How to Live in the Land of Enough – Food

While I love December and all of the festivities, I welcome the simplicity and quiet of January. Everyone is in a mini recovery mode.

While food is always a big part of our lives, it is even more so during the holidays. We go out more and eat more. Things are creamier, heavier and more buttery. It is so easy to get caught up in cocktails, appetizers, cookies and cakes that time of year, that it’s no surprise when the number on the scale is higher than it should be on January 2nd.

This is the seventh and final post in a series from my guest post Living in the Land of Enough on one of my favorite blogs: becomingminimalist.com by Joshua Becker.

Eat Real Food.

Only eat food that you prepare. Summertime is the perfect time to eat fresh food – fruits and veggies are often fresh, local, and less expensive than buying them in winter. Do not eat anything from a box, restaurant or drive-thru. While you may choose to eat less by eliminating processed foods, you may find that you naturally eat just enough.

That was the recommendation for a short hiatus in the Land of Enough. I also made the recommendation during the summer, so you may have to adjust if you live in a colder climate. For a longer stay, like a lifetime, you will need to think about what you eat and why.

Ask questions like:

  • Am I eating because I’m hungry?
  • Am I an emotional eater?
  • What emotion triggers overeating?
  • Can I indulge without going overboard?
  • Do I feel deprived when I should feel satisfied?

The more real food you eat, the healthier you will be. In other words, stop buying your food in boxes and bags. If you don’t understand what’s in your food, or can’t pronounce everything on the ingredient list, don’t put it in your body. If you wouldn’t feed it to your children, reconsider consuming it yourself.

5 of my favorite posts about food. (one is mine)

  1. A Simple Guide to Eating Like a Human
  2. Simple Food and Eating: 8 Tips to Get You on the Right Track Today
  3. Eat Colors Not Calories
  4. Eating Healthfully – A Long Term Vision
  5. The Great Moderation Hoax

5 of my favorite books about food.

  1. Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual
  2. The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet
  3. The Raw Food Detox Diet: The Five-Step Plan for Vibrant Health and Maximum Weight Loss
  4. The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat
  5. The Hip Chick’s Guide to Macrobiotics: A Philosophy for Achieving a Radiant Mind and a Fabulous Body

While food is delicious and satisfying, I think we need to remember that first and foremost, it is nourishing. Food can make our bodies strong, prevent disease, and fight disease. If you are curious about how food can really impact your health, I highly recommend reading The China Study.

Just as important as eating real food is, it is also important to maintain a healthy weight. This is not an easy task for everyone, myself included. This is the first time in many years, that “lose weight” wasn’t part of my new year’s resolution. Many readers have commented that when they shed stuff and start living more simply, they shed weight more easily as well. While that has been my experience too, I work hard to be healthy. In fact, because I have struggled with food and weight, I almost didn’t write this post. But then, I knew I had to if only to clear up a few myths.

  • Myth #1 – All vegetarians are skinny. Becoming a vegetarian does not guarantee weight loss or magically arriving at your perfect body.
  • Myth #2 – There is a quick fix to permanently lose weight. There are a zillion programs that will help you lose weight fast, but you know it’s coming back, badder and fatter.
  • Myth #3 You can’t lose weight after 40. I am living proof that fat loss and muscle gain is very possible, even after 40.

Even though I sometimes want to be that girl who only eats seasonal vegetables, that are grown locally, I do not eat perfect meals every day. I drink wine, eat chocolate, indulge my sugar cravings (sometimes too frequently) and have fat days. I strive to eat foods that keep my body healthy, and eat just enough to satisfy, but I face the same struggles that some of you do. I don’t have all the answers, but I am learning everyday, and look forward to sharing more, and hearing your advice.

Enjoy delicious food but in smaller quantities. Recognize when you’ve eaten enough and move everyday. I have a few posts in mind moving forward that will help you shed excess weight. It won’t be radical change.(You know I’m not about that.) You won’t lose 20 lbs in 30 days, but you will feel better, get stronger and look amazing with a few simple, consistent changes.

