, but I work like 50 hours a week at least and walk everywhere. I don’t seem to be getting the calories I need because my energy level is kaput when it shouldn’t be.

 Also — f*$king grocery shopping. How to tackle gathering food from huge stores. I am okay in a market, but I can’t always go there. I hate that when I go to a grocery store, I am wandering through aisle of *boxes* and *bags* of food.  I want to emphasize how helpful I find your posts even if I don’t respond. Keep them coming!  -Jimmi

This is a two part question but they do overlap a little so I will do my best to answer them both.  

The first part is about time and meal management.  I am going to run on the assumption that I am writing for anyone who eats at least on the spectrum of ovo-lacto vegetarianism to full-on carnivory.  (For the record, I find veganism too dogmatic and too unhealthy a lifestyle to maintain for any length of time.)

Part One: Meal Management 

1. First to the organized individual who likes charts and graphs and routines, this will be a fun opportunity to get your spreadsheets out.  Plan your meals.  Set aside an hour a week and decide what you will eat that week while keeping an eye on the rest of your schedule.  If Monday you are running from the crack of dawn until the moon stretches into the sky, you will need to plan some portable food.  If you have a little time Wednesday night and want to actually cook, plan for something warm and simple.  

2. Learn to make things portable.  Muffin tins are useful to cook egg “cupcakes”. (Note: the recipe I linked to is a GUIDE. You can mix these puppies up any ol’ way you like.)  Make a batch on Sunday and they are there for the whole week.  Keep some jerky or mixed nuts in your bag.  Make smoothies that you can grab on your way out the door.  Chop up a bunch of veggies at the beginning of the week and keep them in the fridge.  During the week, you can grab some to have on the go with cheese or sliced roasted turkey (check the ingredients at the deli so you don’t get anything not turkey).  Sheets of nori are your new best friend.  Make some tuna salad or egg salad and roll it in the nori for little meals on the go.  These can also be used in anyway that people use tortillas but with no gluten gut.  

3.  Invest or dust off your slow cooker.  There’s NOTHING like dropping a couple chicken thighs, some of your chopped veggies, some spices and a little broth into the cooker in the morning (takes two minutes if you’ve prepped the veggies earlier in the week), turning the dial to “on”, going about your day, and when it’s over and you walk in to your house, there’s a HOT DINNER waiting for you.  (Yes, that sentence ran on and on and on.)  This is something I resisted for a long time but merci me, I LOVE mine now.

4. Boil a bunch of eggs.  Do between a six to a dozen once a week.  Pair it with a fruit and some almonds and fantastic meal on the go! Or make some egg salad.  

5. If you’re uber -organized, take 2 hours one day of the week and prepare breakfasts and lunches for the whole week.  Remember that if you base the meals around proteins and fats, you will feel fuller for longer.  That means that a salad is good but a salad with some leftover roast beef and several glugs of olive oil is much, much better.  Use either ziplocs or little containers that you’ve collected or purchased (salsa jars even work!) and fill them with a meat or egg, some veggies, and some fat.  Spice it to your hearts content and smack it in the fridge.

6. If you are completely disorganized, stock your kitchen.  The pantry should have olives, coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, nuts, coconut milk and spices.  Fill your freezer with frozen vegetables and various ground meats.  Your fridge can be stocked with eggs, butter,  some fruit, guacamole (seriously….a staple) and full fat plain yogurt.  In the morning, fry a couple eggs in plenty of butter and eat some fruit.  Or put some fruit and yogurt in a cup and go.  Or make a smoothie with coconut milk, raw egg yolks, and a piece of fruit.  Grab a handful of nuts as you head out the door and some leftovers.  At dinner, do a one skillet meal.  Brown a meat, add a package of frozen vegetables, and some spices.  Make a double portion so you have lunch tomorrow.  

Now for the second part of the question, Part Two: F$&king Grocery Shopping

Let me begin by saying, I am so picking up what you are throwing down!  One can, if not careful, walk in through the sliding doors and emerge hours later bleary-eyed and downtrodden with nothing to show for it but a couple large bags of marshmallows and a frozen pizza.  Yes, I know it’s not delivery, but it’s not really FOOD either.

Any good battle worth its salt has a worthy opponent.  Behold, the mighty grocery store.  And, any great victory requires two things: 1. Know your foe and 2. Have a strategy.

These are the things that you want to know about your nemesis:

1.  The layout.  Here’s the thing.  Anything, with the exception of oils, worth going into your cart and subsequently into your body is found around the edges of the store.  All the produce, dairy, and meats will hug the boxes and bags of “food” that form the bulk of the store.  I NEVER wander the aisles.  There is NOTHING there for me or for you.  (It must be worth noting because I typed in all caps so I’m kind of YELLING those two words.)  I used to have to wander into the aisles to get olives but now just about every store has an olive bar also around the perimeter.  So, I don’t have to get a jar of the same kind of olive nor am I restricted in the quantity.  If I just want two olives, one of garlic stuffed green and one oil cured kalamata, I can do that.  So, back to the layout.  Your individual store may have the really good raw milk cheeses presented in a slightly different place than the crap cheese.  Know this.  Find out where the sale meat is hiding.  All of this stuff will still be the perimeter, but a reconnaissance mission is a good idea.  And, know which row the olive oil is.  Also, if you don’t want to be chopping vegetable in all your free time, know where the frozen vegetables are.  You may have noticed that I didn’t mention spices.  Please, for all that is fiscal, save your pennies to buy spices at a place that sells them in bulk.  They will be better, cheaper, and again, better.

2. When is the store the quietest?  You may not have a whole lot of leeway in your schedule but if you find out that Wednesdays at 2:00 the store is dead, schedule your shopping for then.  Or, do a Tuesday evening run.  This will be highly dependent on your area, but it’s VERY valuable information.  (See those caps?)

Then, the strategy.  Prepare yourself with a list.  Make sure that your list restocks the pantry if you have run out of any of the basics.  Smear some warpaint on your face, gird your loins, stretch your hamstrings.  I promise you that you can be in and out in less than thirty minutes once you know your store and have a plan.  I can walk you through mine.

1. Wearing a ninja costume, I hit the produce first.  (Again a meal plan is so helpful!)  I grab green things, some bright colors, and then something that I haven’t tried before.  (This last category is now so narrow that a regular grocery store can’t fulfill it.)

2. Then, I sneak over to the sale beef.  Then to the meat counter.  If I’m feeling like a high roller, off to the seafood counter.  

3. Then, the dairy.  Eggs (I urge you to always have at least a dozen on hand.  I can go through two dozen in a week, no problem.) and butter and if you do yogurt, grab the full fat plain and some whole milk if you do that.

4.  I swoop up the oil aisle if I need any.

5.  Pay.  If I haven’t spoken to anyone yet today, I go through a regular register.  If I’ve fulfilled my societal quota of small talk, out the self scan I go.  

Done.  Yes, it really is that easy.  I promise.  Thanks so much, Jimmi, for the question.  I really hope this helps!  Nourish yourself into freedom!

If you have any questions or comments, I would LOVE (Jenny…shhhhhhh already.) to hear them below.  Or find me on facebook.