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The holidays are tough on those who eat any way other than the mainstream. Parties, preparations and activities so fast and so often that you feel drug-out and tired with not enough energy to fix proper meals and treats. That leads to even more exhaustion from too much sugar, too much refined flours and too many processed foods. It’s a nasty spiral for what should be the happiest time of year for most people.
Now school has started back, or will start back by Monday. Life is returning to normal. Time to detox, clean-up and move on. Here are seven ways to help get your real food groove back when you fall off the bandwagon.
Dump the Sugar
If sugar really is a major problem for you, and it is for the vast majority of people, it’s time to detox. Going cold turkey on the sweeteners isn’t pleasant, but it is a good way to reset and get over the hump. Sometimes just cutting back can cause you to crave more.
If you need additional help, Lydia from Divine Health is doing a Sugar Detox and Weight Loss online class that starts next week. I’m hosting a giveaway for a seat in that class. I’ve done other classes by Lydia and she does an awesome job. If you’re interested, go check out her class and enter the giveaway. But hurry, because the giveaway closes Saturday (the 5th) at midnight. If you’d like to sign up, that post has an exclusive coupon code for 15% off.
Get Adequate Sleep
Nothing makes you unable to prepare nutritious meals like a lack of sleep. And nothing sucks the creativity out of you like a lack of sleep. It’s a good way to continue to have to rely on the processed stuff to get through the day, when you’re dragging and can’t think of anything to cook.
Your adrenals do a hormone dump at 11pm and 1am. It’s really important to be asleep for both, especially if you’re trying to recover from stress (and who isn’t stressed at the holidays?). I have found a sleep mask greatly improves the quality of my sleep. It affects how quickly, I’m able to go to sleep, deeply I sleep and how long I sleep. I wake up feeling far more refreshed when I use a sleep mask and I have less of a chance t have brain fog.
Now is a good time to experiment with what you need to get better quality sleep. Ear plugs, a mattress topper, sleep mask, white noise, f.lux or another blue light filter on your computer, setting your cell phone to airplane mode or leaving it in another room and other options can really have a positive impact on how you function during the day.
Yes, I know some folks really, *really* love to fly by the seat of their pants. Yes, I know some people really rebel against the pre-planning and think it squashes their free spirit. I also know that some folks repeatedly find themselves staring at an open fridge at 5pm and realize they’ve forgotten to thaw the meat for dinner for a week (or four) in a row. And the result is that your family eats sub-optimal meals for a week (or four) while you try to pull it together and do better. Just a small amount of pre-planning can solve the problem.
So even if you’re not the type of pre-plan, consider doing some minor planning for at least a week or two to help get yourself back into your diet. When you find yourself resorting to bad food because you’re out of creativity, out of ideas and have nothing thawed, it’s time to do something about it.
If you love menu planning, go ahead and get your plan done for a week or two. If you don’t love menu planning, at least decide on tomorrow’s meal the afternoon before so you can thaw meat and soak beans/grains/nuts/seeds as needed. That will prevent you from staring at the fridge at 5pm, wondering ONCE AGAIN what’s for dinner with no answers.
Personally, I write a two Menu Mailers, do a video-based cooking school and write a blog. I work with and test a LOT of recipes. But even I will find myself staring at an empty fridge at 5pm if I’m not careful. Yes, it can even happen to those of us who menu plan for a living.
If you need some help and would prefer to have someone else do the planning for you, we have the original and longest-running traditional foods menu planning serving on the internet. Click here to learn more about our two available Menu Mailers. If you like to plan your own menus, we offer a Real Foods Cooking School with lots of recipes. You can receive 25% off any purchase on our site with coupon code “NEWYEAR” through January 31st.
Push the Reset Button
Sometimes, you just have to recharge yourself in order to find balance and regain your Mojo. For me, coming out of a holiday season filled with grieving and great stress and upheaval from website problems, that means I am getting off the computer a little earlier each night to spend time with the family and taking some time out each day to love on my two new fuzzies. They’re helping me recharge. As I write this, I have a little fuzzy happily curled up on my lap, snoozing away and he has been parked here since his after-breakfast romp. This afternoon, I’ll take a break and play a board game or do a craft with the kids. Tonight, after dinner, I’ll snuggle up with the family on the couch and watch some Phineas and Ferb or a movie. Having some snuggle time with my human and my furry kids helps me recharge and feel creative.
Whether it’s a craft, a particular TV show, an outdoor activity or family time, sometimes you just have to find time to do it for an hour or two to get your mojo back. That will allow you to be more creative and plan better for everything, not just your meals. There’s more than just physical food in life. Sometimes you have to feed your creativity, your soul and your motivation in order to get back into a good groove.
Add an Extra Serving of Mineral-Rich Foods
Sugar cravings are tough. No two ways around it. To help combat those cravings, I add extra mineral-rich foods, such as a soup with concentrated bone broth, into a meal or two each day to help fix the source of the cravings instead of just looking to remedy the symptoms.
This is a good tactic anytime you’re trying to make a dietary change and dealing with cravings. It doesn’t have to just be sugar. It will help ease the transition for any type of craving. If you’re really fighting, a small pinch of L-glutamine held under the tongue can also help stop cravings in certain instances. Google has more info on it.
Get Some Fresh Air
I find opening up the house helps me re-set myself. Indoor air pollution is definitely an issue. In our house, we burn wood for heat, making it an even bigger issue. We pick the ‘warmest’ day of the week (and I mean that loosely) and open up the house for an hour while we clean out the fireplace ashes and build a new fire. Yes, it requires jackets and shoes in the house- we take our shoes off at the door and reserve a pair of shoes for each family member that are for inside-only to help cut down on the housework. But I find it really does help with focus and concentration and it helps my creativity and perspective to literally get a ‘breath of fresh air.’
Spend Time Outside
Yup, that, too. Fresh air helps, but a walk REALLY helps. It’s hardest to do in Winter, which is exactly when you need it most. Bundle the kids up and take them outside for a science lesson or a long walk through the neighborhood. Go to a park and allow yourself to breathe in some fresh air and sunshine while they run out their energy. The added bonus is that they’ll sleep better tonight, too.
How to YOU reset yourself and get back into the groove after falling off the real foods wagon?
Photo Credit- Cutting Celery by Dinner Series, on Flickr