Few years ago , I did not really think what I put in my body. Well I ate consciously but I also drunk diet coke, ate chips and fries, loads of carbs. I thought that my body can take anything and miraculously I will not put on any weight and I will be always fit and healthy. Well that was not true at all and just before turning 40 I knew that something had to change. I was not comfortable in my body and I was not comfortable how I was thinking about my health in the long term.
I can see this in many of my clients and patients who come to me to help them to lose weight. Emotions and looking into food for comfort now more than ever is quite often problametic for many people . There is a lot of suffering from lack of self-acceptance, self-love, however this is not always on people’s mind as it is sometimes difficult to have that self-awarness. What you see is your reflection in the mirror which you quite often hate and do not have kind words for.
Why am I writing this in this blog post? What does it have to do with meal planning? Well good question!! I am writing this as I often hear so many excuses why we do not pay attention to what we put into our bodies, purely due to lack of time for prep and plan but also due to other committments and quite often family and children who may be fussy eaters. Don’t get me wrong I do not always get it perfect and although I am a Naturopathic Chef I do not cook gourmet meals every day and defintely I did not cook them two years ago. There is also some kind of notion that it does not matter what I eat , ill health will not happen to me. I only eat ‘those ‘ foods in moderation or when I am at social events. The truth is that it all adds up. I know that being diabetic for over 25 years. Diabetes taught me routine, I do not skip meals and look out for the carbs in my meals. I stay active and take supplements and generally follow 80/20 rule. (80% good with 20% off track sometimes). I want to enjoy happy and good quality life with minimum medical intervention. Examples in here are all diabetic friendly.
1. Balance Your Macronutrients
The first thing I learnt is how to balance macronutrients in my meal. The easiest way to do that at the beginning I found to be in smoothies and I often recommended them to my clients to start with. Make sure they have protein as well so I do suggest protein powders but you can add nuts and seeds especially hemp seeds as well. Than I use a simple rule of 50% of vegetables (with some low sugar fruits such as berries), 25% protein and 20% complex carbohydrates (carbs) – brown rice, brown pasta, slice of sourdough and 5% of healthy fats – nuts , seeds, a bit of avocado, 1 tsp of olive oil. You can count your portions differently and low carbs diet is less than 130g of carbs (Diabetes UK) a day which is not a lot (some keto diets suggest only 20g – be careful what you look at). A piece of bread may have 15 – 20g carbs , the same as apple but jacket potatoe can have as much as 90g.
I generally recommend to have some complex carbs to avoid cravings. Your body wants some carbs for easy energy conversion and for variety as well as well as for essential vitamins and minerals. We basically have too much and of a wrong kind that is why they have a bad press. Also use the carbs wisely. Use most of them for breakfast and lunch and not for dinner. People tend to have bananas with porridge for breakfast. Bananas are very high in sugars so unless you are active after breakfast I would not recommend them as such and a preferred portion for a smoothie is only half of banana.
An example of balanced plates (100% plant-based)
1.Veggie burger, with salad, chickpeas and cashew non-mayo; 2.Shepardless lentils pie with sweet potatoe and salad;3. Scrambled tofu with carrot ‘bacon’;4. Avocado on sourdough with fried mushrooms and cherry tomatoes
Options for breakfasts
I came up with few breakfast options which I can have – coconut plain yoghurt with sugar free granola, goji berries, fresh berries, or sometimes I use plant-based mylk instead of yoghurt. I also love Alpro mango or cherry reduced sugar yoghurt both delicious. During weekend I would have some avocado on sourdough bread which I bake myself (weekend treat) or scrambled tofu. I sometimes make a smoothie or recently my hubby got into the habit for our 10 o’clock smoothie time! – Benefits from working from home together 🙂 I use blue spirulina for fun and lovely blue colour and health benefits.
Options for Lunch and Dinner
Meal planning for weekdays got much easier with my Thermomix. If you have not heard about this machine than let me introduce to it. It is an investment piece which not only blends, chops , but also kneads dough, fries, cooks etc. You have access to a recipe platform and you can plan all meals for the whole week including shopping list which you now can integrate with your supermakets online shopping. How cool is that? This is the machine you keep on your worktop and use every time you need anything even making a smoothie. You can ground nuts , and grains for flours, you can ferment as well. My clients who have Thermomix get a bespoke plan which recipes to include in their meal plans based on their individual circumstances. Thermomix has also low GI recipes as well. All built in!! You just buy ingredients and follow instructions – easy peasy lemon squeezy.
