The theme of my life lately has become my mental health. It should have been a priority a long time ago, but as author Jen Pastiloff says "should is an asshole" so I'll try not to dwell in the past thus reducing my asshole footprint.;)
I had a thought as I passed by during a specific scene while my husband James was watching a horror movie the other day. The Priest was performing an exorcism on a man while telling the guy that was possessed not to believe the thoughts in his mind, that they were not his because he was possessed by demons.
So because mental health has been at the forefront of my mind lately, I told James that it's as if we have to go through mini exorcisms every day. But that demon we are possessed by is our own thoughts and they can be insidious. They are those thoughts that tell us we are stupid, dumb, not good enough, never will amount to anything, will never be happy, and don't deserve to be happy. Those are the exact thoughts that have to be released because they are not true and not real, yet they are so convincing because they are disguised as our own voice.
We could get in to all the ways those awful thoughts get there in the first place... our past, childhood, toxic relationships, ego, etc but in the moment I know I don't care how it got there, I just know that voice is there and it makes me miserable and I need an entire arsenal of ways to believe what it's saying is not true.
Liz Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, Big Magic, and City of Girls, says that her mind can be a terrible place to walk around alone at night in the dark. I have thought so many times that my mind is this bad neighborhood and some thief steals all the positive, happy, and joyful thoughts and what's left is fear, dread, sorrow and sadness. So I have to get out of that shitty neighborhood and walk down a safer street in the daylight and pull myself together.
At some point, you just get so tired of being scared and tense all the time. It's exhausting and not how I want to live my "...one wild and precious life" as poet Mary Oliver says. It's not until you realize that it isn't the thief in the bad neighborhood holding you up, instead it's YOU. You are the one holding the knife to your own throat.
That's the work, for me at least...managing the darkest shadows of my mind and following the light. Lately that has looked like...reading, yoga, praying, meditating, watching funny movies and shows, walking, being in nature, writing in my journal, and going to therapy. Mental health is so extremely important and taking care of it will look different for everyone. I am just beginning again to make it a priority.
I know that especially in the world we are living in now, we need a bushel of ways to keep us sane and out of the bad neighborhoods of our mind, it can literally save our lives.
What do you do to manage your mental health?
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So, we all want an easy fix right? I know I do, if I could just magically have abs by tomorrow I think I'd be pretty stoked, So in this day and age, when we want things fast and we want them easy and we want self care, nice skin, low cholesterol, good digestion, no illnesses, and we all love animals so we certainly don't want to contribute to their suffering, and the planet is in a mess right now so you definitely want to help that cause...but geez if there were just that one thing we could do that could be the answer to all of that!?! Oh wait there is...Go Vegan! You heard it right, it is as simple as eating fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, legumes, and cutting out meat, dairy, and eggs,
Everyone tries to complicate it, but it truly is that easy, I like to find a few recipes online or in books that I want to try out for the week and always have my staples of smoothies, avocado toast, oatmeal, fresh fruit, chickpea salad, and any kind of veggie pasta. Then I try to get creative with a few other recipes.
Studies have shown that eating a plant based diet can prevent and reverse heart disease, the number one killer in the United States. It can prevent certain cancers, help manage blood sugar, regulate hormones, lower cholesterol and triglycerides, lower blood pressure, help with infertility and erectile dysfunction, heal digestion and digestive related illnesses, and even prevent Alzheimer's. Do your body and mind a favor and let it heal by eating a plant based diet.
The topic of diet and disease is certainly not a new one, but no one wants to believe that it is as easy of a fix as it is. The evidence based research is there. Now all we have to do is get in the kitchen and start chopping, blending, baking, and sauteing our way to better health.
Change is always a bit difficult at first, but you can do hard things. Especially when those hard things lead to massive gains in so many different areas.
So head to the garden, the farmers market or the produce section, keep it simple or get creative and let Google guide you to some plant based heaven.
If you ever have any questions, feel free to reach out to me.
Until my fantasy of rolling through a drive -thru and ordering vegan mac and cheese, an avocado green goddess salad, and some sort of vegan cake at a take out window is fulfilled, these restaurant options I have suggested for lunch will have to do. ;)
Are you one of the 200,000 people that have decided to take the #Veganuary Challenge? (Vegan in January) If so, Yayyy!!! Congrats!!! This is the beginning of a beautiful relationship!! If not, and you just want to start eating a little healthier, replacing one of your old meals with a plant based meal, or dipping your toe in the lake called vegan...I've got you!
I know as a vegan, when someone says "let's go out to eat fast food" I am imagining myself ordering fries and slapping condiments, lettuce, and tomato on a bun wishing I had enough money to open a vegan fast food franchise rather than licking ketchup. Until then, I have found some pretty amazing spots to eat out.
My favorite right now is Chipotle! They have so many fresh ingredients, a flavor explosion happens in my mouth every time I take a bite. I usually get a Sofrita (tofu that's not too tofu-ish and spices) bowl piled high with rice, beans, all the salsas including corn, guacamole, and lettuce with the chips. Super yummy! They also use all non GMO ingredients. Fantastic!
I also love the Beyond Burger..the super delicious plant based hamburger you MUST try, especially the way Burger- Fi serves it up. Crispy on the edges with tons of flavor!! My dad is a huge fan of the Beyond Burger...I've tricked him!
Next on the list is Mod Pizza. They have an amazing assortment of greens and veggies to either throw in a salad or on a pizza. They even have vegan cheese shreds that melt juuust right to get that amazing texture.
Next, find a salad bar. Often you can find one at your local grocery store like Publix or Lowes Foods, and many chains including Ruby Tuesdays have pretty yummy salad bars with lots of topping options.
Lastly, try a veggie sushi roll. They are widely available at most Japanese restaurants as well as many grocery stores including Kroger and Publix. My favorite is the avocado peanut roll, or avocado cucumber roll, or avocado carrot roll..you get the picture,
Now if you have a Whole Foods in your area, you can get all of this and more there I'm sure. The last time I visited a Whole Foods, about 2 hours from where I live, they had to throw me out at the end of the night kicking and screaming with snacks in my cheeks like a chipmunk and some in each pocket to go. Well maybe it wasn't that bad, but I was certainly in there long enough to look suspicious.
Tell me, where is your favorite place to go out when eating a healthy, vegan, or plant based lunch?
Grab a mug and let's chat...or watch my video and lets chat,