Many of you mentioned your interest in a post on my recipe book and how J and I try to change our eating habits. Here it is!
How do you approach a change in your eating habits? It comes down to education, motivation and planning.
I educated myself by taking a day off work to do research on what certain foods do to the body to understand why they are harmful.
Motivation comes in lots of forms. For me it’s often an inspiring blog post, a ted talk or a movie. I recently watched the documentary “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” and highly recommend it (it’s on Netflix but you can find it on Youtube too).
What I struggled with when I already knew what I should be doing and very much wanted to be doing it was how to actually approach it and incorporate a healthy eating routine into daily life. I needed a plan.
Here’s where the recipe book comes in. I had a Pinterest board chock full of recipes and several cook books I never opened – I needed something else.
So I sat down (once again) to a day of serious work and compiled a list of recipes that met the following criteria:
- Easy to prepare: no hours of slaving in the kitchen, ideally a recipe with very few steps in preparation
- Few ingredients: I wanted to make shopping easier and have recipes that didn’t call for exotic ingredients that needed to be specially bought only to get shoved to the back of a cupboard and forgotten afterwards
- Healthy: based on my research this means a meal from scratch including lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grain spelt flour instead of white flour, healthy grains like quinoa or millet and of course sugar free
- Seasonal: whenever possible I want to cook in keeping with the seasons using regional produce
I chose both recipes we already knew and liked and new recipes that fit the criteria and which I wanted to try out.
Divided into categories (Veggies, salads, meat, fish, pasta, soup and so on) each section only has about five recipes in it to prevent us getting overwhelmed by choices. Each recipe got its own page (I did it in PowerPoint but you can make a word document as well, whatever you like working with) with the same format and a picture (because I’m a perfectionist at heart). Our very own recipe book got printed onto cardboard paper and filed away neatly in a folder. We have a mix of german and english language recipes in there (not that much of a perfectionist after all).
Every week before grocery shopping we pull out the book, pick a recipe for each day we need to cook dinner (we usually eat at work during the week so we cook a maximum of three meals – Friday, Saturday, Sunday – each week) and make a shopping list. Having a plan and having all ingredients at hand motivates us to actually cook the recipes and that simple routine forces us to “go through with it”.
So far we’ve added several easy recipes to our repertoire and feel much more empowered and able to cook and eat well. Something we make almost weekly now is a simple dish of oven roasted veggies (usually zucchini, fennel and peppers). I also love this Mexican quinoa pan and this kale quinoa bowl – soo good.
Now, why are there pictures of green smoothies all over this post? For one, pictures of just the recipe book would bore you out of your mind (and since most of the photos in there aren’t mine I can’t show them on here anyway).
The much more important reason is that in the last three weeks I have drastically changed my eating habits yet again. It’s all the fault of Joe Cross and his documentary “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead”. I’ve wanted to try green smoothies for a long time and the documentary was the last, determined shove in the right direction.
I am now making a green smoothie every day before work and drink it for breakfast. It tastes suprisingly awesome! Contrary to what I expected I have actually come to crave it each morning – obviously my body’s way of saying ‘give it here, I need it’. I do harbor a small hope that it will help with my back pain too – we’ll see.
Note that I am not doing a reboot or trying to lose weight, I do it solely for health purposes and eat a normal lunch (usually a small plate of warm food and a large salad at work).
Makes about 1 litre (4 cups):
- 2 cups greens (kale, spinach, salad greens, lamb’s lettuce…)
- 2 cups water or milk (I use oat milk which is really yummy)
- 3 cups fruits and berries (I’ve tried apples, bananas, pears, oranges and blueberries so far)
- Optional: a small teaspoon of pure almond butter and a tablespoon of linseed oil (I add both)
Blend well and drink fresh within a day or two. I use the blender on my ancient food processor and it works just fine. You really don’t need fancy new equipment!
Fruits and greens I buy at an organic farm once a week and freeze portions of greens for the week. That way it only takes me a few minutes every morning to prepare the smoothie and it’s always fresh and slightly chilled. You could also prepare and freeze all ingredients beforehand! With spring upon us and gardening on my mind I am already looking forward to growing my own greens instead of buying them this summer!
It takes me quite a while to drink the smoothie so I usually take it to work in my beloved Equa bottle (nope, not getting paid to mention it, but hey Equa if you want to send free bottles my way feel free 😉 ). We also got a water filter recently so we’ll not ever buy bottled water again. Saving the world one bottle at a time and all that.
Have you tried green smoothies yourself? What are your experiences and recommendations? Have your own recipe books and want to recommend an easy, healthy recipe? Let me know!
Thanks for sharing your kitchen stories and plans for eating healthier, Kristina. I also think that it’s much easier to eat healthy meals if you take time to organize your meals and do planned grocery shopping.
This post is super-awesome! It motivates me to make a recipe book myself. I am such a list maker so your approach (educate, motivate, plan) really hits a nerve! When I’ll finally be able to afford moving out (probably in about 500 years … 😦 ) I’ll come back for inspiration on healthy cooking 🙂
Let me know if you do make a recipe book and find some recipe recommendations 😉
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I will for sure but it might take a while. 😉
My health consciousness took a nosedive after the first trimester of this pregnancy, and I’m only just now starting to wrap my head around making better choices again. I had to pin all your recipe recommendations, and the husband and I watched the Joe Cross documentary tonight. Super inspirational! We’ve already taken up morning smoothies, but this definitely motivates us to continue and find more ways to add micronutrients in our diet.
Glad you liked the documentary, I loved it! Let me know how you get on. I find the daily smoothie really easy tin integrate in a routine and I’m always on the lookout for new opportunities to eat better too.