Blog, Herbal Remedies/Drinks, Recipes, Women's Hormonal Health

A Hormone Balancing Tea For Painful or Irregular Periods

A painful period is your body’s way of telling you something is off. If you are missing work or school because of a painful cycle, then something is wrong. Ideally, your period would sneak up on you with ninja stealth. No cramping, no bloating, no breast tenderness, no extreme fatigue. Your cycle would come every 28-35 days, and it would last 4-7 days.

If this doesn’t sound like your story, don’t panic. By implementing certain foods and supplements, as well as making certain lifestyle adjustments, you can and will get there.

Many women today are experiencing issues with abnormal periods because of something called Post Pill Syndrome. This takes place typically 4-6 months after quitting the birth control pill and symptoms include:

  • Menstrual irregularities including loss of menstruation, heavy menstruation, painful periods, and short cycles (less than 24 days).
  • Hormonal changes like infertility, hypothyroidism, hair loss, breast tenderness, acne, and adrenal dysfunction.
  • Migraines and headaches.
  • Changes in body composition like breast size, weight gain, or difficulty losing weight.
  • Mood disorders including anxiety and depression.
  • Digestive symptoms including bowel changes, digestive upset, gas, or bloating.
  • Inflammation and other immune imbalances.

But it is possible to balance your hormones. One way you can start balancing them today is by drinking this hormonal balancing tea. I personally found success with it when I discontinued the pill 10 years ago.

If you are currently suffering from any of the above symptoms, I encourage you to schedule your consultation with me today so we can get to the root of the problem. You shouldn’t have to suffer. Hormonal balance is achievable.

xxxxx

Health Coach Jenna

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Blog, Juices, Smoothies

Should You Juice or Should You Smoothie?

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I often get the question from clients whether they should be juicing or smoothie-ing.

And my answer is BOTH.

They both have their benefits, and they both have their time and place. It’s kind of like your date outfit and your work outfit. You wouldn’t want to wear you killer black dress that shows a bit of what your mama gave you to your work meeting, now would you? Well, same thing goes for juices and smoothies.

When to juice:

Juicing is great 30 minutes to an hour BEFORE you eat. Yes, eating real food is kind of important, that is why (unless you are on a juice fast, but to be honest I’m not a fan of those) you shouldn’t rely on juice for all of your nutrients.

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Juicing allows your body to soak nutrients directly into your bloodstream, as all the fiber has been removed. But because the fiber has been removed, the glycemic load is super high, meaning the sugar is quickly absorbed by your body and raises your blood sugar levels. That is why you often get a high after drinking a glass of juice. Because of this, juice can be (in moderation) a great alternative to caffeine. That said, you don’t want to juice all day long because it will keep your blood sugar levels up which can throw your hormones out of whack. Which brings me to another point, and it’s really important so listen up:

When juicing, you should focus on the veggies. Save the fruits for the smoothie or for a snack.

However, it is okay to juice a few low glycemic fruits to sweeten the taste of your veggie juice. The golden rule is 1 part fruit to 3 parts vegetable. An example would be an apple with celery, kale, lemon, beet, and ginger root (click HERE for a list of low glycemic fruits).

As for veggies to juice, think rainbow foods. I recommend as many dark green leafy vegetables as possible. Beets, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli stems, ginger root, and celery are excellent as well. Buy your produce fresh and juice within three days. A great way to keep your leafy greens fresh is to rinse right before consuming. Another trick is to line your refrigerator’s crisper drawer with paper towels to absorb excess moisture, which will keep them fresh longer.

Click HERE to read all the benefits of juicing.

Juice Recipes:

Cleansing Cucumber

Energy Zinger

Bloated Blues Beet

When to get your smoothie on:

Smoothies are great for meals. Eat one for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and if made correctly they can give you everything you need. Because you are blending, all the fiber stays in tact to your fruit and vegetables, so you are still getting all that precious fiber.

