As many of you may know, I am at the almost tail end of writing my 5th book-–but my FIRST cookbook—The Clean Cuisine Cookbook. I had NO idea writing a cookbook would be nearly as challenging as it has been. I am having way more fun than I have had doing any other book, but I have also had to push myself much much harder to stay on track and get it finished than I have had to do with any other project.
Sometimes after a full day of a kitchen that has been turned totally upside down with recipe testing, food photos, kids, and a MAJOR MESS I think to myself that maybe I have gotten in over my head with this one. I frequently find myself worrying I just won’t be able to pull it all together. Or that it just won’t be as good as what else is on the market (because let’s face it; there are some incredibly talented chefs out there these days…and so many of them are cooking clean too!) I do think I have a knack for cooking healthy food that tastes good, but I am by no means a trained chef. The closest I have come to working in the food industry was as an ice cream girl at the Ice Cream Club.
When I first started writing nutrition books back in 2005 I definitely did not feel qualified to write those either because again, I wasn’t a nutritionist or a doctor or even a health coach. However, I had a story and my husband was a surgeon so I felt the combination gave me the confidence I needed to push forward. But the cookbook is different. I feel this one is mostly on me. And day after day I question my ability. Are the recipes good enough? Are people going to really want to buy it considering I am not a TV chef or famous celebrity.
On top of the self-doubt, writing a cookbook is serious work. It requires far more organization and an impeccable attention to detail than any other book or project I have ever done in the past. And the time involved for each and every recipe is by no means minimal. By the time you think of what recipe to make, write out the grocery list, buy the items, test it (and cross your fingers it works the first time—then retest it just to be sure), figure out food styling (thank goodness I have my mom, Gail Ingram, for this! I don’t know how some of these bloggers do it all themselves these days?), do the photo shoot, go through each and every photo on the computer, type the recipe, describe the recipe, work with editor, etc. It is A LOT of work!
I think it all would probably be a lot easier if I weren’t also trying to keep up the blog, social media etc. But I know there are so many other bloggers out there doing the same thing and so much more. The competition alone is enough to make you question yourself. I almost have to avoid looking on Instagram to keep myself from feeling discouraged!
Anyway, I was starting to get in crisis mode over the weekend when I realized how much more I have left to do on the cookbook (and how little time is left!) and my dear friend, Debby Gans (who along with my mom, has been helping to do the cookbook photos!) brought me the kitchen magnet in the photo above and beautiful flowers as a pick-me-up. I’ve been looking at the quote on the magnet and thinking about it every day since it has been in my kitchen…
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” —-Neal Donald Walsh
The more I read it, the more I realize how very very true this quote is. And it applies to so so many things in life. It can even apply to your diet and exercise. It’s not comfortable to change your whole way of eating (trust me, I know!) and it is not always comfortable to get out of bed in the morning and push yourself to do a workout. I know my husband almost didn’t go into medicine because he didn’t feel he would ever be comfortable talking to strangers about their health problems. But NOTHING in life is easy. I even find trying to relax and do nothing isn’t easy because I feel guilty! Life is so short and I truly believe we ALL have a something unique to offer the world. And yet, whatever you have to offer will not be accomplished if you don’t step out of your comfort zone.
This all does relate to Clean Cuisine, because if you don’t take care of YOU by eating right, exercising, managing stress, etc. you will never be able to truly put your best foot forward to help others. So many people, but women in particular, feel guilty about taking care of themselves until a disease or disability strikes. When it comes to taking care of myself or tackling a major project (like the cookbook!) what has always helped me is to just take it step by step. I try not to do everything at once. If you are trying to apply “one foot in front of the other” concept to clean eating, my best advice is to start by doing what we recommend in our book and in our online 8-Week Challenge …decide on 2 or 3 changes to make each week and focus just on those. If you are trying to tackle a major project, start with a check list and just work your way through it. Baby steps.
Ok, that’s my pep talk for the day 😉 I better get back to the kitchen lol!
P.S. Here’s a sneak peak below of one of some of the photos (thank you Debby Gans and to my mom–Gail Ingram– for the beautiful styling!!) from our recent #CleanCuisineCookbook photo shoot.