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Beyond Vegetables

I have some news for you…the food is the easy part guys.

Really, it is.

Check out my basic daily guidelines when it comes to food…

  • Eat 8-12 cups of colorful vegetables a day.
  • Eat 3-4 cups of dark leafy greens daily.
  • Enjoy 2-3 cups of fresh fruit, mostly berries.
  • Source and enjoy local and free range animals sources of protein (if you choose) in moderation.
  • Have 1-2 cups of soaked, sprouted/cooked whole grains like quinoa/brown rice and buckwheat daily.
  • Dabble with some fermented foods, sea vegetables and don’t forget to take your meals to another health and culinary level by adding healing spices and herbs. 
  • Drink A LOT of water, toss in lemon wedges in for good measure too!
  • Dairy, gluten, sugar? If you eat everything listed above, you’ll have no room for these 3 pro-inflammatory foods!

Simple right?

There is actually nothing hard per say about eating a whole foods plant based diet.

Except, that people seem to get in their own way long before they even enter the kitchen.

Enter limiting and false beliefs that hold people back from enjoying delicious meals, vibrant health and happiness.

When I consult with people one on one, I can usually tell within the first 30 minutes what our biggest hurdles will be and it is rarely about food.

This is where we go well beyond vegetables. 

To me health is NOT about following the recommended dietary guidelines above, it is really about opening the mind, heart and life to change. It is about realizing that so many (myself included) have been socialized to believe that “life is hard”, “mondays suck”, and  “preparing food is a chore”.

False, false and false. 

I heart Mondays!

Achieving optimal health is more about saying “okay, I may have been eating one way for the last 10-20 years, but today, I am open to trying new foods and making a change in my life!”.

THAT is transformational!

The food is the fun part, at least it should be.

Elizabeth Lesser says in her book Broken Open …

“How strange that the nature of life is change,

yet the nature of human beings it to resist change.” 

I can not stress to you how important it is to try NEW things everyday.

Stray from routine, challenge yourself to try new foods/hobbies etc. and you will not only be growing new brain cells (neurogenesis) but allowing the concept of change to be a familiar and comfortable one in your life.

People always say to me, “yea, I’ve been drinking Diet Coke for 20 years and it’s just hard to change.”

Upgrading your daily drink will be as hard as you make it.

If you think it’s hard to change your daily beverage or morning routine, just think how hard it will be when your body and mind give out on you about 20 years prematurely and you can no longer enjoy the things you have since birth… like oh, I dunno… going for a walk, or remembering daily activities.

This may sound harsh but I think the world needs some tough love because the gentle reminders simply aren’t working anymore.

I remember long before I started revamping my diet and lifestyle my girlfriend came into my kitchen and literally threw out boxes of Frosted Flakes, 100 Calorie pack snacks, Lay’s Chips and bags of my all time favorite, plain M & M’s. I was horrified and confused all at once. I couldn’t figure out why those “foods” didn’t make the cut with her because after-all, I was skinny and athletic and had been my entire life!

What was her deal I thought?

Then she came home one day and decided she was going to try being vegan and I distinctly remember being afraid and even angry because I thought, “What am I going to cook her? This is insane!”.

I reacted to the these dietary shifts the same way many of my clients do, with trepidation and worry. I literally remember tensing up, getting angry and saying how irrational I thought she was being to live without eggs, meat, dairy- what on earth would be do if we wanted to go out to eat I said to her? It was a whole new world for me. In fact, throughout my entire life I don’t think I knew one person who ate a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Day by day, I figured out ways to get 8-12 cups of vegetables/fruits into my diet and eventually the 100 Calorie packs and M & M’s disappeared my cupboards and I was no longer kicking and screaming.

I started to feel the difference emotionally and physically and for me that was all the convincing I needed. I wasn’t reading books and scientific studies about nutrition and health at the time, I simply paid attention to the very real change eating a whole foods plant based diet gave me.

But for me, the biggest change was not what was on my plate but the mental shift I had to make in order to even consider changing my diet. I had been eating one way for 24 years and suddenly, according to my girlfriend, “things had to change”.  I too experienced fear, worry and doubt but I kept an open mind and heart and moved past that phase and on to greater health and happiness.

Believe it or not, even though I currently don’t eat meat/chicken/dairy I do remain open to the possibility of those foods coming back into my life (gasp!) because as my unique health changes on a daily basis, I too must remain open to following my intuition vs. dogma. To say that I will always eat one way for life is limiting and if I am not open to change, how can I ask that of my clients?

If you are thinking about optimizing your health, ask yourself if you are ready to move outside of your comfort zone and into your growth zone. I believe Einstein said that insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. If you are looking to loose weight, conquer a health concern or simply feel better in your own body, you must be willing to try new things, buy new foods & recipes and grow.

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Someone has to say it!

Here are some tips to get you started!

  • Look to build support from your friends and family as you think about jumpstarting your health and if they are scared of the changes you wish to explore, then run the other way. There are plenty of people in this world that will be your biggest fan. Drop the negative nacys and go find some health enthusiasts that have your back! 
  • Work with a trained health professional (like me!) to ensure you have the guidance and accountability you need to begin making meaningful shifts in your diet and lifestyle.
  • Move beyond the plate, and start using your brain and thought process as your greatest resource, not your roadblock! I highly recommend reading Byron Katie’s “The Work” to begin recognizing limiting beliefs are causing you unnecessary suffering.

Yes, I teach people how to eat for their unique bodies and health concerns but more importantly, I empower people to move beyond their limiting beliefs, realize where they are holding themselves back and give them to tools to flourish in ways they never could have expected.

Throughout your journey with health remember that while food is an integral part of your healing, it is only one part. The nuts and bolts of transforming your life are getting comfortable with change and embracing a new you!

The world is patiently waiting for your energy, radiant health and infectious smile.

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