People claim to be vegan if they do not consume or utilize animal products or those products tested on animals. People practicing plant based nutrition don’t eat animal products and eat predominately unprocessed fruits and vegetables. Then there is the combination vegan-plant based, sugar, oil, salt free plant based and raw vegan. Obviously, the more unprocessed, the healthier the nutrition is. But what is healthy? Is it free from colds, viruses, and any other physical diseases? How vegan or plant based do you have to be in order to be bullet proof? Is there a metric to achieve? Are you a failing whole foods plant based human if you become ill? When did they pass out the green super power capes making perfect plant based eaters free from adversity?
The reality is most of us changed our nutrition along the way realizing that eating plant based was the best thing we could do to decrease our risk of lifestyle diseases while helping the planet and the animals. But most of us have a past exposure and we all have exposures presently to things out of our control. So we do our best to eat as healthy as we can each day.
Being plant based does not mean challenge free. It it a big part of the defense against lifestyle diseases, but it is certainly not the only part. Plant based vegans get cancer, have accidents, and get depressed. It is not a sign of failure, but a sign of being alive. Our individual paths as humans are bumpy, curvy, and filled with unknowns. It is how we react to the challenges that allows us to grow as individuals and contribute to the greater good. The bumps don’t really matter as much as the story we tell ourselves that limits our growth. Running is one of my favorite metaphors for life. Everyone feels bad at mile 20 of a marathon but then crosses the finish line in a sprint while smiling. At mile 20 the negative voices sing pain and agony and self doubt. When you hear the crowds cheering and see the finish banner, you feel nothing but positive energy and certainty. Nothing changed physiologically. Your muscles are still fatigued, the blister is still there, you are still nauseated yet you now feel positive and joyful. Only, your thoughts changed.
How do you bottle the positivity? You do have super powers as a plant based vegan. You have more positive energy to work with. The fruits and vegetables that you consume are alive. As a result of the greens you ingest, your blood flows smoother and you have less metabolic wastes acidifying your body. But you still need to fight those negative thoughts. Sometimes we even need to say our goals out loud. I am going to do this. I will not quit. You can always think of one positive thing to get you just a little bit further. The challenge may seem impossible or too long to handle. Break it down into manageable steps. Short steps to the longer distance. Can’t walk 10,000 steps? Count how many you can walk, and add one more. If you can add one more, you have proved you had more left in the tank. Our biggest limitation is our mind. Can’t stop snacking? Walk away twice. What happened? Try for a third time. Just push a little further. If you let the negative thoughts in they build and multiply. My shoulder hurts, I had better rest. I am tired, perhaps my plant based nutrition is failing me. Or, my shoulder hurts, I need to assess what is limiting it and strengthen those areas. Let’s see if I am still tired if I go a littler further. Let’s try to substitute this colorful food today and get to bed a littler earlier tonight. I am sick, what will people think since I am plant based? I am sick and I will be able to heal much quicker since I am eating plant based. How can I get in more nutrients? What should be my plan to get well?
Try to see how many times you can change a negative thought into a positive thought today. Take one extra step towards your goal. Every step counts as long as you are going forward. You just might be a bullet proof vegan.