The Daily Beet

20 Dec Plant-Strong Holiday Survival – Planning!

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(cookies at Aunt Mildred’s)

Often people make the mistake of believing that they have a lack of will power when it comes to staying plant-strong. This notion can really come out around the holidays, all of a sudden you are surrounded by food and you feel like you can not say no to the cookie, you might even feel as though they are calling your name.

The reality is, you are completely normal for wanting those kinds of foods. In fact, that is precisely how you are alive! We seek high caloric density foods. Back in the day we could go days, even weeks with out eating, and so when there was food available we ate it. Makes sense, right? The trouble is that now we have food around us all the time, very few of us are in danger of starving to death, but we still have the same response as if we might starve – if there is high caloric density food (like cookies) around we will want to eat it.

So many people beat themselves up for giving into eating foods that are not plant-strong or feeling bad that they even want the not so healthy food to begin with. We’re here to tell you, it’s time you stopped feeling bad. It’s part of our human nature, it is completely normal. In fact, the reason why you are on this planet has a lot to do with your ancestors being able to properly calculate how many extra calories they would need in order to survive with out food. Of course, now we don’t have the problem of going with out food for several days/weeks, so we do not need all of the extra calories to sustain us for long periods of time. We have all of these calorically dense foods around every single day, which is the problem.

So now that you know that there is absolutely nothing wrong with you for wanting to eat the not so healthy foods, and it is completely normal, what do you do?


If you plan today what you will do tomorrow you are much more likely to stay plant-strong.

A few ways to plan your plant-strong day:

1. Have a simple breakfast. Oatmeal is by far the easiest meal you can make, we also love our big bowls! Have your oatmeal out and ready to go in the morning, or pre-mix your big bowl ingredients so all you have to do is add fruit and non dairy milk.

2. Know what you are doing for lunch and dinner. Pack your lunch and be sure to include some cut up fruit – plan to eat the fruit before you think about all of those candies everyone else is trying to pawn off on the office.

3. Going out? If you are going to a Holiday event, make a plan. If you are headed out to the company Holiday party and you are not sure what options you will have, call ahead and tell them you have some special dietary restrictions. If you are headed to Aunt Mildred’s, be sure you know what you will eat before you go and what you might bring a long (maybe some plant-strong trail mix).

4. Plan to move! Even if you can only get out for a 15 minute walk every day, it is something. Every day plan on moving your body and getting some fresh air. Make it a top priority in your day.

5. Drink water! Carry a water bottle around with you and be sure to hydrate yourself.

6. When you are overwhelmed with every thing, write out a menu for yourself. Sometimes it can help a lot just to see a visual of every meal you are going to eat the next day.

7. No time to cook? Get easy to prepare foods. Have frozen brown rice, frozen vegetables, frozen beans or no salt added canned beans stocked in the kitchen. Let’s face it, sometimes during the Holidays there is little time to make a big batch of sweet potato lasagna, so make it simple and have simple ingredients on hand!

8. If you are making a special plant-strong dish for a gathering (like lasagna) why not double the recipe and save the rest for you and your family? Most of our dishes freeze easily as well!

9. Plan on making more good decisions than bad decisions every day. We are not perfect, and we don’t expect any of you to be either. Somedays are harder than others, but the goal should be to simply make more good decisions every day than you make bad ones. Each day strive to make more and more good decisions about your plant-strong life.

10. Plan to relax! Make sure you cut out a little of your day to relax, and plan ways you can do that. If you are visiting relatives, see if you can get out for a half hour and go somewhere. If you have the relatives visiting, tell them you have to run to the store for something and go get a pedicure instead (guys you too, pedicures are awesome!).

The next two weeks might feel overwhelming, but with a little planning things can go a lot more smoothly. Above all, we want you to know that there is nothing wrong with you for wanting the deep fried cheesecake at Aunt Mildred’s. It’s just a matter of really structuring and planning your life in a way that you can be successful in your plant-strong life even during the holidays.

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Natala Constantine
  • Patti
    Posted at 11:17h, 20 December

    THANK YOU. I always feel like such a loser for wanting to eat what everyone else is eating! I spent years in OA thinking I had some major emotional problems because I over eat, this makes a lot of sense. Thank you for this today, I needed it.

  • Manny Perez
    Posted at 11:20h, 20 December

    I so needed to hear that.

  • Jenn
    Posted at 11:29h, 20 December

    If you knew how many years I’ve gone thinking I am not as good as everyone else, you would know how much I needed to read this today. I keep trying to be plant-strong and keep failing, and I keep thinking it’s something wrong with me. It would be nice to know it’s just normal to want bad foods, and maybe I need to plan a little better. God Bless you for doing what you do, it’s been helping.

  • Dana
    Posted at 11:31h, 20 December

    Same boat as the other comments! This makes a lot of sense that we would want high caloric foods in case there was danger of starving! I wonder why our brains just don’t eat the food and then not want to eat for a few weeks? I guess more human nature! Thanks Rip!!

  • Steve
    Posted at 13:45h, 20 December

    I hate when people think there is something wrong with them for over eating, that is how we work! We want to overeat, it’s simple. All of these marketing people have made people feel like crap, making them think there is some big problem when it’s not a problem, it’s just biology. This was a great article again. Reminds me to plan better so that when there are a lot of calories around I am not eating them!

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