So it’s time for Flo to start her 21-Day Vegan Challenge and she’s getting all psyched up (because she’s a psychologist, you know, and they do that) You can read the kick-off post here.
I have always fancied myself a bit of a Superhero, with my super power being the ability to multi-task in a super human way. It would not be unusual, for example, to walk in to my house on a given evening and find me cooking supper, washing the dishes, up-dating my Facebook status, drinking wine, AND filing my tax returns ALL AT THE SAME TIME! Beat that, Wonder Woman! It is one thing to see yourself as a superhero, but another thing entirely when someone else views you in that way, as was the case for me earlier this week. Meet Susan Inkpen:
She is smart, beautiful, and super sweet. Susan is the daughter of my dear friend, Sherry, also known as “The Wise One”. I call her that because she knows all kinds of stuff about men, and dishes out such sage advice as: “Men will be men.” But I digress…..Susan was required to write an essay about her Superhero and present it to her English class. She wrote about none other than MOI: Super Single Mom and Crime Cancer Fighter. Susan’s essay reads in part: “Miss Florence is such a beautiful, caring, loving and strong willed person. But the best super power to describe her is determined. Even though it was hard and life seemed unfair at times, she could still see the bright side to everything.” Thanks, Susan, your kind words moved me to tears.
Another thing that moved me to tears this week is a beautiful song written by my cousin, Jimmy, for his lovely wife Rowena, shortly after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. I have shared the link below, and I am sure you will be as moved by his words as I am. I ask my fellow cancer bloggers to share this link on your blog or Facebook page as a sign of encouragement to Rowena and countless other women who are trying to come to grips with this frightening diagnosis.
The final thing that has me in tears is that today marks the start of my 21 Day Vegan Diet Challenge! Just kidding, I am actually looking forward to the challenge of moving from my mostly vegetarian lifestyle to full blow veganism for a bit. So I will start by sharing a simple vegan-friendly recipe with you. It is a rice pudding that I often eat for breakfast and snacks. Here’s how you make it: Dump 2 cups of almond milk, 1 cup of long grain brown rice, ½ cup of raisons, and 1 tsp of cinnamon in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to simmer for 45 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes and serve warm. It’s that simple! I like to top mine with some extra almond milk, a handful of slivered almonds and a sprinkle of cinnamon. I would like to be able to tell you about the calorie content, but I don’t have a clue about that stuff. I am sure if my friend Sherry was here, she could tell you. Her super power is the ability to calculate at lightening speeds exactly how much calories and fat is contained in every morsel of food. But from me, let’s just say it tastes GOOD and it is GOOD for you. So eat it.
As I embark on my Vegan Journey, I ask my Vegan Coach, Susan Gonzalez: Do you have any tips to help keep me motivated this week?
So it’s motivation you want? Well, I don’t have a psychology degree like you Flo, but I have owned and trained 5 dogs in my life, and I can tell you with 100% certainty that motivation comes from two sources: fear and reward.
Fear and reward motivates pretty much everything we do in our lives and every choice we make from putting on deodorant (fear of smelling) to going to a job day after day that we hate (the reward of a pay check), and so it is with what we eat.
I could tell you that eating animal products causes changes to your body that promote inflammation (the root of most chronic illnesses including cancer), put stress on your liver and bowels that change their function and put you at risk for disease. But I won’t do that because that would be motivating with fear, and fear is one of the unhealthiest emotions there is. It’s even more damaging than anger. Fear causes a stress response that causes adrenaline production, which in a chronic state, deteriorates your health both physically and mentally.
Instead, I will tell you that giving your body whole, plant-based food is one of the nicest things you can do for yourself. You will be rewarded with more energy, better mood, better bathroom habits (you’re going to LOVE pooping), no acid reflux, and a reduced risk of many types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and dozens of other illnesses. If you want to give the complex but beautiful machine you call your “body” the best fuel, give it plant-based foods.
The problem with the reward part of the plant-based diet is that you have to commit to the diet BEFORE you realize the rewards. With a dog, he knows what that Milkbone tastes like and he’s very happy to “sit” in order to get it. But with a new way of eating, you haven’t tasted the (vegan) Milkbone yet, so you don’t know how amazing you are going to feel. You’ll have to trust it in the beginning.
And why would you need motivation anyway? “Needing” motivation suggests that you think this is going to be hard or unpleasant. Here’s what I had for dinner last night: Delicious Spicy Quinoa and Black Bean Burritos with Corn and Avocado Salsa. Would you need motivation to eat this?
The great thing is, the longer you choose to eat this way, the better you will feel, so your rewards and positive source of motivation will keep coming just from you continuing to eat plant-based!
And if those words don’t work for motivation, just look at this hunk. man. His shirt says “Go vegan and no body gets hurt”. Better do what he says, Flo.