A few months ago I published a post here on Limitless titled “If you want to grow a beard don’t buy a razor, and simple solutions to big problems.” I got a few emails from some of you stating that you often struggle with sticking to your diet when you get home from a long day of work.
You get home, open the fridge, don’t feel like making something so you opt for something quick and convenient. That “something” usually contains a label with words in the ingredients that you can’t pronounce.
Then there were some of you that mentioned you prepare meals for the entire family so to make two separate meals, one for the kids and spouse, and one for yourself would be a pain in the butt.
- I’ve covered Willpower on the site
- We’ve discussed habit building together.
- And we even taught each other how to cook like Bobby Flay.
But today you and I are going to talk about something you can do this very second that leads to better health and wellness for not only you but the entire family.
We’re going to get Oprah on it and perform a kitchen makeover. Paleofying your kitchen so that you get one step closer to reaching your health goals.
Make it hard to do the bad stuff and easy to do the good stuff
We’ve talked a bit about how your Willpower is actually limited. You don’t have an unlimited supply that you can suddenly call upon to keep you from diving head first into a carton of ice cream.
- Getting up to an alarm for work
- Avoiding the pizza in the break room
- Biting your tongue when someone makes a rude comment
- Not flirting with the cute coworker (hey, you’re married)
These things all help to deplete your willpower. By the end of the day you’re all tapped out which is why for some it can be difficult to stay on track with an exercise plan, diet, or to start working on that side hustle you’ve always wanted to start.
One key thing to remember is that willpower is trainable. It’s easier for some than others but one way to help speed up the process with those looking to stick with their nutrition plan or simply to eat a bit healthier.
One way you can help to speed up the training process is to make eating bad foods hard and good foods easy. Sounds simple right?
What I mean by that is this. If there is Ice cream, soda, frozen pizza’s, and donuts at your house eventually they will get eaten. Now if you’re some sort of masochist it may be fun to keep those foods around and challenge yourself to see if you can resist them but I say just make it easy on yourself and keep them out of the cupboard…. and fridge….and freezer…and, I think you get me.
Personal note: I use to do this with peanut butter. I more often lost that battle than won. Now it is no longer near me. Otherwise I will turn into Winnie the Pooh and be sitting on the floor with my hand in a jar.
How to perform a kitchen makeover
Note: This is a special sneak peek at one of the resources that will be available in the Limitless365 Fitness Program.
Healthy Kitchen Makeover
If you haven’t introduced yourself to your kitchen yet formally please do so at this time… I’ll wait.
Great, glad you got to know each other. One of the first steps in achieving optimal health and wellness is creating an environment that allows you to thrive. Since the kitchen is where most of us do a majority of our cooking and eating you are going to want to make sure that it is set up so that this is as easy and seamless as possible.
How to set up your kitchen for healthy living:
Step 1: Black bag it!
You want to remove all of the junk that you currently have crowding up the kitchen and replace it with the foods from our food list that emphasize a healthier lifestyle. The idea here is that if it is in the house we are more tempted to nibble on it. Unhealthy foods are usually easier to prepare and less time-consuming so when we get hungry we tend to rip open a bag as opposed to fixing up a healthier alternative.
1. Grab a large black trash bag, maybe two…maybe three.
2. Open the pantry and look for these items or similar
e. Baked goods/hostess/little Debbie
f. Instant foods (cake mix, mashed potatoes, macaroni)
g. Flavored nuts
k. Granola bars
3. Open the freezer and look for these
a. Ice cream
b. Frozen dinners
c. Hot dogs
d. Cookie dough
4. Open up the fridge and look for these
b. Fruit juice
d. Any caloric beverage
e. Sweetened yogurt, sweetened anything
f. Processed meats (deli, pre packed)
g. Restaurant leftovers
i. Breads, bagels, whole grains
j. Peanut butter
k. Condiments (bbq, ketchup, salad dressings)
l. Cream cheese
These lists do not include everything. But should give you a general idea. If it comes in a box, bag, or some sort of wrapper throw it out. If it has more than 3 ingredients throw it out. If you cannot pronounce some of the ingredients throw it out.
