I’m truly delighted to feature a guest post from my good friend and long-lost blogging sister, Teniesha. Her musings at Vegan on the Go-Go provoke thoughtful contemplation and I always enjoy reading of her experiments to discover the dietary path that truly works for her. Here, Teniesha offers wonderful insight into the timely subject of New Years resolutions and how to create sustainable eating habits. Enjoy!
Hello! I’m Teniesha from Vegan on the Go-Go, and I’m really honoured to guestpost here today, as per Ali’s invitation. I greatly admire Ali’s dedication to a vegan diet focused around whole, natural foods and locally-sourced ingredients. If you haven’t read her food philosophy yet, do give it a look-see.
With the new year just around the corner, resolutions are all the rage. Eat better! Lose weight! Run a marathon! Fit into that little black dress you’ve always wanted! As many people discover, the hectic and hedonistic holiday season can interrupt one’s healthy routine (if they have one, of course), inevitably resulting in slip-ups, some not so serious, others potentially disastrous. In turn, idealists everywhere seek to reverse the damage done at lavish Christmas dinners, and they swear to stick to their goals and finally achieve the idyllic life they’ve always envisioned. Unfortunately, a large percentage of them will indubitably fail.
Because all too often they don’t integrate positive, lasting change into their lives, the key word being lasting. Their willpower is strong at first, as is their dedication. For a couple weeks, they eat well and frequent the gym. But it is indeed easy to slip back into old routines and to welcome back bad habits like a pair of long-lost comfortable slippers— because habits are just that, comfortable, and change can prove quite the opposite for some.
Trust me, I know: I’ve been there, done that. For example, abandoning the more or less Standard American Diet (SAD) of my childhood and eventually transitioning into full- blown veganism—this was a learning experience from the beginning, and there were several significant obstacles to tackle along the way. But now, apart from the occasional snide comments and ignorant questions I receive, my diet is easy as vegan pie and feels as second nature as breathing! Of course, it took a lot of research, dedication, hard work, and positivity.
For me, 2011 was an extremely difficult year, and I’m looking forward to starting afresh, to fengshui my life, in 2012. I recently watched Kris Carr’s acclaimed Crazy Sexy Cancer (if you haven’t seen the film yet, I highly recommend it—of course, you don’t have to be a cancer patient to enjoy it!), and while I certainly admired her crusade before, I am even more impressed with her spirit, her ambition, her resolve, her spunk! Furthermore, she inspired me to upgrade my health regime to the next level. Not that I don’t already recognize how healthily I eat, don’t get me wrong, but I definitely have my vices. I am a self-proclaimed carboholic (whole grains, of course); I have an annoying sweet tooth I just cannot deny, no matter how hard I try; and as of late, raw veggies and I haven’t been on the best of terms.
However, here we come to the second key reason why resolutions often fail—they are unrealistic. For example, if you’ve never run even a single mile in your entire life, suddenly stepping on the treadmill with the intention of running 10 miles will very probably result in failure. Or say you resolve, somewhat grudgingly, to eat more [insert healthy food], which you don’t particularly like, but you’ve heard it’s supposedly good for you so you force it down anyway, holding your nose the entire time and perhaps even gagging a bit all the same. Or if you vow never to eat dessert again (which I have done more than once)—well, then, at your next snazzy social engagement, be prepared to buckle, gorge on mini éclairs and bonbons, and wake up the next morning with not one, but two hangovers. Do you get my drift?
As antiquated or clichéd as ancient Greek proverbs may seem, the key truly is moderation. So, hey, I indulge in some dark chocolate after dinner, and if there’s a vegan dessert around, well, chances are I’m going to sample it. Lately, this has gotten a little out of control, and both Kris Carr and Kathy Freston (in her book Quantum Wellness) reminded me how detrimental sugar is to the body. And as my grandma says, sugar is just “empty calories!” Therefore, one of my dietary resolutions for 2012 is to cut back on sugar, to altogether avoid more processed sweeteners, and to save desserts for special occasions rather than everyday snacking, as has lately been the case.
As for carbs, well, I love ‘em and have neither the intention nor the desire to cut them out of my diet—I’d go crazy! Instead, I’m focusing on eating grains in their whole form more often and decreasing my bread/cracker intake, and I will also continue balancing macronutrients at all meals and snacks. It’s all about give and take!
Finally, to resolve my issue with raw veggies, I’m planning to re-incorporate green smoothies into my daily menu. I’m also hoping to reintroduce salad beasts at lunch more regularly, but if I still find raw greens distasteful, that’s okay—light sautéing or steaming does not really strip veggies of their nutrients. It’s better than avoiding veggies altogether . . . much, much better.
So, as you brainstorm and jot down your own resolutions for 2012, keep my musings in mind—I hope they’re helpful. Also, mosey over to my blog during the next week or so, since I’ll be sharing more ideas and goals, healthy detox tips and tricks, and who knows what else. In the meantime, Happiest of New Years to you!