Amy Kubal is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian with Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from Colorado State University. She is currently based out of Austin, Texas and works with clients all over the country and world. Amy’s passion and heart lie in helping others establish healthy relationships with food, leaving them physically, mentally and emotionally well. Having battled food demons for 23 years, Amy understands the struggles that are so common. Additionally, she is dedicated to helping the sick get well and enjoy life. She has helped clients with MS, lupus, kidney disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, thyroid maladies, cancer, diabetes and many other potentially debilitating conditions optimize their treatment protocols and health through food and lifestyle changes. Amy has been in the Paleo/Primal circle for four years, blogs regularly at Robbwolf.com, is the RD behind the “Ask The RD” column in Paleo magazine and has contributed to several Paleo-themed books and cookbooks. She is also available through The Paleo Mom Consulting!
Frozen Broccoli and a Can of Tuna
Yep, that’s right. Canned fish and frozen vegetables. In a former life (like three years ago), I was a food service director. It was a salaried position, which loosely translated means that I made about $1.28 per hour on a good day. I worked A LOT. My day often started at 6 or 6:30 am and there were some nights I didn’t get home until 7 or 8 pm. I was working in, around, and/or near food ALL DAY LONG and the LAST thing I wanted to do was go home and cook. When I had days like this (usually at least once a week…) I pulled out the can opener and a microwave safe bowl and tuna and broccoli it was. If I was feeling really ambitious I would cut an avocado in half and add that to the ‘feast’ – otherwise it was just a dump of olive oil over the broccoli. Yeah, there were nights I ate the fish right out of the can and those ‘steam-in-bag’ vegetables were a gift from heaven. Was my dinner perfect? Was it awesome? Was it delicious? NOPE. (Although, there were times I was so hungry, that it was pretty darn tasty.) But, did it work? Yep, it definitely got me fed and I’m pretty sure that most of us have days when that, in and of itself, is no small feat.
You might be wondering what any of this has to do with you and some of you might be thinking that I’m a terrible person – I mean the canned tuna is like full of mercury and BPA and who eats frozen vegetables anyway?? But there are probably a few of you that are breathing a huge sigh of relief – you may have had a dinner that looked something like that last night. Well, this is for all of you. Are you ready? Here it is: YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT ALL THE TIME! It’s totally okay to have a tuna and broccoli kind of day sometimes. Life doesn’t always cooperate with your master plan and sometimes a nice grass fed steak and fresh roasted Brussels sprouts just aren’t in the cards. I know, you feel guilty, you feel inadequate, you may feel like you failed – in your mind, you’ve completely blown it and you’re already stressing about the ‘damage you’ve done’, how long it’s going to take to recover, how you’re going to be absolutely – 110% PERFECT for the next six months –minimum. Seriously, this should be easy.
Here’s the thing, that stress is probably more detrimental to your health than the canned fish and frozen broccoli. That’s right, in the grand scheme of things – good enough, is good enough. It’s completely okay to chalk it up to ‘life’ and know that it’s probably going to happen again and, that too, is okay. Give yourself grace, know that you are doing the best that you can and don’t let anyone tell you that you’re failing. Did you order pizza? Make a drive-thru run or eat a half-gallon of ice cream? (I may or may not have done that last thing…) NOPE. Is the BPA in the tuna can or the pesticide on potentially non-organic frozen vegetables going to be the death of you? I am living, breathing proof that this is not the case. I have eaten A LOT of canned fish and even more non-organic frozen vegetables (and I probably will eat a lot more of both in my lifetime).
Your emergency meal may not be tuna and frozen broccoli, but regardless of what it ends up being – eat it, enjoy it and know that tomorrow is another day. No guilt. No stress. No thoughts of failure. This life and getting healthy stuff isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon and there will be bumps in the road. Don’t give up, don’t get discouraged – just bend down, tie your shoe and keep on going.