Today is Valentine's Day, and as I was getting ready to spend it with my sweetie, I thought about how similar doing the whole plant-based way of eating is to being in love. Of course, there are different stages to being in love, and I know all the stages well. There are also different stages to being on a whole foods, plant-based diet.
In the beginning, it's all risky and we're not sure if we want to go there or not. We lack confidence in ourselves, whether it's in our ability to be pleasing to another person or whether it's in our ability to follow this way of eating. There's a lot of nervousness. Am I saying this right, when it comes to dating, or am I doing this right when it comes to eating a whole foods, plant-based diet. We don't know if the other person will like what we are offering when we're dating just as we don't know how our friends will react to the way we are eating. It makes us nervous. There's risk involved in both, and we don't like risk. But we march ahead believing there's a pot of gold waiting for us at the other end.
Sometimes there is and sometimes there isn't. Relationships break up just as people stop following the WFPB way of eating. It happens. And usually afterwards there's sadness and regret and oftentimes guilt. When that happens, we have several options. We can give up on relationships all together just as we can give up on changing how we eat. I know I've done both. I once said I would never lose weight again. I was so discouraged. That was 150 pounds ago. I've also said that I would never go into another relationship. That was before the one that I'm now in and very committed to.
Love is dynamic and energetic and intense, whether it's love of another person or love of food or both. And when it happens, we have to give ourselves over to it or else we don't find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But we also must be smart about it. Love of another person has to be with the right person. It has to be with somebody we respect and who respects us. It has to be with somebody who loves us back and cares about us as much as we care about them. And the same goes for food. Love of food can be dangerous if it turns into dopamine rushes created by by chemists in a food laboratory. Love of food can be dangerous if it causes us to turn to diets that are unhealthy or wrong for us. But finding the whole foods, plant-based way of eating can be as exciting and healthy for us as finding the right woman or the right man.
In the end, for love to stay alive, it requires commitment and energy on our part. Otherwise love can grow stale and dysfunctional relationships or broken relationships will result. The same is true with the WFPB way of eating. It requires our commitment to stay the course. I don't say that means 100%. I'm satisfied if I'm doing at least 95% whole foods, plant-based. I believe that's in line with what both Dr. Greger and Dr. Campbell have said in their books. But it takes a strong commitment to do the whole foods, plant-based way of eating for at least 95% of our calories.
It also takes energy. We need to put something into it. In a relationship, we need to bring flowers every so often. We need to open car doors for the other. We need to find new and exciting ways to be romantic. In the same way, energy needs to go into eating whole plant-based foods. We need to read and learn what the doctors say about it. We need to read cookbooks and look for new recipes to enjoy. We need to learn how to use a pressure cooker or a Vitamix. Or how to hold a knife. It all requires energy on our part.
So, this Valentine's Day, think love but think good healthy, wholesome food too. There's much to be said for both.