Saturday, February 7, 2015
ONE WEEK OF MEALS CROCK POT STYLE
This past year I've found so much beauty and healing in slowing down, demanding less, giving up pushing and pulling and worrying and controlling, and instead quieting my mind in an effort to really feel my body and hear my soul.
When you're in the "health world" or routinely pick up a health-based magazine or see a fear-based health post or wonder which diet is actually the best, it's so easy to quickly become immersed in food-based fear and anxiety. Most of us want to feel good and live healthfully and we educate ourselves and change our diets and start working out. All good things. And yet there comes a point where the line between making some healthy lifestyle choices shifts to wanting to control it all and simply caring turns to obsessing. And fear of whatever the opposite of health is, or could be, becomes the driving force.
Here's what I've learned: no matter how healthy we eat, how much knowledge we gain, how many supplements we take, how much we care and do and give up, if "being healthy" causes anxiety and stress and fear, health will continually allude us.
Here's what I've also learned: it's okay.
It's okay to release all of the fear. It's okay to release all of the stress. It's okay to say no to the worry. It's okay to get to a point where we say enough is enough. It's okay to think we've failed. It's okay to not feel our best every minute of every day. It's okay to sit in the discomfort of life and experience the emotions that come with. It's okay to get sick from time to time. And it's okay to ask for help when being okay seems unbelievable.
So close the diet books. Discontinue the health magazines. Turn off the sound and chatter of the voices out there and begin to listen to the voice within. I know from experience that the voice of our true, honest, ego-less, projection-less self is infinitely wise and grace-filled and honest and compassionate and vastly inclusive and forgiving. Find someone who can help uncover this voice.
Give up the chatter and noise and meditate. Practice mindfulness. Breathe. Listen to really awesome music. Completely loose all sense of time doing something you love. Go outside. Seriously, even in the winter go outside. Connect with people you care deeply about. Be open and honest and vulnerable. Laugh. Laugh a lot. Let yourself stay up too late and sleep in too long from time to time and don't for a second regret it. And be present. Take all of the energy wasted on worry and fear and being anxious and focus on just being present. Right now. This second.
And forget about food. And health. And whatever you think you should be doing.
Because food matters. But it only matters as one small piece of the great big, beautiful, unique puzzle that makes up you.
So Crock Pots.
Let's be honest, Crock Pots are one of mankind's most amazing inventions. Well Crock Pots and electricity. And air travel. And indoor plumbing. And pacifiers. You get the point. I affectionately think of ours as Ms. Chef, getting dinner done when I don't have the energy, motivation and/or time to do so. For me, there is something about having dinner prepared before 9am that brings a sort of ease to my day. Feeding my family well demands a decent amount of my time and using a Crock Pot allows me to spend elsewhere the time I would be standing at a stove - hopefully on things that fill me up and give me life and allow me to be present.
Here is a week long meal plan using just the Crock Pot. Some meals are meat-less, some use meat, and all are based on whole, un-processed foods. You can choose to serve with the sides listed, create your own sides, or stick to whatever is in the pot. These recipes are great for cooler temperatures and the winter season.
May you find a little extra space in your life to slow down, take in beauty in whatever way you find it, and forget about food.
Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls
*prepare lentils for Monday by placing dried, uncooked lentils in a large glass bowl and covering with double the amount of water and a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar.
Serve with oat baguette, seed bread, seed crackers, or bread / crackers of choice.
Serve with steamed or roasted vegetables.
Butternut Squash Risotto
Serve with steamed or roasted vegetables.
*prepare black beans for Thursday by dried, uncooked beans in a large glass bowl and covering with double the amount of wate and a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar.
Black Bean Soup
Serve with fresh cilantro and roasted sweet potato or parsnip chips.
Modifications: Rather than cooking over stove, simply put all of the ingredients [including uncooked, pre-soaked black beans] in Crock Pot on high for 6 - 8 hours.
Creamy Chicken Soup using leftover chicken from Tuesday [click on link and scroll to "Meal 6"]
Serve with roasted cauliflower [click link and scroll down for recipe].
Serve on a bed of quinoa or rice and top with fresh cilantro, avocado, and freshly squeezed lime juice.
Recipe modifications: I used Cod in place of Tilapia and seasoned with freshly ground cumin and coriander seeds.