Like any major lifestyle change, going plant based can feel like a daunting challenge. If you missed Step 1, read here first! But also like all other challenges, changing your perspective can completely change your likelihood of success. Play along with me for a moment to see what I mean. Take a look around the room you’re in right now, really take it in, and make a note of all the red items. Ok go. How many did you find? There were 7 in my room. Now without looking away from this screen, how many blue things are in the room? Really, how many, without peeking? If you’re like most people, you had a very challenging time recalling many, if any, of the blue items. They’re present the first time you looked but you probably didn’t even notice them because you were looking for something else. You missed something that was right underneath your nose (maybe even literally). Not because it was hiding, not because it was hard, not because all the popular kids were doing something else. You missed it because you simply weren’t looking for it. What you focus on you find.
I’ll say that again – what you focus on, you find. What you’re spending your time on becomes your experience, your reality. So if you’re focusing on all the old familiar foods you “can’t have”, this experience is likely to feel difficult, painful, and maybe even depressing. You may feel deprived, and surely you’ll feel different from your friends. If instead you focus on all the new foods you’re about to try, and the new ways you’re going to learn how to prepare food, this transition is likely to be exciting, intriguing, and even fun. Which experience would you prefer?
So rather than thinking about cutting out certain foods, focus instead on all the vegetables, fruit, grains, and legumes you’re going to add in. This is a big reason behind the tip of adding in a salad every day. If you haven’t tried this system for chopped salads, check it out! I pre-chop specific veggies like carrots, celery, and onion, and keep them in a bowl in the fridge for up to a week. When I’m ready to serve the salad, I just grab the lettuce, add a portion of the chopped veggies, and add in things like fruit, tomatoes, corn, and beans (that wouldn’t keep as well if blended all together from the beginning). This not only allows the salad to be prepared very quickly, but it allows for variety every day by selecting different toppings.
So here are your next steps:
- Focus on the Add-Ins. Make a list of all the foods you should be filling your plate with. Don’t just list “vegetables.” Actually list as many specific ones as you can think of. Do the same for fruit, grains, beans, etc. Here are some ideas: carrots, celery, beets, artichokes, water chestnuts, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, sweet potatoes, brown rice, oats, chick peas, black beans, rice, apples, bananas, raspberries, blackberries.
- Find Your Friends. This is a big one, deserving of its own post someday. The importance of having a crew that “gets” what you’re doing cannot be understated. If your current friends eat like you used to, and you want to change, you’re going to have to make a conscious effort to seek out people who eat the way you want to eat. Your old friends may not want to hang out with you as much because your changes are going to make them reflect on their own behaviors and that can be uncomfortable. I’m reminded again of an old Girl Scouts song – Make new friends, but keep the old. Some are silver and the other gold. Find people that you want to emulate and make friends with them!
- Stay tuned in. The messages going into your head are important. Surround yourself with information that will keep you going on the right track. Eliminate sources of information that will lure you back to the dark side. Find some good podcasts to listen to, bookmark some good websites like www.DrMcDougall.com, www.NutritionFacts.org, and remove yourself from any Facebook groups where you’re going to be seeing recipes with ingredients what will make you sick. You don’t need food porn on your newsfeed any more than you need to stop at your favorite pizza or cheesecake place and watch people eating.
- Experiment With Food. Finding the right recipes is NOT the cure-all for succeeding with this lifestyle. So many people place too much emphasis on this and end up spending hours scouring the web for recipes and then try to figure out how to modify them to fit a true whole foods plant based plan. It’s exhausting. There is even an abundance of vegan recipes, and there are others that sound like healthy vegan recipes. But there are only a few sources that offer truly whole foods plant based recipes (without processed foods like oil, salt, sugar, and flour to a lesser degree). Consider one or two of the following cookbooks: Unprocessed, Straight Up Food, Forks Over Knives, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.
To help you learn new recipes, Chef AJ, the author of Unprocessed, is offering an upcoming cooking demo with Gustavo Tolosa called Easy Yet Elegant Recipes for Entertaining that will not only provide you the recipes for at least 7 different dishes, but you’ll get the unique opportunity to watch her make them right before your eyes. Watching someone cook is a great way to learn how to do it, especially when this is all new for you. Even when it’s not new, it’s extremely helpful. Last week I watched this free webinar and watched her make Mexican Lasagna. I’d had the recipe in my pantry in Unprocessed for years and overlooked it. I had never even tried it. After the webinar, I decided to make it the very next day and it was ahhhhh-mazing and it was one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever made to date.
The Easy Yet Elegant Recipes webinar will be a steal for $19.95, but Beans Not Bambi readers are invited to enter into a contest to win free admission to the webinar! There are several ways you can enter to win. Each activity gains you a new entry. Please note the instructions require you to come back to this page to record your activity in a new comment in order for it to be counted. So if you do three of the activities below you’ll have 3 separate comments under this blog such as “I liked BNB on Facebook.” “I shared this post on FB.” “I commented on the Ditching the scale blog post.” Got it?
1) Post a comment below and tell me whether you’re new to whole foods plant based eating, just curious, or an old pro.
2) Post a comment below and tell me one tool/tactic that has helped you succeed so far.
3) Subscribe to Beans Not Bambi (look in the sidebar on the right side of the main blog page), then come back here and post a comment that you did so.
4) LIKE Beans Not Bambi on Facebook, then come back here and post a comment that you did so.
5) Find a post you like on my Facebook page and COMMENT or SHARE with your friends, then come back here and post a comment that you did so (which ones?).
6) Follow Beans Not Bambi on Twitter, then come back here and post a comment that you did so.
7) Subscribe to my YouTube channel and then come back here and post a comment that you did so.
8) Comment on a YouTube video on my channel and then come back and post a comment that you did so.
Ok go! Giveaway contest will be open until Saturday May 6th, 8pm EST, winner will be chosen at random with a number generating software. Remember, each activity should get its own comment on THIS blog post in order to count.
Please note – if you register for the webinar and you later win the contest, you will be refunded! Go ahead and register now to save your spot and mark your calendar. There are actually two times available – Sunday May 7th and Monday May 8th.
There are a lot of ways to get to the end goal of a healthy lifestyle in which you can live the live you desire and deserve. My goal is to offer some simple tips to help you on your journey. Choose what works for you, and just get started. That’s really the most important part. Once you get started, simply revisit and analyze your progress from time to time. Refine the program as you learn more, and just keep going! You can do this, I know it!