My favourite options are: sweet potatoe curry with cauliflower rice, Tuscan bean soup, homemade pizza, bean burgers, tomatoes soups and sauces, vegan brownie etc.
For lunch I usually have something from a salad bar. So I create this salad bar in my fridge with washed and cut up veggies, cooked chickpeas, beans, cucumbers, cherry tomtoes, hummous, cut up tofu pieces. I also prepare two salad dressings. I sometimes have a soup ready for two days. I rarely eat any sandwiches for lunch. They do not fill me up.
If you do not have Thermomix, planning for some theme nights is a good option. On Mondays you can have any left overs from Sunday, Tuesday you can have a stir fry day, Wednesday some bean burgers (or other plant-based burgers) with a big salad, Thursday you may have a curry or homamde pizza. Friday is fish time, I may have a miso soup. The truth is since going plant-based most of my portions got smaller. And it makes sense as I am sitting behind the desk a lot of the time, I do not need to have big portions and I never feel sleepy after lunch and my energy is stable. Hydration also pays an important role. Drink loads of water for balancing sugar levels . You can also try meal planning apps and I found this one to be good Mealime.
I am a massive supporter of three main meals and keeping min 4 hours between the meals and 12 hours between dinner and breakfast. I also like eating them slowly so my body has time to register the taste and my hormones have time to catch up with the fullness. I try to finish meals at 80% full. However, I love some healthy snacks and I make few during weekend such as tamari and maple syrup roasted mixed nuts, dark chocolates with crushed nuts and some dried fruits, hummous and cut up veggies, cherry tomatoes.
Bespoke Meal planning service (soon availabe in my shop)
I offer bespoke meal planning service. From £47 you can have a meal plan which you love based on your preferences , equipment, time, lifestyle. I am particular interested to give you a plan to transfer to more whole foods and plant-based diet. I have recently done an alkaline mealplan. I totally understand that you may want to give a new way of life a go yourself first but you need to have a starting point.
EBOOK (coming soon) – Intuitive Cooking With plants
I totally believe in intuitive eating, chosing food you know serve your body and mind well. It is not about perfection but getting a bit creative in the kitchen and cooking with love for yourself and others. In my ebook I am covering simple naturopathic principles of food and cooking. Like with all changes if you take them slowly one by one you will enjoy them more. At first you may meal plan for one or two days and gradually get better and quicker and actually enjoy the process. If you want to start and reset your eating habits you will also have access to my 21 days Cleanse program – do it yourself with Facebook group support at the preferable price, once you download the ebook.
I hope you enjoyed this article. It is only a begining and the You Tube video will follow soon.
Having more time for things you love and want to do can seem quite often as a dream. Especially for us women, it may not feel natural spending time on ourselves rather than others. It seems that we serve everyone and everything first and we collapse in the evening to enjoy a bit of time for ourselves. However, the challenge is not to do that and do not use your precious sleep hours to catch up with work or your beauty regime. The key is to find those few mintues during the day to fill your cup with love for yourself, your body and soul. We are awake 16 hours on average, so they key is to manage ourselves in that time to have a bit of it for self-care. I recently delivered webinar on the self-care for business women. I strongly believe you can show up really energetically for clients and sales calls when your cup is full. I mentioned using your top 5 strengths (Gallup survey) as well as your Human Design (more on that soon) to establish a routine that you will love and like and continue on regular basis.
Time is limited in supply
This is true. We do not have endless time resource so when it comes to management it is not time we need to manage but ourselves in it . It is no secret that I like good morning routine which I can’t imagine myself without. Is it perfect everyday? No it is not. In the research done couple years ago women still have less time to take it for leasure spending most of the time on household chores and childcare so mainly unpaid activities.
I split the time into three categories: self-care (a must and no compromise), time for the house (that includes some cleaning and meals) and time for my business ( the biggest chunk during the week which includes customer service, development and education). I admit I have one child, 11 year old daughter who is quite independent but still requires some supervision. I know for many it seems like an easy ride. It does not change the fact that I left my corporate job and decided to build the business. I need to be in it every day no matter how I feel and no matter how everyone else feels in the house. Without managing myself and especially social media time, TV time and procrastination, I would have no business.
