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Five steps to training conscious eaters

February 21, 2012

by Elisha Joyce
Rebel Grain

This week on twitter I was reminded of a this great quote:

We are walking billboards. If we are overweight and out of shape, lack vitality and enthusiasm, we are telling the world on our billboard, “I don’t care.” On the other hand, if you take care of your body by giving it proper nutrition and exercise, you will exude vitality and enthusiasm. Your sign will read, “I have pride, I have discipline, I take care of this God-given body, it’s my moral obligation.”

-Jack Lallane, from his book Revitalize Your Life: Improve Your Looks, Your Health & Your Sex Life.

Growing up in a bodybuilding house this idea that we are “walking billboards” was always top of mind. Why? Because people are watching. Yes, whether we like it or not, others are watching our “example.”  How we talk, how we dress, how we look, where we go, what we do – it all says something about what takes priority in our heart.

We are a total package… therefore, if we are to have positive influence on others, we musn’t just be talking – we must be WALKING. Our life must say something – and, when it comes to whether we care about our health and fitness, what people see on the outside speaks louder than anything that ever comes out of our mouth.

Now that I’m a wife and mother, my “walking billboard” has grown to include my husband and my children. How they are “nourished” in my home is reflected in who they are – physically, emotionally, spiritually. I am no longer able to just think of health in terms of what I need and want… I must consider what “my tribe” needs and wants. Health and wellness is a family affair… and, if I want my family to be healthy and well, it all starts with me and the habits I cultivate in my home.

One “rebel” habit I am cultivating in my home, for example, is “conscious eating”. How? With these five basic steps:

First, regular meals at regular times of day. We have regular meals at regular times of the day: breakfast in the morning, lunch at mid-day, and dinner in the evening. No matter what our schedule, we do our best to all eat at the same time, and eat the same things; no one gets to “opt-out” of what’s be prepared for the family. And, when the kitchen “closes” after dinner, there is no more eating – period.

Second, proper portions. I serve my children on smaller plates/bowls than adults eat off of; smaller bodies need smaller portions. We rarely serve seconds – if there is still hunger after a meal, then we bring out fruit to top it off.

Third, listen to (and understand) your body. I once heard that the French word for “full” is actually translated, “I no longer have hunger”. This is what I want my kids to understand – that you don’t have to be “full” after a meal, you simply have to “no longer have hunger”.

Fourth, we have clear family definition for what a snack is. In between our regular meals, we have “snacks” – a nutrient dense nibble of whole food that will fend off hunger and provide the energy we need between meals.

Cookies and milk is not a snack.

A bowl of ice cream is not a snack.

A fruit snack is not a snack.

A sugar-laden granola bar (or protein bar or meal bar) is not a snack.

A bowl full of chips is not a snack.

None of these are a snack in our home because none of them fit our definition of snack: a nutrient dense nibble of whole food that will fend off hunger and provide us the energy we need between meals.

So, what is a snack?

Whole fruit is a snack. Nuts are a snack. A bowl of edemame or sugar snap peas is a snack. Crackers with peanut butter is a snack. SmartyBars are a snack. A slice of turkey or a piece of salami with cheese – that’s a snack.

Fifth, everything gets a plate. Nothing gets eaten unless it’s first put it on a plate (or in a bowl) – why? Because seeing how much you are serving yourself is key in understanding how much your body needs to “no longer have hunger”. I want my kids to see what they are consuming, not eat mindlessly.

I share all this because today is a great time for you to think about a couple of things: 1) are you happy with your “billboard”; and 2) if not, what is ONE step you can take to begin remaking your “billboard”?

Just one step… that’s what it takes to go in a new direction.

Rebel on, sister!

About the Author: Elisha Joyce is the Founder of Portland-based Rebel Grain, Inc and Creator of the whole food super-snack “SmartyBars”. Elisha is a wife and mother of three who was raised in the “golden-age” of bodybuilding and firmly believes “we are what we eat” – therefore, she’s on a mission to help you (and your family) NOURISH GREATNESS. 
  
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Discuss this article

Roberta February 21, 2012

When we say we are full is I believe very important. I just think on how many times I eat just for the sake of eating, or to stuff myself with comfort food to feel that comfort. I feel I have found that this form of eating is limitless, and I end up eating forevvvver. It is sorta like I can say verymuch like listening to music where we all listen to music all day long to help us through, but if you think about it you can’t be eating like you listen to music or watch tv, because snacking puts on weight. And let me tell you it is not eating veggies I am talking about.

Me too February 21, 2012

If your snacking your packing.

Nancy Jones February 21, 2012

If you read the steps, you will notice that it does not seem that hard.

anon February 21, 2012

UNless you have built up a lifetime of bad habits. Then it becomes very hard to even take easy steps. Not impossible but hard. I know, I have been there.

Nancy Jones February 21, 2012

I wdo not disagree.

Naomi February 22, 2012

Everything gets a plate is my favorite!

Suz February 22, 2012

What are the smarty bars I see in the photo?

Jay February 27, 2012

“Smarty Bars are a whole food energy snack made from the best ingredients that do not include chemical concoctions or added sweeteners.”

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