Provision #493: Marvelous Menus

Laser Provision

Throughout our series on Optimal Wellness, people have written to ask about menu planning and recipes. This Provision begins to answers those questions with a sample two-week, menu plan and the seventh recipe in our series. The holidays may not seem like a good time to get started on healthy eating, but I think it’s a great time. With the support of family and friends, we can turn our attention to the things that matter. Here’s to great celebrations both now and in the future!

LifeTrek Provision

According to one long-time reader of LifeTrek Provisions, last week’s edition officially qualifies me as the Grinch who stole Christmas. All that talk about global politics, conflicts, climate change, industrial agriculture, and overpopulation was enough to take the peace and good will out of the season.

While others thanked me for the message, I want to officially apologize if I dampened anyone’s holiday spirit. That was not my intent. I was simply trying to point out, perhaps too graphically, a rather hopeful truth: our lifestyles make a difference. There is a connection between how we live as individuals and how we fare as a planet, between what we consume on the micro level and what we consume on the macro level. To paraphrase a famous poster: I was encouraging people to “Think globally, Eat locally”.

It may be hard to believe that modifying our eating patterns on an individual level can help to resolve our predicaments on a planetary level. Global politics, conflicts, climate change, industrial agriculture, and overpopulation seem so enormous, so intractable, and so • well • global, that how could a simple decision like, “What am I going to eat for dinner?” impact the course of history and the forces of nature. But that was exactly my point. Our decisions as individuals, whether conscious or unconscious, add up to make an enormous impact.

At a time when many celebrate the meaning and significance of one solitary birth, more than 2,000 years ago, we should neither be disheartened by the problems of the world nor dismissive of the individual capacity to make a resounding difference. Especially when it comes to the movement of energy. You may be familiar with the term “The Butterfly Effect,” the presupposition of which is not unlike one of the basic mantras of appreciative inquiry: the first question is fateful. Small changes in initial conditions can generate enormous variations in the long term behavior of a system.

In and of itself, a butterfly flapping its wings may seem insignificant and irrelevant. But those wings, at least theoretically, can set in motion a cascade of events that can trigger (or prevent) a tornado from forming elsewhere in the world. Ironically, considering the comments from those who thought I was spoiling the season, “The Butterfly Effect” was popularized in perhaps the most famous and most endearing holiday movie of all time, the 1946 production of “It’s A Wonderful Life” starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. Jimmy Stewart’s character, George Bailey, was contemplating suicide because of a big financial loss. To save him from this tragic turn, a guardian angel played by Henry Travers arranged for George to see what life would be like if he had never been born. The outcomes reverberated exponentially. It even stopped snowing on that particular day.

All kinds of people lived, died, or otherwise had things turned topsy-turvy just because George Bailey wasn’t there to do what he had done. The family, the town, the nation, even the course of world history was so impacted by the lack of one person’s life that George was left sobbing, saying, over and over again, “I want to live. I want to live. I want to live.” So, too, when it comes to each of us. Our lives make a difference. Our way in the world may seem small and trivial, like the flapping of butterfly wings, it may even seem boring and depressing, like the small-town life of George Bailey, but every choice we make, every word we speak, and every action we take have unimaginable power and consequences.

Especially when they stimulate and are set in relationship to the choices, words, and actions of others. It may seem like a small thing, for example, to join the Community Supported Agriculture movement, to shop at a Farmer’s Market, or to grow and raise our own food, but those small things can change the world. Since one fifth of the USA’s petroleum consumption goes to producing and transporting food, and since the USA consumes more petroleum than any other country in the world, every shift in the direction of local food sources is a shift in the right direction.