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Mint-Chocolate Chip Smoothie

Many times I have clients telling me they have a breakfast smoothie in the morning, but it just doesn’t fill them up. I ask them what they put in their smoothie, and the answer usually is something like this:

Lots of fruit, more fruit, dairy- free milk, ice.

Ummmm yeah. I can see why that is not filling you up. Plus, holy sugar! I’m sure they’re buzzing after their brekkie, but then crashing super hard after an hour.

To make a smoothie a well-rounded meal it needs these 5 things:

  • A healthy fat- Think avocado, almond butter, coconut oil.
  • Fiber- chia seeds, ground flax seeds, or a fiber powder.
  • Protein- I’m a fan of Vega Sport Vanilla, but there are tons on the market. Just make sure they are not full of franken- ingredients, soy and sugar.
  • Dairy free milk, water, or coconut water for the base
  • Greens!

*Bonus if you put something fermented in there like kefir or yogurt!

Smoothie Recipes:

Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Matcha Smoothie

Okay guys, now that you know what’s up in regards to smoothies and juices, start juicing and blending to your heart’s content! And remember, go green!

Xxxxxx

Health Coach Jenna

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Blog, Smoothies

High Performance Blueberry Smoothie

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I like to break my fasts with a meal loaded with healthy fats. One of my go to smoothies is this High Performance Blueberry Smoothie. It’s creamy and delicious, and has lots of protein and healthy fats to keep my body and brain fueled for hours, and my hormones balanced. Hello high performance ⚡️!

  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup coconut yogurt or kefir (no sugar added)
  • 1 cup dairy free milk
  • Handful of leafy greens
  • 1/4-1/2 avocado
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I use Vega Sport)
  • 1 tbs chia seeds
  • 1 tbs ground flax seeds
  • 1 tbs almond butter
  • Dash of cinnamon

Blend and top with blueberries and Lily’s sugar-free chocolate chips 😋

Enjoy!

Health Coach Jenna

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Blog, Women's Hormonal Health, Women's Hormonal Health

6 Alternatives to the Birth Control Pill

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When I was 23, after having been on the birth control pill since the age of 14 (prescribed for ovarian cysts), I had had enough of the horrible side effects of the pill. So I quit. And guess what? I didn’t have a period for three months, I had terrible acne, and I was experiencing mood swings.

After three months of having no period (amenorrhea) I visited the doctor and asked him for help. So what was his answer?

“Take the birth control pill”.

This was my first “aha” holistic moment, ladies. It’s where it all began. To me it sounded counterproductive to get back on the pill after just quitting it three months prior.  I knew I wanted my body to have a healthy period on its own.

So I went to an herb bar (I know so heady right?) because back then I didn’t know anything about health coaches, holistic doctors or healers. But I had heard of this herb bar in Austin from a friend. So I talked to a very lovely woman at the counter and she prescribed a tonic (click here for a simple version you can make at home). Well guess what? After one month of drinking this tonic I had my first pill- free period in ten years! It was oh so empowering!

So What Are My Other Options?!

Okay, so after reading my previous article about the serious side effects associated with the birth control pill, you are probably starting to think that the pill is not the best thing for your body. But what other methods of birth control can you use?

Listed below are the safest and best alternatives to the oral contraceptives. And I realize they all have their pros and their cons, so just weigh them out to see which one suits you best.

 1. Fertility Awareness Method:

The Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) requires you to track your menstrual cycle and abstain from unprotected sex during the time you can get pregnant. On average there are 8-10 days a female can get pregnant. There are many apps that you can download to track your cycle. I use Cycle Beads. Even if you don’t choose this method, it’s a good idea to use an app like Cycle Beads to track your periods. Please note that if you have irregular periods or your period is outside of the 32 day range, then this method is not for you.

2. Condoms: 98% effective

Oh gosh, really? Yes. Really, really. Give them a chance. Plus, if you are using the Fertility Awareness Method, you’ll only have to use them 8-10 days per month. The condom is the most effective of the barrier methods, and because it is the only method that prevents against STDs, it really is the best option for single ladies.

