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Whether you've been a Herbie for years, or you just made the switch for your New Year's resolution, we can all use a reminder on how to stay plant-proud.
Here are my "Top 5 Tips" to keep in mind while you continue to navigate your plant-based journey.
Don't forget: it's about progress, not perfection. Focus on making the best choices for YOU!
1. Remember it's about YOU. Not them. This is YOUR health. and YOUR life. Your job is to take care of YOU. Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels. Nothing feels as good as the pride you have for being true to yourself and taking care of yourself. I've never had a client who succumbed to peer pressure (or just slipped in a moment of personal weakness) that came back saying, "That was great! I'm so glad I did that!" Never. Not once. They all regretted it and then beat themselves up for days. I would tell them, "We're all beautifully imperfect. When you fall down, get back up, dust yourself off and try again," but my words can only offer so much comfort. Remember that STRONG is the second word in plant-strong. (Or my new thing, plant-proud! Be PROUD not embarrassed. You're awesome!).
2. Remember it's about THEM (not you) when people are dismissive, negative, or otherwise trying to sabotage your efforts at a healthier life. If someone is attacking you (and this is true for anything — not just when it's about diet/food), it's never about the person attacked, but the attacker. You are a mirror. When people act hostile and are confrontational about your diet, it’s because your mere existence makes them reflect back on themselves and they don’t like what they see. They then attack you to make themselves feel better. There is a comfort in conformity, don't give them that.
(and with hostile family/friends, you do yourself a huge disservice when you cheat -- because then they don't believe you are serious about your commitment. They try even harder to get you to break (you've fed the monster) and they will expect you to cheat again in the future. "What do you mean you won't eat this cake this time? You ate it last time you were "plant strong."
3. Cross that bridge when you get to it. Don't worry about distant future events --- Thanksgiving, your niece's wedding, Christmas vacation -- focus on today. Focus (notice I didn't say worry!) about your next meal. Take it a meal at a time. Don't get wrapped up worrying about events and scenarios that haven't happened and are off in future. When the time comes you'll get through it just fine, I promise.
4. Attitude is everything. Have a positive attitude and you'll have a positive experience. Have a negative attitude and... I'm serious. If you think you are going to have an amazing meal, you will (scientific studies confirm this) and if you are blah you'll have a blah experience. Our attitudes and energy are also infectious. Because I'm always on cloud 9 and enjoying a plant-based meal (even if it's a sad little iceberg lettuce salad at a restaurant) people can't help but notice me -- what's with that girl? Why is she so happy? Look at how she is enjoying that lettuce! People want to know. They start feeding on your energy. Of course, I try not to eat a sad bowl of iceberg lettuce, but it happens. Point is, when I'm eating, when I'm making my meals, I use that secret ingredient called love. I love what I eat. I love my lifestyle. People see that and they get attracted to it. But most importantly, it means I'm always having a good time. Even if I'm eating white rice in an airport terminal for lack of other options.
5. K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Silly!) Remember that meals don't have to be elaborate or complex. Beans, rice and salsa make a meal (kale makes it even better), vegetable soup and engine 2 crackers is a meal. Spread hummus into a tortilla with spinach and tomatoes. Fat-free vegetarian refried beans, corn, (kale!), sweet potato and salsa in a tortilla makes one mean burrito, but even just the refried beans and the tortilla is good. There are a million delicious things you can do to a potato. We make "nacho" potatoes, and "potato" hot dogs, and "Mexican" potatoes, and Italian "pizza" potatoes. Seriously, put cool toppings on a potato! Snacks are the same! Spread applesauce on Ezekiel brand raisin bread with a touch of cinnamon. Fruit! (it's portable!), and yes, more potatoes!