“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
I CANNOT believe it is September already. Seriously, where did the summer go?! Although it was fabulous, I feel like I blinked and it was over just like that. And already things are feeling different. Fall means not only a bit cooler weather, beautiful changing leaves, and my personal favorite clothing color palette, but also for many people – a fresh start or opportunity to reset our lives with a semi-clean slate. In fact, it has been said that September is the new January when it comes to setting goals and making positive changes. It is a time of year, whether or not we are directly impacted by the return to school, when circumstances shift in a way that allows for fresh start. Add that to fact that we usually have a little post-summer buzz which provides some renewed energy and enthusiasm and you have the perfect catalyst to commit to some resolutions which research shows are often more durable than those infamous ones set January first.
At the start of every year, 40-some percent of all adults in America (statistics vary based on the source), set very well-intended, but notoriously unsuccessful resolutions. And there are apparently many reasons why goals set in September tend to be more successful than those set at the New Year. Since January 1 is somewhat in the middle of the winter it is less distinguishable in nature than autumn; it’s really an arbitrary date in comparison with the physical changes that happen outside in the fall. Also, the fact that it is immediately following the indulgences of the holidays often makes overly ambitious changes more drastic and challenging after we have overspent, overate, and overdone it in variety of other ways. Further, there is a heightened sense of pressure around setting the proverbial New Year’s resolutions, which is met with a high degree of cynicism and lack of support around keeping them. September is more low key and bit more organic for most us. By setting one concrete goal, with a few specific action items and deadlines, we can really maximize the last 33% of the year and solidify healthy habits before the holidays.
But even more interesting is that research shows whenever we go through a change of season, literally or metaphorically (like a new job, relationship status, move, etc.) we experience a psychological clean slate from which we can start anew. If we capitalize on an opportunity to wipe away the negative emotions related past failures and shortcomings and take the time to reflect on our goals, we can harness a relatively natural inclination to put in a bit of extra effort to shape our longer term habits. According to Katherine Milkman, an associate professor at The Wharton School, a fresh start can occur, and be powerful, in many intervals. She writes, “the beginnings of many cycles – including the start of a new week, month, year, and semester (for students) – are associated with increased interest in dieting as well as increases in exercise and goal creation. People also intensify their pursuit of aspirations following birthdays and federal holidays.”
And interestingly as I contemplated this, I realized that in some ways I subscribe to this fresh start logic daily. No matter what happened yesterday or what will happen today, I can start the day off right with a few of my foundational habits. My best days always start off with time spent reading my Bible, working out, reviewing my schedule/list of things to do, and a healthy breakfast focused on proteins and good fats. Eating a Whole30 style breakfast everyday has a tremendous impact, providing me not only with enough energy and satiation to get and keep going, but also setting the tone for making continued healthy decisions throughout the day. And as an all-things-spicy-or-Mexican food lover, these very tasty and very filling Paleo Taco Muffins are an amazing option paired with guacamole. Savory, substantial and highly portable, these make frequent appearances on my meal prep rotation as a fan favorite for not only breakfast, but also lunch or dinner for the week.
- Chili Powder 1 TBSP
- Ground Cumin 1 .5 TSPN
- Sea Salt 1 TSPN
- Black Pepper 1 TSPN
- Garlic Powder .5 TSPN
- Onion Powder .5 TSPN
- Paprika .5 TSPN
- Red Pepper Flakes/Crushed Red Chilies .25 TSPN
- Oregano .25 TSPN
- Almond Flour 1 TSPN
- Ground/Minced Beef 800 g
- Frozen Spinach - thawed (don't use fresh) 900 g
- Coconut Oil 1 TBSP
- Medium Yellow Onion - diced 1 each
- Garlic Cloves- mined 3 each
- Taco Seasoning (recipe above) 3 TBSP
- Eggs 3 each
- Salsa (check your labels!) .25 cup (65 g)
- Unsweetened Full Fat Coconut Milk .25 cup (60 ml)
- Start by making your taco seasoning blend - you will have extra and it will definitely keep well in your dry storage for more of these muffins or as a clean taco seasoning for other recipes.
- Make sure the spinach is fully thawed before you start and allow to drain, squeezing out excess liquid and then setting aside.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F/190 C and lightly grease your muffin tray with some coconut oil to prevent sticking.
- In a medium pan over medium high heat, add coconut oil and allow to melt. Next add the onions and cook until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Then add the garlic and sautée for another minute or so until fragrant.
- Crumble the ground/minced beef into the pan, and then add the taco seasoning, mixing well.
- Allow the beef to brown (doesn't have to be cooked all the way through) and then mix in the drained spinach, stirring to combine. Turn off the heat.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs along with the salsa and coconut milk. Add the beef mixture and combine all ingredients well.
- Scoop equal portions of the mixture into your muffin tins, you should have about 15-16 muffins in total.
- Bake in the oven for 40 minutes and then remove and allow to cool.
- Serve along with some fresh guac, pico de gallo, and/or extra salsa and ENJOY!