I am sharing with you my written transcript of a YouTube live presentation that we recently presented and recorded which also includes a Q & A conducted with the people that watched it live. If you would prefer to watch the video scroll down the page and you can watch it right here on the blog.
I am reading on facebook and hearing from people who are stressed right now going through the pandemic and they are getting off track with their healthy eating and having trouble getting back on track with good food choices. The pandemic ten is being tossed around as people joke about gaining weight while going through this Covid 19 event.
I understand that, we are looking for comfort right now. We are stressed, worried, cut off from family and friends and we don’t know how long this virus is going to continue to control our lives. One of the easiest and socially acceptable things to comfort ourselves with is food. But most people are not choosing broccoli as their comfort food. They are choosing unhealthy, often refined carbohydrates combined with loads of fat!
Before adopting a WFPB lifestyle when I was struggling with my weight on the SAD – Standard American Diet – and yo – yo dieting I would let myself have treats.
If it was a stressful day, I was feeling anxious, or even a happy occasion I would give myself permission to indulge in something decadent – something that was calorie dense and of course unhealthy! Everyone says just one serving won’t hurt anything. I would tell myself, I had a hard day, so I deserved a treat right?
I looked at allowing myself to have something that was an unhealthy “treat” as self kindness. After all if I was in a social situation I didn’t want to be the only one at the party not having dessert! I didn’t want to feel deprived. Eating that food made me feel good, for a few minutes anyway.
What I didn’t take into consideration was how having that high calorie density food was going to give me a huge dopamine hit and result in cravings for more. It also wasn’t helping my weight loss efforts or helping to lower my LDL cholesterol, or reduce inflammation in my body, or keeping my blood vessels clean and clear, or giving me the nutrients I needed to be healthy and energetic.
This kind of self – kindness was really, self – sabotage which led to overeating, gaining weight or at least not losing weight, increased LDL cholesterol, headaches, fatigue and in the end making me feel like an out of control failure. Being a bit of a perfectionist and having success in all other areas of my life, not being able to control my weight caused me so much emotional turmoil. It is so embarrassing to lose weight and then gain it back, again and again.
After reading “The Pleasure Trap” by Dr Doug Lisle I finally understood that those high calorie density junk foods, desserts and etc were not really food and that my brain and my body could not handle me eating them without dire consequences both physically and emotionally.
Once I learned how much of a role food plays with my overall health the easier it was to change the way I eat and the way I think about how I eat. Not only did I have to change my eating habits but I had to change my internal dialogue.
What we tell ourselves is powerful. Choose your words wisely. Where the mind goes the body will follow.
This is my video presentation on this topic followed by a Q & A during the live presentation on our YouTube channel.
Let me share a story with you. A couple years ago a friend of mine who is WFPB and has lost a lot of weight since adopting a healthy lifestyle was at work. Someone brought into the break room something decadent that was a favorite treat of my friend. Everyone in the break room was excited and eager to have some of the special treat. So my friend left the break room and went to the ladies room. She posted in a private Facebook group that we were both in and said she was in the stall in the ladies room crying because her favorite treat item was in the break room and everyone else was enjoying it and she was sad that she couldn’t have some too. She was feeling left out and feeling sorry for herself.
I was on line at the time she was calling out for help so I commented right sharing with her how I reframe these situations in my mind. I wrote, “Don’t feel sorry for yourself – instead feel sorry for them because they don’t know better. They don’t realize what they are doing to their bodies and their health. Be glad that you know the right way to eat for optimal health and how to manage your weight. Be proud that you are not giving in to temptation and the consequences that follow the behavior. The only thing you are being deprived of is all the health and weight issues that go along with an unhealthy lifestyle.”
It is this different way of framing these situations that makes it so much easier for me to be happy about how I choose to eat. Don’t go along with the mainstream – then you will also have the same mainstreams health problems.
Saying “I can’t have that” sets us up to feel deprived and makes us feel powerless. Change that to “I don’t want that” and now you are in charge and feeling powerful and in control. Let’s get real, the pleasure of eating those treats lasts for just a few moments and then poof it’s gone and you are left with all the negative consequences. But eating healthy and creating healthy habits can give us on going happiness and joy. Good health is our greatest wealth!
I no longer feel left out when these unhealthy food circumstances present themselves. I feel honored and empowered to know what I know about a WFPB lifestyle and what my healthy food choices do for my overall health and my weight. Eating healthy is truly self – kindness. Being at a healthy weight is the real treat!
I was at a social event last year where I was the only plant based eater – someone brought a 5 gallon container of homemade premium ice cream to the event and everyone except me was going crazy for it, loading up big bowls of it and coming back for more. I didn’t feel envious or left out at all, instead I took note and witnessed how out of control it made everyone act. They were mostly over weight and out of shape, some were on statins for high cholesterol and this was the last thing they needed to be eating.
