How Changing My Diet Changed My Life

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reclaiming my body

Each day we face life choices that affect our health on every level: “Should I eat that oatmeal cookie filled with gluten and artificial flavoring, or pay double the price for the organic health bar that’s potentially the same price as my train fare home.”

If you live in New York City, you get it. Those were the decisions I had to make some years back before I started reaping the endless benefits of living a plant-based lifestyle. Living holistically has not only helped me recover from binge eating, it has restored the power of awareness and mindfulness in my daily life, which in turn, has brought me much clarity and happiness. I am well aware that not everyone has a piqued interest in living a plant-based lifestyle and I wholeheartedly respect your decision. My only hope is that my experience will strike a chord, and ring true for you to educate yourself on the extreme benefits of leading a clean and holistic life. I’ve outlined a few practical tips for anyone interested and/or on their magical journey of adopting a plant-based lifestyle.

  1. THINK POSITIVE — Having a preconceived idea of what you think isn’t going to work is a sure way to guarantee failure. Everyone’s experience is different whether they are transitioning to plant-based living or engaging in a new sport so I encourage you to keep an open mind and stay positive.
  2. THE CRAVINGS ARE REAL — You might experience sugar and caffeine cravings as your body goes through the natural detoxification process. I would opt for foods high in protein when these cravings occur such as hard-boiled eggs, or a handful of nuts ( almonds, walnuts, pecans).
  3. STAY HYDRATED — I cannot stress this enough. Be sure to drink loads of water to help facilitate a smooth transition, especially if you are active. Water, water, water.
  4. COOK YOUR OWN FOOD — You will save yourself a lot of agony (and coins) if you cook your meals yourself. I recommend steaming or baking your veggies as it’ll be easier for your body to digest. Our bodies work really hard to break down our food, so eating raw veggies in the infant stages of your transition can be harder on your digestive system.
  5. REFLECT — Dig deep, ask yourself why you’re making this lifestyle change, get clear on your goals and write them down. Whether the goal is to kick a sugar habit, advocate for animal rights, or eliminating health ailments, the key is to get clear on the goal so you can better execute them.
  6. SEEK SUPPORT — I was lucky enough to have already had a few seasoned Vegetarian/Vegan friends in my life that helped me transition smoothly, however, I am aware that not everyone has that so I encourage you to seek a community of people living holistically. Not into group chats? No problem. I would then research a holistic practitioner or herbalist in your area who can properly guide you and extend a helping hand on a personal level.
  7. PATIENCE — Changing my diet has opened my heart and mind in more ways than one. It’s helped me become more aware of what I invite into my space (mind, body, and soul). Mindfulness means staying firmly grounded in the moment and being aware of your surroundings and feelings. Doing so, I’ve become aware of what I ingest and that has instilled the patience I think we all need to have in order to lead a happy and healthy lifestyle.

We live in a culture where the simple act of being healthy is classified as “too difficult,” so I asked myself, “How could I shift the narrative and help change the unhealthy culture we live into one that supports well being and promotes optimum health through nutrition?” I dug deep and got clear with myself. I realized the only way I could do that was through education and experience. Leading by example is the best way to live and when you’re happy with yourself and your decisions in life, people will follow. I truly believe that learning how food directly affects how our mind and body functions are the most powerful tool any of us can have. It’s been proven time and time again that food is medicine and it is meant to cure us from the inside out, so let’s take care of the vehicle we use most often.

All my love,
Shani