Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Are You Interested or Committed?

The distinction between interest and commitment is what I believe separates people who are able to reach their health goals and those who do not. I have avoided talking about this for a while because I knew that those who haven’t yet made it to commitment may find my comments to be upsetting. Since I don’t like to upset people I avoided this topic. However it occurred to me yesterday that by avoiding this topic I was doing exactly what frustrates me when other people do it. How many times have you heard me get upset by doctors who won’t advocate a diet like ours to their patients because they knew the patients wouldn’t do it? Well isn’t my avoiding this topic similar to what those doctors don't do? *sigh* Oh well at least I figured it out eventually.

When you read this please try to do so with an open mind. Ask yourself are you interested or are you committed.  If you fall into the interested category starting thinking about what you can do to move toward commitment. I will be giving you concrete ideas for that during the month of January. However I wanted to introduce the concept now so that we can all be thinking about it for a few days before my “31 Days to Better Health” starts January 1st. *woo hoo*

People often tell me that they would “love to be able to do what we have done” as if relates to our health. They seem to be genuinely interested in our weight loss, Dan’s dramatic drop in cholesterol and blood pressure, and the fact that neither of us seems to pick up colds or flu now. But often in the next breath they usually tell me why they can’t do what we do themselves. It usually goes something like this: “My husband would never eat like you and Dan, I don’t have time to cook, my kids would revolt, and my personal favorite I need to entertain clients for work.” Are all of these true? On some level I am sure they are true. However these are also problems which have solutions. The difference between their life and mine literally comes down to this, they are interested in better health but they are not committed to better health. Let me explain what I mean.

For years I wanted to lose weight and to feel like I did when I was in my 20’s but I had every excuse in the book why it didn’t happen. I would try a new diet at least once a year, frequently more often. As long as I was enjoying the results of this new diet I stuck with it, after all who doesn’t like results? However if I hit a weight plateau I dropped the diet like a hot potato and always returned to my old habits and in short order and my weight was back where it was before I began the diet. The reason I was so quick to go back to my old habits is that I was interested in losing weight, but I was not committed to improving my health. Back in the day I thought that weight loss was synonymous with better health. Isn’t it amazing how far I have come? LOL

However a funny thing happened when I decided that my focus was my health not my weight. Now I had something much bigger in mind. Instead of being interested in a short term result (like weight loss) I saw the big picture and I was committed to achieving the best health that was possible now. Do you see the difference? The things that I do now are just part of my life rather than temporary changes until I reach some arbitrary number on the scale.

Now when I encounter a challenging situation, like going out to dinner with Dan I know that isn’t going to derail my healthy behavior. I have a very simple rule that I follow. I make the best choice that I can in that moment and this changes based on what is available, who I am with and my mood. Let’s look at dinner on Monday night as an example so you see what I mean.

Dan wanted to go out to dinner and having the night off from kitchen duty sounded very appealing to me so we went out to eat. While I love Asian food (particularly veggie sushi) but I also know that comes with white rice and too much sodium. However I also know that we both enjoy it and that getting pleasure in life is good for the soul. I gently encouraged my hubby to order a veggie dish of napa cabbage, carrots and mushrooms with brown rice which would have been much healthier than the faux duck which was what he really wanted. In the end we went with the faux duck which at least came with a variety of veggies. Since the faux duck in tofu based, and not fried, it wasn’t a bad choice just not the optimal one from a nutritional perspective. However the faux duck made Dan happy and this is also important. In the end our dinner was healthier than what I was seeing people around us order, we both enjoyed it and we left the restaurant feeling satisfied but not stuffed since we split our entree entrée.

Now I am sure some of you are thinking that it is much easier for me to eat this way since my husband goes along with it and yours won’t. I will agree with you that it does make my life a little easier, but I also have a solution to that challenge. If my husband insisted on eating meat I would make dishes that would work for both of us. For example I would make veggie lo mein and add some shrimp or chicken to his portion. What about pasta with tomato veggie sauce for you with meatballs and/or cheese added to his plate? Do you see how that could work? The same things could apply to your children. Another plan would be to find veggie dishes that the entire family likes and work those into your meal rotation. Coexisting with meat eaters doesn’t have to mean two entirely different meals. However you will need to be a little creative until this way of cooking becomes second nature to you. Please know that in a few short weeks you will get the hang of making meals that can be both vegan and omni with a few tweaks. If you need suggestions feel free to ask, I am happy to help.

