The magic of rhythms is in the process, not the particulars.
-Kim John Payne, M.ED
Do you find it stressful and chaotic when it comes to cooking dinner?
Streamline your cooking routine by making it less complicated to get dinner on the table for you and your family. DESIGNATED MEAL NIGHTS have been a true time saver for me and my family.
I'm grateful to come home to a non-stressful situation when it comes to dinner because I already know ahead of time what's on the menu.
DESIGNATED MEAL NIGHTS basically means each night of the week is assigned a specific type of meal. For example, Monday nights are when we eat pasta. I don't serve the same pasta meal each week. Each week we change components of the pasta dish. One week we might have goat cheese and beet ravioli with a grass-fed beef tomato sauce and a salad, and the next week we might have lentil penne with a ground turkey tomato sauce with chopped kale.
This makes each week exciting and fresh so no one dies of food boredom.
I think it's very important to include your family when deciding on meals for the week. This way everyone's voice is heard and both adults and kids can feel important by contributing to the family's routines. This also helps young children to build and sustain healthy eating habits in the future.
My family has decided on the following designated meal nights (see below). This has been our weekly meal plan way for about 6 months now, and we are always open for change when when we want to spice up the week with something new.
Every week is not perfect, and we aren't striving to be. We enjoy being spontaneous every now and then and making decisions that best fit our needs for that specific week or day.
DESIGNATED MEAL NIGHT PLAN
Thursday: Brinner (Breakfast for dinner)
Friday: TBD (Date night; or order out; or last minute decision)
Saturday: TBD (Date night; or order carry out; or last minute decision)
Sunday: We decide as a family in the morning what to cook before going to the grocery store to buy food for the week.
If you are interested in finding some simple ideas for cooking pasta, tacos, pizza and more then feel free to check out my Balanced Meals for quick recipes!
When mixing up your meal nights try to make small changes so it doesn't get overwhelming when it comes time to cook. Remember, we want to keep things simple! Swap or change the protein, vegetable, or carbohydrate choice every week or every other week in that meal.
Here's an example of swapping options to change Taco Night each week:
Protein: ground beef, ground chicken, ground turkey, ground chorizo, fish, chicken, black beans
Veggies: chopped spinach, arugula, kale, radishes, chopped broccoli, romaine lettuce wraps
Carbs: rice, whole grain tortillas, sweet potato
Toppings: cheese, guacamole, salsa, Greek yogurt or sour cream
Remember, there is no need to overwhelm yourself every week with the many choices of dinner meals you could cook. Keep your eating habits clean and simple, but add your personality and taste to it as well. Design a simple meal plan that excites you, your family, and keeps your stress levels on the down low.
Always craving good food,
There must be something to acupuncture- you never see any sick porcupines.
- Bob Goddard
I'm sure like most, the first image that pops into your head when you hear the word "acupuncture" is Hellraiser, haha. While there definitely are needles involved, there is much ignorance in our society today about acupuncture and why it is used. I should know, I was one of those people who knew nothing about this practice when I first started a couple years ago.
The purpose of this blog post is to shed some light on why I started acupuncture and how it has redirected my life to one full of more purpose and meaning. Acupuncture is not for everyone, and I absolutely believe you need to have an open-mind, free of judgement to engage in this type of healing practice. If you care to learn more about acupuncture, I highly encourage you to find a practitioner near you to learn more specific details on how it could fit into your lifestyle. This post will be a brief overview of what acupuncture is and how it has come to fit into my current lifestyle.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a Chinese holistic method of treatment based on influencing the body by inserting needles in specific points on the human body. These specific points, or "acupoints," are believed to help balance the energy flow in our bodies, known as "chi." When our chi is balanced, we are healthy; when our chi is unbalanced, we experience illness, pain, and fatigue.
My definition of acupuncture is the practice of self-love, stress relieving, mind and body therapy, and mediation all wrapped together with a beautiful bow. When your mind has time and space to heal, your body follows suit since it is all wonderfully connected.
Why did I start acupuncture?
I first started acupuncture almost two years ago because of infertility reasons. I knew nothing about this healing practice but knew I wanted to try all holistic avenues to help my body get pregnant before trying medical treatments. All of my treatment sessions are 60 minutes long. Each session begins with some light conversation with my acupuncturist for about 10-15 minutes about what's going on in my life, what I'm feeling physically and mentally, and anything else I choose to discuss with her. I have built such an open and trusting relationship with her, I feel like I'm talking with a friend and I love it :).
What have I gained from acupuncture?
A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON MY LIFESTYLE! You don't realize the life you are living until you sit down and give yourself the time to talk, reflect, and question everything you are doing. If you haven't asked yourself "why" questions about why you do the things in your life, then I highly recommend you start this habit. It may seem unnecessary to some, but I guarantee you will realize that some things you are doing everyday really have no value or purpose. At least that's what I discovered. Through acupuncture I realized what I valued in life the most: my health, making a family, happiness, freedom of time, and helping others. I also realized what was getting in the way of those values: my "busy" go-go-go lifestyle that I thought was filled with everything I should be doing.
My lifestyle when I started acupuncture was filled to the brim with work, attending all parties and events that I was invited to, working out three times a week consistently on a HIIT routine, eating healthy, shopping when I had nothing else better to do, date nights once a week, cleaning my house and blogging on the weekends, and having occasional vacations and getaways. Sounds like a great life, right? I thought so. But I soon realized that I had just been going with the flow or living blindly and not being as intentional as I should. I was busy doing so many tasks and buying stuff that my life lacked a clear direction and purpose. I needed to change my direction and head toward my values if I wanted to "heal" myself. Acupuncture helped me redirect my choices and decisions intentionally so they were focused on my health, freedom of time to just be, growing a family, being happy, and helping others in the process. Acupuncture calmed and relaxed my mind to focus on what I'm feeling emotionally and physically, how my mind and body react as one. May sound cheesy and cliche, but it's the truth.
Acupuncture helped me realize that my body was overworked, over-stressed and unbalanced. Did you know that a high intensity workout is actually stress on the body? I didn't know that. Now there is good stress and bad stress, but apparently all my stress levels were on overload. Let's clear this up really quick, I'm not saying that working out is bad! Movement is so vital for our health, but the type and intensity of movement I was doing was not conducive to my body at the time. My hormones were off the chain because I had put so much pressure on getting everything done in my life that I thought I had to, in addition to engaging in a rigorous workout that I rarely skipped for the past three years. My body was screaming for a reset, mentally and physically. Acupuncture helped me learn to listen to my whole body so I could finally hit that reset button; it remains to help me to be consistently mindful of what I want in my life and what junk needs to stay out of it.
Acupuncture has redirected my life to stay focused on what I value, to listen to my whole body, and to be brave enough to make changes to keep this positive momentum going, no matter what society or others may do or say.
I hope this has given you a clearer insight into what amazing changes acupuncture has led me to. I still continue to get biweekly acupuncture sessions because it is what I still need in my life, to be consistently reminded to stop just doing things mindlessly, but instead to listen and question what I bring into my life and make intentional decisions. One day I may not need these frequent acupuncture sessions because we are constantly evolving and changing. But until then I will invest in the things that I value the most, my health, my family, my happiness, my freedom of time, and helping others.
Always craving health + happiness,