Something I have been working on lately has been to really get in tune with my body. To listen to it, to see what it needs, and to then in turn give it just that. In doing so, I have learned so much about myself and my eating patterns especially. There is a fine line between being healthy and being overly worried about every choice you make when it comes to food, exercise, sleep and other things that impact your wellbeing.
Sure, we all want to be the best we can, feel the best we can and take care of ourselves as best we can. But there is a point when it runs your life a bit too much. I don’t think I have been to that extreme these days but I do know that it has been quite a while since I truly was in tune with my body–and that’s how I realized that change needed to happen.
I am a creature of habit. I get on “kicks” where I will eat the same thing for days, weeks for certain meals and not think anything of it. I lack variety at times because I become so consumed by one certain thing that I seem to not be able to get enough of. I realized that I eat more lately out of habit than out of real hunger. Then I read the book I talked about last week, Big Girl by Kelsey Miller and I was blown away by how out of tune I really have been.
I am a prepper. I prep my breakfast the night before often. I pack my lunch for work. The week’s dinners are pretty cut out at the beginning of the week. This has been so helpful when it comes to convenience, saving money, and avoiding headaches over what to make or hitting the grocery up last minute. However, in doing this, I have allowed my body to naturally learn to eat out of habit and have kept myself out of touch with what it needs and craves.
So last week I started to experiment. I went sort of off the grid in the food department and decided to take some time to get back in check with what my body is telling me. I decided to start to listen, listen, listen. In doing so, nothing was off limits. I wanted to know if my body really was interested in having that salad, or if it wanted a sandwich. Would my body tell me to choose the healthier option because that’s what my inner voice of reason was telling me or was it really what I wanted. Now I knew going into this that there was no tried and true way of measuring all of this, but still, it was better than just looking at the clock and thinking ok, it’s noon, time for lunch. Or, just got home from work, must be time for a snack. This was the rut I wanted to get out of.
And so I set off into the land of listening to my body. Apparently it’s something that I haven’t done so well, even when I have thought I was.
In just a week, I have certainly learned a lot. First, my inner voice is quite interesting to listen to sometimes. While my body may be sending me one signal, my mind still likes to sit on my shoulder and say Tsk, tsk, not a good choice. But that’s the beauty of it all, your body and your mind sometimes just aren’t on the same page. But in continuing to listen to what my body said, I found this inner voice to get quieter and quieter.
Another thing I learned was that I still have a tendency to go with the healthiest option when I am at a restaurant versus what sounds good. My husband and I went out to cash in on quite a few PF Chang’s gift cards we had burning some holes in our pocket this weekend. Typically, I will get a dish with a lean protein, plenty of veggies and brown rice. But my stomach was saying to go with the Lo Mein. So I did. And it was glorious. I loved every bite and was fully satisfied. And that’s when I realized that so often when I come to restaurants I don’t walk away satisfied since I more often than not, I push myself to eat what I think I should versus what I want.
This last week has also retaught me that hunger is not a super controllable factor. You can’t start the day knowing already that at 8:05am you will be hungry for breakfast and then by 11:17 your belly will be growling for lunch. And life’s schedules don’t always work around your hunger schedule so there is still power in having snacks or other things handy.
As I got more in tune with my body I also realized that a good deal of my healthy choices are actually both because I want to and I crave the feeling of just feeling good and being energized. I didn’t find myself just going rogue and packing in piles of ice cream, donuts and candy. Even if it was the option, it’s not what my body wants for the most part. But when it did tell me it was interested in those donuts at Sotto dipped in caramel sauce, what I didn’t allow my mind to do was to beat myself up. And that’s exactly what I hoped would come of this little experiment. I listened. I ate. And I was satisfied. That is what I had hoped would happen, and it did!
And so I will continue to move on this way. I will continue to get a little more connected to my body. I will try to keep myself from being in a rut that requires me to always select what is the most healthy option. My goal here is to find balance through moderation and if I can’t get quiet and listen, then the balance will never truly come!
Dinner is served! Lately I have been working on some baked quinoa recipes and this one is so far my favorite. While my husband is not much of a fan of quinoa, I can sometimes get away with recipes like these. A touch of cheese, milk and egg make this casserole-like dish the perfect comfort food and the protein and nutrients of the quinoa are the added bonus.
Quinoa was always very daunting before I really cooked with it. Now it’s second nature. For this recipe, a few pots and pans are required, but all in all it’s not too much work. When you spoon your first mouthful at dinner, you will forget all about the couple extra dishes to clean.
This recipe could still be great meatless, I would just add some more veggies or perhaps some soy crumbles. This is gluten free for those avoiding gluten as well. So dig in and enjoy!
Sweet Potato, Spinach + Turkey Baked Quinoa
- 1 large sweet potato
- 3 c baby spinach
- 3 1/4 c unsalted chicken or vegetable broth
- 12 oz. ground turkey
- 1 c quinoa uncooked
- 1/4 c milk of choice
- 1/4 c mozzarella shredded
- 1-2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 egg
- 1/4 c grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
- 1 T olive oil
- Sea Salt and crushed black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Slice sweet potato in half and then cut into thin (about 1/8th) slices.
- In a medium pot, heat 1 T olive oil over medium high heat.
- Add in garlic cloves and stir to heat.
- Pour in quinoa, broth and sweet potatoes. Continue to boil at medium for about 12-15 minutes or until all of the liquid is completely absorbed, stirring occasionally.
- While quinoa cooks, cook ground turkey in a skillet until cooked through and browned. Remove turkey from pan and set aside. Add spinach to pan and sautee until wilted.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together egg and milk. Stir in mozzarella.
- When liquid has been absorbed in quinoa and sweet potato mixture, transfer turkey, quinoa, and spinach to mixing bowl with egg, milk and cheese.
- Stir to combine.
- Transfer mixture to a lightly oiled baking pan and place in oven, top with desired amount of grated cheese.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until top is browned and mixture is starting to boil.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.