I'm one of those kinds of people who likes to eat high quality food - organic, free-range, pastured, food. I love food and I love to eat.....so let's just say I'm particular. ;)
I'm also one of those kinds of people who really hates cooking at the end of a long day of working. Who does?? I've had a love/hate relationship with cooking for about 15 years. Make that 20, if I was being really honest.
So I stopped cooking. While my non-cooking husband raised a few eyebrows, he took it in stride.
Enough was enough. I just couldn't do it all: work, take care of my grandkids, help my mom, plan meals, food shop, AND cook on top of that. I wasn't willing to budge on my standards, either. I want high quality food and I don't want to cook. So what did I do?
I explored paleo meal delivery services and signed up with two of them. For the past 5 months, I really haven't cooked. Once a week, I log in, choose our meals for the week and voila! They are delivered to my door. One service was in Charlotte, NC (www.modpaleo.com) and one was in Chicago (www.factor75.com). I would alternate them. When we needed a change in menu, we'd switch to the other company, and went back and forth. Both were absolutely excellent! (And if you sign up with either, tell them I sent you!)
We would come home at the end of the day, pop a meal into the oven and 15 mins later sit down to eat. How incredibly unstressful that was! And it gave me a break from planning, shopping and cooking. I loved it!
Yes, it was a tad expensive, but not overly so ($12-$14/entree). We could manage. Still, it was a chunk of change every week and in some ways I missed cooking which can be quite enjoyable when you're not tired and hungry. So I started to explore options: how I could cook (but not at the end of the day) and still enjoy the ease of popping a meal into the oven which is ready in 15 mins?
The answer: Batch cooking.
Batch cooking is when you cook a ton of food, make it into meals, and freeze some of it while putting the rest into the fridge all in the space of a few hours. That actually sounded like fun! Perhaps I could turn this into a cooking show in my mind! (Raise your hand if you like watching those chefs on TV!! All that stress: who is going to win by making the tastiest dish???)
I explored a few online places that help you figure out your menus and decided on www.20dishes.com. The premise is that they will show you how to prep a weeks worth of meals in one hour. Then I sold my husband on this idea, after all, I was going to need his help.
I signed up with 20dishes (the first week is free), chose a week of menus, printed out my shopping list and my prep list. I also watched their intro videos that introduce you to batch cooking; those had some valuable tips for me. I also decided I was going to go further than just prepping: I was going to cook as much of the food as possible which meant it was going to take longer than one hour.
I shopped without wondering what I was going to make with this food. I already knew it: every food had a purpose. I also utilized a local, organic produce delivery service: www.motherearthproduce.com. This really helped so I didn't have to do as much running around and shopping.
We chose this morning to take the plunge and do our first batch cooking.
My menu consisted of 7 meat entrees:
My side dishes consisted of:
By 11:00, we had quite a few bowls filled with chopped, raw vegetables.
Then I moved on to cooking while he continued to chop.
I had two and three burners going at once.....
.......and both oven racks were filled.
Pretty soon we had beautiful bowls of steamed, sautéed, and baked vegetables, sweet potatoes, and oven fries.
Then I started compiling the food into meals. That's the chicken carrot meal in the forefront and the baked trout in the back.
PJ worked on the 3 slow cooker meals. He added all the ingredients for the pot roast into our crock pot.
The other two meals were loaded into heavy duty ziplock bags and were put in the fridge.
(And if you're thinking: plastic! Oh, no! The meal is now toxic! Learn German New Medicine so you can put this thought into perspective!))
This is the Pork & Pineapple Stew. Yum!
This is NOT even all of them!! I still have the pot roast and the two slow cooker meals in the fridge that haven't been cooked yet. I'll cook those this week and divide them into some of these trays I reserved for them.
PJ & I each did several rounds of hand washing dishes, plus we filled up the dishwasher!
So, are you just dying to know how much this cost and how many meals we now have??
Here are the stats:
The veggies were all grown locally and were purchased at farmer's markets and farms. Same with the meat AND it was all pastured, free range meat and sustainably harvested trout.
We have 14 meals in the freezer.
There are 8 finished meals in the fridge for this week.
PLUS: 6 pot roast meals, 6 lemon chicken meals, and probably 4 (maybe 5 or 6) pork pineapple stew.
These are not super-sized portions! The protein in each meal was 4-6 ounces, plus there were two sides of varying sizes. I'll add on a salad if we need more food to round out the meal.
Total meals: 38, 19 for each of us. ( I will also have lunch everyday from my meal the evening before, so figure I also have 38 lunches in addition to the 38 dinners). I'm figuring it will last us between 3 & 4 weeks since we don't eat every dinner at home.
Cost for each of the 38 dinner entrees: $3.82. (And I was paying $14/meal with the meal delivery service!)
I'm also figuring this doesn't count the salad I'll make every week to augment a few of the meals for variety.
We started at 10:00. I was essentially done with cooking around 1:00pm. We finished making up the trays, labeling them, and storing them around 1:45. I finished mopping the floors at 2:18pm. Essentially it was 4.25 hours.
I'll start gearing up for the next prep day in about 3 weeks. For now, I can rest easy that we have some super scrumptious meals all ready for us every day. And if all else fails, I can always put in an emergency order with one of the meal delivery services!
Have you ever tried batch cooking? If not, I highly recommend it. If you have, drop me a line and let me know how it went for you!
This is one of the first videos I ever made for my website. I filmed it in June 2014 in Mt. Shasta, CA. While it's just a basic video (heck, I was still figuring out how to hold my iPhone!), I love the sacred location where I filmed it and I also love the message. From my heart to yours. I hope you enjoy it!