Series Links

Living in the Land of Enough

How to Live in the Land of Enough: Money

How to Live in the Land of Enough: Time

How to Live in the Land of Enough: Disconnect

How to Live in the Land of Enough: Space

How to Live in the Land of Enough: Entertainment

New to Be More With Less? Read more about what to expect, and this post with links to important posts and reader favorites.

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Great post! My husband and I have been trying to eat this way for a while now. You’d be surprised how much resistance we run into! I’ve had an especially difficult time as a pregnant woman. The encouragement to stuff myself with all kinds of unhealthy food, in enormous quantities, is never ending! I’m choosing to look at it as the ultimate test of willpower!

    • Courtney Carver says

      Erika, Thanks! Hope you are feeling well. When you talk about encouragement, do you mean that other people want you to eat unhealthy food or you crave it? Just curious.

  2. says

    Oh my gosh, this is THE perfect post! I was coming on here to contact you about something similar.

    I just begain following your blog a month or so ago and have been happily looking at everything in a different light. My family is mostly minimalist already, but where the kitchen is concerned… umm, not so much. We do eat local and organic but organic can include a zillion types of prepackaged foods. Additionally, because I am a cook and baker, I have many gadgets. Several years ago, I pared down to my personal minimums for the kitchen but that is still a lot by the average persons standards I think. And having two smaller children, we have lots of kid and eco friendly cubs, bowls, plates, utensils, etc.

    The problem with having lots of lots of kitchen things is very similar to having lots and lots of clothes/email, etc. So, this past week, I’ve done another pairing down of items in the kitchen… both the food type items and the things we use to prepare and eat with. Ahhh… so nice! Less “stuff” equals clearer choices. I took the unopened and unnecessary pantry type items to a local food bank and have the 2 boxes of extra plates/bowls/gadgets in the car ready to donate to our local women’s shelter.

    Less stuff on the counters and in the cabinets means we can really see everything we have to enjoy. The fridge and pantry look a little sparser, but that means I know exactly what is in there to use before finding it partially stale or rotten. kwim?

    Having just enough serve-ware means making sure it is clean and put away… less stuff to mound up similar to piles of laundry and gobs of email. :-) It also means more time to be free to do more important things like spending time reading with my boys or taking a walk with my hubby.

    I’m sorry this was so long, but I just had to share. Please feel free to edit or delete if you need to.
    Hettie, CelticMommy

    • Courtney Carver says

      Hettie, This is great and really encouraging to readers. The kitchen is one place where less really makes a difference.

  3. says

    This is a very thought proving post. I know that when I get frustrated I love to reach for fatty, salty food. Lately, I have been trying to be more mindful of what I eat. It is hard though to turn off the auto pilot.
    I find that the best meals are beautiful and simple.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Keishua – I agree. My husband and I have really been enjoying ‘pizza night’. I make a simple crust and then we top it with a marinara sauce and veggies. No cheese, but we don’t even miss it. The simpler, the better!

  4. Pandora says

    This post was great! I have for a long time strived to eat better. I’m a vegetarian, who is allergic to wheat, soy, peanuts, and walnuts. And my big struggle it to keep weight on. I always feel like I eat a lot, but I lose weight really fast whenever stress enters my life. But your links were helpful, and I hope to keep gaining weight until I reach my goals =)

    • Courtney Carver says

      Pandora, Good luck! Gaining weight has never been an issue for me, so I can’t give you advice there. Congrats though for continuing to look for creative ways to be healthier.

  5. says

    I’m a big believer in a little bit of what you fancy does you good. Everything in moderation! My family and I eat healthily – but healthily is a subjective term – I believe that a ‘healthy’ attitude toward food is key. No-one is a saint 100% of the time – 80% of the time will do when it comes to food for me. I meal plan every week (and post my plan on my blog), I prepare simple family meals and that includes puddings! After Christmas I forego the puddings until the extra weight comes off – simple and gradual.

  6. Courtney Carver says

    Jo, I’ve heard that the first two tastes of dessert taste better than all the rest. Now, I just need to put my spoon down after the two tastes!

  7. says

    Great article Courtney. Most important thing in the beginning of weight loss besides eating healthier is portion control. Even if it is sweets, eat less of them. You don’t need to eat until you have to undo your belt and walk with a limp because you are so full. Eat slow, eat healthy, and you will learn you don’t have to eat a ton.

