By Tyler Calder

January as I know it has always been an exercise in deprivation – a question of what I’ll eliminate from my life in order to be some promised better version of myself.

Who even is she?

I don’t know what happened between 2018 and 2019 (maybe some personal growth or maybe just hashtag aging); but this year, I’m officially ~over it.~ Instead of worrying about all the ways I’ll whittle myself down (and trust me, it usually happens emotionally as it happens physically) and take certain foods away; I’m thinking about all the ways I can add to my life. GNI has helped me realize that self-investment is better than self-improvement this time of year – and the relief of that statement alone helped me reframe my whole thinking on the subject.

“This year, instead of pressure, I’m choosing permission – permission to try something new, permission to give to myself without guilt, and permission to be imperfect in the process.”

For a while, I had trouble figuring out where to start. I took out my notebook and made a list of what I wanted to add to (not take away from!) my life when it came to food. The two biggest things on the list turned out to be nutrition and simplification. So I did some homework on the various ways I could achieve easy breakfasts and lunches (Spoiler alert: It ended up being Daily Harvest for me). Everyone’s different, but I’m happiest when eating fruit-and-veggie-centered meals; and I was excited about exploring foods that I could sip on or eat bowl-style.

For the first time, I gave myself permission to think outside the box and opt for, well, a completely different type of box – one that landed on my doorstep and helped me keep my life on track throughout the week. Here’s what I’m learning as I find foods that feel good and fit my life:

GNIxDailyHarvest - Journaling - SMALL.jpg

1. You don’t have to do it all
For a while, I couldn’t get past the whole food delivery thing. I was really hung up and judging myself for even wanting it. Was I lazy because I didn’t want to spend my whole Sunday list-making, going to the grocery store, dynamic food prepping, etc.?

The answer is no. Services (like Daily Harvest) exist to help people, and it’s okay to ask for help. Like most people, I spend a lot of my time “on” – for other people, for work, for creative projects. Simplifying my life greatly when it came to meal prep was nothing worth feeling bad about.

2. Food tracking works better for me when it’s qualitative
Confession: Food-tracking apps stress me the F out. I’ve tried them all and they feed my more obsessive qualities. After a week, I’m usually on the verge of a breakdown feeling like my life is just a series of numbers and stats and I have no ~ freedom to live as I want.~

The solution? Instead of tracking that way, I’m taking a more qualitative approach to keeping track. Now I just write down what I’m eating (example: a bowl or a smoothie and what type) and take a single minute to write down how I feel afterward. I’m finding it to be effective

3. I don’t have to give up my favorites
My obsession with Brussels Sprouts + Lime Pad Thai (one of my box items!) right now knows no bounds. WHO KNEW?! Intuitive eating doesn’t just have to mean giving up your favorite takeout order or “treat foods.” It means eating them in a way that makes your body feel good too. That’s how I’m choosing to think about it now as I aim to spark joy in my body and my life.

4. The ~style~ of my food does make a difference to me
I’ve always struggled with breakfast. I’m usually hungry on weekday mornings but my before-work routine starts at an hour when I 1) don’t want to prep and 2) have NO desire for “traditional” breakfast foods. The past few weeks, changing it up with a smoothie saved my butt because I could take it on the go. They were so easy and it actually turned out to be a format I crave – not one I was forcing myself to enjoy.

5. Portions are important
I’m historically not great at portions. Starting a system that’s pre-portioned has had a secret perk I didn’t realize I needed – understanding healthy portion sizes. It might seem obvious but my journal reflections have made me realize I’m full on LESS when the food is actually nutrient-dense, so I’m calling that a win so far.

All in all, I’m starting to feel better as I focus on embracing foods my body responds to positively. If you’re on a similar journey, let me know in the comments.

If you want to give Daily Harvest a try, save some money as you do it – get $25 your first box with CODE GNI25.

This piece was presented in partnership with Daily Harvest.