This pandemic revealed a lot of how we can manage ourselves within the time we have. At the begnning , everyone needed to settle in into new routines. Homeschooling, household chores, cooking many times a day and among all of that either running your own business or working full time. Furloughed employees may also not had it easy. When you are used to work, solving problems and being busy , sitting in the house with no work may not be so easy as it seems. Also many of them worried and stiil are worring if they have anything to come back to.
So what have worked for people? It would be interested to find out but I believe there are few things that worked well. Routine , self-disicpline and accountability to somebody else other than yourself could work well. Also acknowledging the fact that you do not have to be superproductive all the time, you do not have to take on all these projects you always wanted to do and that you need to be compassionate with yourself on the days when you just have enough.
Invest in the Bank of Health
I call it this way as the results are not seen next day. When you invest in something the minimum time recommended for investment is 5 years. However, it seems that we think we can get good health tomorrow. The true is, not we cannot. Getting healthier is the combination of several factors and time can be on your side if you are making improvements most of the days (even if it is only drinking more water).
Investment factors to consider:
Getting out of your comfort zone to try different things, foods and schedules.
Giving up things which do not serve you.
Being kind to yourself and others.
Learning new skills and applying them every day.
Staying in your lane – nobody knows you better than you know yourself. That was evident with exercise. A lot of people jump on to exercise with Joe Wicks and many people stayed with him for a long time. I tried if few times and it was not for me mainly due to schedule. I stayed with my group of people I always exercise , we just did it online – I missed the training maybe twice but always made it up.
Coming up with routine, testing, trying and staying with the one you will love.
Reflection is also an important element and connecting with your feeling. How did you feel when you planned and prepared few meals in advance and did not have to frantically thinking about what to cook and if it was healthy or not?
Return on investement – there can be many such as: better energy, good quality life, no medications, simpler life, right to new partner, change of career and full on transformation. more clients.
Few tips for better self-management
Everyone is different and we all have different lifestyles. However, during the pandemic , we probably can find a lot of similarties. I am not sure how about you, but I wanted to make sure whatever I do this will be my new normal. I may need to adjust it to when the schools are back and up and running. I tried to avoid scenario when I would put everything on hold and then go back to it. I wanted to create a new better normal for me and I largely succeeded.
Below I share few tried and tested tips:
Mental Resilience – build it over time; stay in your lane no mater what; give yourself a break when you need it , do not push it. This is your super power. It is easy to give up so having your WHY for lifestyle change visible and in your mind always is critical. We spend a lot of time in our heads with hundreds of thoughts, while refection is good spending too much time on what it scenarios is a waste of time; use meditation or mindfulness app.
Plan in advance – use you calendar for booking time slots for your tasks; give them time like 5,10,15 minutes so you have an idea how long they last should you only have 5 minutes to do anything (I usually use it for grabbing more water, few streches or going outside in the garden)
Plan your meals – it will save you time and worry; prep few meals in advance on Sunday – chopped up veggies, cook soup – make it easy and colorful ; organise salad bar in your fridge
Prep some healthy snacks – when you work intensively your brain needs power- I love oven roasted nuts in a bit of maple syrup and tamari
Schedule tme for self-care – yoga, meditation, journalling , walks, family hugs (also virtual) and play
Schedule time for exercise
Cut down on time wasters – social media, Netflix, arguments, gossips, self-pity
Delegate some of your tasks; if your other half works full time it is not an excuse for not doing anything in the house; everyone has responsibility to contribute.
Leave your ego at the door, you will have low days and acknowledge that, give yourself grace, don’t be a super woman thinking you can do this any time and any day
Having a routine you can follow most of the times and the one which you will love can help you immensely. Routine takes time to work out and get used to. Motivation here is the key but it only works for few weeks , the rest is self-discipline, and not giving up. People who consistently follow the routine find they have more time for what they love, are happier and feel safe.
How about you, who you would like to feel. Would you like to establish routine you will love and able to maintain? If yes and you do not know where to start, let’s chat. My 60 minute Discovery Session is free – book here. During the session I wil have few questions for you, to understand where you are on your journey, what is holding you back and how we can work together.
