What’s Killing Your Willpower and How to Overcome It

Bear claws, Doritos, Fast Food, Red Wine.

Have you indulged in these foods lately? Man, it’s easy to get drawn to them at the office breakfast meeting or quick stop at the gas station or when you’re short on time and your stomach is growling like a North American Black Bear who hasn’t eaten in a week.

decision fatigue Do you beat yourself up when you make unhealthy and unproductive choices because you think you lack “willpower?”  

That’s what we’ve been told is the result of poor choices, right?  Well, research from Columbia University is beginning to reveal that willpower doesn’t quite work that way.  You may actually be surprised just how much small daily decisions impact the willpower you have for important choices.  As it turns out, your willpower is like a muscle. And similar to the muscles in your body, willpower can get fatigued when you use it over and over again. Every time you make a decision, it’s like doing another rep in the gym. And similar to how your muscles get tired at the end of a workout, the strength of your willpower fades as you make more decisions.

According to a Cornell study, we make, on average, 226 food decisions each day!
Coffee before or after shower?  Or didn’t I say I was going to start green smoothies today? Blender or bullet?  Are Vitamix blenders really worth the price tag?  Why are my veggies rotting? What day did I buy them?  Will Costco take back frozen blueberries?  Oh, wait, my toddler will eat them…or were those blackberries?  Aren’t berries on the Dirty Dozen list?  What am I supposed to soak conventional produce in…vinegar?  Won’t that taste gross?  Screw it, she’s getting bananas today.  I should make that dairy-free frozen-banana-ice-cream that my colleagues wife posted on Pinterest for Mother’s Day?  Who am I kidding – I’m sure it will be Blue Bell…or Breyer’s.  Which @#$%^&ing brand was recalled again?  Is listeria really that bad?*
* “Hypothetical” 8-second conversation in the mind of an average (read: insane) busy mother.

Decision Fatigue

Decision fatigue is the latest scientific phenomenon that refers to “I’m-Too-Tired-To-Make-Good-Decisions-After-I’ve-Been-Making-Decisions-All-Day!”  Love him or hate him, there’s no arguing that President Obama has a grueling job, chock full of tough decisions every single day.  His awareness of this has led him to eliminate easy decisions leaving him the mental bandwidth for more difficult ones.  “You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”  Google founder, Mark Zuckerberg, cites similar rationale. One less frivolous decision in the morning leads to better decisions on things that really matter.

Eliminate Food Decisions by Planning Your Meals

At Conveniently Natural, we want to free up some of your decisions to leave you with plenty of strength and willpower for those tough calls you’ll be making all day everyday.  With one click, order a meal plan and have your dinners taken care of next week OR try our Sugar Detox Meal Plan and eliminate the need to think about breakfast, lunch, and dinner while giving your body the best fuel to keep you happy and productive!

An Open Letter to the Head Mothers in Charge

kale bs saladI was once married to an Army officer.  They had an acronym (as they do for everything) called the HMFIC…I’ll let your brain fill in the blanks here.  In the first year of our business, this former Army officer, while creating menus, so named a salad The HMFIC Salad after me.  It was meant to pass through the layers of our culinary and administrative team and be changed to an appropriately named “healthy salad.”  Somehow, it slipped through the cracks and was posted on our website (briefly) as such.

I saw it and nearly choked (before diving onto the computer and changing it).  I mean, what would the folks at Cafe Gratitude say with their “I Am Gorgeous” and “I Am Pure” salads? And just exactly what would be in an HMFIC Salad?

As we approach Mother’s Day next week, I give a deep bow to all of you Head Mothers in Charge out there.  You’re amazing.  I’m inspired every single week by the small miracles performed by moms.

*To YOU – the one fighting for your four-year old son with leukemia and still hustling to motivate and inspire other women.

*To YOU – the single mom of 4 kids teaching them to “go for it” – bucket list and all – after becoming a 37-year old widow.

