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The Daily Beet: Tips, Advice and Stories

Adventures with Ami: Routines

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Do you remember Joan Lunden?  I used to love watching Good Morning America when she was was a co-host. I was a young mother at the time and Joan had daughters as well.  I remember her doing a segment once about getting healthy.  She was the first person I ever saw do something I love to do now.  She said that upon returning home from the grocery store, after unpacking everything, she would wash and prep all of the produce she brought home and store it in the fridge in containers.  Glass containers so you could see what was there, at eye level so it’s the first thing you see when you are hungry and open the refrigerator door.  She had glass containers filled with carrots, celery, radishes, cucumbers, peppers, berries, melon, onions and herbs.  I have always loved this idea!  It takes a little work to do it all at once, but once you get into the routine of doing it, it’s a no-brainer.  Having fresh, easy, healthy snacks at the ready can make all the difference.  It’s too easy sometimes to look at the produce bin and opt for something less than stellar instead of taking a minute to slice up a cucumber when you are starving.

Other great routines to get into include starting your day with a walk, run or bike ride. Even a short one! Setting your alarm clock for 30 minutes earlier can make a huge difference in how the rest of your day goes.  The first few days might be tough, you may be cranky, but you are going to feel great!  Spending the time in the morning can set the pace for your day.  It’s YOUR time.  Reflect on blessings, listen to the birds waking up, watch the sunrise as you jog, or enjoy the calmness of the hour as you ride on a bike path.  Or head to the gym so you are there the second the unlock the door.  No need to wait for machines at this hour.  The endorphins will get rolling and before you know it, you will be smiling :) Wear light colored reflective clothing or a blinky light if you are up before dawn and exercising outside!

Shopping for plant-strong foods doesn’t have to take any longer than shopping for the standard American diet. In the beginning, label reading may bog you down, admittedly.  What I like to tell people is to make the time for a grocery education session.  Set aside an hour or two like you would for a hair appointment or the dentist.  Spend this time at the grocery store, not buying…but investigating.  From BBQ Sauce to pasta sauce, balsamic vinegars, cereals, bread and more, walk the aisles, read labels, find brands that work with our label reading guidelines.  Ask questions of store personnel if you can’t find something.  Familiarize yourself with where things are and what brands are on plan.  Do this once! Then you are set to go for subsequent shopping trips.  Each trip becomes much faster once you know what you are looking for. Spot check labels of trusted brands now and then for changing ingredients, sadly this isn’t uncommon.  Then, every now and then, revisit your usual store or check out a new store and update your grocery investigative skills! Find new products, try a new vegetable or grain or add to your spice collection.  I also shop off a pantry list.  I buy nearly the same things each trip, filling in the items from my pantry list that I know I am out of or are almost gone.  I always have a base stock on hand of frozen fruit and vegetables, potatoes, rice, lentils, beans and such.  These are the items I use the most.  We have a great pantry list to download on Engine 2 Extra for our members. http://engine2extra.com


About the author

Ami Mackey
Ami Mackey is a food coach at Engine 2 Extra and has been plant-strong since 2011. She is also the Program Director at St Louis All City Boxing a nonprofit youth program. She earned certificates from eCornell in Plant-Based Nutrition & Fitness Nutrition from NASM.

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