Thursday, May 12, 2011

Plant-Strong Success Tip #9: Become an Expert

Let's face it, eating healthy can be a bit challenging at first if your taste buds are accustomed to the standard American diet. Every day, at least 3 times a day, you will be faced with making a decision about what you are going to put into your mouth and body. In one month alone, that's at least 90 decisions.

I know that every day when I wake up, it is still a decision to make and eat a green smoothie for breakfast. Oftentimes, a little part of me just wants to grab a bowl of cereal, which doesn't have nearly the nutritional sustenance of my green smoothie. Once in a while, that lazy part of me wins out, but 90% of the time, I grab the spinach, celery, parsley, grapes, flax seed, etc. and start filling up my blender.

How did I make the switch in my brain from choosing easier, less healthy food to making better, more nutritious food more than 90% of the time?

It's pretty simple. Over the course of about a year, I read and watched everything I could get my hands on that related to a plant based diet. And I keep reading and watching to this day.

It started with reading Dr. Fuhrman's Eat to Live and Dr. Esselstyn's Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease and it has no end in sight. Movies like FORKS over KNIVES and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. Television shows like the BBC's You Are What You Eat and our own The Biggest Loser provided me with incredible inspiration to change my life. Blogs like Happy Healthy Long Life and Fat Free Vegan are still a part of my everyday life. Participation in plant-strong challenges at Whole Foods and memberships in Dr. Fuhrman's Member Center continue to enrich my life.

What's my point?

You've got to become an inspired, educated plant-strong person if you want this to work for you. Period. It's your life and your responsibility. No one is going to make this happen for you. Simply reading one book on the subject is not enough. Every book I have read contributed to my deeper and deeper understanding of the subject. And as I became more and more knowledgeable about how food affected my health and my mind, it made it easier and easier to make better choices every day, three times a day. And it will for you too. Give it a chance.

I encourage you to get educated and inspired. Check out Healthy Girl's Kitchen's new Amazon store for a complete listing of all of the great resources that have inspired me. All of the proceeds from sales at my store go to support Healthy Girl's Kitchen.

Do you agree or disagree with this tip? Why?

If you have found inspiration to become plant-strong, where did it come from?


JL goes Vegan said...

Yep, I definitely agree. Knowledge is power. When I decided to go vegan I read an incredible number of books, magazine articles and food blogs. I needed to understand how to make this work nutritionally-- and to make it work deliciously. Great tip!

Jill in Chicago said...

Hi Wendy,
I definitely agree with this tip! Reading definitely keeps me inspired (as does "watching" -- there have been times when I watched the Forks Over Knives trailer for a little extra encouragement.)

And speaking of FOK, as I was watching the Chicago premiere the other night, I thought about how fortunate I was to already have a base knowledge of plant-based eating and recipes due to all of the blogs I read. Yours was one of the first I started readign after a comment you posted on DiseaseProof, and you introduced me to the Engine 2 Diet and Whole Foods Challenges.

THANK YOU for all you've done already and continue to do to provide inspiration!

Jill in Chicago said...

One final comment -- I was at Wrigley Field last night and tried one of the new food items they added this year -- a veggie chopped salad. I was expecting a salad similar to ones at fast-food restaurants but it was actually an AMAZING mix of goodness, including spinach, chickpeas, steamed asparagus and kalmata olives. It cost the same as a personal pizza.

How awesome is that? I hope other ball parks across the country have similar items available.

Amy said...

I agree. I think reading and getting educated as well as getting inspired is always a good thing. I am just starting my journey towards healthy eating and am finding it tough to maintain my desire to eat healthy, but I try to read others blogs and get inspired by both the recipes and their stories. My next step is to start reading some more books like the ones that you recommend!

Wendy said...

Jill-love the salad story!

Thank you everyone for sharing!

Sindy said...

First of all Wendy, let me say WOW to the new "after" pic. You look like a million bucks. Second, I love learning about plant-based nutrition - the more I learn, the more committed I am. And, finding support in a community like this one helps a lot.

dega96 said...

Hi Wendy,
I totally agree. Being informed about how food effects our bodies and our minds does help us make the tough decisions. I have found that it can be difficult to devote time to research, so blogs like yours are such a huge help. This is a little off topic, but I'm wondering what role exercise plays in your weight loss.

Wendy (Healthy Girl) said...

Dega96-I am going to address the subject of exercise in about a week. It's one of my Top Ten Tips for Plant Strong Success!

Healthy Librarian said...

Hi Wendy,

Excellent series! Love your step-by-step cheerleading.

Thank you so much for the shout-out & including me on your short list of blogs you still read--especially with so many out there.

Shared an amazing plant-based smorgasbord with friends last night at the Greenhouse. (but, not exactly no-oil--I'm still feeling full!) Have you been there recently?

Truly exciting innovative plant-based cooking!

Virtually Vegan Mama said...

great post Wendy! I could't agree more =)


emptynestnotreally said...

Hi Wendy - I enjoy your enthusiasm and honesty! I'm just a bit older than you - and have great intentions but....What specifically do you get out of the Furhman program - I don't want to sign up for another something that I just pay the money for and then don't that gym membership?
smiles mary

Wendy said...

Here are a list of things that I get out of being a member of Dr. Fuhrman online.
(1) A Dr. Fuhrman "approved" recipe in my inbox every day. This may not seem like a big deal, but it helps me to stay on the straight and narrow with my food choices. There are so many interesting vegan options out there and they are not all healthy. I trust Dr. Fuhrman's theories so the ingredients that he allows into the recipes posted on his site are "okay" for me. So much of what is available is really a distortion of what is healthy. It's a difficult thing to navigate at times.
(2) If you are struggling, there is a community of people to talk to online in the member site.
(3) talk about becoming an expert! There are countless talks that you can download and listen to on so many subjects related to food, health and nutrition. Anything that you have a question about, it is answered somewhere in the site.

And that is just what I have taken advantage of so far--and I'm sure I have just scratched the surface.

Jill in Chicago said...

Hi Wendy,
I'm about to invest in my first bag of chia seeds and want to make sure I store them properly (I'm not sure if they can go turn rancid like flax seeds.) Do you keep yours in the cupboard, fridge or freezer?

I asked Kath this same question in her comments and she said she stores hers in her dark, cool basement. But sadly, I live in an apartment.

Any advice you can give would be appreciated :)

Anonymous said...

Great advice, THANKS!

Wendy (Healthy Girl) said...

Jill-I don't keep my chia seeds in the freezer and I don't imagine that you should. You want to avoid any contact with moisture until you are ready to make something with them. A cool dark pantry or cupboard is perfect.

Catherine Hansen Peart said...

I am so happy to have found your blog. My husband and I recently have been attempting to become plant strong after reading 'The China Study'. We are aiming for a vegan diet but have found it hard going changing over totally (not to mention our kids). Looking forward to reading everything you have here.

Blogging tips