The Benefits of Meal Planning

By Awal

OK, so I haven’t met too many people who would choose to be on a diet. The word “diet” in and of itself has a terrible stigma. It drudges up images of a few sprigs of asparagus on a plain white plate, saying no-no-no-no-no to cheesy yummy slices of pizza, being the kill-joy at the party who passes up the big piece of moist chocolate cake.

Truth: Yes, you do need to load up on veggies, cut back on the greasy food, and make some social sacrifices for your health. But it doesn’t have to be torture. And you do not have to – should not – starve yourself. Promise.

 

  1. Think about meals differently. With meal planning, you get to eat all day and still see your middle widdle. Plan out five to six meals a day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner do not fit into everyone’s schedule. Maybe you work 10-14 hour days with few breaks. But what is a meal, really? A smoothie is a meal. A snack consisting of fruits and nuts is a meal. A cup of yogurt is a meal. There are so many options. Trust me.spicygarlicbroc
  2. Meal planning is great for ending the cycle of skipping meals and indulging in late-night snacking. When should you have these five to six meals? As a general rule, the first meal should be eaten within the first hour of waking up. Get your metabolism revved up to burn fat. A couple of hours later, time for another meal. Keep this going until about two-three hours before bed. Why? When you’re resting, so is your metabolism. If you eat, then go to sleep, your body stores the fat. No bueno. 
  3. You get your water intake. Drink lots of water. Is it a meal? Not really. Do you need it all day? Oh yeah. Dehydration is tricky. It can mask itself as hunger, causing you to reach for all kinds of naughty things to fill the void. Before you grab a second helping of food, drink a few sips of water. Then drink just a few more. Don’t think of a big gallon you have to down in one sitting. Just sip all day. No pressure.
  4. You know what you’re going to eat every day, making it easier to be good. Use the day before the start of your work week as meal prep day. For many people, that day is Sunday. But some people have very nontraditional work schedules. Some people work every day. In that case, pick your least busy work day. Meal prep your heart out. What is meal prepping? Prepare something pretty big that will stay fresh for three to six days, then separate it into easy-to-store containers. I’m a big fan of mason jars. They are easy to clean, look really cute, and are great for posting those “look at my healthy lunch” selfies. What should you make? Soups and stews are excellent warm foods, plus they add to your water intake for the day. Salads are great cold foods. Nuts and dried fruits are wonderful snacks to pack in your book bag or purse. Check out the pics! Nutsandberries
  5. When you start doing all this fancy meal prepping, you can tote your meals around all day. Yay! Confession: I keep a cooler in the trunk of my car. Mmm-hmm. And I keep a reusable ice pack in my freezer. If I’m going to be out of the house and on the road all day, I know I can tote around my homemade salads. Then I’m less likely to stop at a fast food restaurant and pick up something greasy. My cooler was a gift, but a good one would be worth the investment. Think of all the money you could save by not eating out every day. Cha-ching!veggies
  6. You can give yourself a cheat day, but don’t go nuts. Set ground rules for yourself so you don’t end up with a food hangover the next day. If you are not big into counting calories, keep it simple. Tell yourself that you can have an insane lunch, but be good for dinner. If you want to be bad all day, portion control is your friend. Have a couple of hot cakes at breakfast instead of a full stack. Have one piece of pizza for lunch instead of three. Have half of a serving of pasta at your fave Italian restaurant instead of the full load. Eat a cup of ice cream instead of a tub. Trust me. You’ll thank me when you feel pride in place of regret.
  7. It can be as fun and exciting as you make it. Get creative and think long-term. I could totally see you eating mixed greens and baked chicken every day for a whole week, losing a pound or two and feeling awesome about it. But will you do it for four weeks? Four months? Probably not. Research quick meals. Epicurious.com is a great resource for recipes galore. Think about what your fave meals are. Even if those meals are “bad”, there can be elements of those meals that will translate into a healthier dish. For example, I love spicy Mexican food. But I know refried beans and flour tortillas are not good for keeping my weight down. So I make a salsa salad with fresh tomatoes, garlic, and peppers. I still use canned corn and beans, but the meal is a healthier alternative. And I eat it with corn tortilla chips. Be careful with those tortilla chips. Try to get low sodium ones. I learned the hard way how much they can cause bloating. And who wants bloating?

beansaladFor more info about how much water you should drink, check out: How to Calculate How Much Water You Should Drink A Day … Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to “like” and comment! It makes our whole day!!!

*This post is not meant to replace any medical treatment or advice prescribed by your doctor. Please consult your physician before drastically changing your diet.

The Benefits of Meal Planning

DIY: Wallet Saving Natural Hair Recipes

 

DSC01292[1]I have tried many many different hair products throughout my natural hair journey with mixed results. The common denominator between all of them was the hefty ingredient list on the back. Even the ones that claimed to be completely natural and paraben-free had some chemical looking names toward the end of the list.