3. Withdrawal: 96% effective

There is no sperm in pre-ejaculatory fluid, but your partner must make sure he urinates prior to sex to get rid of any sperm from previous ejaculations.

4. Diaphragms: 94% effective

These are like condoms for girls that sit up in the cervix. But unlike a condom they can be put a few hours before sex. You must go to ta doctor to get fitted for one, and they last up to two years.

5. Today Sponge: 91% effective

These can be purchased over the counter at your local pharmacy. It can be inserted 24 hours ahead of sex so that give you lots of flexibility. The sponge is inserted with spermicide and is placed like a cap over your cervix.

6. Copper IUD:

If you are uncomfortable with the above barrier methods, are unable to consistently chart your cycle to use FAM, or are not responsible or reliable with your birth control methods, then your next best option is the copper IUD. It doesn’t contain hormones and is great for ladies looking for something more permanent as it lasts for ten years. The copper IUD is inserted into your cervix, and stops the sperm from making it way to your uterus. However it does require insertion and removal by a doctor (which can be painful) and can cause heavy periods.

Okay ladies. You now have homework to do. Reflect on these alternatives, and if you have a partner, I encourage you to include them in on the conversation to find out which one suits your lifestyle as a couple best.

And remember, if you decide to stick with the birth control pill that is entirely your right. No one is judging you. This is your decision to make. I encourage you to listen to your intuition for guidance.

Xxxxxx

Health Coach Jenna

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Blog, Health & Wellness, Women's Hormonal Health, Women's Hormonal Health

9 Reasons to Avoid Using the Birth Control Pill

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Have you ever visited your gynecologist with complaints such as ovarian cysts, painful periods, or PMS? And did he or she tell you to “start taking the birth control pill?”.

I bet they did.

Now raise your hand if you did just that, and perhaps, yes, some of the symptoms went away, only to result in losing your libido, getting depression, experiencing digestion problems, weight gain, or perhaps just an overall vibe of not feeling like yourself?

Well, you’re not alone.

“Just take the birth control pill.” It’s the easy solution and it’s just plain lazy.

What these doctors don’t want to acknowledge is the root of your problem stems from an imbalance of your hormones in the first place. But they’d rather just tell you to take the pill because:

A) Investigating your imbalance requires much more work for the doctor and you (well in the long run it’s less work for you to get to the root of the problem, as we’ll learn later the pill comes with a host of problems).

B) The doctor knows that to get to the filling of this peanut butter cup mystery requires the patient make a diet and lifestyle change, which I get it, is hard in most cases. Especially in today’s world of the “just give me a pill that cures everything” mentality. So they just opt to write a prescription.

C) Perhaps they genuinely don’t know better and believe it is the best option for you (you’ll frequently find this with older generation doctors).

So why would they give it to me if it doesn’t work?

I’m not saying the pill doesn’t work to prevent against pregnancy. It has a 99.9% effective rate. So there is that.

But what about all the other hormonal problems that seem to be cured by taking the birth control, like PCOS, irregular periods, hormonal imbalances, painful periods, etc? Well, the reason the pill appears to be“working” is because it is pumping your body with synthetic hormones. Your body actually STOPS making its own hormones, ladies! So you are completely reliant on the pill. Yes, this “balances” your hormones, but in a false sense. When you stop taking the pill, all these problems will still be there in full force.

Let’s talk infertility, one of the biggest problems associated with the birth control pill.

Because your body does not make its own hormones while on the pill explains why many women today experience infertility for a year or two when trying to conceive. Many clients come to me after a year of not being able to conceive, frustrated that it’s taking so long. What many of them have in common is that they stopped taking birth control literally the month before they started trying.

It doesn’t work that way, amigas.

Yes, some women are blessed and can get pregnant on the first try, but for some it’s much more difficult. And this is because the body has been on vacation while the pill took over and pumped out synthetic hormones for years, and then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, it’s expected to get back to work after spending years on the beach sipping pina coladas! The body says “hell no take me back to Hawaii!”.

