Minimize. Simplify. Breathe.

Minimize. Simplify. Breathe.

Katherine Mattox, RDN

Happy September. For many of us, the beginning of this month brings the transition away from relaxingly long summer days and into the scheduled business of fall routines. I am writing this while in a cabin over Labor Day weekend, taking a long inhale of cooler New York weather, star-gazing at night around the campfire, and already craving a more simplified routine for my family this fall. Elsie, my youngest, has started a preschool program, and Everett, my 5-year old has us involved in a psychological experiment called “virtual kindergarten.”

As a culture, we love the idea of simple. There is Real Simple magazine, simplified daily planners, tiny homes, minimalist lifestyles, endless books about how to achieve the holy grail of living with only what is essential for happiness and well-being. My friend is going to retire and buy an RV and travel the country and for some reason ever since we spoke about this, when I feel overwhelmed (often), buried in stuff (yes), or mentally fatigued from to-do’s (daily), I fantasize about packing up my family to live in an RV. I started living in my pretend RV a few months ago and I’m still packing up my people and their things into it. The benefit of pretending I’m going to live in an RV is that it helps bring clarity around the physical stuff in my life. Does Everett need more toys? How many pairs of shoes does Elsie need? The question that is saving me right now is “What would come with us in the RV?” If it’s left behind, then we probably don’t need it.

What about applying the same principle of trying to essentialize your diet? Few people want to minimize their food choices to an overly predictable and boring diet, nor is this the most healthful way to eat based on research about the benefit of consuming a variety of fibers for microbiome biodiversity. I know there is overwhelm with food choices. I listen to my awesome patients talk to me about their fatigue with endless dietary information, food combinations, and emotions that are connected to their diets. Especially as women, we tend to attach a lot of energy and emotion to the decisions and analysis of what we eat. Following a diet plan and packing up your family to live a fabricated life in an RV are two sides of the same coin. I think this is why diets are so popular. They represent a closed-circuit of limited choices deemed essential to health, well-being, science, weight-loss, etc.

Think of my upcoming Diet Improved Virtual Program as a chance to learn 5-weeks of guiding principles to give clarity to any dietary decision fatigue you may have. The program will tackle prioritizing nutrient-dense foods and provide meal ideas and recommendations for every day busy people. The goal of the program is education and not perfectionist eating. Live the program for 5-weeks or however long you find the recommendations to serve your physical and emotional well-being. If nothing else, take full advantage of what you learn to keep asking yourself the questions: “do the foods I’m currently eating bring vitality to my health and emotional freedom to my spirit?”

I have the goal to pack up my real-life family into an RV one summer when the kids are older and drive all over the country, but in this season of my life, moving my family into a tiny home isn’t the long-term solution I’m desiring. What I’m desiring is help to answer the question: What is most important to me and my people right now? Let the Diet Improved Nutrition Program be an outstanding resource for you on your individual health journey. Let it be a guiding compass to discover which foods are important and energizing for you. The RV is going to be fun one summer, but until then, I’ll take a deep breath and continue to edit my RV packing list.

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