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You know that chick at your gym who’s aways motivated to workout?
Or perhaps your friend who every single weekend finds the motivation to meal prep for his week to come?
It happens so naturally and effortless for them. Or so it seems!
This is the Motivation Myth.
The myth: You’re motivated or you’re not!
The reality: Motivation is a habit and a skill that you either nurture and cultivate daily or you don’t!
Plant friends today I’m sharing the first
5 of my 10 Tips To Stay Motivated To Eat Healthy Plant Based Meals.
We’ll also chat a little self care and of course the plant positive podcast staples: vegan deliciousness and good news stories.
Let’s get rolling with
Tip 1, To Stay Motivated To Eat Healthy Plant Based Meals:
One: Focus on little hinges that swing big doors.
I’m sure you’ve noticed in the past how seemingly inconsequential little habits can actually have a hugely impactful compounding or flow on effect.
These might be the Keystone Habits that other healthy habits naturally spring up around or they might be less obvious little adjustments that certainly provide a high return for their minimal investment of time and energy.
I count meal prep as a personal Keystone Habit that makes it much easier for me to eat healthy plant based meals each day. However I’d be lying if I said it was a little hinge! It actually takes a bit of effort. Doing a weekly shop for fresh food is more of a little hinge. Especially if you organise a weekly supermarket or organic fruit and veg box delivery.
A few other impactful little hinges to help you stay motivated to eat healthy plant based meals?
- Find that Go2 vegan burger, marinated tofu / tempeh or falafel (to buy or make) that you love and is super versatile to turn into a quick Buddha bowl or wrap. In Healthification E512 I share: How To Turn 3 Vegan Supermarket Staples Into 9 Plant Strong Meals.
- Get into the habit of making extra dinner to take as leftovers for lunch the next day. This only works if you don’t devour that extra dinner! This does not mean you’re eating the exact same thing. Perhaps your tempeh mince pasta for dinner becomes tempeh mince and cos leaf tacos with coconut yoghurt the next day? Or maybe a chill bean mix stuffed potato for dinner becomes a chilli bean and hummus wrap?
- Get your water sorted. Maybe this is the reusable bottle you carry with you. For me it was a water filterer that made my home water taste great. A good supple of water certainly has a flow on effect with me. I feel good drinking more of it and less tempted to over consume both coffee and unnecessary little snacks.
Two: Lower the bar to raise your chance of success.
Here we’re looking for a few easy wins. You’re conspiring for your success and building some motivating and momentum building reference points for success. If you’ve been trying to make the perfect burger, pesto or egg free omelette and it’s feeling a bit over ambitious settle for a bought version until you feel up to embracing your inner culinary goddess again.
I like the idea of gigantic bunches of organic leafy goodness to concoct my weekly smoothies. However washing and prepping leaves gets tedious fast. The majority of the time I’ll buy frozen organic spinach and berries to fast track my prep time.
For the new vegan / plant based eater it’s especially important to lower that bar in order to stay motivated long term.
- Rather struggling to stick to 100% whole food plant based meals all the time let the processed vegan foods be helpful transitional foods. Gradually edge out the processed stuff as you feel ready until you arrive at an amount that feels right for you. By processed: I mean those fake meats, store bought vegan cheeses, ice cream etc. Anything can be vegan however it’s not all healthy!
- Although there are vitamins and minerals to be aware of following vegan lifestyle I recommend NOT stressing out about hitting them in every single meal from day one! Your body is resilient and for the super-vast-majority of people including less animal products and more veg, beans, nuts and seeds in your routine is going to be a HUGE win. It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of everything mainstream media and animal agriculture likes to propagate that we’re missing out on leading a plant based lifestyle. Their incentive is their profitability NOT your health. I’m not saying don’t consider B12, iron, calcium, zinc and omega 3’s etc however I’m absolutely saying it’s ok to gradually refine your eating approach as you’re ready. When you are ready it’s something I’ve blogged about extensively and I’ll link to those posts below.
- If a full weeks meal prep sounds like a full time job start with what you can (maybe meal prep for Mon – Wed) and find some easy options for the other days. To make a cafe bought salad more cost effective and substantial I’ll often buy a medium serve (barely enough for one day for me) and then 1/2 it to split it over 2 days and bulk it up with any of the following grabbed from the supermarket and kept at work: pre-washed mixed green leaves or kale-slaw + a mini can of 4 bean mix or some marinated tofu + a sprinkle of hemp or pumpkin seeds.
