New Year’s Resolutions. Intentions. Vision. Goals. Letting go of what doesn’t serve us. Manifesting what we desire. What do all of these things have in common? They are all future-oriented. And looking to the future is a great thing to do, essential, even, if we want to live the life of our dreams and achieve our goals.
We live in a future-oriented culture. We’re told not to dwell on the past, to live in the now, to get over it (whatever “it” may be) and move on. That is sound advice as well. But, does it go too far? Does it keep us from useful reflection? In thinking about this, I am reminded of a great line from the movie, the Blues Brothers, in which Elwood and Jake are in one of many car chases. John Belushi pulls the rearview mirror off of the windshield, tosses it out the window and proclaims, “What’s behind us doesn’t matter!”
Here’s the thing though. Reflecting on the past is not a bad thing. It can be a very good thing, and it can be just as essential as looking to the future. Our current reality is the sum of everything we have done in the past, so if we don’t stop to reflect upon it, how can we change? If we don’t look at the past, we don’t learn from it.
I invite you to take some time, early in 2018, to reflect on the past year. You can do this a a journaling exercise, or write on a whiteboard, or in a file on your computer.
- Start with your successes. What went right in 2017? Where did you nail it? It could be as big as launching your business or as personal as kissing your kids goodnight every night.
- Then make a list of things that didn’t go so well. What not-so-great decisions might you have made? What did you blow off or let slide? This is not a beat-yourself-up exercise. It’s just a way tosee what didn’t go your way last year and bring to light opportunities for improvement.
- Next, list your lessons learned. Often these lessons come from your “failures” list.
After you’ve gone through this exercise, you’ll be able to take stock of what’s important and what is not. Maybe you really need to focus on something you let slide last year. Or, conversely, maybe it’s time to let it go for good.
From here, you have a tangible base to map our your intentions and goals for the coming year.
May 2018 be your best year yet.
I’m a foodie. I’m embracing that fact, after years of trying to minimize it, or reconcile it with my being a yogi, a health enthusiast and Yoga Health Coach. I’ve come to the realization that they are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they can compliment each other beautifully. I love food. I love eating it, preparing it, reading about it, planning it, and, as of this year, growing it.
I come from a long line of foodies. My grandparents were foodies before foodie was a thing. They were in the hip food and wine crowd in New York in the 1970’s, hanging with the likes of Julia Child and Craig Claiborne. For the 1979 New York Times article featuring my Grandmother making Haggis with Craig Claiborne, click here. Holiday meals at their house were 6 course sit-down affairs, with wine matched to every course. I grew into a foodie in my own right in college, cooking lasagna, roast chicken, hot and sour soup and the occasional lobster for my roommates, when everyone else was making ramen noodles. (I don’t even want to tell you how cheap lobster was in New England in the 1980’s!)
After college, I moved to Colorado, got into the wine business and married a chef. The elaborate meals that were started at my grandparents’ house in Queens, continued at 10,000 feet! We threw big parties, served foie gras, made cassoulet, beef wellington, coq au vin and other gastronomic delights.
I wasn’t completely uninterested in health at that time. I ran, competed in a triathlon, took step aerobics classes (Who remembers those? Can you say “not fun at all”?) I didn’t eat junk food, fast food, eat candy or drink soda. But I ate a lot. Dinners were big and filling every night. I baked almost every weekend. I loved it.
When I became pregnant, at the ripe old age of 37, I decided to get more serious about health. I started doing yoga, in hopes of becoming a calm and centered mom, not knowing that yoga would become a huge part of my life and career. From yoga sprang an interest in and study of Ayurveda. Fast forward a decade, and a diagnosis of an auto-immune issue (low-level Hashimoto’s) led to an interest in Paleo and the Paleo Autoimmune protocol.
I tried to stop loving food so much. Actually, a lot of good came from that effort. I have simplified my meals, and cut down on time in the kitchen. Anything time-saving is good for a busy single-mom with a full-time job, a teenage daughter, a yoga practice and study…you get the picture. I became healthier. Also a good thing. But, I also realized that I can still eat and prepare fabulous food and thrive in my body.
I like to think of my kitchen as a Thriving Kitchen is largely. I prepare healthy, vibrant, delicious food. I love to share recipes, pictures, stories, advice, hacks and will be doing so in this blog. You’ll see the occasional decadent meal or treat. If I find an amazing bottle of wine, I’ll let you know about it.
One of my favorite ways to have a thriving kitchen is to practice kitchen sadhna. Also known as Sunday Meal Prep or Sunday Cookup (in Paleo circles). The idea is to put aside some time on the weekend (or whenever you have the time) to spend time in your kitchen planning and prepping meals for the week, and thus making life easier, on busy weeknights, when you may not have the time or energy to cook a healthy meal.
If you’re not familiar with the word sadhna, you can think of it as a habit, infused with a little extra meaning, more like a ritual. It can be a big deal or a small deal. If this sounds like a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon to you, then go ahead and block out two hours. If it sounds like torture, start with 30 minutes.
Here are a few tips on getting started:
- Plan and shop for your meals for the week. I like to think of my meal plan as an outline, rather than a rigid plan. I’ll plan 3 or 4 dinners and a few lunches, then shop for the ingredients needed.
- Block out your time, as much or as little as you want to spend.
- Before you begin, take a deep breath and set an intention. it doesn’t have to be a big deal. It can simply be the intention to feed yourself and your family healthy food this week, or to give yourself more time in the evenings.
Here are some ideas for things you might do, during your Sunday Meal Prep:
- Chop veggies
- Hard-boil eggs
- Cook a chicken (or parts of one)
- Make soup or broth
- Bake muffins
- Cook rice or quinoa
- Bake potatoes or sweet potatoes
- Soak seeds for sprouting
- Portion out fruits & veggies for smoothies or juices
- Spiralize veggies for noodles
The more you practice this habit, the more you will enjoy it, and the more you’ll enjoy not having to stress about meals when you are busy. Give it a try. let me know how it goes.