Another year has come and gone, and we now welcome 2014. With each new year comes a renewed sense of spirit and drive to improve upon the people we were the previous year. Often times those resolutions for greatness in some way include goals related to health and wellness. Everyone, at some level, has the desire to feel vibrant and healthy on a daily basis; unfortunately, desire does not always translate into reality. Changing eating and exercise habits and making those resolutions a lasting reality can prove to be a challenge.
In the past, my desire for each New Year was just to be healthy without having to apply so much effort or feel so restricted in my life, but I didn’t know what that looked like. Often times “diets” or the simple resolve to eat more of this and not eat that can fail to fulfill our resolution and leave us, yet again, giving up on our young goals. It took several years of searching, praying, trial and error, before I truly found what a healthy resolve looked like.
It’s All About Perspective
In order to be successful in changing my habits, it started with a new perspective. I was able to change the way I looked at food and eating in order to achieve success the entire year, not just in January. You see, health is not hard, but you have to believe in it to be successful. Believing in health means making healthy, real food choices because you truly know and believe your body is better for it, and you want to nourish and respect the body God has given you. If you are simply making changes in order to lose weight, be skinnier, or ‘tone up’ your flab, the chance of success is low because the changes are for aesthetic reasons.
Health is not a look but rather a state of being, and in order to be healthy you have to live healthfully, everyday, habitually. That means understanding that healthy meals, cooking at home, not eating processed sweets, saying no to fast food, and indulging in real food are a part of everyday life, not things that are merely an annoying roadblock between you and the chocolate cake. The difference is that you no longer want the store-bought chocolate cake because you feel so good about the home-cooked meal you just ate. You begin to understand the damage that sugar, processed fats, and nutrient-deprived “empty calories” have on your body, development, aging, energy, and overall wellness, and you can easily denounce those foods in the name of health.
Does that sound crazy? Maybe, but believe me, it is possible. People all the time “joke” with us about the foods they are eating, as if their indulgence makes us crave it. On the contrary, I only see the damage being done both physically and mentally as they scoff in the face of health. I happily eat my homemade goods as I can visualize my cells singing the praise of the vitamins and minerals that breath vitality to their function. I believe food is meant to be enjoyed, and I definitely consider myself a foodie. I now, however, can healthfully “indulge” in the real food that I cook, with deep flavors and natural ingredients, and I don’t look back or feel guilty. I believe that anyone who can alter their perspective from one of negative deprivation to positive excitement and enjoyment about healthy eating will find lasting success. If you are attempting to change but secretly crave old habits, than your perspective still needs a shift to see health as a wonderful new and lifelong venture that you are happy to embark on.
The purpose of eating is to supply the body with nutrients that will yield optimal function. Each time you eat foods depleted of natural nutrients, (aka processed foods), the body has to metabolize it without the vitamins and minerals needed to do so, creating a further nutritional gap and putting you one step closer to future dysfunction and disease.
But What if I Can’t Cook?
Anyone can cook. Rome was not built in a day and neither are gourmet kitchens. Learning to cook means doing it. Almost everything I know about cooking has come through trial and error with a touch of the Food Network. Believe me, I’ve had plenty of over-seasoned, overdone meats, mushy vegetables, dry fish, and bland or salty sides to make anyone’s taste buds run for cover (a special thanks to my parents and husband for suffering through my years of experimentation 🙂 However, the difference is I did not resolve to give up. If I didn’t like the way a recipe turned out, I changed it. If I over-seasoned the dish, I just didn’t do it the next time. I played around with different temperatures and techniques until I found the perfect result. Even though I know a lot more today than even a year ago, I know I will never stop learning and I still feel I have so far to go!
Again, it is about perspective. If you believe you can do it and actually try it, than you will, in some form or another, be successful. In research, even negative outcomes are viewed as positive because you know what not to do next time. But if you never even try it and automatically assume failure, than you already have. I always have a successful vision of each meal I create…whether or not it turns out well is a different story, but I am always ready to try it again and make it better.
So this year, let your resolution be to eat better, be healthier, and cook more instead of just to be skinnier or cut out sweets. Change your perspective on the food that you cook and what you put into your body, and that, my friends, will change your life. Health is a state of being, so let it penetrate your entire life.
An Easy Recipe with a Sprinkle of Good Luck
Pork and Sauerkraut was never a New Year’s tradition at my house growing up…we always made homemade pizzas (arguably a better tradition). However, we have been getting some awesome organic pork shoulder roasts from the farmers market and decided to make it for New Year’s Day this year.
I used my usual pulled pork rub/vinegar-based recipe and just added some sauerkraut to cook in with it, and I will say, it was good! Even if it’s not New Year’s Day, this recipe can be made all winter (or year!) long. You can use this recipe with or without Sauerkraut. Crock-pot cooking yields a tender result and it is so simple to throw in and forget about, until it’s time to eat of course 🙂
Happy New Year & Cheers to New Cooking Adventures!