Updated: Apr 8
Eating well or healthy eating means different things to different people.
To me, it means eating natural, plant foods that nourish me. It's about celebrating simple foods and making them taste great. It's about making choices that emphasize kindness toward the earth and its inhabitants. It's never about what I can't eat. It's about what I choose to eat or choose to avoid. Choices are empowering.
Why does the idea of healthy eating feel overwhelming?
There are so many approaches, diets, and philosophies related to eating. If you tune into all of the options, it can easily feel overwhelming. Paleo, keto, intermittent fasting, low carb, Mediterranean, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, low-fat...it's enough to make you lose your appetite completely! If you're searching, I always recommend getting back to basics. Real food. Start there. The entry door to most grocery stores leads you right into the produce aisle. There's a good reason for that! Our plates should be mostly filled with vegetables. And with so many to choose from, you'll never get bored!
We're overthinking it.
Consider this...most diets promoted for health–that come from reputable sources–include some good advice about what to eat. While there are points of differentiation, most of them do recommend eating more fruits, vegetables, and fiber. Many recommend less meat and dairy. And some recommend limiting sugar and salt. That's all good advice. But eating has become so overly prescriptive that we're forced to overthink and analyze. And when we overthink, we become paralyzed. When we're paralyzed, we avoid making decisions. If we avoid making decisions, we can stay right where we are, in our comfort zone where things feel easy and familiar. Change doesn't have to be complicated, but it does mean facing some resistance.
Change can be hard...at first.
And then it's not! Changes that stick become habits. Habits that take hold become lifestyles. Lifestyles become a way of life. So eating well can become a way of life if you give yourself a chance to work through the natural resistance we all have to change. This is where your "why" comes in to motivate you. Why are you seeking change? The desire to feel as good as you can for as long as you can is a big one. Maybe you want to reduce or avoid medications. Healthy eating can mean having more energy and being more active. Eating well can improve the odds that you'll be around to see the grandkids grow up or that you'll fulfill your purpose. Could be that the connection between compassion for animals and the planet is why you want to eat a healthier, plant-based diet. Your "why" is your lifeline. Identifying it means you can use it to pull you through the resistance to changes you might be trying to make.
Think more, not less.
If you've thought about changing your diet, you've probably felt the fear of deprivation. Our minds immediately turn to the things we think we can't have instead of what we can have. That's a deprivation mindset and it keeps us from our goal. Try considering a "more" philosophy if this fear is holding you back. If you want to eat well, you'll need to eat more foods that are good for you. Simple, right? Imagine your plate. Imagine crowding out portions of refined or processed foods to make room for more fruits and vegetables. Using an abundance mindset sets the stage for positive feelings which then leads to success.
Don't forget the secret ingredient...grace!
Our eating habits are rife with long-held beliefs, associations, and traditions. Few people see long-term success by making drastic changes all at once. Give yourself the grace to proceed at your own pace, to explore, evolve, and yes, to have setbacks. No one is coming to judge you. There are no "plant police" surveilling your shopping cart or dinner table. Don't make perfect the enemy of the good.
So how do you start?
Consider your "why". Be curious. Try new things. Make mistakes. Involve your family or friends. But keep at it, one day and one bite at a time! And if you want some support, join our monthly cooking club and cook good food with people who are exploring, just like you!