Tip Three To Stay Motivated To Eat Healthy Plant Based Meals: Set an action based goal.
The alternative is a results based goal (like lose 10 kilo’s) and sadly you’re not always in control of your results – at least not in the timeframe you might be seeking. Results based goals can get disheartening. Especially if you feel like you’ve made so many amazing changes and you’re not yet being rewarded for ALL THE EFFORT!
What if instead you focused on taking the right actions that will eventually lead to the result?
These are a few of the actions that will be hugely impactful on making healthy plant based eating a natural part of your lifestyle. I recommend picking the one that jumps out at you and trying it for 30 days.
- Designing your winning morning routine. Perhaps a #plantstrong smoothie or overnight oats. 5-10 minutes meditation. Listening to a podcast you love while getting some exercise. A gorgeous coffee. A few of the things I’ve noticed in making morning routines stick: Aim for 3-5 non-negotiable and set a realistic time period for each (for the non-meditator 5 minutes is a great place to start). Include something you look forward to (the podcast makes my walk more enjoyable and I LOVE that cafe bought coffee!). Know that you can constantly refine your routine so there’s no need to procrastinate over perfect just make a start!
- Aim to eat fibrous veg in at least 2 meals a day.
- Aim to makeover one old meaty or overly processed meal a week. This might not sound so “action based” however at the end of a month you’ll have four Go 2 healthy plant based meals and to be honest I joyfully devour my current 2 fav lunches 5-6 days a week and my 2 fav dinners 4-5 days a week. So even if you’re down for double the variety I need you’ll still have half your week sorted!
Four: Find a way to enjoy immediate gratification.
Generally healthy eating has the connotations of being all about the delayed gratification in depriving yourself of all the treats now to enjoy that result you’re seeking in the future. I think this is entirely unhelpful!
In one of my all time fav interviews (published originally on Healthification and shared last week in this feed) E592: Atomic Habits and Why True Behaviour Change Is Really Identity Change with James Clear, James shares the 4 Laws of Behaviour Change:
- Make it obvious.
- Make it attractive.
- Make it easy.
- Make it satisfying.
So if we take the example of eating healthy plant based meals:
- The obvious part is that house full of fresh food that you ensured in tip one: Focus on little hinges that swing big doors.
- To make this habit more attractive perhaps you could link it to your values and identity beliefs.
- To make it easy you can find your Go2 supermarket fav meal starters like I share in show 512. Or you can embrace weekly meal food prep.
- The game changer is that immediate gratification / make each satisfying IMMEDIATELY component. For many new habits this is tough. It might just be a matter of tracking and rewarding the habit. For your healthy plant based meals it’s just about upping the deliciousness!
Perhaps that’s by finding the sauce, vegan cheese or pesto that makes all the difference. Maybe it’s by spending that little bit extra to always buy your most fav veg and fruit. Possibly it’s by giving your veg a little more respect in how you prep and cook it. Think of the effort you likely used to put into marinating, seasoning, BBQ’ing and roasting meat. Veg responds at least as well.
Five: Travel back 12 months and use either the Pain or the Progress as fuel.
First let’s use progress as fuel! If you’re like me you likely find it much easier to focus on what you’re yet to achieve than what you’ve already accomplished. To step away from plant based deliciousness for a moment. I have a tendency to feel hugely dissatisfied with the progress of podcasting. It takes a huge amount of time. I LOVE it and yet the results really don’t reflect the time, money and energy it takes.
If I travel back in my mind (and iTunes!) 12 months I see that I’ve had the privilege to chat with many legit hero’s of mine. People I have so much respect for such as:
709 – Reversing Diabetes and getting Healthy at Last with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
704 – Meat The Victims with Animal Activist Leah Doellinger.
699 – Photojournalist Jo-Anne McArthur Brings Visibility To Hidden Animals Worldwide.
698 – AJP MP Emma Hurst and The Failures Of Our Existing Animal Welfare Legislation.
669 – Dr Neal Barnard and Optimising Hormonal Health with Simple Diet Changes.
