Take it one meal at a time!

Hello and welcome to Taste This!, the official newsletter of TasteBetter.com!

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Welcome!

Two weeks ago we discussed an idea called “your ideal life starts with breakfast” where we did a simple but powerful exercise to start thinking about how to improve our lives right now. I didn’t expect such amazing feedback, so I’m really happy you enjoyed it so much! If you missed last week’s newsletter, you can review it here:

http://stayingvegan.com/newsletter/20100301-your-ideal-life-starts-with-breakfast/

…And then last week, there was nothing.

Sorry about that! I’ll be totally honest: I couldn’t bring myself to send out a followup about ideal breakfasts when I hadn’t managed to have them myself yet. Two BIG takeaways from that non-newsletter:

1) These things take time, so give yourself lots!
2) I’m no further ahead than you are in this, but together, we’re not alone.

This week I want to drill a little deeper into the ideas we talked about in the ideal meal exercise. But first, let’s set things up:

Food is so much more than nourishment.

Our biology is tuned to the timing of our meals, so our mood and energy levels line up exactly with our personal feeding schedules. Have you noticed how cranky you get if you skip lunch, or how drowsy you can get around 2PM if you do the opposite and have a really heavy meal around noon?

Food forms the basis of many of our social connections too. Just think back to how many conversations you’ve had over a meal or snack or drink in the past week versus how many didn’t involve food.

If you cook regularly, think about how many senses you’re engaging at once on an activity that your body knows is good for it: for a lot of us, this is the only time our sense of smell isn’t something we regret having! Our sense of touch is fully engaged, feeling the rich range of textures as we wash fruits and vegetables. We get to practice our fine motor skills while we cut and mix, and of course our eyes are fully engaged looking at the great meal being formed before us, which starts up a whole range of pre-digestive processes.

And if we’re in a restaurant, there’s the relaxing joy of knowing that everything’s being taken care of. Think about the anticipation you feel when you see someone in the corner of your eye carrying plates in your direction. Is it your meal? Or someone else’s, and why does it almost always look more interesting than what we ordered? (Don’t worry; they’re thinking the same thing about your plate.)

As I said last time, we eat three to six meals a day, on average. By the way, I highly recommend six meals a day – not only is it more chances to enjoy food, but your energy levels will stay more constant and your metabolism will typically run higher. The trick some people miss though, is to make sure the meals are smaller! (Disclosure: I personally only hit this about 2 days a week.)

I can’t think of anything we do more consistently than eat, and it’s something you have in common with just about everyone you know. It just makes sense to me to make meals the anchor that the rest of your life is based on.

So last newsletter you spent some time thinking about what each of those meals are like. If you haven’t done that yet, please take five minutes to review the last newsletter, and after reading this week’s ideas, you might want to try it again anyway.

How many of you have made small changes to move closer to your ideal meal?

I recommend starting with breakfast, partly because it makes my whole “your ideal life starts with breakfast” theme make sense, but also because it’s the meal that’s easiest to control before life steps in and throws you curve balls all day. How can you make your breakfast more ideal?

For me, I really like the idea of sampling from a big plate of fresh fruit in the morning, and I’ll be honest here, I rarely do that. What I’ll be working on this week is based on my “how to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables” idea. I’ll be making sure I have fruit cleaned and cut the night before so I just have to take it out of the fridge and put it on a plate in the morning (I think I’m hesitant to use a knife when I’m not fully awake yet :)

(And by the way, I finally did that last night/this morning. It was awesome.)

I don’t know what you need to do to achieve your ideal breakfast, but if you need help, send me a mail telling me a bit more about it and we can brainstorm together.

Once you get breakfast sorted out, you have two choices: you can work next on the meal or snack after breakfast, or you can work on a different meal. I recommend focusing on the last meal of the day, for two reasons:

First of all, as I’ve said before, self discipline is a muscle, and just like dieting, it gets harder and harder to maintain your willpower as the day goes on, and the results can be disastrous by dinnertime! A really healthy first half of the day shouldn’t bring about the worst dinners ever, so let’s sneak up on the day by surrounding it with awesomeness.

Secondly, you’ll be starting and ending the day on your terms. Sure, you might slip terribly in between breakfast and dinner (or evening snack,) but this will create “bookends” in the parts of your day that are typically most under your control.

I know it might sound silly that eating good meals will bring everything else you desire into your world, but it’s not that far fetched. It’s a matter of having a basic level of control over your environment, which can spread like a virus. As we’ve discussed, food is a really high leverage part of the day to have control over.

Give it a try!

The last newsletter was a little more high concept, and I hope this one steers more of you to action. I’m not sure where we’ll take this from here, but I’d love to hear your stories. Did you have an ideal breakfast this week, even just one? As I’ve found, it’s not easy, so let me know if there’s any way I (or the other readers) can help!

Thanks!

Thanks again for reading these ideas, providing your feedback, giving me suggestions for new articles, and those simple notes of encouragement that take all of five seconds to write but mean the world to me. Trust me, I learn as much out of these things as you do!

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This email goes out (almost) every Monday afternoon, see you next week!

Jason

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