One of the big issues as an acupuncturist is seeing a patient who is living a life that is contributing to their lack of well being. Discussing this issue with patients, they are often overwhelmed at the thought of making a change. A big change most patients could make is to eat better quality foods. However, most patients will tell me that they don’t have time to eat better or to eat at home more often than not.
There have been several posts around the blogosphere that discuss a study that shows that convenience foods save an average of ten minutes a day. For myself and for a number of my patients the bigger difficulty is not in finding those ten minutes a day, it’s in planning for cooking and eating.
The vast majority of people find that they are reacting to circumstances rather than planning for things. They constantly feel overwhelmed by all that needs to be done and planning ahead for eating or for exercise is just one more item. Additionally going out often feels like a treat because then you don’t even have to clean up the kitchen.
I would love to see more people out there who can help these same people with their planning skills. They can plan to exercise (and make note of those things that interfere with their plans or not). They can plan to eat at home and make sure they purchase their foods on other days. Making one larger meal with left overs is a great way to cook once and eat it twice.
While learning to cook may also be an issue for some people, learning planning may be a more important skill. Such a skill crosses over from the kitchen to daily life in a way that can create places for rest and relaxation that are sadly lacking for so many people.
I have recently been trying to eat all food cooked or baked in my own kitchen. I have a few exceptions and I haven’t quite gotten to making my own condiments (too many in the kitchen to just toss out). I find that I am constantly obsessed with food–planning when I can make this or that or thinking about what I have so that I can plan a good lunch or dinner for myself and my husband. I know on Saturday by the time I get back from the Farmer’s Market what I am going to be eating that week. We have a small kitchen garden that supplements vegetables to the items I purchase at the Market. I can also easily run to PCC (a large food cooperative in the Seattle area) or if I don’t want to go quite so far, Whole Foods.
All of these trips require planning in a way I never bothered with before, but I find that my health is better. I also find that there are far worse things to obsess about than what am I going to do with all those leftovers?