Mental Health Podcast

A new Meal Mentor podcast is ready for you!

In this episode, Brea (my copilot!) talks with me about mental illness. In addition to sharing coping strategies, we also discuss the importance of being open and honest, and working to erase the stigma surrounding mental illness.

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Don't miss this episode to hear about the power in admitting weaknesses, why embarrassment and shame should be eliminated, and how to find the silver lining when living with a mental illness!

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10 Ways to Transform Leftovers

Do you hate leftovers? Does your partner?

I didn’t grow up eating leftovers.

My father had grown up very very poor, rarely having enough food to eat. And when they had food, it was often a 10lb bag of beans they would eat meal after meal for a week straight.

It’s not surprising that my father became apprehensive of leftovers, or that as a provider, he felt a sense of pride that his family never had to eat leftovers…

As I grew older I realized other families did not live or eat like mine.

Friends with single, working parents often ate the same casserole all week long.

Other kids ate the same exact lunch every day or took “leftovers.”

In fact when a kid tried to trade me lunches, his leftover lasagna for my sandwich, I said something about how I didn’t like leftovers (even though I really loved lasagna and loved it a whole lot more than a bologna sandwich).

Not liking leftovers is a learned behavior.

How could I conclusively hate something I had never really had?

More importantly, would I turn away “leftover” birthday cake? Absolutely not.

My husband didn’t grow up eating leftovers either, but for entirely different reasons. His parents worked opposite shifts, so they never had mealtimes together to have leftovers.

Point is, we both came into our marriage hating leftovers.

Or not wanting to eat leftovers if we had them.

And because we were both too busy and too tired to cook a “fresh” meal after a long day, we went out to eat or ordered take-out so someone else would do the “fresh” cooking for us.

(Nevermind that most restaurant food is made well ahead and “leftover.”)

We had colored our minds against “leftovers” thinking they were gross, soggy seconds.

But when we decided to get serious about our health, go vegan, and lose weight…

I KNEW I had to meal plan *and* cook. There was no other way.

And with my schedule, there was NO WAY I could cook nightly.

So I HAD to cook on the weekends, and because I was slow and inexperienced, I started cooking big batches to save time and effort.

We HATED it, especially my husband, but we forced it down.

Then something happened: We felt the UPSIDES.

Losing weight and feeling better—yes!! But we LOVED the money savings, routine, and convenience most of all!

Coming home after a long day knowing dinner is ALREADY in the fridge?

Such an awesome feeling.

All I have to do is reheat and eat?! Hell to the YEAH.

We also started noticing a lot of foods only got more flavorful and better tasting as they sat and “marinated” for a few days.

BUT if you’re still mentally blocked about leftovers…

Try these “repackaging” ideas:

  • turn into a sandwich or wrap
  • put it with pasta
  • serve it inside lettuce cups
  • or over leaves (kale, spinach, etc.) for a salad
  • put it on top of pizza
  • stuff into a bell pepper
  • mix into tofu scramble
  • puree into a soup (works GREAT for veggies!)
  • serve as a pot pie filling
  • serve warm or cold (whatever you didn’t do last time)

P.S. In a happy turn of events, even my plant-based parents have come to love “leftovers” too. Not only for the ease, but they feel most Meal Mentor recipes taste BETTER a few days later. My DAD often cooks extra so they have enough for a second meal, even though both he and my mom are retired and have the time to cook daily.

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Preventative Medicine Podcast

A new Meal Mentor podcast is ready for you!

In this episode, Preventative Medicine Specialist, Dr. Lindsey Mcilvena (my copilot!) talks about her approach to healthcare!

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Dr. Mcilvena explains the importance of building relationships with her patients, how she encourages them to adopt a plant-based diet, and how to be empowered to take charge of your health!

P.S. Do you love listening to the podcast? Show your support by leaving a review on iTunes.

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Postive Health Choices & Self-Care Podcast

A new Meal Mentor podcast is ready for you!

In this episode, Lucia (my copilot!) shares her experience on adopting a plant-based diet and becoming a runner at the age of 60!

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Lucia also talks about why it's never too late to make positive health choices, how to practice self-care, and why Meal Mentor is about much more than just recipes.

P.S. Do you love listening to the podcast? Show your support by leaving a review on iTunes.

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The UPSIDE to Plateau

Have you ever lost a little weight, hit a plateau, and then gave up?

Plateaus can be so FRUSTRATING!!!

But there IS an upside!

#1 It’s a Jumbotron sign saying you’ve made PROGRESS.

We’re always so busy focusing on what’s ahead…what’s next…

Try looking at a plateau as PAUSE and not a stop.

Take a moment to survey the landscape and all that road behind you!

If you unexpectedly hit traffic, would you abandon your car and walk home?

Of course not. You’d wait it out, knowing eventually you’ll get to your destination.

The same is true for your weight-loss. The PLATEAU is just a little traffic jam.

Short-term plateaus aren’t anything to worry about.

HOWEVER. If there is no change over a SIGNIFICANT period of time…

There isn’t a calorie deficit.

(And you will not lose fat without one).

You may be underestimating your caloric intake, overestimating your caloric output, or engaging in a little (unknowing) self-sabotage…

Your plateau is your warning light – that something needs maintenance.

Every time I plateaued I thought there couldn’t possibly be anymore I could do…

But time and time again I uncovered a culprit, and once resolved, weight-loss resumed.

A big SHOCKER for me involved squash.

I started eating squash as a snack...

Partly because I liked it, but mostly because MFP told me it was only 30 calories.

As my plateau continued for weeks and weeks, I started closely examining everything I was doing in search of an answer. Eventually I discovered my squash was really 80 calories a cup (MFP was wrong)! I had been underestimating my calories unknowingly!

Once I started using the correct information and adjusted accordingly, I lost weight.

Another surprise was with my FitBit. It was always very generous in telling me how many calories I burned (but it was an overestimation).

For example, my friend and I went to a party. And while we WERE dancing, we were also standing around talking a lot, too. There’s no way I burned 980 calories. I WISH.

Technology is supposed to make our lives easier… help us reach our goals faster…

But technology is not without its downfalls and quirks.

Like the scale, for example.

The scale is the easiest way to track progress but also the least RELIABLE.

It can’t tell you what your muscle-to-body-fat proportion is…

Or if you’re hydrated or dehydrated...

Yet 1lb of muscle in lieu of 1lb of fat can make ALL the difference in appearance…

And we can ALL agree we look way better when we’re NOT bloated, right?! ;)

SO even if you HAVE reached a PLATEAU, make sure it’s a real one.

Don’t trust the scale completely.

Take pictures in a swimsuit, assess how your clothes fit, use tape measurers, etc.

BUT if the plateau continues for more than a few weeks…

It’s time to make a change…

Change to the meal plans and take all the guesswork out.

P.S. The important aspect of “slow” weight loss is that you’re PERMANENTLY changing your lifestyle and creating long-term success. (It’s not about dieting. It’s about lifestyle changes!)

Chances are you slowly and steadily gained, and that’s exactly how you’ll lose it too.

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Meditation Podcast

A new Meal Mentor podcast is ready for you!

In this episode, Jocelyn (my copilot!) talks with me about meditation!

Not only does Jocelyn share meditation benefits and techniques, she also discusses the misconceptions surrounding meditation, the importance of positive affirmations, and her simple guided meditation for beginners!

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If you've ever wanted to try meditation or wondered how meditation can help you, you won't want to miss this episode!

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