Good news is the body will eventually come around, but it takes time. You have to court it first with nourishing foods, exercise, supplements, and sometimes, in last case scenarios, bio identical hormones (and that makes for a whole other article).

9 Cons of the Hormonal Birth Control Pill:

  1. It damages your chance of conceiving in the future– studies have shown that women who were on the pill are twice as likely to have trouble conceiving, and even more so if they were on it for a long period of time. (1) Post-pill infertility
    affects many women today. Women getting off the pill have to learn how to make their own hormones again, and it could take months or even years to start learning again.
  2. It’s robbing your body of nutrients– Birth control pills destroy your ability to metabolize nutrients, so you are robbed of precious vitamins and minerals that are crucial to your health, resulting in fatigue, migraines, and much more. (2)
  3. Causes depression and anxiety– Because of reason number two, your body is susceptible to depression and anxiety.
  4. Lactose intolerant or vegan? All hormonal birth control contains milk, so not good if you are lactose intolerant or vegan.
  5. It’s bad for your gut health– The birth control pill destroys your gut health resulting in weight gain or loss, stomach cramps, IBS, bloating, and all other types of digestive disorders.
  6. It makes you pick the wrong mate– Since your body isn’t making its own hormones while you’re on the pill, you are choosing a mate based off your synthetic hormones. Some researchers are blaming this for the high divorce rate (3).
  7. It lowers your sex drive– Birth control lowers your testosterone, which lowers you libido. What’s the point of being on the pill to prevent against pregnancy if you aren’t having sex?
  8. Increases your risk of blood clots, heart disease, and strokes– This one is not really hidden, you can find this on all of the pamphlets. (4)
  9. It masks hormonal imbalance– Sure your hormonal imbalance will appear to “go away” with the pill because you are being pumped steadily with synthetic hormones, but when you get off, all those problems will be right their waiting for you – and most likely amplified. You can’t run away from your hormones, gals.

So now that you know the risks of taking the hormonal birth control pill, it’s probably time to explore your other options.

—–> Click HERE for 6 Alternatives to the Birth Control Pill <———–

And ladies, if you continue taking your birth control, don’t feel bad. I want you to know I’m not judging you. We all have to do what we need to do, and if having a baby is not something that is presently appropriate for you, now or ever, and you don’t think that you are able to commit to another plan, then by all means please do what is right for you. My hope for you is that you are informed and have explored all of your options before making up your mind.

Xxxxxx

Health Coach Jenna

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Sources:

  1. Oakeshott, Isabel. Pill Could Harm Future Fertility. January 30, 2004. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/ health/article-207039/Pill-harm-future-fertility.html (accessed April 9, 2013).
  2. Bennett, Jane, and Alexandra Pope. The Pill: Are Your Sure It’s for You? Allen & Unwin, 2008. Deroo, Bonnie, and Kenneth S. Korach. “Estrogen Receptors and Human Disease.” The Journal of Clinical Investigation 116, no. 3 (2006): 561-570.
  3. Kluger, Jeffrey. Why We Love. January 16, 2008. http://www.time.com/time/health/ article/0,8599,1704355-1,00.html.
  4. Yasmin Pamphlet. n.d.
Blog, Health & Wellness

Organic or Conventional? Plus, Money Saving Tips for Your Next Grocery Visit

Photo from Pixabay

Buy organic. Don’t buy organic. Regardless of your decision, the bottom line is that eating fruits and veggies is better than not eating them at all.

I try to eat organic every chance I get in order to protect myself from the harmful pesticide residue. But let’s be real. Buying 100% organic can be expensive! But just because you can’t always afford to buy organic, doesn’t mean you deserve to be doused with toxic chemicals.

That is why I’ve provided a list of the  “2017 Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen below to help you decide when you can save money by buying conventional, and when it is crucial to spring the extra bucks on organic.

