Stop Focusing on the Actual Goal

For a company that is wild about wildly important goals…say what?!?
 
You need a goal (or two, but not more than 3!) and it needs to be measurable. The process of identifying and agreeing upon a goal (what can be even better, cleaner, tastier, safer) brings focus…to everyone. And, by the way…”focus” is the single word to which both Warren Buffet and Bill Gates attribute their success — not determination, not smarts, not courage, not creativity — but focus.
 
BUT, to achieve your goal? Spend your time focusing on your “systems”.
 
“If you’re a coach, your goal is to win a championship. Your system is what your team does at practice each day…When you focus on the practice instead of the performance, you can enjoy the present moment and improve at the same time. None of this is to say that goals are useless…goals are good for planning your progress, while systems are good for actually making progress.”
 
So, you have a goal…pulse-check…what are your systems for achieving it and maintaining the desired result? Focus, focus and refocus on that.

A Twist on Tradition

Before Valentines, take time to read “True love starts in the kitchen“… with Chef Anne from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, highlighted in Richmond Times-Dispatch! Sink your teeth into these Valentines Day foods with a makeover.

“Good” or “Bad” Food

Driving in a car with four children with varying musical tastes doesn’t give me much time for educational podcasts; however, there are a few stolen moments where I can listen to topics of interest without background commentary. This recent podcast by the Foodist really peaked my interest. How to Stop Moralizing Your Food Choices by Darya Rose. This is topic is something I believe many of us can relate too, how many times have we deemed our food choices “good” or “bad”. Demoralized ourself for eating too much or making the wrong food choice. Additionally, Rose talks about not demonizing real food (she uses the example of sweet potatoes and oatmeal). This is a topic that comes up all too frequently in the world of nutrition. Many diet plans mislead consumers to believe that certain whole, plant based foods are not beneficial, perhaps even harmful. Nutritious real foods should never be avoided unless one has a food intolerance of allergy. Additionally, avoiding real food in favor of weight loss shakes or other food substitutes takes away the pleasure that we should all derive from eating food.

Check out this podcast next time you have a free moment (or in the car with a child, who knows you may bring out the budding scientist in them).

WHAT’S TRENDING?

I love reading the predicted food trends for the coming year. While a Google search will turn up an endless list of what’s treading for 2017, I enjoyed reading the top 5 from a recent Forbes article. Whether or not we will actually see these trends in 2017 remains to be seen, but I am sure many of us will welcome No More Kale (or at least not for breakfast, lunch & dinner).

 

#1: VEGETARIAN COMFORT FOOD

Good news for those of us who would like to consume more vegetables.

My favorite stand by is roasted cauliflower.

 

Vegetables will continue its rise on the dinner plate, as animal proteins and heavy side dishes make way for more vegetarian options. According to Pinterest, there’s a rise in the word “veggies” in its comfort food searches by 336% last year, while words such as “lasagna,” “macaroni” and “Stroganoff” were off by 69%, 55% and 50%, respectively. What this means is that many more people are likely to order mashed cauliflower instead of rice and pasta, and (if possible) request for vegetable crust for healthier pizza.

 

#2: ARTISAN BUTCHER SHOPS-PLUS-RESTAURANTS

It’s quality vs. quantity when it comes to meat consumption.

 

Given the rise of vegetarian options out there, expect push back from the other end. This comes in the form of artisanal butcher shops-cum-restaurants, which fortify people’s love for meat. Delivering a more upscale flair to the craft of butchery, this “butcher-to-table” trend lets customers be in awe with the preparation of everything from grilled steak to charcuterie. Plus, you’ll get to eat them right away. 

 

#3: BREAKFAST, UPDATED

Good news for the non-traditionalist breakfast eater.  I know a few people in my house will applaud this trend.

 

For many of us, all-day breakfast is hardly a new concept. But with many fast food chain offerings such as the “Brunchfast” at Jack-in-the-box and spiced up breakfast sandwiches at Starbucks, what’s particularly unique about this trend in 2017 is how the texture of breakfast will change. Forget smoother breakfast offerings such as soft scrambled eggs, buttered grits, or oatmeal’s. What you’ll find are the so-called, more “aggressive” crunchier items like fried chicken, crispy chorizo and chimichurri. As a bonus, smaller chains and independent eateries will justify these around-the-clock breakfast items as perfect hangover cures!

 

#4: KALE NO MORE

Full disclosure, I really do like kale, but am happy to see a much needed break from it’s role as the health savior.   Stick with a variety of healthy vegetables, your palate will thank you.

 

Remember the days when kale represented all that is healthy? Well, according to Whole Foods’ former global grocery coordinator, it’s time to say goodbye (at least when it comes to the consumer packaged version). Nowadays, there are many more options if you’re looking for healthy vegetables that are also good for reducing food waste. For instance, there’s a large range of seaweeds, which pack in more umami flavors for different broths. And as for the waste-not economy, many chefs are looking out for newer, more interesting alternatives such as beet greens, chard, turnip greens, mustard greens, and carrot tops. Since kale seems to have gone past its peak, get ready to find other yet-to-be-discovered vegetable for creative, new dishes.

