Making Decisions for Whole Foods Plant-Based

In recent postings, I've made the point that any movement toward a whole foods, plant-based way of eating is a step in the right direction. And it's important to realize that because most people are not going to jump in feet first to fully eating whole plant-based foods. And when it comes to areas like the environment, economics or animal compassion, small steps by a large number of people can have a dramatic effect as I mentioned in yesterday's posting. But when it comes to health benefits, the steps taken by an individual will determine the health benefits that individual sees. There it's only one person, and the bigger the steps taken the bigger the results seen.

If we choose to eat whole foods, plant-based, then we should try to make daily choices that strengthen that decision. And that's where the real challenge comes in. Oftentimes, it's easier not to make those decisions. It's easier to continue with just Meatless Mondays or VB6 or with whatever past eating history we have. It takes some actual decision making to move forward.

Let me offer two examples of what I mean from when I started eating WFPB.

Example Decision 1

I began by eating VB6, which basically meant that I ate whole foods, plant-based all day except for one meal a day. That one meal a day, I could eat whatever I chose to eat.

About three weeks after starting, I began to think that I wanted to make more of my meals WFPB. So, I started making all three meals each day plant-based, but I allowed myself the option of not eating plant-based one meal a day if I felt like it. That was working pretty good for me.

Then my brother was coming to visit and my family planned a big meal for all of us at a local steakhouse. Being that I loved steak at the time, and I loved this steakhouse, my initial inclination was to forgo the plant-based way of eating that evening and chow down on a big old ribeye steak. But then I made a decision. I decided that if I was ever going to do this WFPB thing, then I needed to avoid the steak and order plant-based.

The whole concept was foreign to me. I mean, how do you go to a steakhouse and not order any meat? I wondered. But I decided to try it.

I have to admit though that I almost went back on my decision as I walked across the parking lot to enter the steakhouse. I could smell the steaks cooking from the parking lot. And it was enough to make me question my decision.

But I stuck with it. I ordered rice pilaf with a mushroom topping and a couple side vegetables. The first thing I discovered in doing so was that the server didn't bat an eyelash. She seemed used to other people maybe ordering that way. And when my food was brought, it was a nice presentation. It looked appetizing, and several family members remarked that they would have liked that meal themselves.

That became an important decision to me because it showed me that I could really do this and I could do it within my lifestyle. I didn't have to give up going out to eat or going to family events. Had I never made that decision, I would have continued to fear going out to eat. But instead, I gained confidence that allowed me to continue moving forward.

Example Decision 2

About three weeks after the steakhouse decision came Thanksgiving. And we were celebrating it at my house this year. I still had my Big Green Egg at that time, so I smoked a turkey for the family on my Big Green Egg. And again, I could have decided that being a special occasion, I could make an exception to the whole foods, plant-based way of eating. I hadn't, after all, fully committed to it yet.

But I did some online searches and I found from Dr. McDougall and also from The Happy Herbivore some great Thanksgiving recipes. I decided to try them for myself. My main course became a cranberry and rice stuffed acorn squash, and it was delicious. And again, family members were looking at what I was eating and wanting it too. Unfortunately, I had only made one acorn squash, so there wasn't any to offer them.

But those two decisions reinforced with me the fact that I could in fact do this way of eating. And that spurred me on. I think that if I had not made those two decisions at that time, it would have been more difficult for me to move forward. And in fact, I might not have achieved the success I achieved had I not made those two decisions.

So, encourage people to start. But also encourage people to make positive decisions that end up in good results. Success requires effort. And effort starts by making good decisions.