Lifelong Learning

This week I’m thinking a lot about learning.  Today is my 1-year anniversary at work, and although I’ve come a very long way, I still feel like I have so much to learn!  My husband and sister both started new jobs this week and are probably overwhelmed with how much they’ll have to learn in their new roles.  But whether you’re a “lifer”, or a “newbie” in your job, I’m a firm believer in the necessity of continuous learning because things are constantly changing and we have to keep.  The things I learned in college 12 years ago are now largely obsolete, so I take every opportunity to attend local industry events, read industry publications, and network with as many people as I can.  But I don’t think learning stops at work, it’s necessary for our personal lives as well.  Take health and wellness for example.  I sometimes take for granted how much I know since it’s been a passion of mine for a decade and I love to read about it, so when I’m talking to other people who are just getting started, I have to remember that they’re still learning the basics.  My sister has moved across the country and is trying to embark on a healthier lifestyle, and the grocery store is her first battleground.  Unlike me, who thoroughly enjoys the grocery wonderland, she sees it as a maze of too many food choices with confusing and sometimes conflicting nutritional information.


A few of her questions, and maybe yours too… Is bread bad for me?  I thought you’re suppose to avoid dairy?  Does fruit have too much sugar?  Good grief!  No wonder everyone is confused.  Even after 10 years, I’m still tweaking my diet based on what makes me feel the best, and I will never give up my beloved ice cream, but the simple answer is that everyone is different.  One person might need to avoid gluten and dairy, while others follow a high-carb, low-fat diet.  My simplest suggestion is to first focus on learning how to eat a balanced diet.  I think Cynthia Sass did a great job of summarizing this in her books (Cinch & Sass Yourself Slim), by outlining that every meal should include 5 puzzle pieces:

  1. Produce (fruits & veggies)
  2. Whole Grains (bread, rice, pasta)
  3. Lean Protein (chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, dairy)
  4. Plant-based Fat:  (nuts, avocados, edamame / soy, coconut/olive/canola oil)
  5. Natural seasonings (herbs, vinegar, citrus juice)

Forget counting calories if that’s not your thing, just build properly portioned meals using these 5 puzzle pieces.  I’m sure you’ve got some ideas just reading through the list.  Not sure how to portion and don’t want to buy the book?  Use a small plate – most of the plate should be your produce, then the whole grain, then a palm-size serving of protein, plus whatever fat & seasonings you’re adding.  This is very similar to the USDA’s new “My Plate“.  Or here’s an idea – just eat slowly and stop when you’re full!  Here’s an old blog post I did that shows how I used the puzzle pieces for a few different meals, and on a tight budget!

Hopefully I did my part to offer you a little education today!  Happy learning…

Click the apple for a “Food Labeling 101” article.


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