As you know, our lives are so crazy busy now that we’re preparing the launch of brownble and that fall is fast approaching. We’re juggling so many things at once that friends and family are always asking me how it is that I manage to fit 40 hour days into 24 hours. I’m about to break it down for you, and I thought it would be a great post now that a new season and ‘back to school’ is on its way. Here’s the honest truth. I can only do it when my body is in tip-top shape, that means regular exercise, and feeding my body the most nourishing nutrient dense vegan food. That’s right! The way my body feels, completely determines how well I can do all the things I have on my plate and still keep a smile on my face and enjoy the ride.
We’ve all been there, with any new beginning – the start of the year, the end of a season, coming home after a vacation, the start of a new job or project or of a school year – we vow to eat healthier, make better choices and get organized. We promise ourselves that this year it will be different. I don’t know about you but every year, especially towards the end of the summer, and especially if I’ve indulged too much over the holiday break, I make it my mission to get organized and start off on the right foot. We’ve all been there. We’ve also all been in the super organized and ideal first few weeks, the following extremely busy days as activities start up again, and the inevitable stumbling from our plan. Stumbling leads to more stumbling, which more often than not turns into postponing or quiting our healthy efforts altogether. After years of going through this start and stop cycle I can finally say ‘by golly I’ve got it’! Today, I want to share some great tips that can help you get and stay healthy, motivated and have a great start to the new season. Why are we doing this a few weeks earlier than the actual end of the summer? Because starting right now, is the key to what I’ve learned over the years.
Tip #1: Postpone no more. The winding country road.
After years of starts and stops, promises that I would start next Monday or after my birthday, after the holidays, or when I have more time or money, I realized something very important. It’s all about the here and now. Rather than seeing health and healthy eating as the shiny new project we’re going to tackle ‘as soon as…”. I like to see it as the main event that accompanies me every single day. When I stopped postponing, and started doing, right here, right now, everything changed for me. I think that because of the way many things are set up in our lives, we’ve gotten used to tackling projects with total determination and then moving on to something else. We focus on the end and not the journey. For me now, healthy eating is a constant flow. It’s that day’s journey we all take. I like to imagine it as a long winding country road. You get in your car, you put on some tunes, you enjoy the ride, and you follow the road. You’ll have detours and rain, maybe some icy roads halfway through, or a pretty sight where you stop to take a selfie, but you never stop and think, “ok, ‘til next year. I’m just gonna leave my car here in the middle of the road”. You simply get back in the car and continue driving. Start right now, and make it your life’s journey. When you slip, enjoy it, and then get right back in the car.
Tip #2: Base your diet on whole foods
The more you stick to what nature intended, the more nutrient dense foods you’ll be adding to your body and the more energy and glow you’ll have. Stick to fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, natural sweeteners, whole food fats, and make your favorite traditional meals with all of these, so that even the healthiest of choices feel like home. One of my favorite tricks is to have lots and lots of salads throughout the week. Why? Because a salad is basically a bowl of whole foods! The more healthy veggies, natural fats, seasonings, herbs and even fruits you add, the more nutrients you’re putting in your body. Salads also help fill you up and prevent you from overeating the more decadent goodies. Here’s the best part of this little tip, I have a little surprise for you, but you’ll have to wait ‘til the end. Let’s just say Santa came early this year and I’ve prepared a very special gift for you!
Tip #3: Move that booty!
If you thought you were going to get away with not exercising, then you don’t know me very well! Exercise (and whatever form that means for you), has been THE most profound life changer for me. It’s so important to me that I wake up every day two hours earlier than my hubby just so I can have plenty of time for myself without interruptions, to take a walk with the dogs slowly while waking up, and then come back home, feed them their breakfast, leave them napping on the couch and get a serious workout in. Then I have that exercise high for the rest of the day, the feeling of gratitude of having a powerful body that can take me anywhere, and a total boost in confidence. There are so many people on this planet whose only dream is to be able to run or hike or dance or swim or ride a bike, and who have a limitation they did not choose for themselves. My mother was one of these people. For most of our lives she was unable to walk, and I never once saw her run or dance around. I vowed many years ago that I would never take movement for granted. All you need is to find the type of exercise that will make you jump out of bed in the morning and get it done, even on those hard days when motivation is lacking (I have those too!). Stick me on a volleyball court or a zumba class and I might just cry! But give me some weights and a treadmill or a forest trail and I’m at home. To you it might be something completely different! Don’t stop until you’ve found it.
Tip #4: If you’re hungry eat! My brand new ‘5 meals a day’ discovery
This tip is especially helpful if you’re 100% vegan or getting there, but it of course also applies to anyone, even if you’re following a meat centered diet. Vegan or plant-based foods are extremely nutrient dense when basing your diet on whole foods, and the great thing about this is that they’re also less calorie dense! This might mean you’re eating more food, but getting less calories, and therefore feeling hungrier more frequently! Many people advise eating more frequent, smaller meals, and I resisted this concept for years. I thought that if it was easy for me to overeat with just three meals, imagine what I could do if I had five! Cookie monster? Well, the joke was on me, and I’m sending the biggest virtual hug and thanks to my friend Verena who made me finally understand the magic behind this. The truth is that when I tried it, eating three meals plus two snacks worked like a dream. My problem was that I was overeating because I was so hungry come mealtime! Now I plan my meals to have them all be healthy and a slightly smaller portion, and I don’t get anxious around food because I know more yummies are coming soon with my next meal or snack. This is of course my personal experience. Find the rhythm that works for you and your body. We are all different and there’s no such thing as one size fits all.