I knew that is how I used to behave as well when around that kind of food like substance. It made me appreciate my healthy habits and the fact that I am no longer driven by the Pleasure Trap.
Timaree Hagenburger is a local plant based dietician, author of The Foodie Bar Way cookbook and she teaches plant based nutrition at a local college here. She says, “Love the food that loves you back!”
Eating healthy food is self kindness!
When working with people who are adopting a WFPB lifestyle and trying to lose weight sometimes they will get to point where the weight loss stops, or they aren’t getting the health improvements they were hoping for. When we look at their food diary, I can identify some things that perhaps they never gave up or have snuck back into their food plan. If they were to remove those items, it could make a difference in their ability to reach their goals. But when I suggest that I am met with resistance. They tell me that they feel like they have already made so many changes, given up so many foods by going plant based and they just are not willing to give up anything else. They “need” these little treats to get through the day so they don’t feel deprived. They think this is self kindness.
But is that really true – if those “treats” are preventing them from reaching their health and or weight goals – isn’t that depriving them of what they really want?
The more bad habits we are willing to change, the more dietary changes we are willing to make the quicker and greater our results will be. If we are only willing to make 50% of the changes required then we can only expect to get 50% of the benefits.
If we practice self – kindness in a healthy way the rewards are tremendous! As I used to tell our children when they were growing up, when you choose the behavior you choose the consequences. We are all well informed about health and nutrition as we have studied about a plant based diet. We know full well what the health consequences are based on our food choices.
If you think all those little treats and indiscretions don’t matter think again.
Take my friend Al for instance. In his early 80’s he was a cardiac cripple – he had a stair lift installed in his home because he could no longer climb the stairs. He couldn’t’ walk from his garage to the curb to put the trash out. His cardiologist told him she had done all she could. She sent him to Kaiser’s plant based class just to have something to offer him. That is where he learned about several plant based books including The Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease book by Dr Esselstyn.
He immediately adopted a strict SOS Free WFPB lifestyle and within 4 weeks he was at Lake Tahoe going for a long walk by the lake! He lost weight improved his heart condition. He now goes for 12 – mile bike rides, he took the stair lift out of the house and he feels like he got a second chance at life.
Al never waivers from his healthy SOS free lifestyle – he is so disciplined.
Al chooses being healthy and alive over any kind of non – compliant treats!
He told me he was shocked at how quickly he saw physical changes just by changing the food he eats. He knows that he could just as quickly un-do all of those positive changes if he started to let his guard down and let non – compliant foods back in his life.
That is self – kindness! Al Loves the food that Loves him back! You can read all about Al Schmidt’s story here.
If you are struggling getting back on track just know that it only takes a few days of eating healthy plant foods for you to start feeling better physically and emotionally. Good health is the real “treat!” Practice self kindness every day by choosing the foods that promote optimal health and wellness. Love the food that loves you back!
May we all experience harmony as we practice self kindness.
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I am struggling with my eating not because of the Covid mess but because I financially am finding my WFPBSOS diet expensive. I also have lots of physical issues that are not improved by diet and they make it hard to be on my feet to prepare meals. They are birth defects. I wish there were good meals I could buy frozen at reasonable prices. You have so many good recipes but I find trying to make them painful and energy draining. So even tho I try to eat the best I can, I think I am not eating enough because of these two issues. For one thing it is just me and I have a small amount of freezer space. Buying at Costco would overfill my freezer. Driving to Whole Foods would take too much gas. So I use Sprouts as much as I can.
Hi Deb! I was reading Tami’s blog and happened to see your post. My heart goes out to you. I have some physical issues, too, but probably not as severe as yours. I, too, have to watch my money, and I am also cooking just for myself. My oven doesn’t cook evenly (I rent an apartment), so I don’t use it very much. I do have an instant pot and a microwave, and of course, my stove top. I don’t really love to cook, so I am not motivated to make anything fancy or that takes lots of prep and time. So….. here are a few suggestions that I have found helpful. I try to make a soup or stew each week or so. Both Tami and Chef AJ have some great recipes that use canned beans, etc. I even buy some frozen diced onions and stir fry veggies and throw them in rather than use fresh. Just make half a recipe if a whole one is too much. I sometimes freeze a couple of containers for later if I have more than I can eat in a week. I really enjoy the steam-in bags of green beans, broccoli, brussels sprouts and cauliflower. Frozen riced cauliflower and/or broccoli is a great substitute for rice. Just heat some beans and add some spices. Pretty good! We do not have any of the markets Tami mentions in my home town. So I do the best I can at Food Lion and Walmart. At Walmart they have small packages of very small fresh sweet potatoes and also other types of potatoes in microwaveable bags in the produce aisle. When I cook them in the microwave, I let them cool a bit and then store them standing upright in a container in the fridge just like Tami does. I get one out each day, slice it open and either heat it in the microwave or brown it a bit in my skillet with no oil or butter. Sometimes just a touch of water or some of the liquid from beans or soup I may have in the fridge. Some seasoning or other veggies on top is nice! I also purchased some microwavable bowls of already cooked brown rice and quinoa mixed together from Amazon. Those are very filling and are great with some tomato sauce or other sauce you might have. I also purchase some oil free hummus when I can find it and then eat it with baby carrots and other veggies if I have them. Hummus is also delicious spread on a hot sweet potato.
