So my husband is home sick, so I had to be with the kids these past two days which has thrown my work week into a bit of chaos... I have stuff to get done, emails to respond to, people I wanted to connect with following World Vegan Day, things to prep and print for Sundays keynote speech at the Medical Symposium with Dr Klaper, interviews, etc... and two very demanding children who won't let me go to the bathroom alone, let alone do actual work...
Anyway, why am I telling you this?
Because LIFE happens.
Things happen along the way that make it just that little bit more difficult to achieve our goals.
The thing is, these obstacles might take us away from our goal for a moment, for a day, for a week or sometimes even for a year or more.
But what do YOU do when things happen?..
My son is 6 and when things get tough for him, he does what my husband and I call the 'hands down walk off'.
If he can't hit the ball, if he can't build the Lego, if he can't put his top on - hands down walk off.
He faces some difficulty and it makes him feel uncomfortable inside, and to avoid that feeling of discomfort, he gives up and avoids doing that thing altogether.
Where in your life can you identify a time when you've hit an obstacle or challenge and had that feeling of 'discomfort' and done your own version of Iggys hands down walk off?
What have you quit on that looking back you wish you'd persisted with a little longer, or that you could've succeeded at if you'd just pushed through your own discomfort?
Sometimes it's as simple as moving the finish line.
Maybe you got sick, or someone in your family got sick and so you were unable to focus on your work, so you simply need to alter your expectations of what is possible during this time.
Maybe it just IS hard.
Changing your diet, the way you have been conditioned to eat for your entire life, can feel pretty bloody difficult.
What about when you're with your friends and they want to share food with you that you know you don't want to eat but you also don't want to be a friendless loser?
What if you're at a work function and there is literally only lettuce and watermelon for you to eat and you're starving?
What if you just desperately want some cheese?
What if you're going through a hard time and everything feels completely out of your control and the only control you feel like you have is over what you put in your mouth and so you're like 'fuck it' 'who cares' 'forget my WHY, I'm eating this doughnut'
Ok, so the difference between my 6 year old and you is this....
He is UNABLE to preempt this difficulty BEFORE it arises.
Without our help, Iggy is unable to PREPARE himself for that difficulty, so when he hits that obstacle or challenge he doesn't have the tools, strategies and resources in place to help him work THROUGH or AROUND challenges without quitting.
Now, we're human and we won't always nail this, but spending time considering the obstacles that could arise is an important step in preparing ourselves with the tools, strategies and resources we could utilise IF a challenge arises so that we don't end up throwing our hands down and giving up.
Here are some examples:
1. What can you do at a work function?
Pack food in your handbag, eat beforehand, ask what else they could make for you - a bowl of rice or salad or veg for example or some avo on toast if you're desperate.
2. What can you do when eating out with friends?
Try to be the one choosing the restaurant, let them know beforehand I'm a light hearted way that you're challenging yourself to eat a low fat, whole food diet so could you share a picnic instead so you can bring your own food to share, or can they come to your house for a meal?
***Sometimes people can get a little funny when someone is trying to eat healthier (usually their own ego feeling a bit threatened), try to minimise this by just talking about how much you're enjoying it and changing the subject.***
3. Ok, so when you're craving cheese -you're basically craving salt and fat so try some avocado with some sea salt with a potato or rice or just by itself. If that doesn't work, maybe a handful of nuts or making a Low fat, cheese sauce with nutritional yeast, potato, carrot and onion. And if that still doesn't work, buy some really good (ask people what they've tried - there's a really lovely almond feta out now that I've tried once and it tastes so much like the real thing.
***I will add, I don't miss salty, fatty, solidified baby cow growth food at all anymore 🤢😉 Dairy is meant to be addictive so that baby cows continue drinking long enough to become huge adult cows, the opiate like substances within cheese are what has made humans so addicted to consuming it. So like any drug, the longer you avoid it, eventually those cravings for it will dissipate.***
4. When it comes to big, sucky times in our lives when it feels like all we have left is doughnuts
Recognise that when our bodies are in a stress state, we can't biologically tell the difference between the stress caused by a dinosaur chasing us and the stress caused by a non life threatening deadline and so it wants to cram in what it deems as the foods highest in calories to use as fuel during this time so it has the energy to out run said dinosaur.
Thus, we crave foods like doughnuts, chips, burgers etc... that are extremely high in calories but almost completely void of nutrients and fibre AKA: the things we need to thrive.
Our bodies are smart, we crave these foods because they are such efficient sources of instant calories, but traditionally, we would've consumed grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, berries, mushrooms, etc... because these were the optimal food sources for us to use for fuel and because processed and refined foods that were high in fats and sugars didn't yet exist.
But along came our 'friend' junk food and we became hooked on the quick high that is refined sugars, salts and fats...
And these calorie dense 'foods' became our 'go to' in times of crises.
So when those junk food cravings hit, acknowledge that you're feeling stressed, or run down or emotional. Recognise that your body is smart, it's trying its best to keep you safe from the thing that it believes is chasing you/threatening your existence. But what it is craving might not be the type of food that will help you to thrive.
So breathe, make sure you're fridge and pantry are stocked with fresh, whole foods. If you're craving chips, recognise that your body is probably really craving healthy fats and mineral rich salts. So grab nuts, avo and a little salt into your palm and eat it or make some oil free chips in your oven and sprinkle with sea salt.
- If you're craving ice cream - freeze bananas in advance and blend them and add in things like berries, or a small swirl of peanut butter or raw cacao and enjoy.
- If you're craving sweets - Make something delicious like a banana and Berry smoothie or eat a mango or have a couple or medjool dates.
- If you still feel like eating the thing - breathe, call a friend, drink water, make an enormous salad or smoothie, eat all the salad/smoothie and if you STILL want the thing, give yourself permission to eat it tomorrow.
Fingers crossed you won't still want it then!
And... if you do still want it - go ahead and eat it! 😉
If you'd like some support with adopting a low fat, whole food, vegan diet yourself, book a time or send me an email to organise your free 10 minute chat. :-)
ps Check out my podcast: When Life Gives You Lemons, GO VEGAN! over at https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/when-life-gives-you-lemons-go-vegan/id1301870806 and on Stitcher for Android for weekly stories of how a low fat, whole food, plant based diet transforms lives as told by ordinary people and plant based practitioners.