If you are transitioning to a plant based diet - start slowly, if you can. When eating a whole foods, plant based diet, we naturally/easily consume a LOT more fiber. As omnivores, even as vegetarians, it can be a challenge to get the RDA recommended fiber intake per day (25g for women, 38g for men). I remember being quite challenged to eat enough fiber and imagine my surprise when I realized I was getting over 200% recommended fiber after switching to a plant based diet!
Fiber is important because it helps maintain healthy digestion and regular bowel movements, it lowers cholesterol, helps us feel fuller longer, helps control blood sugar and is good for heart health. But shocking your system with an abundance of fiber suddenly can result in painful gas, bloating, even constipation. Slowly increasing your fiber intake as you transition to a plant based diet may lessen these symptoms as your body has time to adjust to increased fiber intake.
In the long run, it's worth it. You are making a shift that benefits your health overall as well as the health of the planet and well-being of the animals.
When you realize you are living out a pattern or habit from your past, you can change it. You really can! These patterns can make us feel miserable, lonely, depressed - but they are constructs we created to help us navigate pain and difficulties we experienced in our past, especially as children. Having awareness is the first step. Recognize that this is a habit, one created out of necessity, perhaps even survival. Next plan a new action and then take it. For example, if you feel left out or alone or have a tendency to isolate, then go for a walk, take a class or play some loud music and dance wildly. Just taking a new action can be a powerful step in shifting your habit, and how you feel about yourself.
Take a moment now to plan your action step. The next time you feel that old habit stepping forward, stop and change directions, practice your new habit. Practice embracing the present moment fully and enjoying this moment in time.
On social media, January is also known as Veganuary - a month with lots of promotion to try a vegan or plant based diet. What's the difference?
Eating plant based means incorporating more plants into your diet and replacing animal products with plant based options. Instead of that piece of chicken perhaps having a serving of white beans or tofu. I view someone who is consciously incorporating more veggies and eating less animal products to be plant based. It's a spectrum. Perhaps you start by replacing one meal each day with fruits & veggies or one day each week. For many of us, starting slowly can result in more lasting results.
Veganism is a lifestyle where one does not purchase or consume animal products. This means avoiding anything that comes from an animal including leather and wool. If you are just getting started with veganism, please do not take this to mean that you should get rid of all animal products! I'm an advocate of using what you have. It's more sustainable and better for the environment. In fact, if you have a good pair of leather boots, by all means wear them! Likely they can be repaired and will last far longer than vegan leather alternatives. Again, start slowly and build into this lifestyle. Increasing your awareness of what is in various products and making the best choice for you can go a long way.
Stay tuned as I will be offering more tips on making the switch to plant based this month.
Keep this in mind when you find yourself in a struggle this year...
"Challenge doesn't come to small people. Challenge comes to great people." - Yogi Bhajan
If you are making the switch to being more plant based this year, rest assured you can make healthy choices and save money too. It does take some planning and creating space to cook, but the end result is a filling, delicious and nutritious meal, even on a budget. I love that we have so many options now between mock meats, vegan cheeses and dips, you can essentially replace the animal with the vegan version very easily. Unfortunately, these items tend to be processed and pricey. I like to keep some of these products on hand as a go to when I'm in a pinch, but don't rely on them regularly.
Instead, I keep a stash of prepared beans, dried lentils, tofu and tempeh on hand as well as a variety of grains and fresh veggies so I can whip something together quickly or get creative and try new combinations. I also keep fruit, nut butter, dark chocolate and a jar of mixed nuts and seeds on hand as my go to snacks. I try to keep nuts in my purse when I know I'll be out for awhile so I can have a handful if I get hungry.
Here are a few tips to eat plat based on a budget:
1. Be Impeccable with Your Word
2. Don't Take Anything Personally
3. Don't Make Assumptions
4. Always Do Your Best
This book by Don Miguel Ruiz is a game changer, it's one I keep on my desk and reference regularly It offers a practical code for how to live life and be in relationship with others. Just reading this list is a powerful reminder for how I want to communicate and live my life.
Some time ago I shared how I was pruning and propagating my house plants. Several weeks later, I find myself marveling at how beautifully they are growing. It's a lesson in how cutting back (or cutting off) creates both space and energy for growth. It can be ugly at first, but when growth takes place its unstoppable.
This morning I learned of the death of a woman that my husband and I met 12 or 13 years ago. We met and spent time with her and her husband on a trip that we were all on in Lake Tahoe. She was so warm and open, with a huge smile and caring way. She took us under her wing inviting us along on a boating trip, taking us out of our comfort zone and our tendency to be alone together. In our time together, she put me at ease.
It's amazing how a short encounter can be so impactful and how learning of her passing brought back so many memories of that time. I feel grateful to have known her and I send my prayers for her peaceful transition and for her family. In Kundalini Yoga, we chant Akaal Akaal Akaal when someone passes away to help guide their soul as it transitions from the body. It is a beautiful and loving practice. Here is one of my favorite versions to listen or chant to.
At our New Year's Day event at Urban Yoga Chicago, we wrote on a piece of paper, something we wanted to let go of as we head into the new year. We then burned the paper and wrote one intention for the year. In effect, letting go of what no longer serves us and replacing it with something that does. I participated in a similar ceremony in November where we burned something we want to let go of. A few months later, I feel like this has been a very effective tool in letting go. I burned worry. Whenever I see a glimmer of worry in my life, I remind myself that I let it go and shift my focus to something I am passionate about. It's an immediate shift and takes little effort. It's a retraining of the brain and old patterns.
It's not too late, we are only into the new year by one week, but this can be practiced at any time. Simply write down, on a small piece of paper what you want to let go of. Thank it and say goodbye! Light it (over the kitchen sink is a good place) and watch it burn away. Now, create a new intention to replace it. Whenever the old thought pops up, remind yourself you let it go and refocus on your intention. You can be the master of your own mind and of your life. Happy living!
Saying no can be difficult. I like to say yes - to myself and others, but sometimes I find that saying yes stretches me too thin. When we say yes to things that we aren't sure about or aren't passionate about, it can actually get in the way of what we really want to be doing with our time. Time is so precious and we get to choose how we want to spend our time every day. Are you doing what you want to be doing or what you feel obligated to do? Saying no to what you don't want to do can create space in your life so that you can live and be in your passion. It reminds me of a story Marianne Williamson told when she wanted to attract a partner, and couldn't figure out why she was so challenged by it. Then she looked at how she was living, and she realized she slept in the middle of the bed, parked in the middle of the garage and her clothes filled the closet. Where was the space for another person to share life with? So she created space and found herself able to attract who she desired. I remind myself of this story when I find myself wanting to say yes to something, but truly not having the time or capacity for it. It's frustrating! So while saying no can be difficult, it can also be tremendously liberating! It's okay to say no. Reasons or excuses are often not needed, just a simple and kind no thank you. Take comfort in those no's knowing you are creating space for all of the yes's you desire.
I am an animal loving-Vegan runner, I practice and teach Kundalini Yoga and I love to cook and eat flavorful plant-based food.