 

#5: BOWLS, BOWLS, BOWLS

I love the idea of packing healthy goodness into one delicious bowl.

 

First, there were acai bowls. Then, there was poké. In 2017, eating from bowls will be taking over further as restaurants are migrating from serving handheld items to placing in bowls like Korean bibimbap. There are many benefits to this trend. Not only is it less likely for what’s in the takeaway bowls to get splattered on the office desktop, it’s also easier and faster to assemble a bowl than plated upscale entrees. Moreover, holding a bowl would likely make you psychologically more prone to mindfulness. You’ll feel a full a lot faster, and be able to savor all the flavors and textures with every bite. What’s not to like?

 

Source: Forbes

Salty Caramel & Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

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Yields (about) 48 cookies

1c butter, softened

1c granulated sugar

1c packed dark brown sugar

1t salt

1t baking powder

½t baking soda

2 eggs

2t vanilla

1½c all-purpose flour

3c rolled oats

11oz package caramel baking

1c pecans, coarsely chopped

coarse sea salt

 

1. Preheat oven to 350°F

2. In mixer, beat butter on medium for 30 seconds

3. Add both sugars, 1t salt, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda; beat until combined

4. Beat in eggs & vanilla; then flour

5. Stir in oats, caramel bits, & pecans

6. Using small scoop, drop 1½” mounds of dough, 2″ apart on parchment lined cookie sheet

7. Sprinkle “sparingly” with sea salt

8. Bake for 11-12 mins, until edges light brown

Eat Well, Be Well Returns!

The Eat Well, Be Well blog is officially back. The blog was on an unofficial hiatus after my family welcomed our daughter home in March 2016. Life has now settled into a new normal and it’s time to get back to writing about one of my passions, health & nutrition. My hope in re-starting this blog is to provide useful, reliable information regarding current nutrition trends. The world of nutrition is ever changing and it is certainly not always easy to decipher the science behind it (and honestly sometimes there is absolutely no science behind it). I would love to hear from you dear readers, what do you want to learn about? What questions do you have regarding current nutrition trends? Fitness? Wellness? Please email me at smeyer@merig.com and tell me your ideas.

Pumpkin Muffins

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Yields (about) 12 muffins

2ea large eggs

1¼c sugar

6t vegetable oil

¾c canned pumpkin, mashed

1c+6T all purpose flour

¼t salt

1t baking soda

1t ground cinnamon

⅓t ground nutmeg

⅓t ground cloves

1 pinch ground allspice

 

1. Preheat oven to 400°F

2. Combine eggs, sugar, oil, & pumpkin; mix well

3. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda & spices

4. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture

5. Pour into well sprayed muffin tins

6. Bake for 15-20 mins

note: can add white or dark chocolate chips, dried cranberries, or pecans

Sweet Potato & Apple Soup

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Serves 4

1 small onion, small dice

1 stalk celery, small dice

1 med carrot, small dice

1t chopped garlic

1T finely chopped or grated ginger

2c vegetable stock

½c dry white wine

2 granny smith apples, peeled, seeded,  ½” dice

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled, ½” dice

1 cinnamon stick

1 fresh bay leaf

½c unsweetened coconut milk

 

1. Sauté onions, celery & carrots over med heat 6-8 mins

2. Add garlic & ginger, cook 1 minute

3. Add stock, wine, apples, sweet potatoes, cinnamon & bay leaf

4. Bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer 10-12 mins, until potatoes are soft

5. Remove cinnamon stick & bay leaf

6. Pureé until smooth; season with sea salt & pepper, Add coconut milk or extra stock to desired consistency

 

Start cool, stay cool

breakfast flatbread time

As we go from zero (or slow-ish) to full speed ahead, everywhere (yay, back to school!), your time is at a premium and time management is critical. So, before you lose your cool (and who wants to spend time looking for that), here are some tips:

1. Preventative maintenance.
Fuel up with the right stuff. Eat a real breakfast…one with nutritional value. You’re in the food business, you KNOW what that looks like. Just do it.

2. Take 5.
Commit to taking mental breaks. Step outside, take three deep breaths, look at the horizon – the sky – anything growing from the earth, close your eyes, stretch, re-center. And then get back in there…they need your energy and your leadership!

3. Know your hot buttons and manage them.
What really sets you off? Guess what…it might happen today! What are you going to do when it does? Remember, you are in control of how you react. Spare yourself (and those around you) the stress and breathe through the things that push your buttons.

Deviled Egg Salad

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Serves 6

15ea hard cooked eggs, peeled

6T good quality mayo

1T dijon

½t sea salt

¼t black pepper

splash tabasco

 

1. Chop egg (cheese grater, coarse slide, works great!)

2. Combine with remaining ingredients. Mix well. Keep chilled

3. Garnish with fresh parsely

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