Tip #5: Make planning a part of your routine. The magic of Fridays
We’ve all been there, the weekend comes and all plans go out the window! Dinners out, parties, cocktails, a break from your exercise routine. One of the best things you can do to avoid having to start back up on Monday and to always stay in that winding country road (see tip 1), is to plan all of your meals on Friday. I set up some time on Friday and sit in front of recipes and meal ideas and I write down all of my meals for the next 7 days. Don’t worry, you can still change them up if you feel like it throughout the week. But planning ahead means two things, less money spent since you’ll make your grocery list on this day too, and a reminder of all the beautiful healthy and delicious foods that are available to you. It will change your weekend drastically! Especially if you do your shopping on Saturday and have a fridge full of healthy foods to choose from and a plan that can let you focus on more important things like watching a good movie with your loved ones or having some precious ‘me’ time.
Tip #6: The vegan dream team! Make healthy versions of your favorites
You’ve heard me say this before when I’ve talked about my vegan journey, but one of the things that made veganism so wonderful for me was seeing that I could have everything I had as a meat eater but this time in a much healthier version. Black bean burgers as opposed to a meat-based burger, but still with all the wonderful fixings, sauces and the joy of eating a big burger with your hands. With a side of crispy oven fries of course! Veggie pot pies, brownies, even vegan meatloaf with ketchup and mashed potatoes! Veggie sushi, pasta, the works. Find recipes for your all-time favorites and try to make them as healthy as you can by making some plant-based substitutions. Every meal will feel like a treat. Our new project brownble was created to help you out with your daily meal planning and make your meals the most scrumptious AND healthy ever! It’s coming very soon, I promise.
Tip #7: Use your ‘healthy-belt-duel-pistol’ aka your phone, as your health HQ!
If you’re like me, you’re probably glued to your phone right? It practically jumps into your pocket on its own? Anyone? Having something always on hand where you can write (hello phone), is the best tool to keep your meal planning handy, organized and always with you. Remember how I told you that planning your meals and writing them down was key? Perhaps you prefer a notebook, but I love doing it on my phone! I write a little note and have all my week meals written down and then I can access them anytime. It’s very practical for when you’re at the supermarket, to make sure you’ve got all the ingredients you need for the next few days. I also use my phone for my grocery list (I love the ShopListFree app for iPhone but there are many out there), and I even keep photos of the recipes or meal ideas I’ve chosen for the week in a folder in my photo app. There are no excuses when you have all the tools you need right in your pocket.
Tip #8: If you see healthy, you’ll eat healthy
When you come back from the supermarket, take some time to chop up some veggies, take fruits and veggies out of bags or wrappers and place them in glass see-through containers. You’ll eat healthy, if healthy looks beautiful and it’s staring you right in the face when you open the fridge!
Tip #9: Plan a treat, food and otherwise
It’s all about balance, and planning for a treat and being able to enjoy it is key when trying to maintain your healthy eating habits. I love having dessert, and when I say dessert I don’t mean just a little bit of ice cream. I mean a big slice of chocolate cake, a cupcake, a super rich and decadent brownie. They’re all vegan of course which makes them a little bit healthier by default, but they are still treats. I plan them out and have something really special. Plan a little massage too while you’re at it. You deserve it!
Tip #10: Remember why you’re doing this
I have always found that when the source of your motivation is something bigger than just a number on a scale, the results are beyond what you can imagine. For me, the secret to everything is confidence. Eating healthy, being active and feeling strong always go hand in hand with feeling like a joyful confident person. When I feel confident I feel happy and excited to start my day. I feel light and like everything is a bit easier than usual. I feel that nothing is too overwhelming and that I can get the job done and feel empowered. Nothing beats that in my book. Knowing that I’ll feel great after I exercise or eat a healthy meal, is all the motivation I need to do it all over again tomorrow. Everything else will fall into place as long as you keep at it. Be patient, and keep going no matter what and you’ll reach your goal.
Remember how I told you I had a little surprise for you? In the spirit of these top 10 tips for eating healthier, and as a little welcome gift to our new project Brownble, we created an awesome resource. Eating more salads is one of my secret weapons in maintaining a healthy diet, and I wanted to let you in on a few of my secrets! By signing up below, you immediately receive our Brownble Salad Makeover Gift, which includes:
- An exclusive video with our top 10 tips on how to eat more salads and give them a creative twist.
- Our refrigerator printable for assembling a different salad every day.
- Our quick glance printable with six delicious, fast and healthy salad dressings.
- Our full video recipe for making our kale salad with spicy maple pecans, fennel and pear.
Click the image below to sign up and receive your gift!
Thank you so much for stopping by today, we’re working really hard to bring you a rockin’ new cozy home for the blog come the fall. It’s fast approaching and I’m so excited!
I hope that after reading our top 10 tips you start your healthy journey today, and that it is a fun and blissful one. We have one body, let’s give it a healthy joyous life, and the love it deserves.