Have you ever had the experience where you avoid something for weeks, months, perhaps years because you think it’s going to be really hard?
That was 100% my experience so far as healthy plant based eating.
I stayed vego for 23 years before I made the jump to plant based because I’d convinced myself plant based would be a miserable eating existence. Also that I’d be socially isolated. Physically emaciated. Ok, I do have an excitable imagination!
It seems I can also be a slow learner.
In today’s show I’m sharing:
3 Lessons To Make Healthy Plant Based Eating Less Complicated.
My hope is that you get to fast-track my slow learning!
Today’s show will be applicable to my vegan, vego and meat eating friends. Whatever your eating choices, today is simply about making healthy choices more… simple!
Let’s get straight into it with lesson #one:
One: One Ingredient High Micronutrient beats Low Carb, Low Fat and Low Value.
Put simply, focus on nutrients NOT calories.
It sounds so easy however you’re likely fighting decades of conditioning that insists calories are the enemy. Low cal is the way to go.
One of the surprising benefits of adopting a plant based diet is that by necessity you really do have to be a little more accepting of some foods that you might have shunned in your carb or fat fearing yet meat eating days.
There are only so many foods you can not eat!
Some of the things I include in my day to day eating a lot more freely are: fruit, nuts, seeds and starchy veg. Of course none of these things are bad. In fact they’re all pretty awesome however I’d previously fallen for the marketing that assured me I needed the low-carb-high-protein-choc-caramel-cookies.
Of course that means scouring nutrition labels. There are cookies and there are cookies! I wasted hours trying to decipher the fine print and serving size and comparing fake food this versus piece of processed crap-o-la that.
Now eating is A LOT less complicated.
As Michael Pollan advices: “If it came from a plant eat it, if it was made in a plant, don’t.“
Two: Negative Associations are more Powerful than Taste.
Now bare with me here! I might not have believed me either a few years ago.
Put simply, negative associations let you utilize your VALUES and your beliefs where taste leaves you at the mercy of discipline and willpower.
Now if that does not sound simple I’ll paint you a picture.
In your left hand you have your mum’s delicious roast chicken. It’s surrounded by all the roast veg. Potatoes of course. Also pumpkin, parsnip and onion. There are some fresh peas for a dash greenery and even cauliflower cheese because she’s knows it’s your fav. Don’t forget that delicious rich gravy. To follow the chook there’s banoffee pavlova. Made from two perfectly light and crunchy meringue discs that sandwich together an abundance of whipped cream, chocolate, caramel and banana.
Sitting on your left shoulder drooling over that decadent yet comforting meal is that persuasive little devil you that I’m sure you’ve met before.
“Look at all the effort your mum has gone to.” the devil you observes. “And you’ve eaten pretty light today.” “You trained so hard this week too.” “You deserve that roast. A huge serve of that roast. And how often do you eat dessert? You better make the most of it and squeeze in seconds!” the little devil you insists.
Discipline and willpower are no match for devil you.
In your right hand sits the meal you do (or would!) most often eat to rock around 24/7 in a fit, healthy plant strong body you love. It’s still big, delicious and satisfying both to your stomach and your stomachs eye! It’s chock-a full of micronutrients too. This hearty meal might be a smokey eggplant, capsicum and cauli curry over zoodles with pumpkin and hemps seeds. Perhaps some coriander, spirulina and dulse flakes. A gigantic side of kale crisps with nutritional yeast, coconut oil and pink himalayan salt.
Now you can guess what the little devil you has to say about this meal! However she’s met her match. Standing firm on your right shoulder is a relentlessly focused value and belief led you.
She knows what drives you. What compels every decision you make.
“Every meal is an opportunity to live with Integrity.” relentlessly focused value and belief led you declares. “To walk your talk.” “To build the fit, healthy smokin’ body that gives you the confidence and the Freedom to do what you want when you want.” “To live with Passion and be an inspiration to all those you love.” “Everything counts!” relentlessly focused value and belief led you proclaims.
Now of course, your little devil and value and belief led you will each know how to push your buttons. Integrity, Freedom and Passion are 3 of the values that I most aspire to live aligned with. The key is to know what drives YOU and to use those values and emotions to your advantage instead of relying on willpower or discipline.
If it still does not sound simple I assure you it will be with time. It’s one of those strategies where you consciously need to lay the groundwork and then with practice checking in with your personal values and beliefs will pretty much eliminate the decision making process. It’s either aligned with the life you want or live… or it’s not.
Three: Everything Counts.
Put simply, That ONE Healthy Plant Based Meal Counts.
Expecting perfect from the get go with any sort of change to your eating is setting yourself up for disappointment. I’ll go a step further and say that Perfectionism is not a matter of high standards. It’s a matter of NO standards. Of giving yourself a little get out of jail card before you even start because perfect is not possible.
So why even try?
The sustainable approach is to focus on ONE upgrade at a time.
So perhaps you start with one plant based dinner a week?
Or maybe you feel ready for ditching all meat?
Perhaps you’re vego and you’re ready to replace dairy however giving up free range organic eggs sounds a step to far?
Like exercise, it’s always better to just make a start and refine as you’re able. At the pace you’re comfortable with.
I can’t think of any other any of life in which we expect ourselves to be perfect from the very first day!
It needs to be the same with food. For better or worse the fact is that food serves so many purposes… it meets so many needs beyond just fuelling our body. As I sure in show #046 on The 6 Core Needs.
Food can meet your need for Certainty. Your favs are always reliably there for you with that predictable, comforting taste, texture and smell that you’ve come to eagerly anticipate.
Food can meet your need for Variety. Could you imagine every getting sick of the limitless desserts, the multitude of culinary experiences influenced by other cultures or even the countless humble sandwich, pizza or burger combos?
Food can meet your need for Love and Connection. Just recall those gourmet experiences eating out with dear friends. Or the treasured family occasions that rely on that special meal or that casual BBQ.
Food can meet your need for Significance. Culinary Goddess’s and Gods you know what I mean. The pride and satisfaction you feel when you create a stunning meal. Especially when you share it with the people you love.
There are 2 of The 6 Core Needs remaining: Growth and Contribution.
I’m sure you can imagine food’s ability to also meet each of those needs. My point though, is that patience is required when making any significant change to something as potent and emotional as the food you choose to consume.
To appreciate that everything counts and focus on ONE upgrade at a time.
In fact that’s a great place to get actionable today: What is ONE upgrade you can implement this week To Make Healthy Plant Based Eating Less Complicated?
If you liked 3 Lessons To Make Healthy Plant Based Eating Less Complicated you’ll also like: Confused About What To Eat To Lose Weight?
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