Diet Hopes Day 2, Barrier #2: Recipe Frustration #)*+^#$%#!!

And the Solution: “Inevitability Planning”

Stuck in a rut picture

Feel stuck in a “5-Recipe Rut,” making the same few things night after night?  If so, it’s not hard to understand why.  Just think about the times you’ve been inspired to try a new recipe.  Its picture looked great and you’re committed to trying something new.  So at least you have your head behind your actions and you’re past Barrier #1 explained in the previous post.

But walking in the kitchen at 5:30 you run smack dab into Barrier #2:  Recipe Frustration.  For example, you picked a soup recipe that looked easy enough, but now you see:

  • it calls for Z’atar (what the heck is that?)
  • it says to puree the soup with an immersion blender (how do I do that?)
  • you’re supposed to soak the cashews overnight (oops, forgot that!)

To top it off, a spouse or kid asks what’s for dinner and either looks doubtful about your new idea or just says, “Yuk!” outright.

And that’s that.  You shelve the new idea and just make one of your old standbys.

This is where I found myself on Day 2 of my almond milk experiment.  I was all excited to make the first batch, but got shut down barely after starting.  Being committed to the experiment, however, I didn’t just give up but stopped and thought about why I couldn’t pull off something this simple.

Understand that the standard recipe for almond milk has only four ingredients and three steps.


  • Almonds
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Dates


  1. Soak a cup of almonds and then drain
  2. Blend soaked almonds with a date, salt and more water
  3. Strain the mixture

Doing these steps, in and of themselves, should have been a no-brainer.  But I couldn’t make my hoped-for batch of almond milk happen:

I hadn’t added dates to my shopping list, so of course I didn’t have any at milk-making time.  But no problem, I thought.  I’ll just make an unsweetened version.

I thought I had almonds, but when I actually checked there was only half of what I needed.  No problem, I’ll just halve the recipe, I punted.

When I actually read the instructions closely, I saw that I was supposed to use a nut milk bag to strain the milk.  I had no idea what that even was and emailed the recipe blogger to find out.  In the meantime, I decided to make do with my bone broth sieve.

I thought I was home free–just barely–until I read that the almonds were supposed to be soaked overnight.  That was one obstacle too many and I called it quits.

The Solution:  Inevitability Planning Ever heard the term “Inevitability Planning?”  It’s the key to starting a new habit, i.e., you must plan to make a new way of doing things inevitable.  That’s exactly what I hadn’t done–and what most people don’t do when they decide to make a new recipe (or implement any new habit, for that matter.)  That’s why many of our diet hopes and goals get abandoned.  Despite our best of intentions and a solid commitment, we can’t turn them into natural, easeful habits because we haven’t created the supportive environment that allows them to take root, grow and blossom.

The solution:  Before racing into the kitchen all fired up to make nut milk, I needed to take the time to get prepared to make almond milk.  Ditto for any diet dream or hope:  Plan so success is inevitable.

Making a Timeframe Adjustment  Interestingly, the critical first step of inevitability planning is just slowing down and adjusting your time frame to accommodate planning and preparation time.  For me, this meant the postponement (but not the abandonment) of my diet hope.  Instead of giving up because I couldn’t do it tonight, I gave myself an extra week:

I’ll be going to the store again anyway so I can get the dates and more almonds–and I wrote them on my list immediately

I can find out what a nut milk bag is and locate one.

I now know to soak the nuts all night–so I can build that in to my schedule

And having finally read the instructions closely, I know the recipe is better tackled the first time on a night when I’ve got a little more time and brain space–so I’ll choose a night that isn’t already packed with other to-dos.

How about you?  Take a look at the diet resolution you’ve committed to.  Have you planned ahead so success is inevitable?  What needs to be done in advance to make it happen?  Buy a new ingredient?  Learn a new technique? Set aside an adequate space of time?  Get a new tool?  Feel free to share any insights you make in the Comment box–we can all learn from you.

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