One way it weakens our vital energy is by interrupting our circadian rhythm - the 24 hour, day/night,
When the sun begins to set, fewer light impulses are sent to the brain which is the pineal gland's signal to begin secreting melatonin to induce sleep. It is secreted all night long until light impulses - traditionally (and preferably) from the sun - begin to stimulate your retina to send light impulses to the brain again which begins to decrease the melatonin until you wake up. (Alan, R. NYU)
This is why most articles that outline how to improve your sleep mention that you need a darkened room to help your melatonin to release and stay releasing throughout the night.
So What's The Problem?
Unfortunately, our modern lifestyles are often the culprit due to artificial light from the curlique, energy efficient light bulbs and the light from TV, computers, tablets, and phones.
The Center for Disease Control states that "Insufficient Sleep Is a Public Health Epidemic." One reason for this? Artificial light.
Gone are the days when we fall asleep soon after the sun sets and rise with the sunrise. Also gone is the sun as our main source of light. (Source for graphic)
What's wrong with artificial light?
The problem with the light from computers, phones, tablets, and from energy-efficient light bulbs is that they emit a short, wavelength light known as blue light. While all light can reduce melatonin, it is exposure to blue light at night that reduces our melatonin the most.
What can we do?
I've recently discovered a wonderful solution. It's an app called f.lux and I'm pretty sure it's the best thing since sliced bread.
It is a free app that you download to your Mac, Windows, Linux or iPhone/iPad, then set to your time zone (this is important). It adjusts your screen throughout a 24 hr cycle by reducing blue light as the sun sets for your time zone.
Ingenious, right? You bet!
Start Sleeping Better Immediately!
Since I've been using it, I've slept better than I have slept for a long time.
My husband and I have chosen to NOT have a TV, so we use my MacBook Pro to watch TV shows and movies. With f.lux, the display looks a little different - a softer, warmer light - and we don't mind it at all. (Downton Abbey, here we come!)
I recommend this for anyone who uses any sort of electronic screen, especially after the sun begins to set where ever you live. Download it to all your devices, and don't forget to turn some lights off in your house, especially the closer you get to bedtime.
How many of you make New Year's Resolutions?? In this short video, you'll learn how many people make resolutions, how many actually succeed at them and the greatest obstacles we have.
I, of course, have a solution to everyone who wants their 2015 Resolutions to manifest in their lives! ;)
Check out this short video I made in Indianapolis at the Weston A. Price Conference about this special food consumed by many indigenous cultures. I have it on a daily basis; learn why! (Click below my picture)
One of the best parts of the Weston A. Price Conference is the incredibly delicious, organic, nutrient-dense food! The next best part is meeting other like-minded people who share my love for incredibly nutritious food. Check out my photos below!
Ever been in a salt store? I can't say I've been in any salt stores in the U.S., however, I took a day trip to Hallstadtt and St. Wolfgang in the Saltzkammergutz region of Austria and I found many salt stores.
So, I bought salt. Hey, when you visit the oldest continuously mined salt mine in the world (7,000 years), you want a momento to remember those special moments when you're inside a mountain surrounded by history.....and salt. Lot of it.
In one of the salt shops, I saw pink salt candleholders, salt Christmas ornaments, flavored salt, course salt (see the little pile above), fine salt and more. Then I picked up a cellophane bag with odd looking rocks. Yep, salt rocks. The shopkeeper told me these rocks came from the mine I had just visited; the pink salt came from the Himalayas. Each has a different mineral content, thus, the difference in appearance. I was hunting for local salt so was thrilled to find these rocks.
And what do you do with salt rocks? The instructions told me to place them in a liter of water for an hour. Drinking 1 teaspoon of the liquid every day would cure all sorts of ailments and ills. This certainly piqued my curiosity.
Once I returned home, I did just that. The glass in the photo above shows my "salt solution" and I add a good teaspoon to my morning smoothie. I also decided to add a teaspoon to my WaterPik and use it on my teeth and gums.
I can't say I had any ailments and ills that needed curing, however, I'm glad I'm using this solution on my gums which have occasionally bled. The bleeding increased for about a week once I started using the salt solution in my WaterPik; I figured some deep healing was taking place. Then it stopped and I've gone a month without any bleeding. Nice!!
Have you ever tasted your tears? Or your blood? If so, you know you are a salt water being since both taste salty.
In fact, salt is a very important component in the fluid between our cells - our extracellular fluid - and helps us maintain the proper liquid concentration in the body AND it helps with nerve transmission.
All salt is extracted from the sea or from underground salt stores that were formed millions of years ago such as the salt mines I visited in Austria. And it has been vilified for decades being blamed for causing high blood pressure, heart disease, and kidney disease.
The real cause of high blood pressure:
While salt can temporarily raise blood pressure, it does not cause the clinical condition of high blood pressure or hypertension.
We know from the amazing work of Dr. Ryke Geerd Hamer that high blood pressure is most often caused by a fluid conflict. Huh?
Yes, any kind of conflict shock that occurs with a fluid (but not with blood): water in the basement, thunderstorms, alcoholism (yours or someone else's), insulin shots, a near drowning, incontinence, a fire hose, etc.
High blood pressure is actually a back up system to support our kidneys. Interested in learning more? Please let me know! I can go into depth in the next GNM Conversations.
A smaller amount of clinical high blood pressure or hypertension is due to feeling overwhelmed. I can cover that in a GNM Conversation, as well.
More info about salt:
The bottom line:
Salt is important and should be consumed in the amount your body requires. Need help figuring that out? I'm available for private consultations to help you determine how much is good for you, which foods to consume and which to avoid, and to help you resolve your fluid conflict. Contact me if you're interested!
In the meantime, if you ever travel to Austria, I highly recommend visiting the Hallstadtt area.