Saturday, February 9, 2013

You Have Super Powers!

When people learn I'm vegan I usually hear the statement
'I could never be vegan because I could never give up (enter food here)'

It's usually cheese, ice cream, bacon or hamburgers.

Now, of course, anyone can and will do something if they want to do it. It's simply a choice. An easy one. You want to, you will .. you don't want to, you won't. Period.

However, people don't seem to use the powers they have to help themselves .. their super powers.

Let's talk about the super powers we all have:

Free Will 

Ah, free will ... you have the ability to act at your own discretion. You decide hundreds of things in a day. You decide when to get up, what to wear, what to eat for breakfast, and which route you drive to work. Some of those choices might be slightly dictated by others, say what time you actually start your work day.

However, in most cases, you choose your path every single day ... from simple decisions to big ones. Sure, some require others input or affect others in some way but lets focus on your diet, nutrition and fitness.

You have pretty much 100% say in these areas.

Unless you are incarcerated or in a third world country, or have some strange situation, you have the free will to choose what to eat each day. When someone says 'I could never give up cheese', it means they don't want to. It means they make the choice and decision to eat the cheese. The answer? Don't eat it. Choose not to eat it.

You have the choice to exercise or not. Yes, you may have challenges or limitations but if you want to make it happen.. you can and will find a way.

You have the choice to choose to eat nutritionally good foods over bad foods. Whole foods over packaged. Vegan over animal derived. Fruit over cookies. Salad over burgers. Water over soda.

Even when I've been challenged .. say in an airport, fast food restaurant or in a very unvegan friendly restaurant, I've been able to find something. It may only be fries and a salad, nuts and a bottle of water, steamed veggies and a bowl of fruit or tacos... hold the cheese, hold the sour cream and sub beans in for the beef.


Oh, you think you can't resist the cheese? You're wrong. You have a choice and free will ... you can resist.
Now.. maybe it's difficult for you .. maybe your willpower is low for certain things .... well, guess what? If it is.. DON'T BUY IT.

If you wanted to quit smoking, you wouldn't buy a carton of cigarettes and leave them on the counter. If you wanted to stop gambling you wouldn't go to the casino. If you wanted to save money you wouldn't go to the mall.

If you don't walk into a grocery store and make the choice to go into the dairy section and make the decision to put the block of cheese into your cart and wander wound with it in your cart for half an hour and remove it from your cart and place it on the conveyor belt at the checkout and pay for it and bring it into your home and slice it or place it into a recipe - you can't eat it.

Look how many times you have the choice and the willpower to STOP eating that cheese.

Red light foods, foods which you believe you have no control over and is not nutritionally good for you, should never be in your home. Ever. I'm not saying you can't eat them again but you need to make the choice and effort to eat them.. you should have to go and buy a single serving of that red light food, consume it and move on.

If you want to stop eating animal products then don't bring them into your home. If you want to stop eating junk food, don't buy the junk food. If you'd prefer your kids eat an apple instead of chips then don't buy the chips! You can also find more healthful choices of the things you like.

If you love to bake but can't resist the end product then only bake when you can give the end product away or freeze it so you can have one serving at a time or google for a single serving recipe.. they are out there!

Being Positive

Yes, being positive IS a superpower. I am, by nature, Eeyore. I am more doom and gloom than most people. I prefer to expect the worst and be happily surprised when the best happens. I'm the girl that expects a deranged killer to jump out at me in a dark room.. I'm not paranoid, just prepared. It's much easier to expect disappointment rather than find yourself disappointed.

One thing I am positive about is my decision to follow a plant based diet free from any foods that contain animal products. No flesh, no broth, no eggs, no dairy products, no honey, no gelatin, to name a few.

A negative person would pout and complain about all the things they can't eat and how hard it is to eat at all. They would say things like 'oh, I miss (enter food here)' or 'I crave (enter food here)'  ... if you miss it, you aren't searching for an alternative (and believe me, you can find one) and if you are craving it, you are craving something about it - perhaps a feeling it gives you like a comfort food or a memory of eating it with a certain person or in a certain place, or the sugar, fat and salt content. Remember that flesh has no flavor.. it's all in how it's seasoned and presented (usually with plants!). Bacon is fat, salt and smoke... you can get that in many foods.

Instead, I choose to look for alternatives to whatever I want and in the 7 years I was vegetarian and the 3 years I've been vegan, there hasn't been one thing I've wanted that I couldn't find a vegan recipe or alternative source for.

The best thing about eating a plant based diet is your choices are almost always better for your health. The foods contain a good amount of protein and fiber with less fat and sugar. The foods are mostly whole and fresh vs pre-packaged and chemical-laden.

I've also had great success at finding plenty of plant based junk for those times I really want to eat like a kid again. I've had success finding delicious and healthy recipes for dishes that are normally full of guilt, like mac & cheese or brownies. You cannot imagine what it's like to indulge in a yummy, gooey, black bean brownie, knowing it's basically good for you..certainly better for you than one containing chicken eggs and cow butter.

The plant based options in the grocery store and food industry have grown.

Here is just a small list of plant based vegan choices for things you may eat on a regular basis:

tempeh bacon
hot dogs
veggie burgers
nut and grain milks (soy, almond, rice, oat, hemp, coconut, etc)
deli slices
sausages (oh, biscuits and gravy!)
ice creams (made with soy, almond, coconut, and rice milks)
beefless tips and burgers
chickenless nuggets, patties, wings, cutlets and more
porkless riblets
turkeyless roasts
salad dressings
cookies, pies and desserts
tacos, enchiladas, burritos and nachos
sushi and other asian dishes
thai food
mac & cheese

The list goes on and on. If you want it.. I can probably find it for you... feel free to message me if you need recommendations on retail foods or recipes.

Making Time Instead of Excuses

I guess making time is a very elusive superpower. I can't tell you the number of times I've heard 'I don't have time to eat a plant based diet, or cook, or eat right'. If you have time to shower, get dressed, put on makeup, drive to a restaurant, wait for your table, wait to order, wait for your food, wait for the check, eat and drive home.. you have more than enough time to eat at home .. in fact, you could prepare quite the fancy meal with that amount of time or instead take that time to make multiple things and stock your fridge or freezer.

If you have time to sit and watch hour after hour of TV shows or go shopping or spend hours on Facebook, you have the time.. you just aren't choosing to spend the time in the kitchen. There are people busier than you that manage to do it... trust me.

I have days where I love to cook and I spend a few hours in the kitchen making things to stock my fridge and freezer and then I have days when pouring myself a bowl of cereal feels like cooking a holiday feast and those are the days that I am damn glad I have black bean burgers in my freezer! You don't have to love to cook but you should love yourself and your family enough to make the time to think ahead and cook.

There are so many great cookbooks out there with recipes that are made with everyday ingredients and come together quickly.. you can have a nice homemade meal on the table in lass than 30 minutes, sometimes less. I have a ton of go to recipes for when we are short on time or I'm not in the mood to cook... I can have a decent meal on the table in 15 minutes.

Make the time like you make the time for other things. Put it into your planner .... If you won't, then just admit you don't want to make the time ... maybe you don't like to cook, and that is fine.. but stop making the excuses and just own it... instead of saying 'I don't have time', say 'I don't want to make time to cook so I don't.'

If that is the case... make better choices in what you do eat. Choose better in restaurants, make an effort to choose better convenience foods, pay someone to cook for you. There are always options.

The bottom line is this.. it's only has hard as you make it. It's your choice. You have the free will, the willpower and the positive attitude to do it .. if you choose to.