Vegan Lifestyle ArticlesMaking Peace with Food Choices in the New Year
Vegan Lifestyle Articles From All-Creatures.org

Vegan lifestyle articles that discuss ways of living in peace with humans, animals, and the environment.


FROM

Victoria Moran as posted on T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies
December 2014

When you put your dietary decisions in a one-day-a-time context, theyíre manageable and accessible. You have a wonderful feeling of being on top of this thing. You donít have to worry about knowing how to fix 365 plant-based entrees; one or two is fully adequate. You donít have to fret about what youíll eat at your sisterís wedding three months from now or your trip to Italy next summer. Today youíll eat whole plant foods, and youíll enjoy them, and youíll feel good about yourself.

I used to expect a lot from January 1st. Or my birthday. Or a Monday. Fresh start.
Out with the old. Bring it on: Iím up for this.

Except I wasnít. You see, I spent thirty years fighting with food and the food always won. My attempts to battle my way out of eating junk food, rich food, and excess food were futile as long as I expected to revolutionize everything on some day that suggested ďnewness.Ē That finally ended when somebody sat me down and said, ďStop trying to change the rest of your life. Just live up to the best you know for today.Ē

This simple concept, making choices that make sense today, the only day Iíve got, saved me from the tyranny of thwarted resolutions and fizzled aspirations. I could eat the best food I knew of at the time for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Whether it was December 25th or January 1st or the 4th of July, that day was mine and still is. Itís yours, too.

When you put your dietary decisions in a one-day-a-time context, theyíre manageable and accessible. You have a wonderful feeling of being on top of this thing. You donít have to worry about knowing how to fix 365 plant-based entrees; one or two is fully adequate. You donít have to fret about what youíll eat at your sisterís wedding three months from now or your trip to Italy next summer. Today youíll eat whole plant foods, and youíll enjoy them, and youíll feel good about yourself. Nuptials and Naples will be doable, too, when navigating each of those becomes the order of the day.

As one day leads to the next and the next, youíll gain experience. Youíll learn the ropes of shopping and food prep and eating out and traveling as someone who eats a plant-based diet of primarily whole foods. Youíll make peace with the days that arenít perfect Ė being stuck in an airport for twenty-four hours means youíre unlikely to be dining on kale and quinoa Ė and youíll be surprised at how many days, in the dietary sense anyway, actually are as close to perfect as things get on this planet. By then youíll no longer be attempting to do something new. It will be your normal, just upgraded.

This doesnít mean that I disregard the transition from one year to the next and its invitation to smooth rough edges and do things better. I just donít set intentions that set me up to fail, and I look at those areas in which I want to improve as a year-long projected plan, implemented a day at a time. Iíve been eating this way for thirty-one years, but thereís been a gradual improvement over time. Early on my food was a colorless palette: lentil loaf, nut loaf, brown rice, brown bread. Itís evolved into a rainbow buffet that includes leafy greens, bright berries, rich yellow yams and squash, and the surprising array of farmersí market vegetables that come in purple. But if I hadnít started where I started, I wouldnít be here now.

So allow yourself to start where youíre starting. Itís the perfect place. Celebrate that itís 2015 (well, almost) and that the work of Dr. Campbell and other researchers and clinicians exists in the world, so we can rely on science rather than guesswork in making our food choices. Pore over the best vegan cookbooks and recipe sites until you find ways to make whole-foods replicas of dishes you might miss.

And get a sense of the Big Picture. Youíre treating your body the best way possible, but youíre also lessening suffering of innocent creatures, and standing up for environmental sustainability. No other dietary choice can claim this, and I believe thereís power in that, power to help you stick with your conviction because itís not just about you. This has been my experience anyway, a day at a time since Reagan was President and I had a perm.


Victoria Moran is the Oprah-featured author of twelve books including The Love-Powered Diet, Main Street Vegan, and (coming in May) The Good Karma Diet: Eat Gently, Feel Amazing, Age in Slow Motion. Victoria is a graduate of our Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate Program through eCornell; she hosts the weekly Main Street Vegan radio show/podcast; and she is the founder and director of Main Street Vegan Academy, an in-person program in NYC that trains vegan lifestyle coaches and educators. 


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