You claim to be committed to a plant-based eating protocol, but unless you’re 100% committed, anything can be used as an excuse to deviate from healthy eating. The holiday season, New Year’s Eve, birthday parties, stress, “just this once” and travel.
There’s plenty of other excuses people might use, but truth be told, in order to stay the course of a healthy eating protocol it’s important to be aware of what excuse might be the very one that gets you off track soon turning into, “I’ll get back on track tomorrow.”
I usually write the post for the 21 Day Challenge after my morning routine of yoga, journaling and meditation. Today, I was up at 3:30 a.m. heading to the airport at 4:15.
My plan to write the post while waiting to get on my plane changed when I ran into a friend. Our conversation quickly turned to her sharing that her doctor recently advised her to eat a more plant-based diet.
Keto Diet is NOT Healthy
“I’ve been doing Keto and I just know that is not a healthy diet what with all the fat and meat. It seems to go against a conscious way of eating, but I just don’t know where to start. Besides, I’ve lost weight so it can’t be that bad,” she said with complete sincerity.
“Keto can get you fast weight loss if that’s all you want, but it’s definitely not healthy or sustainable, nor is it conscious. When you think of how animals are farmed, it’s awful,” I responded.
Reaching into one of my carry-on bags, I pulled out my newest copy of Eat to Live.
“I wasn’t planning on bringing this book, but something told me I needed to,” I handed her the copy. “This is a great place to start. When you’re done, give it to someone else.”
“Oh my gosh. This is great. Thank you so much,” she pulled the book to her heart. “This is exactly what I need.”
“Enjoy,” I gave her a hug before heading over to find my seat on the plane.
The Flight Begins
Settling into my seat, I pulled out the bag of carefully sliced apples and a small handful of almonds as one-by-one people loaded on the plane.
An extremely heavyset man sat next to me. Sweating profusely, his labored breath indicated he was not healthy. He barely fit in the set, spilled over into my seat which forced me to inch over in order to give him room.
In the past, someone this large was the exception rather than the rule. More every day, it’s the norm.
The National Center for Health Statistics estimates that, for 2015-2016 in the U.S., 39.8% of adults aged 20 and over were obese (including 7.6% with severe obesity) and that another 31.8% were overweight. Obesity rates have increased for all population groups in the United States over the last several decades.
Every time I realize I was headed in that direction by my lifestyle choices, including what I ate, I am thankful I am now a plant-based eater.
Arriving at my hotel five hours later, the first thing I looked for was a nearby grocery store to stock up on fresh produce and healthy snacks.
In the past I would have been looking for the closest fast food, pizza parlor, or comfort food restaurant. Truth be told, I could polish off an entire large pizza all by myself in an evening.
Today, I’ll polish off a few bananas, grapes, carrots, salad, or whatever else strikes my plant-based fancy.
Walking the ¾ of a mile to the store, I took my time stocking up. I wanted to make sure I had plenty for the next few days.
Stocking up is part of my checks and balances for staying the course.
Checks and Balances
The longer you eat a plant-based diet, the more likely it is you have checks and balances in place to avoid using anything as an excuse to stray from what you’ve committed to.
For those newer to this way of life, it’s a good idea to set your own boundaries as to what is, and is not, acceptable.
To avoid the obvious temptations that come with all the holiday parties, it is a good idea to fill up with healthy foods before heading out. If you’re asked to bring something, make sure it’s something you, and other plant-based eaters, can enjoy.
If need be, tell the host/hostess your diet restrictions so that you’re not put in an awkward situation.
“Just one meatball won’t hurt,” might be said innocently enough, but for someone new to the lifestyle, they may not say no. Don’t let this happen to you if staying plant based is important.
There are some stressful situations you cannot avoid. A sick parent or spouse in the hospital. Pressure on the job. Bumper to bumper traffic.
If you know you’re going to be in a stressful situation, do what you can to calm yourself with deep breathing, meditation and various relaxation techniques. Additionally, carry healthy snacks with you.
For example, if there are people in your office who have never ending candy dishes in their office, and this is a temptation, avoid their office. If you need to meet them about something, see if there’s a better location.
Fill your drawer with containers filled with sliced apples, carrots, and salt free rice cakes.
During the last couple of years of my mom’s life, she was in the hospital a great deal. During that time, my eating was horrendous. I was the heaviest I had ever been at 212 pounds. My “food” of choice was whatever candy bars I could find in the gift shop.
I am very clear that had I been eating back then how I do now, I would not have had the level of stress and fatigue that I did. Sure, it would still be stressful, and I would be tired, but it would have not been at the same level and so unhealthy.
It’s getting easier and easier to find plant-based choices while on the road, but don’t leave your eating fate to chance. Equally important is making sure you eat frequently enough to not have major blood sugar ups and downs.
When traveling by plane, if possible, eat before leaving home. Additionally, bring a few healthy snacks with you and an empty water bottle that you can continuously fill up when in between flights.
If you’re staying at a hotel for more than a couple days, find a local grocery store to stock up on plenty of healthy snacks you can enjoy throughout your stay.
My Own Travel
Although I’ll be in a business workshop for three days, I don’t want to rely on what’s available in the hotel gift shop or restaurant. I want to be able to enjoy a healthy breakfast of oatmeal, fruits and unsweetened almond milk, light snacks during the breaks and if need be, a light lunch in my room.
Fortunately, my room has a small refrigerator and microwave available. Not all hotels do, so you may need to do a workaround. For example, if you stay at modestly priced hotels, there are often areas where a light, albeit unhealthy, breakfast is served. They may have a few healthy choices, but again, don’t leave your health to chance.
Scope out the situation and take a proactive approach to what you eat while traveling.
Ready for Another 21 Days?
As we near the end of the 21 Day Challenge, it may do you well to go back through the blog posts and make a commitment to another 21 Days. If you’ve stuck with the process, there’s a very strong chance many of your unhealthy cravings have all but disappeared.
It’s likely you feel better, have dropped a few pounds and have noticed a reduction in inflammation, headaches, body aches and low energy.
Share your successes either in the comments below or in the Facebook group… or both.
You can choose to go back to the SAD (Standard American Diet) or take the healthier path. It’s completely up to you.
New to plant based eating? Check out the Beginner’s Guide to Plant Based Eating. Click here.