TACTICS & TOOLS FOR SUCCESS!
Expect to eat a lot – much more (in volume) than you do now, and probably at least twice as often.
This is normal and necessary. Once your body begins getting the nutrients it needs, it is going to start sending you very strong signals to “eat, eat, eat!” to make up for prior nutrient deficits. Always remember to eat when you’re hungry, even if you just ate 30 minutes or an hour ago. This is how your body will repair itself, and it is also your most powerful safeguard against binging on foods that won’t bring wholeness and life to your body.
Crave consistency, not perfection.
Don’t obsess about mis-steps and excessive “cheats and treats.” Just aim for greater and greater progress every day, knowing that your results will be more than commensurate with your actions.
It’s consistency that matters, and the body responds so overwhelmingly to nutritional abundance that a glitch here or there will make little difference.
(A notable exception is sugar addiction: For many sugar addicts, absolute and sustained abstinence from all sugars other than fruit sugars in their natural state is absolutely necessary for peace of mind and freedom from cravings. You’ll learn more about this in one of the upcoming Strategies.)
Experiment with your veggies.
Make varieties of stir fry, playing with the flavors and textures; create hearty, vegetable-rich stews, and invent your own, unique vegetable casseroles, with whole grains and lots of delicious spices.
Spice up your life.
Make the most of the abundance of herbs and seasonings available to you, revving up the milder vegetables with sautéed onions, garlic and peppers. Try a little of this, a little of that, and have fun! (Most herbs and seasonings are rich sources of powerful phyto-chemicals (you could call these nourishing and protective “mini-nutrients”).
Get smoothies. (They’re so much better for you than milk!)
Make smoothies in your blender with bananas and soymilk as the base, flavoring them with other frozen fruits and vanilla. Throw in some fresh baby spinach or sweet carrots for super-nutrition. (I recommend you choose just one or the other: you won’t even taste it.)
I’m completely addicted to smoothies, and I can almost guarantee you’ll love them! (Especially when your body is free of “magic foods” and their influence. Again, you’ll learn more about them in an upcoming Strategy.)
You can make fruit slushes, instead of smoothies, by simply leaving out the banana and soymilk and using water to liquefy the fruit, instead. (Bananas are what give whole-food smoothies their creamy texture.)
Eat at least one giant salad a day!
To get outstanding results sooner and build a hugely-beneficial habit for life, have a nice big salad before at least one meal every day (two would be better!). Make sure it’s deeply and brilliantly colorful (greens and oranges), for maximum nutrient impact.
Discover new, flavorful recipes.
Buy a vegan cookbook and commit to trying out at least 3-4 recipes that sound like they might be delicious. Even if you’re still eating some meat now and then, you’ll learn a lot and discover some dishes that will become favorites.
Search for “vegetarian” and “vegan” recipes on the internet and have a field day. (There are so many great ones out there, including many that are designed to come together quickly and easily!)
Create some new favorites.
Take a bit of time to create what lifestyle coach John Allen Mollenhauer calls “Your Top Ten,” ten new favorite foods to replace your old “go-to” meals. Before long, making them will become as easy and automatic as creating your old, unhealthy favorites is now.
My Ten Favorite Whole-Food Meals (All my own, personal creations, except for Vegetarian chili)
- Vegetarian chili with half a yellow potato and a salad
- Tofu stir-fry with lots of veggies and brown rice
- Veggie stew (pureed tomatoes, rich seasonings, rice & frozen veggies)
- Herb-roasted potatoes with steamed spinach and carrots
- Steel-cut oatmeal (with stevia and soymilk) and fruit salad
- Baked sweet potato, sautéed broccoli and baked butternut squash
- Green beans with onions, brown rice and herb-roasted sweet potato
- Kidney bean salad (spinach & romaine lettuce, carrots & kidney beans)
- Steamed mixed veggies, couscous and a smoothie
- Tofu-rice-veggie casserole created with whatever’s available and/or left over!
Connect with other people who are into a whole-food lifestyle.
