I'm a free spirit. Spontaneity is my middle name. If! see a box of perfect figs at the market, I'll scrap my dinner plans and create a menu around those figs. If the airline gives a great deal to travelers who can drop everything and go, I say, "Sign me up!"
So hearing that I had a medical problem that would require all kinds of planning and fussing did not suit my basic personality. Couldn't I have been diagnosed with something that requires surgery instead? Blood sugar and thyroid problems just aren't my style. I went on like this at a Suppers meeting, hoping someone would rescue me and tell me to continue flying by the seat of my pants. It was not to be. All I heard were lines like, " Planning is everything. " And, " You have to plan ahead." Or " What you need is a plan." Was there no alternative?
I came to Suppers because I knew I wouldn't stay on the healthy food wagon without support. My doctor told me to go, saying I'd be preparing just the kind of food I need to subdue my food cravings. For every argument I raised against this idea, a more placid person than I had offered a new way of seeing the problem. The discussion went like this: "I have no time for all this planning!" "Imagine how time-consuming it will be to have poorly controlled diabetes." "The food is so expensive." ''Not nearly as expensive as chronic illness." "I can't do this alone" "That's why we're here."
I got no sympathy, particularly as several of the people at the meeting also perceive themselves as genetically incapable of planning ahead … yet learned how to do it.
Some Inspiration: Faye’s ‘Tips for Planning a Healthy Diet and Lifestyle’
- Make a large pot of something delicious and have lots of little jars or frozen packages of it ready to go so you never crash for lack of good food in the house.
- Keep a big batch of fresh slaws in the fridge, they’re just fine for two or three days.
- Never be without an avocado in the house. Buy them in a planned way so there is always a ripe one ready to eat.
- Cook brown rice ahead and freeze it. The long cooking time is often what stands between me and getting a good meal on the table quickly.
- Keep dried coconut on hand; it jazzes up all kinds of things.
- Short on time? Get a rotisserie chicken and take it off the bone. There will be meat in the fridge for salad or soup, ready to go.
- Plan for healthy eating that requires no work, like when you're sick or tired. Chinese take -out food that's steamed and has no sauces can be made more delicious with your own sesame oil or tamari, nuts, or pumpkin seeds.
- Plan for flavor. Make a list of things that liven up your food and make sure to have most of the items on hand: raw almonds and walnuts, coconut milk, canned salmon, hot sauce, good salt, curry paste, lemons and limes, salsa, assorted vinegars, good olive oil, sesame oil, tamari sauce.
- Plan for crunch. Keep crunchy vegetables on hand to chop or grate into tuna or salmon for a quick, easy lunch. Carrots, zucchini, cucumber, green beans, and jicama all work well.
- Keep a snack bag of nuts and dried fruit (mostly nuts) on you at all times. Pack an apple.
- If having good vegetables a moment away is important, wash the greens and dry them very well. Store them in plastic in the fridge. Sometimes the thought of all that chopping shuts you down, so have them ready to go.
- Make plans with friends who have similar goals for themselves and reinforce each other's good intentions.
- Having a healthful meal of leftovers (or a frozen pint of breakfast chili) around for when you are REALLY hungry can help with keeping you and your blood sugar on track. It can steer you away from those oh so tempting quick food fixes that are jumping out at you at any given moment, when all you want to do is FEEL better straight away.