P.S. And If you are after delicious roasted chickpea salad with sun-dried tomatoes – find it here .
And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.
When I was younger and studied American business and culture this was my favourite poem by R.Frost – The Road Not Taken. I always wondered , if I ever had to chose the road less travelled? Will I have enough courage to do that? The roads that are not used frequently look scary, univiting and simply have nothing to offer to those who do not have courage to be curious and look beyond what is visible at first sight. I thought that June 2020 is a good timing for some reflection (half year) and my goals assessment, to look at the road I actually have taken.
Looking ahead and not being able to see what is around the corner is scary for many of us. Rightly so, our brain wants to keep us safe and comfortable and avoid unnecessary dangers at all costs. We start creating ‘what if ‘ scenarios rarely seeing anything positive. Our upbringing has a lot to do with that. I was brought up in a relatively safe house. My Mum stayed with me for three years before she returned to her job and I had to go to the Nursery.
However, after that it was pretty much ride into independence for me. Right from the very beginning in the primary school I was going on my own and returning home on my own with a key on my neck. I grew up in the block of flats and I guess it was a community responsibility to look after all the children. There were always at least one or two pair of eyes watching us from the windows while we were playing outside. Anyway, too long to write about everything so fast forward to my university and first job years, I found myself longing for a change and an opportunity to explore other cultures and countries. I loved learning English language (I also had to learn Russian) so that was my natural choice to go to a country were English is native. I badly wanted to go to the USA. I applied for summer camps etc but due to my illness I could not go. Very disappointing indeed.
Year 2019 – Time to take the road not taken
I thought of myself that I actually was always chosing the road not taken. Howver, that it is not entirely true. Some choices although they were big lifestyle changes, somehow felt safe anyway. I came to UK after finishing my MA studies. I gave up well paid job but again I came to my future husband who rented a flat and could support us while I was looking for a job.
Again fast forward almost 15 years which I spent in few places but mainy in the corprate, I truly stood at the front of the road not taken. I never was entrepreneur and never anyone from my family and my closer husband’s family was one. Actually enterprenurs never had good opinion in my country. I always associated enterpreneurship with hard work, no fun and little returns for the first few years. However, I wanted to try and finally made a decision to leave and start my own business.
My journey has started with a little book of great ideas. I believe I started it in 2016 and carried with me everywhere I went. It is full of thoughts, quotes, useful blogs, courses etc. It helped me a lot putting down my thoughts on the paper and not carring them around. I was inspired a lot but not enough to take any actions. Since than I have finished three courses and fourth is in progress to change my career – yeah it takes a lot – time money and stamina to do this – I will not lie.
Lesson number 1 – if you carry any ideas long enough , give them a try – I really should have started long time ago.
I had to have a good understanding and do some inner work of what I really wanted to do in my life. I finished different courses including Social Media Management before I arrived at coaching.
Anyway, 2nd half of 2019 I decided to leave corporate and started to work with my first client in September. After that more clients followed while I was studying and trying to figure out all admin stuff , marketing and sales. I felt overwhelmed. I thought it would be easy. I was organised, I could plan and diligent in implementing actions etc. But wait a minute, I never had to work for me ?? and of course you can be your worst boss ever!
I cried my eyes out , trying to understand how it all works . I was stressed as my savings was getting smaller and smaller and not enough was coming in to cover bills, and running the business. I cut all unnecessary spending including bills. But I was gaining momentum and I loved the creative side of my business combining cooking and coaching, I started running cookery workshops and Supper clubs which I loved. I also got in touch with an outside company which was looking for coaches to join and coach patients in NHS. My first training was in August 2019 . I started coaching for them in May 2020.
Lesson number 2 – at the beginning take other opportunities which may come your way so that you have cash coming in – they may not be exactly what you ultimately want but they can bring you a step closer to your dream and provide so much required financial resources without getting into debt.
2020 – And the COVID-19 struck
Nobody ,ever never would have predicted what happend in March 2020. The world as we know has come to a stop. Did I panic? Not really, as most of my profitable part of the business was online anyway. However fear, insecurities and poor money mindset all kicked in hard and laud. I could not have imagine myself selling or that people would invest in themselves during such times. And that was the hardest part. I already had some resilience but not enough . I generally felt safe but I needed to turn into my coaching tribe for support and love. It was great. Everyone was in the similar situation and struggled with their mindset. We received a lot of support and love.