Consider joining a vegetarian group and participating in their potlucks or post a note on Craig’s List (www.craigslist.org), asking for someone to help you discover and learn great whole-food recipes.
You may even make a supportive new friend, as you make your transition. (Whole-food people tend to be loving, compassionate, intelligent types.) Just be wise and follow smart online safety guidelines.
Start now, by reading books from my Recommended Resources list and others you find in the Health or Wellness (not necessarily “Dieting”) section of your bookstore. You’ll learn a lot more about the science behind this Strategy and you’ll get some great tools and recipes to help you put it into practice even more easily and enjoyably!
(Just one note: remember to look for recurring themes and don’t worry when one author contradicts another’s opinion on a point here and there. Over time, you’ll become an educated consumer of health and wellness information, more than able to make anxiety-free informed decisions about your own best path to wholeness and wellness.)
Navigate restaurant eating with confidence.
Simply create a meal from whole food sides like a double order of the vegetable of the day (“Please hold the butter!”), a baked potato, and a salad with vinaigrette. And don’t be afraid to ask for modifications to dishes, or just to request a dish be modified, when necessary.
You won’t be the first. You won’t be the last. (But do be liberal with your thanks and praise – and be sure you tip 25% to show your gratitude.)
Remember: withdrawal is temporary.
Part of filling your body with nutrient-dense food is not filling it with other kinds of food! Everyone is different, but expect the first few days of high-fat, high-sugar food withdrawal to present you with the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.”
These are change pangs, growing pains, and they’ll pass.
Cook ‘em right!
Try to eat as many of your veggies raw, steamed or stir-fried as possible – even bake them now and then (especially in winter). At the same time, limit boiling and draining them, as this siphons off nutrients. Finally, do your best to become microwave-free, as microwave cooking destroys almost all of the nutrient content of whole foods.
Accept that convenience can be key to your success.
Keep raw, prepared veggies in the fridge, ready for munching and salads. Also store frozen vegetables in the freezer, handy for quick soups, stir-frys and recipe inventions!
I keep individual servings of soups, whole-food casseroles, stews, vegetarian chili, and stir-frys in my freezer for fast, easy re-heating, as well. (Do it on top of the stove!)
Make friends with brown rice. (Especially on-hand!)
Consider keeping a rice cooker going on your kitchen counter, filled with hearty, warm whole brown rice.
Make regular trips to Paradise. (Your Farmer’s Market!)
Any time you can get to a farmers’ market, go! Be prepared to buy lots of delicious produce at great prices, much of it organic and absolutely singing with flavor.
Make the best available (“doable”) choice.
When you are in a situation in which you cannot procure whole food, and you need to eat, choose the best option available to you. (Try to plan ahead so this only happens rarely.) For example…
At a convenience store, get dried fruit and/or nuts, instead of a candy bar.
At a picnic with gooey barbeque, potato salad, cookies, cakes, and a lone green salad, fill up on salad, as much as possible and limit your consumption of the other foods.
At a catered business lunch, scrape off sauces and blot butter from your veggies discreetly on the side of your plate.
Then, don’t sweat it. We’re looking for progress, not perfection.
For those on the Rapid Reversal Track:
Immediately begin implementing the eating plan you’ll find in The Gentle 90-Day Detox, along with your whole-food commitment.
For those discovering Mastery Through Moderation:
Make two of your daily meals and all but one of your snacks “whole-food whole.”
Enjoy all of your meals and snacks “whole-food whole,” with an occasional cheat or treat (maybe every other day, or so).
Begin the Gentle 90-Day Detox.
For those taking the Gentle Transitions Path:
Make one of your daily meals and all but one of your snacks “whole food whole.”
Make two of your daily meals and all but one of your snacks “whole-food whole.”
Enjoy all of your meals and snacks whole-food whole, with an occasional cheat or treat (maybe every other day, or so).
Consider beginning the Gentle 90-Day Detox.
You can start your detox now, or simply continue to grow in your whole-food lifestyle until the time is right. You may even discover, as you review your food choices and progress with the other Strategies, that you are completing the Detox as a matter of course. (This is especially true for some passionate green-vegetable lovers.)