Plus so many more. A couple of years ago I genuinely would not have believed I’d have such opportunities. Or that I’d manage the tech to get these chats out into the world! I certainly had no idea how much I’d LOVE the process. That’s potent fuel to keep powering on.
However what about pain as fuel? If you’ve procrastinated on something important to you for 12 months it can be pretty powerful traveling back and letting the realisation that you’re letting YOU down propel you forward. The situation likely hasn’t stayed stagnant in 12 months. If it hasn’t progressed it’s gotten worse.
If you travel back in your mind 12 months what was holding you back then? Time? Money? Information? Fear? These are all obstacles that can be overcome. In fact, if you’d chosen to you could have dealt with them 12 months ago. So now is the time.
The first step is to: Confirm with yourself, is there value in doing this?
From here my procrastination annihilating trifecta of questions may help:
- Will delaying make it any easier to do? Unlikely right, you’re just going to waste energy thinking about what you should be doing.
- Will you feel better once it’s done? How would you feel if you’d prioritised that thing12 months ago?
- Do you need help to just make a start?
Which leads me to… tip Six: Involve community however that’s for next weeks E007 of Plant Positive and Part 2 of 10 Tips To Stay Motivated To Eat Healthy Plant Based Meals!
Let’s move onto plant based deliciousness and continuing with my 10 Tips To Make Adopting A Vegan Lifestyle Easy (we covered tips 1-4 in previous shows and the complete 10 are available as a free PDF via the show notes). Today let’s dig in with tip five.
Five: You Might Have To Eat Larger Meals To Be Satisfied.
Animal products generally have a high caloric density so the quantity you can / will need to eat when it’s purely plant based will go up. I see this as a very happy side effect!
Further more, do not be scared of good fats: nuts, seeds, avocado… once you cut the poor quality fat out of your life you’ll be able to enjoy A LOT more good quality fat.
One of the many things I’ve changed my mind on is the importance of good fats in your daily eating routine.
For way too many skinny-fat-moody-UNfun years I deprived myself of ALL fat.
I now believe fake will make you fat, not fat!
Joyously, you can actually use fat to melt fat.
Beyond the obvious – DELICIOUSNESS! – here are 3 of fats benefits…
- Fat is satisfying.
You know that light weight salad that might look huge yet really does nothing to satisfy you?
That meal is always going to come back to bite you! Your body is clever. When you under eat in one meal it’ll be nagging at you for make up calories… and make up calories are often not quality calories. They can be those snackie, more’ish, craving causing little trickster calories that really add up.
- Fat slows down the rate at which the carbs you consume are broken down and released into the bloodstream.
This lets you avoid the meal that sends your blood sugar (and focus and energy) levels soaring and then plummeting. It provides you with stable, reliable energy. At the same time it allows you to avoid over consuming ALL of the carbs!
- On an emotional level, Fat is fun.
This is an underestimated component of getting and staying lean. I genuinely believe you need to love what you eat as often as possible to avoid the “I deserve!” effect. We’ve all spiralled into the detrimental “I deserve” demolish right?
In Healthification post / podcast E540 I share multiple alternatives to effectively fight fat with fat.
Here are my fav 10 Vegan Fat Upgrades,
- Make your own nut based cheese.
- Experiment with 1/2’ing the amount of oil in a recipe and replacing it with higher micronutrient nuts or seeds.
- Make your own dairy free pesto. My Go2 recipe is in the 3 Day Easy Vegan Plan:
- Experiment with 1/2’ing the amount of oil you cook with and replacing it with veg stock / water plus adding nuts or seeds.
- Swap margarine / vegan butter to avocado.
- Swap bought crisps to home made. Try kale, brussel, sweet potato, carrot, beetroot, zucchini and even collard.
- Swap biscuits and bars to nuts and seeds.
- Try coconut bacon and,
- Coconut yoghurt.
- Try almond milk and organic cacao (plus a sachet of Natvia) as a guilt free before bed hot chocolate. As a bonus benefit cacao has magnesium to aid your sleep.
This show is fairly chocka so I’m keeping the Good News Stories brief, however as always there was plenty to choose from!
Veg News tells me there’s a Massive Vegan Superstore to Open in Israel and Plant Based News declares Vegan Meals 40% Cheaper And Quicker To Make Than Meat And Fish, (a Veganuary) Poll Finds however I want to share some personal good news stories that I hope might ring true for you too.