In addition, here are other ways to save on produce:

  1. Join a CSA -When you join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program you pay a farmer in your community a monthly membership fee and they deliver a box of what’s in season to your door.
  2. Buy local and in season- Another cost effective practice is to buy produce that is in season where you live. This is much more economical than buying produce that has been shipped from far parts of the world.
  3. Don’t be shy and check out the discount aisle- Grocery stores put stuff there that will expire soon, it’s not yet expired! So if you are going to eat it for dinner that night, or even the next day, scoop it up and save some cash!
  4. Buy your dry food online – That’s right, places like Thrive Market have competitive prices on organic dry foods, and they deliver right to your door. How’s that for convenient? There is a small membership fee, but Thrive sponsors a low-income family with it.

2017 Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen List:

Dirty Dozen:

  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Potatoes

Clean Fifteen:

  • Sweet Corn (non-GMO)
  • Avocados
  • Pineapples
  • Cabbage
  • Onions
  • Frozen sweet peas
  • Papayas
  • Asparagus
  • Mangos
  • Eggplant
  • Honeydew Melon
  • Kiwi
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower
  • Grapefruit

Happy Shopping! And remember to support your local farmer whenever possible!

xxxxx

Health Coach Jenna

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Blog, Chocolate, Recipes, Sweet Treats

5- Ingredient Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten -Free)

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Those who know me are familiar with my obsession with peanut butter and chocolate. That’s why these cookies stole my heart. With only 5 ingredients they are super simple to make, and 100% delicious.

5- Ingredient Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup natural peanut butter (the kind with no added oil or sugar)
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt + a sprinkle of sea salt to add on top
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips ( I like these from Thrive), or you can make your own and cut up the chocolate in small squares

Method:

  • Mix and put dough in fridge for 20-30 minutes.
  • Take out chilled dough and roll into balls and place on lined baking tray.Processed with VSCO with f2 preset
  • Press down with a fork, sprinkle a bit of sea salt on top,and stick in oven on 325F degrees heat for 10 minutes.

Enjoy guys! Let me know how you like them! If you take any pics tag me@HealthierNotions on Instagram. I love to see your creations!

xoxoxoxoxoxo

Health Coach Jenna

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Blog, Health & Wellness

DIY Cleaner Guide For a Less Toxic Home

Originally published on February 22, 2017 by the Institute of Integrative Nutrition

cleaners

Winter’s over and it’s time for spring cleaning and organizing. This year, consider making your own cleaners to save money and reduce chemicals in your home. The Environmental Working Group says in its “Cleaners Hall of Shame” list that everyday household cleaners contain some shocking fine-print warnings such as “serious burns,” “lung inflammation” and “probably carcinogenic.” And many of these cleaners are actually banned in the European Union. That’s why it’s a good idea to either opt for organic cleaners or better yet, make your own mixture.

When it comes to DIY household cleaners, vinegar is your best friend. If you don’t have it in your pantry, stock up and read on for our roundup of homemade cleaning mixes.

Glass
To clean glass surfaces, mix two cups of water, two tablespoons of white vinegar, two tablespoons of rubbing alcohol and five drops of peppermint essential oil, says Real Simple. Then pour into a spray bottle and shake to mix.

Faucets
Wipe faucets using a simple mix of dishwashing liquid and warm water, then buff with a cloth, according to the book Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Home. If the faucets have mineral deposits, you can wrap them in a paper towel soaked with white vinegar. Remove the wet paper towel after one hour, and then clean with a dry one.

Bathtubs
HGTV suggests using baking soda, which is mildly abrasive, to scrub away bathtub rings. If the tub is really dirty, mix baking soda and water, let it sit on the tub surface for up to 20 minutes, and then scrub away with a sponge.

Clothing
Instead of using fabric softener, which may cause asthma and other health issues, try half a cup of distilled white vinegar in your washer during the rinse cycle. (PS-Your clothes won’t smell like vinegar.)  EWG says you can also make your own dryer balls with wool batting or wool yarn.