I wanted to simplify my hair regimen, so I started looking for recipes made from a few inexpensive ingredients. The first one I tried was a leave-in conditioner I found here along with a few other lovely recipes I have yet to try.

Coconut Aloe Leave-In Conditioner

Ingredients:

4 oz (or ½ cup) of aloe vera juice
6 oz (or ¾ cup) of coconut water
6 drops of honeysuckle essential oil

Directions:
1. Pour all the ingredients into a spray bottle.
2. Place the sprayer onto the bottle and gently shake to mix all the ingredients together.
3. Store in a refrigerator until ready for use.  Best used on damp, freshly washed hair.

I also used it on dry hair to redistribute moisture. I feel like sometimes it left a slight grittiness to my hair, but I was also trying out flax seed gel at the same time, which may have added to the grit factor. I have since simplified the recipe to aloe vera juice and any essential oil of choice (my favorite is lemongrass oil, perfect if you don’t mind smelling like lemons all day). This modified recipe has helped me retain moisture throughout the day and significantly helps with my detangling process.

The next recipe I tried was a deep conditioner. I can’t find the website where I originally discovered the recipe but Naptural85’s video on the process helped make this next homemade hair product one of my favorites.

Avocado and Banana Deep Conditioner

Ingredients:

1 cup water

1/2 of 1 Banana

1/2 of 1 Avocado

 

Directions:

  1. Slice up half of one banana for smoother blending. Add to a blender cup with 1/2 cup of water. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. Strain the banana puree into a clean bowl. (Do not skip this step, otherwise you will have bits of banana stuck in your hair. Trust me, it happened to me the first time before I watched the video. I do not have a strainer, so I used cheap pantyhose I got on sale from RiteAid, 2 for $1; a trick I learned from Naptural85’s Flax Seed Gel video.)
  3. Slice up half of one avocado. Add to the blender cup with 1/2 cup of water. Blend until smooth. Strain into the same bowl with the strained banana puree.
  4. Use a spoon to mix the banana and avocado together.
  5. Apply the mixture to clean hair (I used a condiment bottle I got from the dollar store for easier application). Cover hair with a plastic cap for at least 15 minutes.
  6. Rinse hair thoroughly.
  7. Condition and style as desired.

(If you’re a fan of avocado and banana, try mixing the rest of your ingredients together with a little water to make a simple smoothie. It’s pretty delicious and nutritious.)

The last of the staples I’m currently using is another recipe that I found on Naptural85’s Youtube channel. I use it to seal in moisture and define my curls. The process can be found here. I did not follow her recipe exactly, but the general idea is to use liquid oils to soften the shea butter.

Whipped Shea Butter

Ingredients:

5 oz Raw, Unrefined Shea Butter

2 tbsp Coconut Oil

2 tbsp Sweet Almond Oil

2 tbsp Olive Oil

Optional- A few drops of your favorite essential oil

 

Directions:

  1. Bring the Shea Butter to room temperature, so it is soft and easy to manipulate but not runny.
  2. Sit the shea butter in a bowl and use a mixer to get it to a creamy consistency.
  3. Slowy add the other oils while continuing to mix the shea butter until you have added all the remaining ingredients
  4. The finished result should be smooth, fluffy and lump free. (The consistency of mine was kind of gritty, but when I rubbed it between my palms, it became completely smooth and translucent.)
  5. Apply over leave-in conditioner to seal in moisture and help add definition to your style.
  6. Keep in a cool, but not cold place. The mixture will harden in cold temperatures, but can be resoftened and rewhipped if need be.

 

I hope to add to this list over time. I have also tried a coconut milk deep conditioner, but it was too runny and flax seed gel, but it left my hair with a dry crunchy feeling. I will probably revisit these two recipes and modify them to suit my natural hair needs.

Do you have any hommade hair recipes you have tried and like? Tell me about them and I will try them out. Thanks for reading.

CD

Model: Charlie Dorrie (me)

Photo Credit: Charlie Dorrie

 

 

DIY: Wallet Saving Natural Hair Recipes

How To: Super Defined Twistout

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1. Wash and condition hair, rinse out product thoroughly, generously distribute leave-in conditioner of choice, keep hair under plastic cap for 20 minutes for improved absorption.

2. Do not detangle wet hair. Put hair dryer on high. Take a small section of hair, hold tightly stretched out, hit it with heat until dry. Repeat until all of your hair is dry or very slightly damp.  (Here is a video of the technique, though a hair dryer attachment is not needed)

3. Twist hair into two-strand twists, detangle the ends as you go. Leave in for at least 48 hours to define the curls. Not a fan of twists? Try sitting under a hooded dryer for 45 mins on low heat to help your twists set faster. Generally, the longer you leave them in, the longer they last. Spray oil on hair nightly.

4. Apply Shea Butter to finger tips, twist out hair. Take your time and do not separate curls for maximum definition. Curls will loosen over time. Style as desired!

Model: Ashley W. from Awal Fitness

Photo Credit: Ashley W.

 

 

How To: Super Defined Twistout