As one thing leads to another, there’s no telling exactly what the spin off will be. I, for one, remain hopeful that the spin off will include positive global impacts on the many problems and challenges facing our world today. I am not arguing against other actions, especially global action, which are also important. I am simply acknowledging and celebrating the importance of this one local action, which each and every one of us can take to a greater or lesser extent. Think globally, eat locally: it really can make a difference. So what do we eat? Many of you have asked for sample menus over the course of this series of Provisions. Menu planning starts with the Optimal Wellness Prototype. It’s a great guide when it comes to the “omnivore’s dilemma.” You can’t get any better than planning your meals around organic, locally-grown fresh fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, seeds, nuts, wild fish, pasture-fed meat as well as free-range poultry and eggs. There’s no need to eat grains, legumes, dairy products, feedlot animals, or processed foods.

Such foods diminish health and contribute to obesity. One way they may do that, according to recent research, is that they may promote the growth of digestive bacteria that extract more calories from food Click. In addition to all their other drawbacks, the problems they create with gut flora make them especially dangerous foods for optimal wellness. So here’s what we eat at our house. Our least-local meal of the day is breakfast, which is usually our Healthy Fruit Chewy. The mix of ingredients in this smoothie makes it a near-perfect way to start the day. A tall, 18-ounce glass (530 ml) glass has 328 calories including 12 grams of fat, 17 grams of protein, and 38 grams of carbohydrate including 15 grams of fiber. That makes the energy ratio 34% fat, 21% protein, and 45% high-fiber carbohydrates. Those percentages aren’t far from the Optimal Wellness Prototype itself for an entire day.

Loren Cordain, a leading expert on the Paleolithic diet, looks to keep the energy ratio in the following ranges on a daily basis: 28-47% fat, 19-35% protein, and 22-40% high-fiber carbohydrates. For athletes, he bumps up the percentage of high-fiber carbohydrates to accommodate their increased glycogen requirements. Since the Optimal Wellness Prototype recommends at least 7 hours of exercise per week, the energy mix in my Healthy Fruit Chewy is just about right. Especially since the micronutrients in the shake meet so many requirements for optimum wellness. The fruit provides digestive enzymes and antioxidant flavonoids. At certain times of the year , we are able to get the fruit from local sources.

The protein includes every essential amino acid and no cholesterol. The fats are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids as well as lauric fatty acid. The bananas and molasses add potassium, the probiotic powder introduce gut-friendly bacteria, while the cinnamon and ginger support both heart and digestive health. When we’re in the mood for something different (which doesn’t happen very often) we may eat soft-boiled, poached, or scrambled eggs together with baked root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, yams, turnips, rutabagas, and onions. Chop up the root vegetables, coat them lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with a touch of sea salt (if desired), and bake them in a single layer on a flat sheet at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until done (20-40 minutes). Leftover salmon, chicken breast, or turkey breast also go well with the baked root vegetables.

Before breakfast, when I first wake up and before I complete my morning exercise routine, I always have a pot (32 ounces) of freshly-brewed green tea. I prefer 100% organic green tea blended with jasmine blossoms. I also have a banana, an orange, and / or a few prunes. Lunch is typically our dairy-free Splendid Salad. There’s no end to the combinations of fancy fixings’ to put on top, just don’t go overboard on quantity. Avoid store-bought dressings unless they are 100% organic and gluten-free. Those can be hard to find. We prefer to use either balsamic vinegar alone, mixed with olive oil, or blended together with lemon juice, agave nectar, and fresh herbs out of our garden. For more than half the year, we are able to locally source most of the salad’s basic ingredients through our CSA and Farmer’s Market. On days when we don’t eat salad, our lunches may include organic, gluten-free crackers topped with humus, Baba Ghannouj, or freshly ground almond butter. The toppings can be easily homemade.

Add a can of no-salt-added sardines, or up to 6 ounces of leftover meat from the night before, along with a piece of fruit and / or some carrots for a well-rounded lunch. On other days we enjoy a bowl of organic, no-salt-added, gluten-free, and dairy-free soup such as Health Valley lentil, black bean, or split pea. In addition to drinking several quarts or liters of pure, filtered, refrigerated water, snacks throughout the day include fresh fruits, chopped vegetables, raw nuts such as walnuts (2 ounces), or a few small cubes of organic, fair-trade, shade-grown dark chocolate. We don’t worry about the quantity of fruits and vegetables that we eat; in fact, our goal is to eat as much as possible rather than to limit our consumption. We find these foods to be self-regulating. We also enjoy caffeine-free Rooibos tea. The evening meal typically revolves around 6 ounces of wild salmon, pasture-fed buffalo, or skinless, free-range poultry. To that we add a green vegetable such as broccoli, broccolini, spinach, steamed greens, kale, bok choy, and Swiss chard.

