Happy Happy New Year!! I hope you’ve all had a peaceful, joyous, and blessed holiday season. My family and I had an amazing holiday…full of love, fun, and even a little chaos…but, tis the season!
As we move into 2012…I’m generally not one for new year’s resolutions…but, this year, I’m feeling the urge to make some positive changes. I’m fairly sure that this urge stems from the way I’ve been taking care of myself over the past few weeks…or, should I say, the way I have NOT been taking care of myself the past few weeks.
It all started with my Engine 2 Oil-Free Challenge. When I first decided to challenge myself I was already very happy with my diet. But, for some reason I always have to push the envelope. I think this can sometimes be a positive and productive character trait of mine…but, as they often say “If it isn’t broke, why fix it?” I’m thinking in this case…I should have left very happy and very healthy alone and not gone out of my comfort zone. Granted stepping out of your comfort zone is what these “challenges” are all about…and I can absolutely appreciate that…but in this case, personally, I just felt like I was depriving myself.
Typically along with enjoying a plant based diet, I also avoid all soy products. Soy, along with dairy, makes me feel terrible…horrible sinus problems, headaches, no fun. So, with my Engine 2 challenge, I was eliminating all animal products and processed foods…which is fine with me because I don’t typically crave or want them anyway…but, I was also eliminating all soy, all added oils, green juices (which I LOVE), and smoothies. Basically, I felt like I was eliminating everything…and well, things all of a sudden just weren’t fun…at all. Call me crazy but I do think that eating should be fun…enjoying a green juice, or a Vega smoothie, or a yummy piece of manna bread with a little coconut oil on it is a true treat for me…and in my mind a very healthy treat. So, suddenly things just felt very very restrictive.
My oil free challenge did have it’s positive side…I definitely learned that I don’t need to add oil to many recipes that I once thought needed it. In fact, in many of them I preferred the no oil version. So something positive absolutely came out of it. But, what did I unwisely do the minute I was done with my 30-day challenge? Well, unfortunately, I went haywire. I started craving and indulging in things that I normally don’t even desire, much less eat…processed junk & too much sugar…which was horrible timing with all of the holiday goodies around! Basically I think I’d just been restricting myself so much that instead of feeling good, I simply felt deprived…and that never ends well.
So, my goal for 2012…or resolution if you want to call it that…is to strive for more balance. Strive for balance in every part of my life…but especially with my eating habits! My goal is an 80/20 eating plan…80% of the time I’ll eat a plant based diet free of all added oils & sugar…but, for the other 20% of the time I’m going to RELAX and not deprive myself. Dairy, soy, and processed foods will always be on my “no list”…they make me feel terrible…so, eliminating those things completely is a no-brainer. But, if I want to spread a little coconut oil on my manna bread for an occasional treat…I’ll do it. If I want to treat myself to a yummy Vega smoothie…I’ll do it. If I’m craving sushi or grilled fish…which happens on occasion…I’m going to do that too! And, I’m definitely going back to regular juicing because nothing makes me feel better and healthier than a nutrient packed green juice!!
I think I’m starting to realize that this journey of discovering what a healthy lifestyle really is, at least for me, is a matter of not going too far to one extreme or another. It’s about finding a happy healthy balance…my own personal balance…because I think it’s important for each of us to figure out what works best for us as individuals.
And to those of you out there who are challenging yourself with a 2012 new year’s resolution…or any other challenge for that matter…we are sending tons of positive energy your way and wishing you the best of luck! And don’t forget to keep us posted on YOUR journey…we always love hearing from you!
Here’s to health, happiness, & balance in 2012! Cheers! ~ Melissa