my ten health commandments
1. plant based diet
Not only is a plant based diet better for the environment and the animals, I believe it is the best practice for your body and overall health. You can read more about my reasoning for going vegan here. But basically, I have done hours and hours of research and have come to the conclusion that consuming animal protein can lead to cancer, heart disease, Alzheimers, auto immune diseases, diabetes and other health problems. Whereas, a vegan diet can actually help protect and heal your body. I used to think going vegan was extreme. Because, slaughtering an animal and eating it's muscle off the bone isn't, right? But, being vegan is so simple. All you have to do is not eat animal products! I don't think there is a restaurant i've been to that doesn't have a vegan option on the menu or isn't willing to whip you up something special. It's good for the animals, good for the planet, good for you. So, why not give it an honest try?
2. eat mindfully
When you have a plate of food in front of you, just pause. Think to yourself that you're grateful you get to eat a delicious meal and have access to such healthy foods. Pause and breathe. Put your fork down between bites and actually chew and enjoy your food. I naturally eat very fast so this is something I have to remind myself to do at every meal. I used to finish all of my food before everyone else and I would still be hungry so I'd more often than not, go in for seconds. Then I'd all of a sudden feel extremely full and uncomfortable. Now that I practice mindful eating, I am usually full before I can even finish my plate. If I am still hungry, I will keep eating but now I am comfortable stopping if I am full. I don't feel the need to finish everything on my plate or go in for a second round. Give your stomach time to realize it's full and you will enjoy your meals much more.
3. guilt free
If you want to have dessert, then have dessert. If you want pizza, have pizza. If you don't feel like going to the gym, then don't. I found that when I told myself that I couldn't eat a certain food then I wanted it even more. Or that If I must to go to the gym every day that week, it turned into more of a chore than something I enjoyed. Now that I have given myself permission to indulge, I find that I rarely want to. Life is all about balance and cultivating a healthy lifestyle, not trying to stick to a diet. Diets never work, they aren't sustainable. That is why they're always coming out with new ones. Food is meant to be enjoyed. So, if you want a treat, allow yourself to take pleasure in it, eat it with full awareness and enjoyment and then move on with your day. Same with exercise, don't lay in bed, not enjoying your extra 45 minutes of sleep because you didn't work out. If you make the decision to skip it, then own that and keep moving forward.
4. well-rounded healthiness
Health isn't just about what is on our plates. There is another large part that is about getting outside, being social, exercising, having stimulating conversation, feeling emotionally fulfilled, having supportive relationships, being financially secure, being spiritual, having a comfortable environment to live in, taking time for yourself, pursuing new hobbies, etc. Take a look at all aspects of your life and see what is lacking and what is flourishing. Be honest with yourself. If you feel a certain area is deficient, give it some love and attention. Small acts can make a big difference.
5. respect your body
The way that most people talk to themselves is just plain awful. I once saw a quote that said, "you would never talk to a friend the way that you talk to yourself." It's very easy to be extremely judgmental and hard on ourselves. Trust me, I know. But, we need to start loving and respecting ourselves more. When you begin to show yourself some more acceptance and compassion, you won't want to disrespect it by feeding it garbage. Once I began reading food labels, I was blown away with all the crap I was putting into my beloved body. I didn't want to do it anymore. I wanted to be clean and free of toxins from the inside out. Furthermore, when I began to learn about all the magnificent side effects of whole foods, I wanted more and more. Accept every part of yourself. Give it love. This will set you free.
6. start now
Don't wait until you begin to get wrinkles to start wearing sunscreen and sitting in the shade. Don't wait until your metabolism starts slowing to begin eating healthy foods. Don't wait until you're older to begin exercising. Start now. It's always better to start earlier. What are you waiting for? It doesn't need to be January 1st or a Monday or tomorrow or after a vacation to begin a healthy habit. Start today. Begin right now. Even if five minutes ago you ate an entire tub of ice cream. That was then and this is now. You don't have to be who you were last week, yesterday or even a second ago. Each and every new moment is a brand new opportunity to be exactly who you want to be. Start now.
7. knowledge is power
Educate yourself. We need to know how our bodies work. How our reproductive organs work. Our family medical history. What foods make you feel good? What foods make you feel poorly? How does the amount of sleep we get impact us? How does the liver work? What is your blood type? What are the side effects of GMOs? What foods have GMOs? What are GMOs? What is cholesterol? What is heart disease? What is cancer? How do cancer cells form? Why am I more likely to get a certain type of cancer over another? Where does the food we eat come from? What are the foods we are eating even made of? It is essential that we take more time to educate ourselves on how the body works, what certain foods do to our bodies, where our food comes from. We need to educate ourselves. For example, did you know that many soda companies use "Caramel Coloring" to make the beverages a dark brown color? Well that caramel coloring was tested on animals and it gave them lung, liver and thyroid tumors and leukemia. I challenge you to read the labels of the foods in your cupboard. If you see something and you don't know what it is, then google it. Did you know that birth control pills basically trick your body into thinking it's pregnant over and over and over again? Did you know that many additives like Blue #1 and #2, Yellow #5 and #6, Red #40 and many more, which are used in Kraft mac and cheese, M&Ms, Nutrigrain bars, salad dressings, sodas, etc., are illegal in many countries in Europe because of their terrifying health effects. They still sell these products in those countries, they just alter the ingredients. However, they still sell those products with these poisonous additives in the USA because we don't have the regulation and it's less expensive than changing the recipe. WTFFFFFF!!!!!! This is your body, you only have one, so go full blown detective and find out what's really going on.
8. food is your friend
Many people switch from diet to restricted eating to another diet to more restricted eating. I have heard so much about portion control and all that calories in/calories out BS and used to live my life that way. There are so many rules and it's confusing and makes life very un-fun. Here is the rule you should live by- if it's good for you, then don't be afraid to eat it. But always, listen to your body. Sometimes I will eat an entire watermelon because it's delicious, refreshing and I was feeling it. I would never leave that feeling like I I should be worried about how many calories I consumed. Food is our friend. Don't be scared to indulge in healthy, nutritious foods. If you find yourself eating three bowls of rice with roasted vegetables, avocados and greens then go for it. Eat mindfully until you are full and let your body be nourished.
9. add, don't subtract
Instead of vowing to never eat junk food again, just add in more fresh, whole foods. You will find that when you fill your body up with nourishing, plant based foods that the junk isn't as appealing. How many times have you gone really hard on healthy eating and then all of a sudden you find yourself right back to binging junk food? Don't go from 0 to 100 over night. Instead, make small changes in your day-to-day life like getting a side of vegetables instead of french fries or eating vegan one day a week. You will be more successful if you see health as a lifestyle instead of a diet.
10. do you
At the end of the day, we are all responsible for ourselves. So, ignore everyone else and listen to what your body wants and needs. I remember I used to be shy about being vegan because I didn't want others to think I was annoying. Then, one time I asked a waitress if she could cook my hash browns with light oil instead of butter and my friend rolled her eyes and made a remark about how high maintenance I was. I could have felt embarrassed or chosen to not make any more special requests. But Instead, I said, "when it comes to my body and health, yeah, I'm very high maintenance." She could choose to eat or drink whatever she wanted. And I will do the same. At the end of the day, it's my body. My life. My organs. My skin. My disease or lack thereof. My blood. My digestive system. My hair. My nails. My legs. My arms. My brain. My muscle. My fat. My eyes. My breasts. My ears. My knees. My everything. So yea, I am going to do what I feel is best for ME. Now, what is truly best for YOU? Be accountable for yourself and be empowered by that accountability. Go us!