If you are not sure about a certain food a good rule of thumb is to throw it out. Refer to the Real Food Chart if you want to double-check if a food should be in your home or not.
What a waste
Absolutely not! What you are throwing away is not food. They are substances that promote disease and an unhealthy lifestyle. Please feel free to be liberated while throwing this crap away. Do a little dance if you want. Kinda like this one.
BONUS POINTS if you film yourself doing a happy dance and send it in to me.
One excuse you may be making up in your head right now is that certain food is needed because it’s for the kids or your significant other. This is a wonderful opportunity to promote health throughout your household.
If you are making the switch to a healthier lifestyle and are beginning to understand the real dangers that unhealthy foods can promote wouldn’t you want to share that with your loved ones?
Another thing I’d like you to consider is this. If you’re the one making the meals for everyone at home they’ll eat what you make. Sit down with family and friends and explain what this means to you. You may field some resistance but that’s simply due to the fact that most people don’t like change. If you change, that means something is changing in their life and that can be scary sometimes. Ask for their support but be firm and let them know you are dialed in with or without them.
So now my kitchen is empty. What the hell do I eat?
Please do not fret about only being able to eat what is included on the list for the rest of your life. Although, the list has more than enough variety to satisfy anyone.
For a specific one week shopping meal plan and shopping list check this freebie out. I got your back here 🙂
Personally, I like to try to dedicate a day to shopping. Typically on Sundays but I’ve been known to sneak it in during the week. This helps me to stay on track. I know I’ll never be without anything as I have planned to pick it all up.
Must have appliances
Essential for adding variety and flavor to meals. Try and favor whole spices above ground ones as they last longer. Keep hem stored in a cool area and away from heat. Heat causes them to go bad quickly. Spices should be calorie free, contain no additives, and no extra sodium. Garlic should be garlic, fennel should be fennel, and cumin should be just cumin.
All purpose knife:
You most likely already have an assortment but make sure a very sharp 8-inch knife is on hand. It will probably cut tough meats like steak and be able to gentle dice soft foods like tomatoes with equal effectiveness. Make sure to try it off immediately after cleaning to avoid wear and rust on the blade.
Spatula and Large spoon:
Both for mixing and serving meals.
To serve soups, chili’s, and broths. A second ladle with holes may be a good idea to help when serving items from a boiling pot.
Use glass containers for storing leftovers. Make sure they come with a sealing lid. Glass containers actually keep food fresher than do plastic ones.
If you are like most you probably have a job to get to. Although bringing a couple hot plates of food to work might be awesome it’s probably in your best interest to store them in Tupperware for the day.
Insulated bag or large grocery bag:
You can usually get insulted bakes at Trader Joe’s for as little as 5 bucks. This will help keep food both warm and cool if necessary. If you are just carrying food for the day a simple bag will do. You can even use an old Trader Joe’s bag to carry your Tupperware for the day.
A good pair is a plus but I have honestly used a pair from the dollar store with pretty good success. They make it easy to chop up chicken, bacon, pieces of beef, and fish. Hey can also be used for veggies and fruit as well.
1-3 cooking pans:
I say 1-3 so that you can easily cook in batches or a variety of foods at the same time in order to save on some time. Make sure they have lids.
Cast iron skillet:
Awesome for steaks, pork chops, and cutlets.
For chili’s, soups, and various broths. Also a great way to cook up a load of veggies.
These appliances are not completely necessary but do come in handy depending on certain dishes you are preparing.
To assist in taking apart thick cuts of meat, chicken, and bone.
For making homemade condiments and mixing ingredients for certain dishes.
For vegetables, fruit, or acceptable dairy.
It really comes in handy if you are making items that call for very fine pieces like cauliflower rice. You should be able to get away with a standard knife as long as you have a little patience. The food processor comes in handy when you are looking to do something quick, preparing very large batches of food, or have no patience what so ever ☺
These can be bought fairly inexpensively and are a great tool for making homemade beef jerky, dried fruit, and preparing nuts.
