While I'm away on my month-long adventure I have some friends here to help me share their experiences with adventure. Today Alison from alisonsmith.com is talking about how to make diet transformation an adventure because it totally is!
I remember the day, vividly, when I had to make the decision to radically change my diet.
I was extremely sick, and I had no idea why. All I knew was that I had to make a move. I had to be the one to save myself because the myriad of specialists that I saw had no idea what was causing my illness.
The epiphany I experienced, at the point of realization when I intuitively knew that I was going to be the catalyst to my recovery, was very empowering. I had already waited a year and half for answers that did not come. I was living in a holding pattern waiting for a doctor to save me. But, in essence and reality, I had to save myself.
Hindsight is 20:20, right. But, at this point, I know that medical intervention is only one piece of any recovery puzzle. We as individuals have an incredible responsibility to take pointed action to reclaim our health, for ourselves. And, I look at that responsibility not as a burden, but as liberation.
All of us make important decisions each day; we decide whether we will roll with the punches, or wave the white flag of surrender. We make the decision on how we will react to adversity. And, our thoughts, in the end, determine our perception and experience of any trial and tribulation.
When radical changes need to be made in your life, you have the option to come out fighting with a smile on your face, or to retreat, ignore, and dive into anger and despair about your predicament. And, I don't know about you, but I would rather come out swinging than remaining unconscious to the amazing possibilities that lie ahead.
Do you know deep down inside that you need to change the way that you eat? Have you been resisting the process because you have no idea where to start? Do you feel overwhelmed? Everything that you are thinking and feeling is a valid reaction to the major shift that needs to take place. And, I believe that all of us need to honor how we feel. But once we acknowledge that we are fearful or overwhelmed that is the moment when we need to push forward.
I suggest that you look at diet transformation as the big adventure that it is. And, here are 10 ways to leap into that adventure:
1. Indulge in beautiful books: There is nothing better than a stack of books and a cup of tea -- at least that's my opinion. I love the look and feel of gorgeous books: I'm staring at a stack of them right now. Your diet transformation may include going gluten-free or sugar-free or introducing more RAW foods into your diet, and I think there is a great deal of inspiration and clarity to be had from getting your hands on some fabulous food books. I would suggest Superfoods by David Wolfe and Conscious Eating by Gabriel Cousens. Start your transformative adventure by getting educated. Gathering information is a wonderful way to squash fear and overwhelm because it provides you with direction and clarity.
2. Experiment, Baby!: I love to experiment in the kitchen. Since I live gluten-free, sugar-free, corn-free, and mostly vegetarian, I'm constantly experimenting with new recipes (and creating new recipes for my Food Love Friday blog post). There is a wealth of websites that focus in on recipes for those transitioning to a more clean and healthy diet. Create a bookmark folder in your browser, and start collecting the names of websites that specialize in the food you are interested in making. And, while you're at it, have fun in the kitchen! Food doesn't have to be complicated; it can be an amazing adventure.
3. Invite your friends on the journey: I think adventures are so much more fun when I have company with me. Now…beware! Some people in your life will not be open to trying new foods. In fact, they may criticize your decision to transform the way that you eat. Criticism is fine; in fact, it's natural. It's a reaction to change. Let your friends and family know that you are shifting to a more healthy diet, and you would love for them to join you on the ride. Some will come along, some will not. But it will be fun nonetheless -- just have a dinner party!
4. Find your tribe: Making lasting changes in your life is more plausible when you surround yourself with likeminded individuals. So, find your tribe! Go beyond asking your friends and family to join you on your diet transformation adventure. Get out there, online, in person, on Skype, on the phone…meet new people that have made the transition to a more healthy diet, and view them as the wealth of knowledge that they are. There are some wonderful Meet Up groups in every city (i.e. vegan potlucks, raw food potlucks, gluten-free clubs, etc.). Just go to Meetup.com.
5. See the health food store as a treasure chest: Health food stores are really off the hook now a days. They are so jam-packed with new and exciting products that it's easy to spend heaps of time perusing the goods. Visit your local health food store, and try out products that seem interesting. There are so many gluten-free products now that transitioning into a gluten-free diet is so much more easy than it was even 7 years ago.
6. Discover food alternatives: From the information that you gather at the beginning of your adventure, write down all of the alternatives that are available. For example, if you are going gluten-free, write down all of the flour alternatives and bread products that you enjoy. Make sure that your alternative list is extensive enough to provide you with variety, since it is the spice of life after all.
7. Create fun challenges: I love a challenge. Recently, I hosted a 21-Day Juicing Challenge on my website. It was amazing. 190 people signed-up, from all over the world, and we all drank one fresh juice each day for 21-Days. Simple. Challenges provide you with a fun way to maintain accountability. And, they are a fun way to connect with others doing the challenge with you. Here are some potential challenges for you: go gluten-free for 3 weeks; go sugar-free for 10 days; eat one new vegetable that you've never had each week for 6 weeks. Goodness…the possibilities for challenges are endless!
8. Soar with an open mind: Change is hard. And, when it comes to the food that we eat, we have some very strong beliefs and ideas that prevent us from making changes. Remember, to stay gentle with yourself. Keep an open mind. All you can do is complete the experiment. Discover how changing the way you eat transforms how YOU feel. And, do not be swayed by others because what works for them may not work for you and vise versa. You are a glorious individual that deserves a tailor made life and diet.
9. Grab inspiration: I gather a great deal of energy and motivation from hearing and watching the stories of others who have transformed their lives. In terms of diet transformation that ultimately revolutionizes life, I think the biggest bang for your buck is to watch documentaries like Food Matters, May I Be Frank, Forks Over Knives, Fat Sick & Nearly Dead, Raw Food Super Charge Me, or Crazy Sexy Cancer.
10. Share your knowledge: As you transform your diet, you will be accumulating a vast amount of new information and know-how. I say share that know-how with others who are interested in hearing it. Don't start preaching to people who are not ready to make a change in their lives. Just talk gently to those who are expressing interest, and show them that changing the way that you eat doesn't have to be the scary endeavor that most of us imagine it to be. It's an adventure that is filled with discovery, inspiration, transformation, and happiness in knowing that you have control over your destiny.
Alison Smith is a neuroscientist, writer and a wellness junkie on a mission to promote self-care and self-love to those battling back to abundant health and happiness. Schooled by her own journey back to vibrant health and vitality, following a 7-year battle with Lyme Disease, Alison is the creator of alisonsmith.com and the FREE e-book, Recharge Your Body: 52 Smoothie & Juice Recipes. Alison is a sugar-free & gluten-free coach who lives and breathes by the motto: Live healthy. Live happy. Live now.