I also have an easy recipe for frozen smoothies. If you have a blender, this will work. I have 6 eight ounce wide mouth mason jars with plastic screw on lids. I prepare all the ingredients before I start using the blender. It’s really not time consuming at all. I make two smoothies at a time. For two smoothies: 12oz. of whatever plant milk you like (I use coconut or sometimes almond-coconut), one ripe banana cut into 4ths, one cup of frozen sliced strawberries, one-half cup of frozen wild blueberries. (Or whatever frozen fruit you like.) Pulse these together in the blender to mix. Then I add the following that has already been combined in 3 separate bowls: In each bowl put 2 T of chia seeds, 3 T of hemp seeds, 1 T of ground flax seeds, some powdered turmeric if I have it. After pulsing the fruit and milk as mentioned above, add one bowl of the seeds mixture. Blend together on the low setting for about a minute. Now I add 2-3 big handfuls of fresh baby spinach or a combination of spinach and baby kale (depending on what was available at the store). Now blend all this on the smoothie setting or whatever you have. Divide this mixture between two of the mason jars. Now do the same procedure twice more so that you end up with 6 smoothies. (If you have a little left over, just go ahead and enjoy it!) Put the tops on the jars and put in your freezer. If you don’t want 6 smoothies or don’t have room for that many, you can just put a couple in the fridge and be sure to drink them first. For the frozen ones, I put one in the fridge 24 hours before I plan to drink it. It will still be very cold and just a tiny bit frozen in the middle, but it stirs well. Use a straw or spoon to enjoy. Hope some of this has been helpful! Praying that you find even more ways to stay well and healthy with WFPB SOS free foods!! We do our best, and God does the rest! Many blessings! 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing your ideas! This was fabulous!
Thanks so much, Tami! You and Tom are among my favorites to follow! You are so down to earth and compassionate. Very refreshing!! Wishing you well in all your endeavors!
Thank you so much!
I am late in reading your message. I am fairly new to this way of healthy eating. Thank you for such a helpful post with so many easy solutions.
I have been struggling to be on top of the meal prep. This has really helped, so thank you.
Nutmeg Notebook-Tami and Tom are such a blessing to me also. Take care
I am so sorry you are having a difficult time. Is there a friend, neighbor or relative that can help you with food prep? Check and see what kind of volunteer services your community might offer. There are some grocery delivery services too or perhaps someone you know might shop for you.
Rice, dried beans, potatoes and greens are pretty reasonably priced and can even be purchased at the 99 cent stores. Frozen fruit and vegetables are already cut and washed so there is no prep required to use them. Walmart sells these items for a very reasonable price.
You don’t even need recipes just eat starch and vegetables and fruit at each meal. Different dried herbs and spices add even more flavor – simple and easy. Make trio bowl where you combine say rice or potatoes with a vegetable and some beans. Add some spices like garlic and onion powder or Italian Seasoning and you have a wonderful taste treat. When I had ankle surgery and couldn’t be on my feet I sat at the table to prep food and had a stool to sit on at the stove so I didn’t have to stand there to cook food. It worked really well. I just show what I buy and where I buy so people can look at their stores for similar items – no need to go to Whole Foods or Costco. Kim Campbell from Plant pure Chef shops a lot at Walmart for her whole food plant based ingredients. They have great prices!
I hope some of these ideas help. Wishing you well on your journey.
We all have cravings for unhealthy foods, once in a while. But the longer we practice the WFPB diet, the lesser are those cravings. The longing for unhealthy treats diminishes and all our foods taste great! Tami, you helped me tremendously when you said, in a recent youtube video that we always have the choice to eat healthy, that we are not obliged to satisfy our taste for unhealthy treats, It relieves our inner tension to allow ourselves to be free. I hope I expressed correctly your thought. We always have the possibility to distance ourselves from our unhealthy food habits. There are so many ways to do this! Thank you.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I am so glad what I have been sharing has been meaningful to you.
We always have a choice!
This blog is so well written and inspiring. The time and care you put into your recipes, your ideas and your delivery is noted and truly appreciated.
I will be missing you both today. I completely understand setting some boundaries. I suppose the “absence will make the heart grow fonder” will apply here.
Thank you so much for your kind remarks. We will miss the Live Show today as well. We do enjoy the interaction with the community but we must control the amount of time we spend on the blog and YouTube channel so it doesn’t take over other areas of our lives.
We look forward to being with everyone next week!
Great information and thoughts about self sabotaging. I do great for breakfast and lunch. But struggle with dinner. So I’m thinking a smoothie for dinner is what I’m thinking.