Recently I found myself contemplating, “Why do we make eating so hard?”
This observation comes from a place of zero judgement as I’ve absolutely made eating much more complicated, frustrating, destructive and ineffective than necessary.
- As a teenager I banned all fat from my life. This was a failed attempt to also ban pimples. It just made me miserable, skinny-fat with zero energy and still fairly rubbish skin!
- In my early 20’s I gleefully demolished bread or cereal 4-6 times a day.
- in my late 20’s I counted calories rather than nutrients and rejoiced at the latest “low carb” fake-ness on the market.
- I later prioritised protein to the point of 21 egg whites and 2 whole eggs a day.
The fact is, whole food plant based is the EASIEST approach so far.
It’s also the only one I feel certain I will stick with for life. Likely this is because it’s the only approach aligned with something bigger than me. You see I was a pretty self absorbed teenager. And pretty vain (insecure?) in my 20’s. When you align your food choices with a vegan lifestyle and the commitment to as far as possible avoid unnecessary suffering to other living beings the whole eating thing just becomes a lot more simple.
Your decision making process is stream-lined.
Rather than limitless food choices it becomes:
- Is it vegan?
- Is it primarily whole food / unprocessed?
- Is it delicious?
To make your #plantstrong decision making process even easier I have a new recipe template and 6 quick meal ideas.
The template is simply: A Green, a Bean and a Fat.
We’ll get to that soon however I should also share this is a (somewhat overdue) Month In Review show. So I’ll chat a little food, exercise, inspiration, what’s been rockin this past month and what’s been a tad more struggle street. Above all, my intention is to make this content applicable to YOU and creating and keeping a fit, healthy plant strong body.
Back to FOOD and that new
Whole Food Plant Based Recipe Template: A Green, a Bean and a Fat. Here are 6 quick whole food plant based meal ideas.
Plant Based Recipe Template One: Breakfast bowl.
Sautéed spinach. Baked (navy) beans. Avocado.
Plant Based Recipe Template Two: Sushi bowl.
Bok Choy. Edamame and / or Tofu. Spicy peanut lime sauce.
Plant Based Recipe Template Three: Pasta.
Zucchini zoodles. Tempeh mince. Almond parmesan.
Plant Based Recipe Template Four: Nacho’s.
Kale Crisps. Chilli (red kidney) beans. Cashew sun-dried tomato cheese.
Plant Based Recipe Template Five: Burger.
Collard / Cos leaves. Black bean and beetroot patty. Veganaise (or Tahini).
Plant Based Recipe Template Six: Wrap.
Swiss chard / Cabbage leaves. Chickpea falafel. Coconut yoghurt.
Of course these are just templates. I’d jazz them up with extra fibrous veg, and abundant fresh herbs and spices. Your choices are limitless however following some guidelines helps you make a start.
On the matter of EXERCISE, I’m lucky to train a lot of very successful and focused professionals. I regularly find myself searching for analogies to help turn their business mastery into body mastery. Here’s one of my favourites:
Weights is like a passive income.
And cardio is working for the man. Or lady. Generally just selling your time.
With cardio you get the result for the time you put in (at best). No more. Actually, often less.
Weights, in contrast allows you to build the lean muscular body, that burns fat 24/7. While you’re back at the office. Out to dinner. Even while you sleep. Like selling your time, the amount of cardio you can do is finite.
There is the opportunity cost of what you miss out on when you’re treadmill trudging for hours… and there are also dismissing returns.
The more you do does not mean the better your results.
In the same way that working more does not mean you are necessarily achieving more… in fact you may be becoming less efficient, less effective, resentful and potentially run-down and over-worked to the point where belly-fat-storing stress hormone cortisol can get outta whack & your results will be even more disheartening.
WOW, am I talking about selling your time or Cardio?! Yep. Could be either!
Who wants to do even more cardio to try and shift stubborn fat? More cardio that makes your want to eat more… that means you end up frustratingly at status quo or even worse the dreaded and all too common fitter and fatter!
