Getting Over the Hump
One beautiful day over summer break, Jenna and her college roommate watched Forks Over Knives together. It was about a month after Jenna adopted a whole foods, plant-based lifestyle herself; she already loved it and was eager to share the good news with others. This was the first person (other than immediate family) that Jenna shared the Forks Over Knives experience with. Her roommate was amazed by the documentary and was really excited by the possibility that a plant-based diet can prevent and reverse diseases and lead to optimal health. Jenna shared some websites, recipes, books, and offered to go grocery shopping and cook together. Her roommate was very excited and also a little nervous about making the change, but she wanted to give it a try. She started to try to eat more plant-based, but then what happened next?
Flash forward to today - they are both back on campus together, Jenna plant-powered all the way and her roommate fully supportive and encouraging of Jenna, but back to her old eating habits herself… How did that happen? How does someone who knows all about the benefits of a plant-based diet choose not to eat one? And not only does she know about all the benefits, but she actually does WANT to make the change and eat this way. You probably all know someone like this or can relate to it yourselves. Or maybe you are or know someone who has started becoming more plant-based, but is still in transition mode. You’ve been making little changes and “transitioning” for the past three months. You are making the effort but haven’t fully gotten there yet. So what’s in the way of becoming plant-strong?!
Jenna’s roommate’s number one excuse was laziness. Other things holding her back were: “It isn’t convenient”, “I’ll get bored of the food”, “It’s so hard!”, “So what will I eat?” and “I don’t know where to start”. We can all relate to one of these excuses or something similar.
When it comes to adopting a plant-strong diet and lifestyle, getting over the initial hump is key. The first few days or even weeks may be a struggle but that’s the time to reform old habits into new, good habits. Some will ease into it and others will jump right in, but either way, as Rich Roll says in Finding Ultra, it’s all about drawing “a firm line in the sand”. Be fully committed for one month. Make the decision to eat only plant-based and stick with it. Join Engine 2’s 28 day challenge. Use the meal plans and grocery store guidelines. Being plant-strong is a lifelong journey, but you need to start with a good, solid base. Put the time and effort in now and you will pave the way for a lifetime of success and overall well-being; once you get through the first month and over that initial hump, you will find a new mindset and form healthy habits. Before you know it, eating plant-based will become second nature and you won’t be able to imagine being anything but plant-strong!
Here are a few tips on how to overcome some common obstacles in the way of unleashing your full plant-strong potential!
Simplicity – All you need is a green, a bean, a starch (whole grain, potato, etc.), some veggies and spices and you have a delicious meal. It can all go in one dish; served hot or cold, with the veggies raw or cooked. There is an endless number of delicious combinations waiting to be whipped up in no time. It doesn’t need to be fancy or time-consuming to be tasty and satisfying.
Meal Planning – Each week brainstorm ahead of time some meal ideas or ingredients that you’ll be using throughout the week. Pick one day and set aside some time to recipe plan, grocery shop (if needed), and cook your ingredients and meals. Make big batches of whole grains, potatoes, beans; wash, cut, and/or prepare veggies and fruit (or buy frozen*). Always make extra! It’s better to have leftovers that you can put away in the freezer and can later be used for easy snacking or for a quick meal.
Be Prepared and Plan Ahead – Pack a lunch for work and some snacks. Have a supply of snacks stashed at your office in case you have to stay late or are extra hungry one day. Have your car, your purse, your backpack, your gym bag stocked with plant-strong snack options. If you are traveling, bring pre-made meals with you. If you are going out to eat or going to a dinner party, call ahead. Notify them of your eating preferences and offer to bring something. Eat a snack or small meal ahead of time and then order something small while out.
Snacking – Try to eliminate the processed and packaged products, but that doesn’t mean you can’t snack. Grabbing a piece of fresh fruit is always easy and delicious (so sweet and refreshing). Have some raw veggies – by themselves or dipped in plant-strong hummus. Have a small bowl of leftovers or a small bowl of cereal (a mini rip’s big bowl?!). Maybe a tortilla with salsa or a piece of bread and hummus. Ezekiel english muffins are also quick and delicious. A small potato or sweet potato is simple and tasty. The possibilities are endless! But you never have to reach for a highly processed, nutrient-poor snack (as Jeff Novick calls it, “CRAP – calorie rich and processed”).
Have fun, be creative, and use the numerous resources at your disposal (check out Engine 2 Extra for a great supportive and encouraging plant-strong community to be a part of). Get your family and friends involved with the planning, cooking, and eating of the meals too!
So start today! No more excuses. No more denial. Stop saying you’re going to change, but then still giving in to old habits and society. Begin with changing what you eat, and soon enough you will find that you are changing your entire life! When you think about the food you eat and eating to live, you start to think about and become aware of other aspects of your life as well. In health, in fitness, in emotion, in spirituality, and more, you will become a stronger person. With this diet and lifestyle change you will feel better and be better all around!
So take the plunge. Jump in, and be fully committed for one month. One month. You can all do that. Give yourself one month with a plant-strong lifestyle and see where you end up. With the right mindset, along with knowledge and support (from the wonderful Engine 2 community), you can get over the hump and embark on the journey of a plant-strong warrior too! Best of luck!!
*Frozen veggies and fruit are a great option. They are so convenient to use and they have just as many, if not more, nutrients than “fresh” produce. They are flash-frozen immediately after picking so they often retain more nutrients than the produce in the “fresh” section that has been shipped from across the country or from around the world.