    Even a large portion of healthy food isnt healthy for you. Yes, its healthier than a large portion of unhealthy food, but its still not good for you.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Justin, So true. Eating slowly is so important. Another benefit of making more time for yourself – leisurely meals.

  8. says

    Great post, Courtney. And very timely in January. One book I would add to your list is “Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy” by Walter Willett. It is excellent and has recipes in the back, which our family has enjoyed.

    I tried to make a list on my site of 10 ways to eat healthier in 2011 but the list is really 13! All 13 are how we eat at our home, including the last, which is enjoying ice cream, only not very often and served in a very small cup.

    http://gogingham.com/2010/12/eat-healthier-in-2011/

  9. says

    I love that you’re not radical and that you’re so honest about not being perfect. None of us are and it’s time we stopped striving to eat perfectly and simply brought the joy back into fueling our bodies and enlivening our taste buds. Likely we’d all eat better. Love food chat!

  10. says

    I’d also like to suggest the book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan. It really opened my eyes to the way food is made. I’m not a vegetarian, however, I’m very picky about where and how my meat is produced. You don’t have to be a vegetarian to be sustainable in your food supply. Think grassfed…

  11. says

    Love this post. As part of my journey I have changed my food shopping style very much. I buy my staple cans etc on line monthly, so my pantry is full of the things I need. Then, I shop weekly at a local farmers market in walking distance to my house. It is a true farmers market, nothing is imported, so I can only buy seasonally. I buy what looks good, then figure out what to do with it (thank goodness for Google!).

    Also, I have started gardening. Its wonderful. Right now my garden is full of baby spinach and lettuces, and I eat from it every day.

  12. says

    Love this post. As part of my journey I have changed my food shopping style very much. I buy my staple cans etc on line monthly, so my pantry is full of the things I need. Then, I shop weekly at a local farmers market in walking distance to my house. It is a true farmers market, nothing is imported, so I can only buy seasonally. I buy what looks good, then figure out what to do with it (thank goodness for Google!).

    Also, I have started gardening. Its wonderful. Right now my garden is full of baby spinach and lettuces, and I eat from it every day.

  13. says

    Courtney,
    I figured out that during my very stressful period I was just eating whatever I could shove in my mouth, it wasn’t anything good, or flavorful, or healthy. I have since begun to try to eat more flavorful dishes in smaller amounts. Using fresh ingredients and spices, you don’t have to seem to eat as much. You can be satisfied with less, because there is so much more flavor and enjoyment. Great post!
    Bernice
    Getting the respect you deserve

  14. says

    Great advice: “Recognise when you’ve eaten enough and move everyday”

    I’m a fan of the Okinawa proverb- “Nuchi gusui”: meaning food should nourish, this is the best medicine.
    I have been reading about the Okinawa way of life and I will be writing a post in the next week or so, which will include some information that I found valuable about their food choices and how they manage to maintain their health and youthfulness.

  15. says

    I need to focus on weaning myself off sugar. It’s clear that I’m addicted to sugar and it affects me adversely. It will be hard, but I’m going to add it to my 21-day personal challenges on my blog!

  16. says

    That is right! In our stressed days we eat something, because we are hungry! But it would be more important to eat real things, as you said, and even more important is to sit together with ours.

    So you are able to make a real break in your day, when you eat! That is very important in my eyes because, alone with you, bad food only thinking about work problems, that is even the worsest middlebreak, or?

    So if you don´t have other collegues with you, just do something, go walking in the middlebreak, just for deflecting yourself! (right?)

    best regards
    Matthias

  17. Nin says

    I read zen to fitness a while back and I found it to be a great, sensible guide to eating. I struggle with undereating as opposed to overeating and very few minimalist blogs deal with that aspect of disordered/unhealthy eating. I think eating enough(!) fresh, healthy foods but allowing yourself to indulge from time to time is a good way to treat your body. I have gained a little over 20 pounds in one year and I have another 20 pounds to gain which I will probably gain over the coming years. It takes time and patience and being kind to your body — just like it does for someone with the opposite issue. I love your sensibility, I must say :)

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