As you get going you may find that you need a few extra items here and there but this is a great starting place to prepare, serve, and store all of the nutritious grub you are about to embark on.
A simplified kitchen and a simplified approach to your health
Now you’ve got a home full of healthy food choices. But all those options won’t do you a ton of good if you end up eating out. You’ve got to get your cook on!
Cook in bulk
Don’t you dare tell me you don’t have enough time to cook or prepare healthy meals for yourself on your family. It really doesn’t require a ton of time. Take a look at your schedule and pick 1-2 days a week where you can dedicate 60-90 minutes of time to prepping food.
I use sunday morning and Wednesday evenings myself. Every sunday I wake up and dedicate about 60-90 minutes of preparing enough food to last me until Wednesday night. I make 3-4 meals for each day (12-16 for the 4 days) leading up to Wednesday night. Then on Wednesday night I prepare meals that will last me through saturday evening. Come sunday the process starts all over again.
You’ll only need to dedicate 2-3 hours of cooking time per week. There’s a good chance you already spend that time cooking dinner each night, driving to a place to eat, waiting for your meal. Eliminate all that time and focus instead on cooking twice a week in bulk.
Use this time as a way to connect with your spouse or family. Turn on some good mood tunes (Raggae is my fav) and move your booty as you cook. Turn this into a fun activity, see who can cook the fastest, or who can create the tastiest meal.
If you happen to have kids, it’s an excellent way to teach them healthy habits and the art of cooking. I really lucked out with having parents and a grandmother that taught me how to cook at a young age. It probably has been the biggest influence in my healthy eating habits as I’ve grown up. I find cooking to be a relaxing, enjoyable, and time to connect with others.
Recipes are not needed
Simplify your approach to cooking and save yourself a lot of time by avoiding recipes. They’re really not necessary to make a fantastic tasting meal.
Take advantage of this free resource. Simply take one protein source (ex: grass-fed beef), a healthy cooking oil (ex: coconut oil), a solid carbohydrate source (ex: spinach, asparagus, peppers), and finally choose a few spices.
1. Turn on the stove on medium heat
2. Add 1-4 tablespoons of cooking oil (choose from list)
3. Throw in protein source (roughly the size of your palm or hand)
4. Cover and let simmer
5. Add in spices
6. Distribute and enjoy
I’ve found that most people are more likely to stick with their nutrition plan if they have 5-6 simple and healthy recipes they can prepare, enjoy, and eat over and over again until they get tired of them and need to switch it up.
Here are a few recipes you can try out. As well as some pretty awesome websites and cook books that may help you get started.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner recipes:
Easy Caveman Cookbook: 40 Easy Paleo, Low Carb, And Gluten Free Recipes
Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat
500 Paleo Recipes: Hundreds of Delicious Recipes for Weight Loss and Super Health
Snack Attack: Staying Healthy In A Pinch
It’s going to happen now and then. You’ll loose track of time and forget to prepare your meals, go dining out with friends, have to stop at a gas station because you’re starving, but that doesn’t mean you have to throw in the towel on your healthy eating plan. This is a great opportunity to get creative with your food and create some amazing Paleo friendly concoctions.
But first, make sure you are taking the steps day in and day out to be ready for anything.
1. Be prepared. This is going to take work. You’re going to have to plan ahead of time. The biggest reason people fail is because they don’t plan ahead of time. Start your day or end your night with a GET HEALTHY CHECKLIST. This is a great way to make sure you are ready for the next day, road trips, travel, and other hiccups that may present themselves.
2. Paleo-fy your automobile. There is a good chance you spend a lot of your time either commuting or in your car in general. There have been many times when I’ve found myself thirsty as all get up or starving beyond belief. Keep bottled water in your car at all-times. Often when you are hungry it is really just thirst that needs to be quenched. But just in case some car friendly foods are raw nuts and beef jerky. You can often keep them in the glove compartment and they will be just fine.
Keep some utensils in there is well. Plastic forks, knives, spoons, and napkins can come in pretty handy.
