Just Say “No”

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A friend of mine once said, “When we say ‘yes’ to one thing, we’re also saying ‘no’ to something else whether we realize it or not.” Wise words. And I find the opposite to be true, too. We often think of “no” as a negative response, but when stated purposefully it can open doors for very positive results.

just-say-noIt’s in that spirit that I write this—as much to myself as to you. I eye the bowl of leftover Halloween candy on the top of the cabinet, the birthday cupcakes in the freezer, the containers of Party Mix on top of the fridge, and know all too well how easy it is to indulge in a bite here and handful there. But when I stop and think about what I’m saying no to in that wordless, mindless “yes,” I realize I’m preventing myself from feeling strong and centered and wholesome and good. And those consequences cascade beyond just my body. After just a few spontaneous yeses to empty indulgences I begin to feel unbalanced and unmotivated, which takes a toll on my family, my relationships, my work.

Those are some big costs for little yeses. And understanding that is a big part of mindful eating practice.

So this week, especially as the paths are laid for the holidays ahead, I want to practice just saying “no” and feeling the fullness, balance and joy that comes as a consequence. I encourage you all to join me, and to notice the impact it has on you in the days ahead. And if you’re so inspired, share your experiences in the comments below . . . I’m curious to hear about all the yeses that come from saying no.

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Edamame Spread

In a week exploring the power of “no,” I thought I’d give you something to say “yes” to: this easy, flavorful (and kid-friendly) edamame spread. Serve it as an appetizer with toasted baguette slices or whole-grain crackers. It’s great on sandwiches, too.

2 cups frozen edamame beans (green soybeans) (removed from pod)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook edamame for 4 minutes. Drain and transfer to a food processor.

Add garlic, Parmigiano-Reggiano and lemon juice to the bowl and process until smooth. Drizzle in olive oil and blend until emulsified. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and spoon into a serving bowl or onto toasted baguette slices.

Makes roughly 2 cups, about 8 servings

  • http://backseatgourmet.blogspot.com Cheryl Arkison

    This is bang on! (But did you have to tempt me with that photo?)
    I’ve been whining a lot in teh last two weeks as family illness and injury have kept me from maintaining my gym schedule. Sigh, I’ll never get in shape. But the other day I finally saw it as an opportunity to get my eating back on track – gone was the leftover Halloween candy (all the Kit Kats were gone anyway) and in came another fresh load of fruit and veg.

  • http://nourishnetwork.com/members/liahuber/ Lia Huber

    Good for you, Cheryl! I’ve been struggling (and whining) with my exercise schedule too. It seems I’ve been down with one cold or another–or nursing a sick kiddo–for literally months, and there just hasn’t been time or energy to get back to the gym, or even my yoga mat. Which is part of why I wrote this. I, like you, finally decided that rather than just glide along mindlessly until everything fell into place with life and balance and exercise and order, I’d be more mindful about what I do have control over. Feels good, doesn’t it?

  • http://nourishnetwork.com/members/rachelliot/ Rachel Elliott

    I like that idea, Lia… as lately I’ve felt too bogged down by a new and relatively grueling schedule to stick with any sort of exercise routine (and by that I mean, I literally have not exercised since I took the Bar exam, save a yoga class or two), I can at the very least try and maintain more conscious and healthy choices in the foods I eat. Good motivation!