How do you eat ultra-healthily, whole-food and plant-based, without taking on so much stress in the process that it negates all the good you’re doing with your diet?
If the answer were easy, we’d all be healthy and stress-free. It’s not easy, but it is simple: you’ve just got to make a plan.
I started with breakfast. I was already drinking a smoothie a lot of mornings, but it was unreliable … too often I didn’t have the ingredients on hand to make the one I liked. That’s what lead me to create the now-famous “Perfect Smoothie Formula” you’ve probably read about on my site.
Then I did the same with energy bars and veggie burgers, so that I could almost always throw one together with what I had on hand. I made sure they were based on the ingredients I knew were healthy — and our choices of ingredients have evolved since then as we’ve learned more about plant-based nutrition — so that I could eat as much as I wanted and feel good about it.
Then I went even further. My wife and I committed to always making a double-batch of dinner, so that lunch the next day was instantly handled, every day.
Then we decided that any time we found a superstar recipe — one that was healthy, delicious, inexpensive, and most importantly, fast — we’d immediately save it in her iPhone, so that anytime we were in a pinch or just making plans for the week but stuck for what to make, we’d have a place to go.
With all of that in place, eating healthily became ridiculously easy. There was no more stress over getting dinner on the table, and more importantly, no more of that nagging feeling of guilt, where I knew I could do better with my nutrition (and my kids’) but just kept saying “just for today” when I took the convenient way out.
The way my family eats now is so streamlined — so automatic, so simple, that we don’t really need to think about what to eat, but we know we’re making the very best choices for our bodies, day after day after day. The way we cook now is more a quick and simple process of “assembling” meals — from whole, fresh ingredients — than “cooking,” in the make-a-giant-mess-of-the-kitchen sense where you put all this time and money into a new recipe that may or may not turn out the way you hoped.
Which isn’t to say we never try fancy new recipes or eat food that’s more about flavor than health … it’s just that we save those for when we feel like it, a few times a month on the weekend.