#ThriveLife Day 8: Do the Task No One Else Wants to Do

Written By


Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

Thrivelife 15 400X250 1 | #Thrivelife Day 8: Do The Task No One Else Wants To Do

Growing up, my siblings and I had chores.

We all had to make our beds and keep our rooms clean of course, but outside of that, we also had our individually assigned tasks.

Mine: Dishes and feeding the dog.

My younger sister’s: Folding laundry.

My little brother’s: Taking out the trash (We called him the “garbage man”).

We earned our keep by doing our chores, and every Friday, if we were consistent, we earned our payday: $20.

(And that $20 went far—often times spent on a weekend movie with friends, dinner out at Jason’s Deli, a pair of earrings or lip gloss from Claire’s, and some Warheads sour candies with the leftovers).

My chores became second nature—so much so that, to this day, I actually don’t mind “doing dishes” or putting them back where they belong (In fact, if I come to your house, I may put them away myself).

That being said, my siblings’ chores did not come second nature to me (nor do they to this day):

Folding laundry is laborious (I usually leave my washed-and-dried clothes in the laundry basket, unfolded, and just wear-and-go again).

And taking out the trash is meant for the garbage men—right?

There are things in life that don’t come easily—things we don’t always want to do.

And then there are things in life that, still, while we may not want to do them, they do come a bit easier (like dishes).

However, have you ever had the experience when someone else does something for you (that you had planned on doing anyway)?

  • Maybe cleaning the bathroom.
  • Taking out the trash.
  • Paying a bill (rare, perhaps).
  • Running to the grocery store.
  • Doing your laundry.
  • Volunteering to make the phone call or drive the carpool.
  • Giving up their spot in line.

Today, your #thrivelife project is simple: Do something for someone else—the thing no one wants to do.

Step up and offer to lighten someone elses’ load.

The act of kindness may come back to you ten-fold.

Nutrition Tip

Speaking of doing things you may not want to do as your #thrivelife project today makes me think of meal prep.

Ohhh…just those two words alone are enough to make you think:

• Chore.
• Boring.
• Tedious.
• Pulling teeth.

I get it.

In fact, did you know that Americans are cooking less at home today than ever before?

How is it that thousands of us are willing to watch the food stylings of Americas’ “Top Chefs” go head to head on the Food Network, but apprenhensive (or eve anxious) to prep—for ourselves?

A study published in the Nutrition Journal (Smith, Wen Ng, Popkin, 2013) reported that all Americans (no matter their socioeconomic status) are cooking less than they have in the past.

Researchers found that, today, less than 60-percent of Americans cook food in the home—down significantly from the 1960’s when about 90% of Americans ate food in home, and the year, 1900, when 98% of Americans ate at home.

Why is eating out a big deal though? I mean food is food right?

Eating out is not necessarily a “bad thing”—but it’s not always the best…at least if we are talking about nutrients, food quality, experience (with your food) and saving money.

Let’s break ‘em down:

Home-Cooked Nutrients

Simply put: The less packaging, processing or other hands that have touched your food, the more nutritious it is for you. Cooking your own food is always going to be your best bet for ensuring you get the first-line of nutrients (i.e. “farm to table”), as opposed to synthesized food-like microwave dinners; frozen-shipped-in-from-Mexico-burger patty on the grill at TGI Friday’s; or Chef Simon’s daily concoction (intended to serve hundreds of people that day).

In terms of freshness, eliminating toxic exposure, hormones, GMOs, antibiotics, chemicals, and food handling, preparing your food yourself gets an A-plus-plus.

Home-Cooked Quality

As for quality: You know the difference in mom’s home-cooked famous lasagna versus a Stouffer’s lasagna. And you taste the care put into the “hot off the press” home-skillet omelet, opposed to a 24-diner’s slimy, watery eggs. When you know where your food came from (the pasture raised eggs you bought at the store, mom’s made-from-scratch-pasta, etc.), you are light-years ahead in quality taste and nourishment for your body.