Although we avoid white potatoes, we like to include other root vegetables such as turnips, rutabagas, carrots, beets, sunchokes (or Jerusalem artichokes), parsnips, sweet potatoes, onions, and garlic Recipe. On occasion we may substitute mushrooms (such as Portobello or oyster), spaghetti squash, tempeh, or lentils and brown rice for the meat. We may also occasionally substitute a mix of brown and wild rice for the root vegetables. Most of the evening meal can be obtained from local sources throughout much of the year. It truly is amazing as to how many sources are available, when you start looking. One source leads to another, and soon you are part of the network. That’s a good place to be.

Variety comes not only from the selected foods but also from how foods are cooked. Buffalo that is grilled and buffalo that is part of a crock-pot stew may come from the same animal, but the taste sensation is totally different. Avoid blackening food on the grill. My favorite commercial seasoning, for both vegetables and meat, is “Vegit All Purpose Seasoning“. The best way to cook fish, meat, and vegetables is to steam them rather than to fry them in oil (when oil is used, stay with extra virgin olive or coconut oils ). One of my favorite gadgets, the “Black & Decker Flavor Scenter Steamer Plus” , makes steaming a snap. It can steam two foods at once while the timing guide, including settings for both fresh and frozen vegetables, makes it easy to avoid both overcooking and undercooking. Cooking with steam adds no calories, avoids excessive heat, and keeps food tender. For stovetop cooking, I prefer stainless steel pots and pans. For desert we may have fresh fruit, frozen fruit sorbet, or another chunk of dark chocolate.

That’s a nice way to end the day. Eating no grains, dairy products, feedlot animals, or processed foods obviously means we are not eating such popular items as pizza, spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, ravioli, fettuccini, dinner rolls, ice cream, cheesecake, chips, cookies, cakes, crackers, cereals, commercial meat, or fast food. That may seem extreme, but we hardly miss them. Once they are gone from the diet, the cravings they create dissipate along with such negative health impacts as digestive , sinus, joint, and cardiovascular problems. Put that together with an easier to control Body Mass Index and it’s easy to never look back. I will continue to post recipes on our website for those who are interested. To get a sense of how this works on a daily basis, here is a sample two-week menu plan. There are, of course, infinite variations on what can be eaten when.