Toilets
Scrub your toilet with a mix of ½ a cup of castile soap (which is vegetable-based), ½ a cup of baking soda, 15 to 30 drops of essential oil, 1 cup of distilled water, and a spray of hydrogen peroxide. The recipe on Live Simplysuggests that rather than mixing hydrogen peroxide into the bottle, it’s easiest to spray it directly into the toilet bowl after you’ve put the mixture in the bowl. Otherwise, gas from the hydrogen peroxide can build up in the bottle. And vinegar can be used here too in place of hydrogen peroxide.

What’s your favorite DIY cleaner recipe? Share with us in the comments below.

This article originally published on Institute of Integrative Nutrition and used with permission.

Blog, Health & Wellness

3 Steps to Look Younger and Increase Your Energy Levels NOW.

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Two Questions for YOU:

  1. How many times have you suffered from aches and pains, and quickly reached for the bottle of Advil?
  2. Would you like to look younger than your age for as long as possible AND have more energy? (Me! Me! Me!)

Well, guess what? The two of these things DO NOT go together! In the body we have something called mitochondria. We are only born with a certain amount of mitochondria, and after the age of 40-45 it automatically starts going into mitochondrial dysfunction, meaning they slowly decline in number. However, in many people today it starts degenerating earlier due to toxins, stress, and poor diet that create INFLAMMATION.

So why is mitochondria so important and what the heck does it have to do with staying young? AND if inflammation causes it to degenerate, wouldn’t Advil be the magic pill to stop it?

Mitochondria is the body’s battery. When it starts wearing down, then the body starts to wear out, resulting in less energy. In addition, impaired mitochondria means less oxygen supply to your body, and this accelerates the aging process. Think about how oils go bad as they oxidize. Well, when your mitochondria degenerates, YOU start to oxidize!!

But did you know that Advil (also known by its generic name ibuprofen) KILLS your mitochondria?! Not to mention your gut flora as well.

So what to use instead of Advil? And how to cut back on inflammation in the first place?

3 Steps to Beat Inflammation and Regenerate Your Mitochondria For a Younger Looking You:

1. TURMERIC!!! fullsizerender-17

Turmeric is Mother Nature’s best anti-inflammatory weapon. I encourage you to get as much of it as possible. I like to add it to my warm lemon water in the morning, and to my herbal tea at night.

Now, it won’t kill the pain within 30 minutes like Advil, but after a few weeks of taking turmeric daily, the inflammation will go down in your body, and you will not need the Advil. You see, turmeric is getting to the root of the problem versus just putting a bandaid over it like Advil. (To find out more about turmeric and the recipe for a “Turmeric Latte” (one of my favorite drinks) then click HERE. )

2. Take fish oil (or if vegan, algae oil). Just make sure you get one with a high EPA/DHA content, and take it everyday.

3. Cut out inflammatory foods like gluten, refined grains, dairy, and vegetable oils.

To find out how to incorporate steps look younger step-by-step, download my 7_steps-1book “7 Steps to a Healthier You” available now on Amazon for Kindle.

With Gratitude,

Health Coach Jenna

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Blog

3 Steps to Conscious Eating

eatingConscious eating is a major and necessary feature of our plant-based philosophy, a philosophy that extends out of the kitchen, off of our plates and into the wider world, informing how we interact with others and how we treat our environment.

The opposite of conscious eating – unconscious eating, is practiced by most people in the world today. It is the default operating mode for almost everyone when it comes to choices made about food, overwhelmingly so in developed countries. It’s an easy and low cost way of eating supported by businesses and society alike. And the most insidious quality of unconscious eating is that most people know no other way, or even suspect that there is an alternative.

As more and more people awaken to the disastrous effects the animal agriculture industries are having on our planet and the effects their ‘food’ is having on our health, unconscious eating is giving way to conscious eating.

As Eldridge Cleaver said, “There is no more neutrality in the world. You are either part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.”