3. Make the best of the worst. You might be Paleo but maybe your kids are not (think about converting them please). So a McDonald’s trip might be in your future. You might have to eat meat or veggies cooked in seed oils, but try to make the best of the worst.
- Grab your burger with out the bun
- Avoid sauces of all kinds (ketchup, soy, mustard, mayo, dressings, etc..). There is usually added sugar or gluten in there somehow.
- If you handle dairy well this is a good opportunity to take in some cheese but don’t over do it. A string cheese or two as a snack in a pinch should be sufficient.
- Berries are a good choice or an apple if in a pinch.
- Stick with proteins and veggies as often as possible.
4. Being a guest. So your friends are nice enough to house you for a few nights or maybe you are staying with some family or friends that are not quite Paleo. You want to be a considerate guest and avoid stepping on any toes. Food can become very personal and some can get very defensive if you reject their food.
The most important thing you can do is to let them know well in advance of your lifestyle choices and why you eat the way you do and why exactly it is important to you. Offer to purchase groceries and pitch in with cooking, or see if it’s possible for you to make cook your own separate meals.
If worse comes to worse think about staying in a nearby hotel. The last thing you want to do is have an uncomfortable environment for everyone due to food choices.
Nutritional approaches can be as polarizing as politics and religion. If you want others to respect your nutritional choices you also have to accept theirs.
Healthy snacks when in a pinch or on the run
Smoked Salmon: Make sure it is soy-free
Nuts: Emphasize macadamia, hazelnut, and almonds
Raw veggies: Celery, broccoli, Bell peppers, cucumber, etc…
Fruits: Emphasize berries (strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, etc..) limit tropical fruit as much as possible (ie: banana, mango, papaya, pineapple, etc..)
Grass-fed jerky: Usually will have to order or get at the farmers market. Store bought stuff contains all kinds of junk.
Cheese: If you tolerate dairy well.
Hard boiled eggs: Store in a cool place
Olives: Goes well with raw veggies, hard cheeses, smoked salmon
Canned salmon or tuna: Use in a lettuce wrap, mix with avocado, or olives
Goat milk yogurt: Again, if you tolerate dairy. I prefer this over traditional cow milk.
Prepared meats: Pepperoni, turkey, roast beef, or pastrami.
Note: prepared meats should not be your first option but if in a pinch they will do.
KNOW YOUR TRIGGERS
I want to leave you all with this. All of the information above is good and well but does absolutely nothing if you don’t know yourself. There is a good chance you’ll find a common theme not only with your nutritional habits but in your life in general. We’re creatures of habit.
You probably slip up on your diet around a certain time everyday, while doing a particular activity, with specific people, or when experiencing a certain emotion.
And this probably extends well beyond just nutrition. Spending habits and fiscal responsibility, and happiness are more than likely influenced by some of the things mentioned above.
I’m pulling this right from my post on habit creation that was inspired by The power of habit by Duhigg.
Don’t try to change everything at once. Pick one habit you are trying to establish or change and work on that before moving on to another.
In order to figure out your cue, routine, and reward system I suggest picking up a notebook and writing the following things down with regards to a habit you are trying to change.
1. Location/where specifically you are
2. The time of day.
3. Emotions, thoughts, feelings
4. People around you
5. The preceding action after you partake in the routine
Taking notice of these five things will easily help you to identify cues, routines, and rewards.
Awareness is key but once you’ve figures it out the next step is to plan. Without a plan this all goes for not. So once you’ve figured out the cues and rewards that fuel your routine what will you do about it and how can you make sure you do it consistently?
Set yourself up for success by making the bad things hard to do and the good things easier. For your health, it just may be a kitchen makeover.
Any questions, comments, or tips you’d like to ask or give? Contribute to the comments below or contact me directly.
P.S.: One of the first things you’re asked to do as a part of the L365 Fitness Program is to perform a kitchen makeover. Are you ready to make your health a priority? Give the program a look over and discover the scientifically proven methods for increasing willpower, improving discipline, and burning body fat.