What about the "I don’t have time to cook problem"? If you aren’t willing to make time to cook what that tells me is that you aren’t committed to your health. We all have to eat, it isn’t an optional activity. When we buy packaged food or take out all the time we have given the task of feeding us over to someone whose motivation is to make money. These people are not interested in our health they are interested in their profits. They prepare what sells, and what sells is food that is harming all of us. As you can tell I really don’t think anyone can be optimally healthy unless they are willing to get into the kitchen and prepare the vast majority of their meals. Sure if you have a big pile of money you can hire a personal chef, eat a lot of salads with the dressing on the side, or spend a lot of time at your local juice bar. But for most people that is going to be cost prohibitive and other than the personal chef it is going to be more time consuming than getting into the kitchen to cook.

You may think that I spend a lot of time cooking but I actually don’t. Every other day I pressure cook 2 cups of dried beans. Those beans are used to make soup and some of them are saved to add to salads. While the beans are cooking I typically make some sort of whole grain to either add to the soup, salad or to serve under cooked veggies for a main dish. While the beans and whole grains are cooking I am often roasting mushrooms and onions to add to our salads since mushrooms and onions are so healthy. We either have green smoothies or oatmeal for breakfast, a soup or veggie and grain entrée for lunch, and frequently a salad for dinner. I spend on average 30 minutes cooking per day or less. Can’t we all find 30 minutes to spend in the kitchen cooking healthy food for ourselves and our families?

In my mind the difference between being interested and committing comes down to “would you like to be healthy, or are you going to be healthy”. Dan and I don’t want to be as healthy as we can be; we are going to be as healthy as we can be! The difference between interest and commitment is literally all in our minds and our attitudes. Any of us can achieve our best health possible if that is what we decide is most important. So, are you ready to commit to having your healthiest year ever? I hope so! :-)


Today we were back to our usual routine. *sigh* My morning was spent making breakfast for Dan (a big chocolate cherry and kale smoothie), packing his lunch (split pea soup, salad, roasted seaweed, Brazil nuts, and dried Asian pears), and making green tea with grapefruit and cinnamon for us both.

I had planned to get outside early in the morning to get my cardio in before the rain started but the weather people were wrong. It was raining by a little after 9am so cardio had to be inside affair today. I really prefer exercising outside, even when it is cold, but cold rain is enough to keep my inside. Thank goodness we have exercise equipment at home so I don’t need to run to the gym on days like this.

Once Dan left for work I did my morning reading in “The Book of Awakening”, checked in with some friends by text and started cleaning. Wow … do I have a lot of cleaning to do. Things really get backed up when you just skim the surface for a month. I don’t know why my cats aren’t bald given all the cat hair I have to clean up. ;-) I am not sure that I am going to be finished by Friday afternoon but that is still my goal.

I started another batch of pizza nuts in the dehydrator. This time I added ground flaxseed to the mix to see what that does to the texture of the finished nuts. I know it will add nutrition so I am hoping we like what it is does to the coating. *fingers crossed*

It became very clear to me that I had too much dinner Monday night when I didn’t get hungry for breakfast until almost 11am. I made a pot of quinoa (some for my breakfast and leftovers for tomorrow) and topped that with a Mexican-spiced red bean and tomato soup. After breakfast it was back to cleaning. This is the going to be the story of my life this week.

I also made time to listen to some audio recordings on nutrition and health while I cleaned. You probably guessed that I am prone to multitasking didn’t you? ;-)

So that I wasn’t wasting time I also starting soaking some dried mushrooms during the afternoon so that they would be ready to make a nice mushroom sauce as part of dinner tonight. Dried mushrooms are very handy to have because they are easy to rehydrate and don’t require any attention while they are doing so. I love low maintenance food. While I haven’t mentioned it recently I do make it a point to consume mushrooms often, and preferably every day. Mushrooms are not only delicious and low in calories but they help to stimulate the immune system. Also they are wonderful cooked and added cold to salad, or incorporated into hot dishes.

Our friend Louis bought us some wonderful fresh Italian truffles for Christmas. Louis knows that I adore truffles and since they are available this time of you he splurges in the spirit of the holiday season. For dinner I made a mushroom sauce of the dried mushrooms, the mushroom soaking liquid, ground walnuts, onions, nutritional yeast and just enough arrowroot to tighten the sauce. I served this over cauliflower and a little quinoa and topped it with shavings of fresh truffle. Heaven! Thanks Louis. :-)

After dinner Dan wanted to watch a movie which is why I didn’t get this post up last night. It was probably for the best since having extra time is the reason that I added the section on interested or committed to this post.

Happy Thoughts:

Life Tuesday was very odd with the all day rain and being home by myself for the first time in a month. The house was beyond very quiet. However being by myself also meant that I was able to focus on getting some things accomplished which makes me happy.