The alternative is to simply progress your weights program as you’re able. Via limitless variables such as:
Heavier weight. Less rest/greater density of training in the same time. Slower repetitions. More challenging exercises.
Same amount of time. Same amount of fuel required to refuel. And yet your body will continue to get stronger, fitter and leaner.
My recommendation this month is the writing of New York Times best selling author James Clear. James is on the podcast next week to discuss his brilliant book “Atomic Habits” and why true behaviour change is really identity change. I’m beyond excited for that interview because – well the book is AMAZING – and also, James is one of the only people who when his latest email pops into my inbox I’m compelled to read it. I’m pretty ruthless with my focus however when I laid eyes on the email heading: “The Evolution of Anxiety: Why We Worry and What to Do About It” last week I had to check it out.
A concept that really resonated with me was the idea of living in an immediate return environment verses a delayed return environment.
This is an example of how the environment humans evolved in is so vastly different to the environment we now live in and the anxiety inducing consequences. So, as James explains it a giraffe lives in an immediate return environment. When the giraffe is hungry they eat. When a giraffe is chased by a predator they run. They experience an immediate return for their actions and importantly once the anxiety promoting moment passes, so too their anxiety passes. This is a similar existence to that which humans evolved in. It’s in stark contrast to the environment we now find ourselves in. Most of the actions you or I will take today are aligned with a delayed return environment.
- We work to earn money for future expenses and future financial freedom.
- We exercise to stay healthy and ward off disease and weight gain.
- We shop for food for the week, pay bills so our electricity does not get cut off, go to the dentist so our teeth don’t rot and often maintain friendships so that we don’t die old and lonely.
YES, there are things we enjoy in the moment – hopefully most of the time spent with friends and I’ll optimistically suggest hopefully also most of your time spent exercising! However at the back of your mind – constantly – there are also always chronic stress and anxiety provoking questions such as: “Am I in the right job?” “Will I have enough to retire?” “Is this all there is to life?” “Will I meet the right partner?” “Will I get sick?” “Will the people I love get sick?” There is constant – potentially debilitating – uncertainty.
To quote James: “Anxiety was an emotion that helped protect humans in an Immediate Return Environment. It was built for solving short-term, acute problems. There was no such things as chronic stress because there aren’t really chronic problems in an Immediate Return Environment.
Interestingly, researchers have found no evidence that wild animals experience chronic stress. As Duke University professor Mark Leary put it, “A deer may be startled by a loud noise and take off through the forest, but as soon as the threat is gone, the deer immediately calms down and starts grazing. And it doesn’t appear to be tied in knots the way that many people are.”
So what to do?
- Measure something. (like how much you save a week and the exercise you do daily)
- Shift your focus from the unknowable, uncertain future to manageable (and measurable) daily actions.
Read the full article via JamesClear.com:
This month my inspiration and my struggle-street are linked. On the super inspiring front is my dear Mum, still going #plantstrong over 2 months on from declaring: “Katie I think I’ll give this plant based thing a go for 2 weeks.”
If you have a family member cautiously curious about trying plant based eating here are a few takeaways I’ve learnt from this experience with mum.
- Emotional blackmail is not effective. They will watch the films, listen to the podcasts, try the food in their time. In the same way that dad asked me to take him to the gym after I stopped pushing to take him to the gym, mum asked me to watch What the Health with her after I stopped pushing her to watch What The Health.
- Lead first with delicious food. There is so much misconception about how bland, boring and light-weight vegan food is. Whenever possible I recommend cooking delicious indulgent meals that your loved ones can partake in if they choose. If they don’t choose, then you just have extra meals covered for yourself later that week.
- Reconnect(yourself or your loved one) with the foods you / they already love that are vegan. I remember mum used to LOVE huge baked potatoes. Then she got caught up in the whole “carbs are evil” craze that I absolutely fell for too. While mum used to enjoy her spuds with cottage cheese, bacon and asparagus she now loves them with spicy beans, avo and asparagus.
