If you’ve been following along with our email course, you know that diet plays a central role in your health especially if you happen to suffer from an auto immunity disease or imbalance such as vitiligo. I’ve been sharing more about the benefits of going through the Total Elimination Diet protocol in order to begin pinpointing some of your trigger foods that may be causing your symptoms.
It is important not to cheat on the Total Elimination Diet because even the slightest exposure can cause a reaction and your body will not be able to fully cleanse itself and prepare for Phase Two of the diet where you begin to identify your specific trigger foods.
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Why Take The Time to Meal Plan?
- Saves You Money. When you’ve made a meal plan and a grocery list, you only need to make one trip to the store each week (or every few weeks), which decrease the opportunities for impulse buys. You can also tailor your menu around weekly sales which will save even more money.
- Saves You Time. It’ll take you about 30 minutes to plan a week’s worth of meals. When you make the time to plan your meals, you can efficiently shop for groceries using your list, and cuts down on trips to the store. Personally, I meal plan & grocery shop a month at a time simply due to my busy schedule but it’s just me and my husband. You can even prep most of your food ahead of time so the cook time is cut in half.
- Helps You Eat Healthier. By planning your meals (3 meals a day X 7 days = 21 meals per week), you can avoid eating fast food, abstain from vending machine junk food, and resist the temptation to order pricey processed take-out food. You’ll be surprised how much money you’ll save not eating out, not to mention how much better you’ll feel without all the added sugar, sodium & chemicals.
- Helps Reduce Food Waste. Before I started planning my meals regularly, I often opened a cupboard only to find a few canned goods, a bottle of ketsup, and some dried fruits way on the back shelf. I wasn’t used to checking my pantry’s inventory before I went shopping, and I routinely picked up more “convenience-style” items instead of planning my meal (and the ingredients needed) together. Many times, certain produce items would spoil before I could use them up, and the spices and dried goods passed their expiration dates before I could use it all. Now I create my grocery list after looking at what I already have in the kitchen. A meal plan can also help you better use up leftovers, because a refrigerator full of forgotten food also wastes money.
- Helps Reduce Your Stress. With a plan there’s no need to worry about what you’re going to make for dinner. The best part is, once you get into the habit of meal planning and meal prepping, you literally begin to cut down your cook times in half! Avoid rushing through the grocery store at six o’clock wondering what to make. And most importantly, you’ll be reducing the amount of money you spend every month.
Some Important Factors to Consider First:
Before you get started on your meal planning and grocery list, ask yourself a few questions:
- What foods do you eat most often?
- What foods do you eat to feel better?
- What foods do you crave often?
- What foods on the “approved” list do you already have at home?
After you’ve done this, you’ll be able to find similar approved foods that you can use in place of your favorite-go-to foods. For Example: If you’re used to having a bowl of yogurt for breakfast everyday; whipped coconut milk might be a good substitute for you to use instead. If you’re a coffee-drinker, substitute with green tea. By doing this, you’ll be less likely to cheat your diet because you’ll know what sorts of foods you go-to more frequently and you’ll be able to find an approved food to satisfy the element you’re craving.
5 Meal Planning Tips
- Spend time each week looking for recipes. Even if this feels like an indulgence, just let yourself do it! During the Total Elimination Diet you need inspiration to help keep you on track without cheating your diet. Remember for this protocol – cheating your diet, is cheating yourself. So get inspired – browse blogs and websites for raw food meal ideas or vegan recipes that look delicious to you. You can find some awesome recipes on Pinterest or Yummly!
- Create a place to save recipes, and keep it SIMPLE. Don’t get caught up in finding the best system, just use whatever works best and most easily. Do whatever works for you. Personally, I like Pinterest because it’s easy to visually browse what I’ve saved.
- Eat Foods in Season. This is the best method I’ve seen to save the most money on produce prices and greatly helps you plan your meals around what’s on sale and the change of weather.
- Go with theme nights. Some readers found it really helpful to have a theme night each week. Monday is casseroles, Tuesday is soup, Wednesday is sandwiches. This doesn’t work for everyone, but it may be especially helpful for those with kids.
- Prep food as soon as you get back from the store. Wash and dry lettuce. Prep vegetables for super-fast stir-fries. Peel root vegetables for stews. Stack up on glass containers of prepped ingredients in the refrigerator and be amazed at how much time you’ll save cooking.