• It was nice to have some time to check in on my friends by text. A few of my friends aren’t feeling well so I wanted to make certain that they knew I cared. It is always good to let those you are important to you know that. As my grandmother used to say if you want more love in your life you need to be more loving to others. My grandmother was a wise woman wasn’t she? ;-)

• I am very excited to see how my revised pizza nuts turn out with the addition of ground flaxseeds. I am hopeful that this nutritionally improved version will be just as good as the original. *fingers crossed*

• Today I have been thinking a lot about my intentions for 2012. I have a number of areas that I want to improve next year. I prefer to think of my plans as intentions rather than resolutions since those never seem to come to pass. I have some exciting plans for the year (well I think they are exciting) which I will be sharing with you. :-) Have you starting thinking about your plans for next year?

• I believe in coincidence/premonition. Out of the blue I decided to check my library account to make certain the dozen items I returned Monday night were off my account and for the first time ever one of them was still there. I called the library right away; they located the item, apologized and removed it from my account. What made me confirm the books were all properly recorded as returned I have no idea. It wasn’t as though this had ever happened before. Isn’t it odd how these little coincidences creep into our lives? I wish I knew how and why they happened. But it is a good reminder to me that life isn’t always just the things we see and understand. ;-)

• We had a delicious dinner at home last night with fresh truffles which was such a treat. Since we don’t have truffles at home often I really relish them when we have them. You are the best Louis. :-)

• After dinner we watched an older movie “Big Night” which is about two Italian brothers who come to America to open a restaurant. If you know about Italian culture you will enjoy this movie. When one of the brothers calls a customer a criminal for ordering risotto with a side of pasta I could not stop laughing. We thought it was a good movie, but we also understood why most people wouldn’t enjoy it.

• I am very excited about my “31 Days to Better Health” which will start January first. I have been working on the topics for a few days and I think it is going to be a great month for all of us. I hope many of you will be in the mood to join me in making some healthy changes next month. We will be working on defining success, setting goals, changing our attitudes about food and other fun things. Of course there will also be healthy food in our month too.

Signing out:

What a great Wednesday so far! I have been very productive so far today which always feels wonderful. While I miss having my hubby at home I am also enjoying crossing items off my to-do list. I have really been enjoying working on my month of posts for January which I am going to get back to now. I hope your week is going well and that you are looking forward to another long holiday weekend. Let’s all make 2012 our happiest and healthiest year yet. :-)  If you have any suggestions on areas we should work on next month please either comment here or send me an email. Talk with you again tomorrow!


  1. It's great to be reading your posts again! I strive to be committed to good health, but sometimes I make too many this past week, when I was around people that are barely interested, let alone committed! I'm looking forward to your 31-day program and will tell my family and friends about it.

  2. After nearly two years of battling my children it became clear that my insisting they eat a vegan diet was doing more harm then good. Because they refused to eat entire food groups there were too many holes in their diets. My ten year old was becoming withdrawn calling herself a weirdo. After an ugly incident at my mom's house I decided to let it go. I now make them separate meals. I struggle with that decision because I see meat and cheese as position now and to serve it to my kids makes me feel guilty. If that makes me less then committed then so be it, I can't watch my family be torn by food.

  3. Nice to see you posting regularly again - glad to hear you guys had a nice holiday!

    Do you ever find yourself confused, or do you feel like you know enough you can separate the wheat from the chaf? I recently read "Wheat Belly", which is pretty anti anything grain.

    I know why so many people get confused and give up!

    Happy new year!

  4. Happy Holidays Laura!

    Exceptions are easy to make, I did the same thing for years. Reading all the mainstream advice regarding eating in moderation definitely backfired on us. I know what you mean about being around others who aren't interested, they are definitely everywhere. *sigh*

    Yay, I hope you like what I have planned for January. I think it will be good. *fingers crossed* ;-)


  5. Imperfections,

    I didn't intend to indicate that we had control over anyone but ourselves. My comment was not to use others peoples poor habits as a reason why we can't take better care of ourselves. You are clearly troubled by what you children eat and I am very sorry about that. Hopefully as they mature and learn more they will migrate toward a better diet on their own.


  6. Happy Holidays Neca,

    Thanks, it is good to be back. I was having online withdrawal. LOL

    In the beginning I found myself to be in a constant state of confusion. There is so much "conflicting information" that it would make anyone's head spin. However, after many years of immersing myself in nutrition I feel like I finally have a handle on it. Not to scare you but it took me a good 5 years to get here. It was a long road but definitely worth it.

    I have found that many, but not all, raw food people seem to spread inaccurate information. If you have any specific questions feel free to email mail so we can talk about them.

    I hope you had a wonderful holiday!


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