Thanks to the advances in modern science we can take pills and supplements for practically any ailment. This in of itself brings both some positives and negatives. On one hand, it is good that medications can treat and manage certain symptoms. What if we were more proactive and less reactive. Imagine if we were more focused on prevention and less on treatment. Often times, we know when our diet primarily consists of shitty foods that will more than likely lead to long term chronic health issues. But its almost as if we’re not mentally prepared to change our lifestyle.
So much of our culture, traditions, and family history is centered around food. Practically every family gathering, celebration, and fellowship is centered around foods. Unfortunately, most of these foods are “unhealthy.” Often times, any attempts of break with tradition is often met with resistance. Most families are understanding and supportive of diets, partly because it is temporary and has an end date. After which, you will resume your traditional lifestyle. But herein lies the problem. I have learned that temporary diets only yield short term results. I for one, got tired of the yo-yo diet effect where you drastically restrict your diet to achieve a specific weight loss goal. Only to find that you quickly gain back the weight as soon as you resume your old habits.
Diet vs Lifestyle Change
Truth is, diets will continue to be ineffective as long as we maintain an unhealthy lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong changing your lifestyle is far from easy. The mental and physical act of changing your perspective on food is easier said than done. First off, its nearly impossible to drastically change the way you eat overnight. Going cold turkey and eliminating meat, diary, and processed foods all at once may work for some but most will be unable to sustain it long term. When it comes to transitioning your lifestyle there are no rules. Meaning you can take as long as you need. No two people are the same. Each persons journey is unique and you shouldn’t compare yourself to anyone else. Here are 7 tips to transitioning to a healthier lifestyle;
1). Take your time. Patience is a virture. Start off with small goals.
Try meatless Mondays to gradually remove meat from your menu. We are conditioned through the food pyramid, commercials, and the food industry that we need protein to survive. Translation if you do not eat meat as a protein source, your body and health will suffer.
2). Educate yourself on the health benefits of changing your relationship with food.
One of the most eye opening lessons I learned was that we should eat to live and not the other way around. Each and everything we eat is digested and broken down into substances that either improve or destroy our health. We need to be highly selective of what we eat. The old saying is true we need to treat our bodies like temple.
3) Read food ingredient labels. It’s very important to know what’s in the food you eat.
Far too often we underestimate its importance. Don’t buy if you cant’ understand what’s in it. rule of thumb, if you can’t pronounce an ingredient and have absolutely no idea what it means, then you should leave it on the shelf.
4). Educate yourself about common food myths, so you can be well equipped to defend your position when friends and family challenge your decision to transition.
Often times they project their fears onto you most commonly regarding protein. Society meaning the food industry, and health standards have ingrained in us that protein can only come from animals. In fact, most believe that if you remove meat from your diet your health will greatly suffer. What they fail to realize is that free range animals eat plants which supplies them with all of the protein they need. So herein lies the cycle, cows, pigs, and chickens, eat grass for protein and nutrition. After which, these animals are slaughtered and used for food and “protein.” Well in actuality the animals are the middle man. Why not eliminate the middle man and get protein from plants.
5). Be confident and stand in your truth.
As unfortunate as it may sound. Those who are the closet to you more than likely will ridicule your decision. Often times they may say hurtful things to make you change your position. They may say, you think you ae too good to eat the way we eat. Stay strong in your position and don’t let it sway you. In life we can not change people. We can only change ourselves.
6). Avoid food shaming.
This is a real thing. Whenever you break with tradition and transition others may interpret it as an attack on them. It may prove to be a constant struggle to prove that you are changing fro you and your health. Your decision to change is not a negative reflection on how anyone else lives their life.
7). Explore plant based food blogs, and youtube channels for recipes.
There’s not need to spend a lot of money in cookbooks. Use resources that are free to explore new ways of eating. Remember eat to live, don’t live to eat.