This leads me to my struggle-street this month. That would be dad. He’s fairly unsupportive of mums plant based journey. If you have a loved one being decidedly difficult and closed minded about trying plant based eating here are a few takeaways I constantly remind myself of to ward off extreme frustration.
- See the compassion your loved one expresses in other areas of their life(such as how my dad treats Sir Thomas my little brother, the golden boy aka: The Cat!) and never give up hope that they will expand their circle of compassion to the animals they have been indoctrinated (perhaps for 60+ years) to see as “food animals.”
- Remember some of the beliefs you held tight to – until you didn’t. Personally: “I could never be vegetarian!” “all salads are boring!” “all boys are evil!” I know I wasn’t shaken, shocked and forced out of these beliefs, I came to change my mind in my own sweet time. Even if a particular documentary did shock YOU into action as Cowspiracy did for me when I knew I must be vegan not vego, I’m learning that when it comes to a vegan lifestyle the people that act according to their beliefs and values are the 10% minority rather than the 90% majority.
- Pick your battles. It’s exhausting to always fly the vegan flag and it’s exhausting to always bite your tongue. I’m yet to find the perfect middle ground however my response is guided my variables such as, The situation: I’ll fly the flag when I’m doing vegan outreach and when the topic comes up in the gym and not when I accept an invitation to a non-vegans baby shower or while training a non-vegan client who just wants to be trained. The emotional credit I have in the bank: this is a gut feeling of the rapport you’ve built with someone over time, the support or help you’ve been to them, the fun you’ve had together… that potentially allows for a little vegan seed to be planted. The likelihood of a positive interaction / outcome: I’ve learnt the hard way not to engage my dad in a debate with an audience. If you’re the vegan there’s a fair chance you’ve spent more time doing the research and yet that greater knowledge will not be welcomed if it makes the non-vegan feel unprepared. They’ll get defensive, caught up in ego and entirely closed off to a calm, rational, respectful conversation.
In total transparency I’m actually finding the negotiation between when to speak up for the animals (the environment, human health, global hunger and everything else that would stand to benefit from humans adopting a vegan lifestyle) exhausting even though I try to pick my battles.
I don’t have the solution. I wish there just wasn’t a battle. I guess that’s why time out is so vital. “Time out” being whatever allows YOU to feel re-energised.
- For me it’s time off social media.Though equally I’ve heard some activists have separate social media accounts where they ONLY subscribe to channels that share positive stories.
- It’s also time in nature. And of course time exercising.
- Perhaps not surprising it’s also time out from having to (or feeling the responsibility to have to) explain myself to non-vegans. As such it’s time out from non-vegans and time with vegans. I’m not recommending preaching to the choir or living exclusively in your own little bubble however for at least a few hours a week it’s pretty super awesome!
Talking of pretty super awesome (!) in just a couple of days I’m excited to share my latest interview with you. In E590: I’m discussing Being Unapologetically Vegan with Sydney based activist Pat from That Vegan Lawyer (previously Vegan Asylum). Pat is a powerhouse! An absolute force for total animal liberation and also womens rights, especially womens rights and Islam. There are actually strong correlations between animal exploitation and womens rights and Islam.
This was one of my most challenging yet enjoyable conversations yet. To be clear, I mean challenging to my current level of knowledge as Pat ROCKS, I hope you can join us as I get out of my comfort zone in E590.
That’s it for today in Healthification.
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The Healthification podcast is proudly bought to you by my FREE ‘Easy Vegan’ plan. It took me 25 years to transition from a meat eater to a happy, healthy Vegan! You can do it in just 3 days with my simplified ‘easy vegan’ plan! Get the fit, strong, and healthy plant based body you deserve… while avoiding ALL the mistakes I made along the way!
Till next time, remember Creating a body and life you love is Freedom. (If this ex-carb queen, non genetically gifted, naturally uncoordinated vegan chick can do it – so can YOU!!!)
If you liked “Plant Based Recipe Template, 24/7 Fat Loss PLUS Month In Review” you’ll also like: Easy Vegan Recipe Templates PLUS Month In Review
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