*To YOU – the one who gave up the convent to get married, put him through med school, have 3 boys, then internationally adopt a girl (back in 1977 when it wasn’t so “Brangelina” cool), and live the adventures of each day with gratitude, grace, and a loving spirit.  Thanks, Mom.  (When I’m losing my sanity, I wonder how you did it without the help of coffee or wine.  Now, THAT’S a small miracle…)

If TLC gave us a reality show to replace the Duggar’s “19 and Counting,” it would be called “3 and Cursing.”   With a 5-day old newborn in tow, we are still wondering how this happened.  A 37-year old (considered Advanced Maternal Age in world of obstetrics), 3 children, a business, and…a baby.  HMFIC Salad?  I’ll take 5, please.

There is a myth that us moms become handicapped by our “condition,” carry “baggage” with our kids, and “struggle” to do it all.  I happen to see more strength and power, clarity of purpose and focus, and humility and grace in mothers.  We do have it all.  We just don’t see it that way all the time.  It’s may not be a size 2 or perfectly clean floors, but this is what having it all can look like…So stop and taste the salad.

I’m working on it too…

~ From the Head Mother Forker

Cut the Cr@p

CUTTING THE CR@P
Why Eat Real Food?
In the small business world, there is a saying:  CASH IS KING.  As a busy, working mom of two school-aged girls and another on the way…CONVENIENCE. IS. KING.  Especially when it comes to food.

I personally grew up around the time when convenience foods were getting great publicity (remember all those cereal characters like “Tony the Tiger” and “Toucan Sam?”).  As the youngest of 4 kids, my mom could barely keep up with our schedules and bottomless stomachs.  (My nickname was Garbola, the human garbage disposal…affectionately given to me by my 3 older brothers who I could out-eat any night of the week.)  Even though Tony, Sam, and the Fry Guys have bit the dust, MAN, has the packaged food industry really stepped it up for busy parents.

My Nemesis Has a First Name…it’s O-S-C-A-R. 

lunchable

It’s a tough world out there to compete with the likes of cute little Lunch-ables in all their slimy glory or Golden Arches in all of their slimy pink stuff.  Not only am I NOT the Martha-mom who would consider making sailboats out of cheese and crackers or an origami fruit crane, I definitely can’t compete with perfectly round stacks of “ham” and plastic toys du jour.

On some level, we all know that this processed crap we’re feeding ourselves and our families is merely…crap.  Hey, I’m not here to judge you.  I’m sure you do that enough for the whole PTA.  I can offer you mountains of research, charts, and reasons why to literally CUT THE CRAP, but I also get that in the 11th hour when they’re screaming in the backseat, your stomach is growling like a bear who hasn’t eaten in days, and all you have at home is frozen waffles, a jar of artichokes, and 3 cans of tuna…those golden arches appear to have a light shining down from the heavens.

At Conveniently Natural, we only want you to fork into good, clean, real food.  Not only is it good for your health, but it’s good for our community and our environment.  We have mastered the art of reading food labels and make a promise to you that our meals are free of artificial sweeteners, preservatives, colors, flavors;  hormones, antibiotics, high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, nitrates/nitrites, and all other faux foods out there.

How to Reduce Sugar Without Completely Foregoing Sweets

WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH SUGAR?
Figuring out how to reduce your sugar intake without completely foregoing sweets
sugar detox
No doubt, sugar is the diet villain du jour. You’ve probably seen some scary headlines calling sugar toxic and pointing to it as the source of all our health woes. But the real story is far more complex.  Several studies suggest that highly-palatable, highly-processed foods can produce behaviors and changes in the brain that one would use to diagnose an addiction, like drugs and alcohol.  Click here to read more.
According to the American Heart Association, women should have no more than 100 calories of added sugar per day (about 6 teaspoons). Yet the average woman gets 18 teaspoons a day! Most of our added sugar comes from sweetened drinks and packaged foods, and the Nutrition Facts label lists sugar in grams, not calories or teaspoons, so it’s easy to lose track. Fortunately, there’s a simple formula for counting up sugar from any source: Just remember that 1 teaspoon equals about 4 grams of added sugar. So if you add a teaspoon to your morning joe and later have a chocolate protein bar with 12 grams (3 teaspoons) of sugar, you have 2 teaspoons (8 grams) left for the day.
Looking for a sugar detox plan without going total caveman?
Try our Sugar Detox Meal Plan!  It includes “real food” breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for 5 days.  Participants in our 8 week plan released an average of 1.8 lbs per week, experienced increased energy, and decreased sugar cravings after the first week.  You’ll enjoy regular “real food” meals free from gluten, dairy, and any added sweeteners.