Occasion Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
Wake-up Snack Green Tea Fresh Fruit Dried Prunes Green Tea Fresh Fruit Dried Prunes Green Tea Fresh Fruit Dried Prunes Green Tea Fresh Fruit Dried Prunes Green Tea Fresh Fruit Dried Prunes Green Tea Fresh Fruit Dried Prunes Green Tea Fresh Fruit Dried Prunes
Breakfast Fruit Chewy Fruit Chewy Fruit Chewy Fruit Chewy Fruit Chewy Fruit Chewy Eggs Root Medley
Morning Snack (select from) Water Fresh Fruit Nuts, Seeds, Raisins, Dark Chocolate Water Fresh Fruit Nuts, Seeds, Raisins, Dark Chocolate Water Fresh Fruit Nuts, Seeds, Raisins, Dark Chocolate Water Fresh Fruit Nuts, Seeds, Raisins, Dark Chocolate Water Fresh Fruit Nuts, Seeds, Raisins, Dark Chocolate Water Fresh Fruit Nuts, Seeds, Raisins, Dark Chocolate Water Fresh Fruit Nuts, Seeds, Raisins, Dark Chocolate
Lunch Splendid Salad G-F Crackers Fresh Veggies Baba Ghannouj Fresh Fruit Sardines Splendid Salad G-F Crackers Fresh Veggies Hummus Fresh Fruit Chicken Splendid Salad Splendid Salad G-F Crackers Fresh Veggies Almond Butter Fresh Fruit Salmon
Afternoon Snack (select from) Water Fresh Veggies Nuts, Seeds, Dried Fruit Rooibos Tea Water Fresh Fruit Nuts, Seeds, Dried Fruit Rooibos Tea Water Fresh Veggies Nuts, Seeds, Dried Fruit Rooibos Tea Water Fresh Fruit Nuts, Seeds, Dried Fruit Rooibos Tea Water Fresh Veggies Nuts, Seeds, Dried Fruit Rooibos Tea Water Fresh Veggies Nuts, Seeds, Dried Fruit Rooibos Tea Water Fresh Fruit Nuts, Seeds, Dried Fruit Rooibos Tea
Dinner Week One Bison Stew Apple Sauce Fruit Sorbet Salmon Broccoli Root Medley Fresh Fruit Cup Chicken Breast Steamed Greens Root Medley Dark Chocolate Large Mushrooms Artichokes Side Salad G-F Crackers Salmon Steamed Cabbage Brown Rice Fruit Sorbet Spaghetti Squash Marinara Sauce Steamed Kale Dark Chocolate Turkey Breast Cauliflower Cucumber Salad Fresh Fruit Cup
Dinner Week Two Grilled Bison Brussels sprouts Sweet Potato Fruit Sorbet Other Wild Fish Broccolini Apple Salad Dark Chocolate Baked Chicken Asparagus Root Medley Fresh Fruit Cup Leftover Chicken Splendid Salad G-F Crackers Baba Ghannouj Lentils & Rice Bok Choy Root Medley Dark Chocolate Scallops Carrot Salad Artichokes Fruit Sorbet Lentils & Rice Steamed Greens Fresh Berries Dark Chocolate

Coaching Inquiries: What is your menu plan for the next two weeks? Does it maximize the consumption of organic, locally-grown fresh fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, seeds, nuts, wild fish, pasture-fed meat as well as free-range poultry and eggs? Does it minimize the consumption of grains, legumes, dairy products, or processed food? How could you incorporate more healthy foods into your diet? What shifts would you have to make in order to become more focused on health? To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session. LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week) Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Form or Email Bob..

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your recent Provision, Planetary Predicaments. We so urgently need to teach and encourage people to change their ways to a more sustainable lifestyle. I am very passionate about this. Thank you, also, for bringing Jane Goodall’s book to the top on your list of books. Now, how can we incorporate this into coaching? I wonder how many coaches are on the same page as you are when it comes to these issues? (Ed. Note: Judging from the response to the recent presentation by Lynne Twist, a global activist and fundraiser, at the International Coach Federation’s annual conference, I would say the coaching community is headed in the right direction.)

I learned a long time ago that whenever anyone tries to frighten you, they’re trying to manipulate you. I’m 58 years old and I’ve heard so much bad science and listened to so many politicians twist data for their own purposes over the years that it takes an awful lot to scare me these days.

Please don’t slip into that all-too-common habit of “progressive” thinkers to look around and conclude that things are getting worse. They’re not. While Al Gore burns up hundreds of gallons of jet fuel and gasoline flying around in private jets and being chauffeured in limousines to promote his movie on how we should cut back on our use of fossil fuels, civilized societies and people of goodwill continue their slow, invincible march forward. When I help gut a house for a poor family that was victimized by Hurricane Katrina, I’m convinced that I and my fellow workers are doing a lot more than Al Gore to make the world a better place.

Anyone can be a cynic and crawl into a cave. It takes courage to be an optimist and to believe that most people are trying hard to do what’s right. If you want to see optimism, quit going to lectures by “experts” and get down here to New Orleans and watch ordinary people rebuilding their lives. (Ed. Note: I’m sorry to have frightened you. That was not my intent. I applaud both your work in New Orleans and your optimism. As today’s Provision indicates, I believe in the power of local action to change the world.) 

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School
Immediate Past President, International Association of
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

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