Lesson number 3 – make sure you have your tribe you can turn to, who will hold space for you and hold you accountable
How I have survived the first weeks in lockdown? It was not easy. First of all, I have a wonderful family who believes in me and understands. They see me healthy and happy and in far more better shape than I used to be and we all love it. Yes we may not afford a lot of things but in COVID-19 times, does it matter? We had no holidays plans to cancel or any other tickets and booking arrangements to postpone and sort out. We focused on our home, growing veggies, walking and riding the bike. We have one SPA voucher which we hope to use later this year.
I have realised that living simpler life is pleasurable, less stressful and can be fun! Focusing on expriences and not possessions made me really happy and focused on my dream.
In my business I focused on serving my current and new clients, growing my audience, regular blogging, regular lives and supporting my group. I focused on essential oils as well and found it really fun, fullfilling and massively useful in times of stress and anxiety. I grew my team a bit and managed to do few webinars. I have done my first podcast and also started coaching for NHS (I collaborate with Swedish Start Up company – Liva Healthcare) which will bring me regular income. I also continued networking as much as I could but found it overwhelming with loads of zoom calls all day. Now my time is limited as I coach more but still try to do regular meetings at least 2 times a week. I also managed to partner with the clinic where I wanted to see clients face to face before COVID-19. They organised online webinars and are willing to promote Therapists and consultants working for them. I am going to organise workshops there and see clients face to face when they are fully open.Check them out here – Surrey and Hampshire Wellbeing Clinic.
Lesson number 4 – know your goals and targets. Understand money in and out, but give yourself compassion and do not put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Ask for help!
Below I share few activites which helped me a lot to stay focused and stay in my lane.
Morning routine – although not always perfect, I managed to meditate, journal and reflect with gratefulness on everything which happend for me; I connected with my WHY again, listened to good podcasts and practiced what I preach;
Stayed active – I tuned into my body and what it really wanted. Physical activity can be very good for mental health but it does not have to be long distance running. I found early morning walks incredibly nourishing for me and my soul. Knowing that I have done something for myself in the morning really brought me a lot of joy and I felt relaxed. I am now back to running.
Mental resilience- I practiced a lot of resilience. I ditched the comparison . Some coaches got a lot of even high paying clients and I could not get any. Comparison is a road to hell. Never ever compare yourself to anyone and do not assume that you know about somebody’s life based on his/her pictures on social media. Easy written than done , I know.
Celebrate every small step – this is tough as we see only the things we have not done . Small progress does not count for us but it is vital for our brain to register and for us to feel good. I celebrated everything no matter how small even the fact that I ate healthy and went for 10 min walk instead of 40 min.
I kept my spending to minium and had some savings as well as other sources of income. I did my tax return very quickly and got some money back which helped me a lot.
I kept my WHY visible and in my mind all the time. I kept my energy high although sometimes I just wanted to give up and hide. I know that I am on a right path and do not regret my decision. The climb is not over yet and I need to enjoy it.
These are key things and it is not over yet but I think that I am defenitly in far more better place than I expected in March. I am calm, happy, healthy and grateful. I know that I am exactly where I should be. In January I told myself that I want to help 2020 people this year. They do not have to be my paying clients only. I am very hopeful that I will reach my target.
I have a bucket list of things I want to achieve. This includes social media and usuall business stuff but above all I want to grow as an exceptional and transformational coach who inspires others to take action to better and healthier life for themselves and their families. I realise now that without inner work, myself as I coach do not show up fully present for my clients. I show up preoccupied with my life. I am currently reading the book by Marilena Minucci on Quantum Coaching – great perspective needed for new coaches.
I am not here to drag anyone into coaching. Even in NHS patients have choice to be or not to be on a program. It is not forced on them. You need to be ready to take it in and put the work in. Coaching opens up the doors for you, you thought were closed or were not even there.
It is up to you to get curious about the Road Not Taken.
I offer free discovery sessions. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Jump on Board now.
I work with men and women who are fed up with constant dieting and are ready to crack the code of consistency. I help them to build healthy habits for life so that they do not have to diet ever again. I am passionate about plant-based nutrition and I incorporate a lot of whole plant-based food groups into my coaching and recipes.