FDA Admits that over 70% of Chicken Contains Arsenic

The FDA Admits That Nearly 70% of U.S. Chickens Contains Cancer-Causing Arsenic
The old saying, “You are what you eat,” poses troubling implications for public health in light of a new study on chicken meat, which found that most of it contains dangerously high levels of toxic arsenic. These pharmaceutical drugs are added to chicken feed in order to bulk them up quickly and improve the color of their meat.  Until this new study, both the  poultry industry and the FDA denied that arsenic fed to  chickens ended up in their  meat.  The fairy-tale excuse story we’ve all been fed for sixty years is that “the arsenic is excreted in the chicken feces.”  But now the evidence is so undeniable that the manufacturer of the chicken feed product known as Roxarsone has decided to pull the product off the shelves.
Eat Clean Sources of Meat

When shopping for meat, look for these signs:

1.  If the chicken meat is bright pink in color, avoid it.

2.  Make sure that the fat content on the chicken is white to deep yellow, not gray or pasty.

3.  Check the date on the package.

4.  Aim for “Certified Organic” meat products.

 

At Conveniently Natural, our meat is either Certified Organic or locally sourced from farms with humane practices, free from antibiotics, steroids, growth hormones, or arsenic…you know, meat you’d actually feed your family. 

 

Read more here and here.

Would You Eat an Apple That Doesn’t Brown?

EATING FRANKEN-FOOD
Is natural beauty no longer beautiful?
apple syringe
The federal government has approved the planting of genetically modified apples that won’t turn brown when sliced. I’ve got to tell you – when I first read about this, I was shocked, creeped out, and somewhat disturbed.  As the owner of a company who makes fresh, natural foods, sometimes it feels like we’re Ugly Betty walking the runway in the Victoria’s Secret fashion show.  Real food, like real women, comes in all different shapes, sizes, and flavors.  Admittedly, one of our most difficult challenges is producing consistency with the appearance of our dishes when Mother Nature gives us anything but uniformity.  We know you’re used to restaurants and packaged foods that give you the same experience every time.  We strive to provide that, and yet there is a certain kind of beauty in natural, un-modified food.  Our kitchen can feel like the misfits of produce, but man, is it pretty – and natural beauty is just one of our gifts we pass along through our meals for you to receive.
Is GMO Safe?
There is plenty of research on Genetically Modified Organisms, and (like all things nutrition) we encourage you to do your own digging and decide what’s right for you.  At Conveniently Natural, we steer clear of GMO’s – we think Mother Nature does a pretty darn good job.  Apples that brown when cut can still give you that sweet power-packed taste AND keep the doctor away.  For more info, click here to read. 

What Pizza Restaurants Don’t Want You to Know

WHAT PIZZA RESTAURANTS DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW:  THEIR INGREDIENTS
(It will blow your mind…literally!)
chicken pesto pizza
Have you heard of The Food Babe?  Vani Hari is an investigative consumer asking questions about what is really in our food, how is it grown and what chemicals are used in its production.  Her results would astound you!  Her research into pizza restaurants was met with a combination of ignorance and resistance to disclose the ingredient list in top pizza chains, such as Dominoes, Papa John’s, Little Caesar’s, and CPK.  Not unlike when my daughters tell me not to look in their room, it’s usually because they’re hiding something (like My Little Pony’s new haircut or inked name tags of various items on the wall).  Click here to read more about what they were hiding!  (Hint:  it shouldn’t even be considered an ingredient list if it’s not really food.)
We’re serving up 2 kinds of REAL pizza this week with ingredients you can pronounce!
Try our Breakfast Pizza with organic eggs, hormone-free/nitrate-free bacon, and seasonal vegetables AND our Chicken Pesto Pizza (pictured) with nut-free homemade pesto and organic chicken and vegetables.  ‘Better Ingredients…Seriously.’