When most people think about eating a healthier diet, they automatically associate it with being boring, flavorless, and restrictive. This can be especially true when the diet is labeled vegetarian, vegan, or plant-based.
My mission as a holistic, plant-based chef is to invite as many people as I possibly can to join me at this delicious, vibrant, healthy vegan party – because we’ve got the best-tasting food!
And it’s food that feels good in the body, long after the flavor has gone.
Escape the “Diet” Mindset
In order to approach diet and lifestyle transformation effectively, it is important to understand the word diet itself differently. By definition, a diet is:
- the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats
- a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons
I’m personally a fan of the first definition only and think that the second understanding of the word needs a different name entirely. Everyone has a “diet” but not all would consider themselves to be “on a diet,” which can get confusing.
Let’s refer to a diet as being someone’s food choices to sustain life, so we can stay on the same page. The second definition would be better labeled as a protocol – either for weight loss or medical reasons, which I think already helps to reframe the intensity with which it should be followed.
So if a diet is simply the collection of foods that we regularly consume, why do we have such a hard time making an effective change?
It’s the willpower, the choice, and the power of belief.
I always find it funny when I’m offered a bite of food from someone, only for them to remember a moment later that I live a vegan lifestyle, to which they remark “oh I’m sorry you can’t have that, it’s not vegan.” I would disagree with their statement. I can eat any food I want, but I choose not to include a list of foods in my diet because I know what they do to my body, how they affect my mind, and how the energy of those foods affect my spirit.
I believe in the power of plant-based food to fuel my body for ultimate health and vitality. And in doing so, I feel empowered each time I make a healthy choice – almost like a fun game I play with myself.
Such a freeing idea – that you can eat anything you want.
The power is in knowledge, and ultimately in the choice – each food and drink choice you make will either build your body up or tear your body down, slowly over time.
As you think about “starting a diet,” “going back on a diet,” or even “breaking your diet,” how does that feel?
These are the emotions and feelings that are the fuel for the $72 billion diet industry. It’s also why 95% of people who have said that they started a diet, failed – it’s designed for that.
Stop Failing with Your Diet. Start Playing, Instead
What if instead of thinking about diet as a restrictive word, it was a word filled with possibility, lust, joy, and fun?
If instead of subscribing to a particular label or food tribe, we could flirt with food groups and discover what felt really good for our individual bodies, minds, and souls?
Think of a transition to a plant-based, vegetarian, or vegan diet as an experiment. A culinary flirtation, a gastronomic dance. By practicing with foods you know you love, and adding in more of the foods we all understand to be a healthier choice – REAL food grown by the sun, without an ingredients list – the decision muscle will strengthen and grow.
After a little while, these choices will become part of your practice and a decision will shift into a habit.
The secret is in your mindset.
There is a huge amount of exciting research being done about the power of the mind, and reframing the lifestyle shifts that you are wanting to make in a positive light, with curiosity, and from a place of joy, will have a massive impact on your success.
We can’t help but label our dietary choices. (We are tribal beings, after all.) But until you land on a lifestyle that feels really delicious to you, I strongly encourage you to wander through your meals, listening to what your body is craving and responding from there. And, of course, it should go without saying, let your experimentation begin with eating more plant-foods: vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Add these plant foods into your diet with reckless abandon, and see how you feel!