Home-Cooked Experience

And, even if you “are not a good cook” or “don’t like your own cooking”, there’s something to be said about the connection—the experience— you have with your food when you prepare it yourself (as opposed to the disconnection when someone else—wearing a hairnet and cigarette-stenched apron in the back of a high-turnover kitchen—has prepared it).

Experience also plays a role with food, around the dinner table—when we “break bread” with friends and family at home.

Unfortunately, today, most American adults report eating fewer family dinners than they did “growing up”—with an average of three to four dinners eaten together per week, lasting less than 20 minutes and spent watching television or texting (while each family member eats a different microwaved “food”).

Home-Cooked Savings

Lastly, no one has to tell you twice that cooking your own meals is more savvy for your wallet. When you cook your food, you know where your food money is going, and that $8 lunches here…$20 Whole Foods’ to-go dinner there…or that $6 juice there…don’t evaporate your dollars.

The bottom line: Home prepared meals give you the BEST bang for your buck (better nutrition, quality, experience and savings).

Sooo….You’re open to some simple meal prep?

Here are my top 5 tips for easy peasy meal prep for making home-cooked food delicious and sustainable (for your busy lifestyle):

1. Spice it up. Keep a variety of spices on hand at all times. Stock up on the condiments and spices you use frequently (Coconut aminos, coconut oil, ghee, sea salt, pepper, coconut spray, lemon juice, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, mustard, a variety of spices—like Thyme, Rosemary, Dill, Cinnamon, etc.). In addition, buy these in the ‘bulk’ sized version at Costco or online at Amazon to stretch your dollars. With plenty of options on hand, you ensure you’re always prepared to make an “ok” meal great (i.e. boring chicken becomes curry chicken, or lemon and thyme chicken, or Tuscan herb chicken, or mustard chicken, etc.).

2. Grab-and-Go. Keep some simple-prepped foods, as an arsenal, in your pantry and fridge. Those foods you can grab-and-go or whip up in less than 5-minutes like:

a. Eggs
b. Rotisserie chickens
c. Nitrate-free deli meats and bacon
d. Frozen chicken/turkey sausage
e. Almond butter
f. Apples, oranges, pears
g. Frozen berries
h. Frozen broccoli and other veggies
i. Canned wild salmon, tuna or roast chicken
j. Sweet potatoes (can nuke in the microwave in 5-7 minutes!)
k. Canned coconut milk (no carrageenan)
l. Quality protein powder for smoothies (pureWOD)
m. Bone broth (make or buy and freeze)
n. Frozen pre-prepared meats or meals

3. Cook as you Go. Instead of feeling like you have to prep EVERYTHING you need for the week on one day, consider my “cook as you go” philosophy. One meal per day, prep everything you need for the next day (in only 20-30 minutes—the time it takes to call in takeout, pick it up and get home). For instance: Whip up double portion of the meat (chicken, turkey burgers, bison steak, salmon) you intend to eat for dinner so you have leftovers for lunch the next day. While your meat is cooking, sautee some greens or pop some veggies to roast in the toaster oven or oven, and assemble your breakfast for the next day (be it an omelet, sausage, or measuring out your ingredients for your morning smoothie). While I finish up cooking up dinner, I also pick one or two dishes to prep for the rest of the week (Like throwing a big batch of sweet potatoes for the week (5-6) into the oven, and roasting a big serving of Brussel’s sprouts; whipping up my 5 ingredient banana nutbutter muffins, or pan frying some salmon for dinner the next night).

4. Make & Take. Make meal prep more fun and feasible by inviting over 2 or 3 friends and making a few different recipes for the week. Everyone pitches in, you spend time with friends and you have plenty of variety for the week. Win, win, win.

5. Outsource. Save yourself time by hiring someone to get your groceries for you, or try Instacart if it’s in your town. In addition, there ARE some quality meal-prep delivery services out there. Check out Trifecta Nutrition for meal-prep done easy with ingredients you can trust.

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