Whole Food, Plant-Based New Year Resolutions

Back before I began living the whole food, plant-based lifestyle, I would jokingly make the same resolution every new year. I would resolve to gain weight. The logic of that was that within a couple of weeks into the new year, I would always break my resolution. And with that resolution to gain weight, breaking it meant losing weight, not gaining weight.

The joke of course plays on the very fact that we do break our New Year's resolutions. And I think it's for that reason, I'm not really a big fan of New Year resolutions. Instead, I prefer to think in terms of where I'm going to focus for the new year. That way, I don't break the resolution, and suddenly find that I'm kicking myself for not having the will power to do whatever it is I want to do. Instead, it's a year long focus that can change as necessary to progress throughout the year.

For beginners to the whole food, plant-based way of eating, the focus might be on getting started. For those wanting to get started on the right foot, Dr. Neal Barnard, founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, offers a great 21 day kickstart plan that repeats online starting the first of each month. So, if you want to start January 1, you can, but if you're not quite ready to start, then you can sign up for February 1 or March 1 and so on. This online program is free, and it's probably one of the best ways to get started. Sign up can be done online just by clicking right here.

Our club believes strongly in the 21-Day Kickstart program, so members of the Eat Smart Live Longer Club in Sun City Hilton Head can also sign up for in-person group study and support using the 21-Day Kickstart program. That too is an excellent way to get started.

Then as a person progresses further into whole plant-based foods, the focus might change to learning new recipes and finding ways to be more creative. Here again, there's excellent support from Dr. Neal Barnard's Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine through their Food for Life program. That program, taught by instructors certified through PCRM, teaches people not only the basics of eating the whole food, plant-based way, but it also teaches students how to cook and make good whole plant-based foods. It opens up new dimensions from just eating a pot of soup or the same recipe time and time again. Check it out. I know that locally, we have a class starting here on January 5 that will run for eight weeks. That class is focused a lot around foods and recipes for diabetes prevention and treatment, but the recipes and techniques to be learned in that class can be applied by anyone in their daily lifestyle. Residents of Sun City Hilton Head can sign up for this class by calling the Lakehouse at 645-4515. Others can look online for Food for Life classes in their area by clicking here.

Or perhaps a person has the home cooking and the background information down for focusing on a whole food, plant-based lifestyle in 2015, but they eat out a lot and they want to focus on living this lifestyle while out in restaurants. Again, our club publishes a list of local restaurants and menu choices to consider when ordering. There is also advice on restaurants offered through the 21-Day Kickstart Program as well as in many of the books that are published on the whole food, plant-based lifestyle.

Even those who are more advanced in following the whole food, plant-based lifestyle can find something to focus on in 2015. A woman I talked to just this morning told me that her goal for 2015 is to reduce the amount of food that gets wasted. I'm adopting this goal as well. Most food does not need to be thrown out when the expiration date comes. Many foods that are starting to look bad can be cooked up in something else that's being made or frozen so as to keep it from continuing to go bad. Food waste is a big issue, and therefore it's a noble goal to focus on in 2015. Food waste means plants get grown that don't get eaten. And that means water is wasted, fertilizer is wasted and so on. That makes food waste a significant environmental issue.

So, no matter where a person is in the scheme of eating a whole food, plant-based diet, there are still things that can be focused on in 2015. There is continuous improvement for all of us. And as the improvements are made, the focus can be updated and changed to bring about important improvements throughout the year.

Happy new year. I'm looking forward to a great and successful year of whole food, plant-based eating in 2015, and I hope you are too.