If you truly want to change your life, you have to prioritize. You have to be accountable for your actions, your progress and derailments (they will happen). Most importantly, you have to be realistic and patient with yourself when things don’t go as planned or expected. If anyone tells you that this will be easy, they aren’t being honest with you. You will have to make time to prepare your food.
When you say “I don’t have time,” you simply aren’t making time. Don’t lie to yourself.
Most folks are very disconnected with food and what it means to prepare true nourishment for themselves (and those they love). The concern with saving time and finding convenience has become more important than solid nutrition and feeding our soul. Just look around and see where this approach has taken us. Diabetes, heart disease, IBS, cancer, depression—illnesses of all kinds. Illnesses that don’t necessarily occur in nature either (hint, hint).
The American relationship with food is severely flawed. We spend time watching commercials and television shows that confuse us, scare us and disconnect us from the instincts that can lead us to where we are biologically designed to be—healthy and happy.
I believe relationships take work. They take forgiveness and they take listening. A plant-based diet is a relationship of sorts—with yourself, with your time, with food. To truly understand the intricacies of this journey of health (that you are obviously on if you are reading this), you have to experience (and, yes, welcome) all of the successes and failures—be humble and stay focused on the goal.
You’ll have to slow down. Now, read that sentence again and take a deep breath while you do. You’ll have to turn off the television and the computer. Go to sleep earlier. Quiet things down so you can “listen.” What food does your body respond to? Reject? Keep a food journal. Make time for your health. Do your best, and if you mess up, pat yourself on the back and start over as quickly as you can. Be kind to yourself on all fronts. Don’t let advertisements make you feel like you are not enough, that approach is just trying to trick you into spending money.
After years of eating a gluten-free, plant-based diet, I now do a few things to make it easier (but I don’t cut nutritional corners for the sake of saving time). I pick one day a week, put on my favorite tunes and prep most of my ingredients on that day. Soak seeds and nuts, cook legumes, buckwheat and quinoa, make some dressings/sauces and cut veggies. Prepare foods and recipe components on days where you have more time, and then pop them into the fridge (in an airtight glass container), so on the days where time isn’t your pal, you don’t have an excuse to eat poorly. Read through each recipe and see what you can prepare in advance. Making time for your meals is making time for you. Try your best to eat at the dinner table, outdoors in the sunshine or away from technology—give yourself a break from the constant, disruptive stimulation of electronics.
This lifestyle is all about practice. I didn’t have this plant-based thing figured out right away. I fumbled. A lot. I still do. This is why I am sharing what I’ve learned—so YU can discover the benefits sooner.
This process will take time. Months. Years. A lifetime. A plant-based diet is not a “diet” in the popular sense—a.k.a. a temporary program. It’s a lifestyle journey that you can continue to finesse, much like a new language, and it will eventually become effortless. Your perspective will change. Your palate will change. You’ll grow, learn from experience, and ultimately, you will achieve optimal health. It’s not just about what we feed our bodies, it’s how we nurture ourselves in every way—and that includes our spirit.
Have fun. Plan ahead. Make YU a priority.
Thank YU to stylist and builder extraordinaire, Sage Reed, for letting me photograph your warm and inviting kitchen.
Motivational goodies for YU
Use one, or both, of these free screen savers to keep you on the track to achieving your goals. Print ’em out and hang inspiration on your fridge. Take them to your office, too.
- – -
And because I love YU…