3 Steps to Begin Your Journey Into conscious Eating:

1.  Expand your Knowledge

“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance” – Confucius

Before we begin to make profound changes in the way we eat, it helps to be exposed to the ideas that lead us there. A lifetime of healthy food choices can be built on the right foundation of knowledge.

There are numerous books, films and websites that expose us to the truth about the food we eat, and educate us about a healthier, more sustainable way of eating and living.

Make a point of studying and researching for yourself. Arm yourself with facts before opinions. The more you know about the subjects of animal agriculture and the negative health effects of animal products on our health the more you are naturally inclined towards eating consciously.

Resources to expand your awareness:

How Not To Die, by Gene Stone and Michael Greger.

A painstakingly thoroughly well-researched book about the benefits of plant-based diets and the insidious effects of animal products.

Earthlings

This film narrated by Joaquin Phoenix strikes at the emotional level, highlighting the reality behind factory farming and research labs among others.

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret

This film addresses the real cost of animal agriculture on the environment.

More resources can also be found at The Plant-based Plan Resources

2. Stop and Think

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 We are all creatures of habit. Our negative lifestyle decisions are usually made subconsciously. We all do it as we stroll through the aisles of the supermarket, mindlessly throwing packages into the trolley that are no good for us, or the environment.

Conscious eating is also a habit that needs to be established through practice.

So how do we practice?

When you find yourself in a situation where you need to make a choice about food, take a moment to stop and ask yourself this question:

Based on my current understanding, will purchasing or eating this food lead to better health, vitality and moral satisfaction for myself, or will it potentially damage my health, lead to suffering for the creatures we share our planet with or damage the environment?

In the beginning you may find yourself coming to the conclusion that the food is not healthy or environmentally friendly, but you just throw it in the trolley anyway. I’m that way with Häagen-Dazs ice cream, it just short-circuits my common sense.

But the important thing is to exercise your mind in this way continuously.

By doing so, you bring your negative lifestyle choices into awareness on a daily basis, rather than just ignoring them, and we can only take so much of our own irresponsible actions before we decide to make changes.

3. Simplify

simple

The world of food, whether it be the aisles in the supermarket, the gaudy primary colours of the fast food restaurant, or the dimly lit elegance of an upmarket bistro, has become an arena of entertainment, designed to appeal to the senses and draw you in with tastes and flavours.

This approach makes food one of the great pleasures in life, even though it may be killing us.

Millions of years of evolutionary biology have programmed us to relish the intense flavours of sugars, salt and fats. We are programmed to stock up on sweet and fatty foods when they are abundant because in the past we would inevitably have been faced with long periods without them.

But now we live in a world of permanent abundance. This state of affairs has only existed for around half a century, but how quickly we have seen the disastrous effects of ‘stocking up’ on a daily basis, in the skyrocketing rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Conscious eating therefore requires us to step back and make a sacrifice and a commitment.

We sacrifice the artificial flavours of the packaged sauces for the simplicity of lemon juice and vinegar, for example.

We learn to enjoy beans and nuts and vegetables as they are, without complicated and unnecessary preparations.

We choose a food primarily for it’s health benefits, rather than it’s tastiness.

We make a commitment to sometimes stay at home and eat simply rather than disconnect ourselves from the process in a restaurant.

Simplifying our kitchens, our eating habits and our lives in general is a powerful way to benefit our health and contribute to the well-being of our planet and our fellow earthlings.

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About Donny McFarlane

Donny McFarlane is an English teacher, yoga teacher, freediver, generally enthusiastic mover and plant-based lifestyle advocate.

He has independently researched nutrition and the relationship between health and food for more than a decade. Switching to a 100% plant-based diet was the catalyst that reversed years of negative lifestyle choices and allowed him to excel athletically, personally and spiritually.

Visit The Plant Based Plan for meticulously designed and beautifully laid out 100% plant-based, vegan meal plans and recipes.