I’m sure I’ll dig deeper in an upcoming episode of the Healthification podcast with mum, however for now two quick wins for our little family:
- Committed Carnivore dad, again loved the tofu scramble over crispy baked potatoes I made for us all last week. I really recommend coming up with a recipe win that you can easily roll out to impress your non vegan loved ones and extra points if it involves a plant food that thought they did not like! Tofu might be bland on its own however it certainly sucks up all the flavours and is moist and perfect over crispy spuds.
- On Christmas Day my repeat recipe nut roast with mushroom gravy and vegan baileys were well received as were my first time tofu rice paper rolls with satay sauce and mum’s extensive veg and desert deliciousness! The real win though has been in my commitment to pick my battles in communication with loved ones. I’ve given up on converting my dad or even having a civilised debate. It’s just too triggering for him and in turn too sad and frustrating for me. So if you’re thinking right now of that loved one that just does not get it. That does not get you. My hard learnt lesson here in 2020 is, Learn to pick your battles in communication with loved ones. It’s not weak to choose not to always fly the vegan flag. Sometimes it’s simply self preservation. Speaking of which…
This weeks Self Care recommendation, implement a regular digital detox. The time / length is what resonates with you however a few years ago I was committed to 24 hours every single week and it rocked!
As someone who is very structured with my work time conversely I’m not the least bit structured or focused or disciplined with my downtime.
As the iPad crept into my bed, so did Facebook. Tracking important numbers in my business spiralled into obsessing over important numbers in my business. I started to think about the photo I should take rather than just enjoying the meal, the workout, the view – the moment!
Can you relate? I can’t think of one single benefit to that always on approach.
The solution is a Digital DETOX… and you know what? I can’t think of one single repercussion.
From memory – it was awesome. FREEING. Such a positive experience that I’ll be RE-implementing it for 24 hours each and every weekend and if you struggle with always feeling “On” or “the comparison game” or feeling frustrated at all the animal abuse you’re confronted each time you jump online then I really recommend you take yourself offline each week too.
And with that, that’s it for this week in Plant Positive.
If you enjoyed this episode then please share the love with a friend or family member that needs to hear it. It’s quick to share and it’ll mean a lot to your loved one and so very much to me. Sending you wishes for a happy, healthy and fun filled end to 2020 and a 2021 full of love, compassion, success and hope.
Please stay tuned for a little more motivation in the form of a quick snippet from a super inspiring episode of the Healthification podcast – that’s my interview style show where I have conversations with amazing athletes, activists, authors and generally passionate and compassionate individuals! Today my chat in E568 with vegan athlete Fiona Oakes. Fiona is the fastest woman in the world to run a marathon on all 7 continents and the north pole.
She does this all to raise awareness for the plight of animals and to help fund her sanctuary Tower Hill Stables where she cares for 450+ animals.
Fiona’s incredible physical triumphs come after being told she was told she’d never walk properly again at just 14 years old. Let alone run. She had more than 17 radical knee surgeries which ultimately led to having her entire right kneecap removed.
Plant Positive was proudly bought to you by: Energybits.
I was merely a causal Spirulina consumer prior to chatting with Energybits Founder Catharine Arnston who has spent the last ten years educating consumers and wellness professionals about algae. Now I’m a huge fan of this cultivated one ingredient power algae known for aiding performance and energy. I’m an even bigger fan of the lessor known algae on the block, Chlorella.
US customers can purchase Energybits online and use the code “Healthification” for 20% off.
Check out: www.strongbodygreenplanet/deals to find all the sponsors of this show listed on one page. Again, that’s www.strongbodygreenplanet/deals.
With love and compassion plant friends.
If you liked “10 Tips To Stay Motivated To Eat Healthy Plant Based Meals (Part 1)” you’ll also like 339: Healthy Vegetarian Eating (step by step)
If you liked “10 Tips To Stay Motivated To Eat Healthy Plant Based Meals (Part 1)” you’ll also like 517: Easy Vegan Iron Sources: A Flesh Free Zone!
If you liked “10 Tips To Stay Motivated To Eat Healthy Plant Based Meals (Part 1)” you’ll also like 516: Easy Vegan Calcium Sources: Leave Cows Milk For The Calves!