I'll bet one of the toughest areas for you in your transition to eating a more healthy, plant-based diet is resisting the temptation of unhealthy foods that you've grown to love - that fast-food burger that you just have to eat once in a while, the chocolate dessert at the party table or the delectable gourmet cheese.
I know, because I've been there. But when you do resist, it feels great and you strengthen your resolve every time you do it. Unfortunately, you are at the mercy of your genes that want you to stock up for the coming famine (which most of us don't have anymore).
Read this article, "Why Can't I Resist Food Temptations," to better understand why it's so difficult. It includes tips for what to do about it.
And, with the plethora of food available these days, we just can't resist.
Add to that, the food's industry mission to keep us eating more, and resistance gets harder. Watch this insightful 60 Minutes segment that shows how the food industry attempts to manipulate our taste buds so you'll be armed with the knowledge - this is NOT REAL WHOLE FOOD! How DO you develop stronger resistance?
RESISTANCE IS NOT FUTILE!
Here are a few steps to help.
1. Define your "bad" foods. Mine are chocolate, chips, and crackers. What are yours? Resolve to NOT BUY any of your "bad" foods at all. Keep them out of the house and if someone else in the family buys junk food, have them keep it out of sight. Out of sight, out of mind. In the fridge, keep your trigger foods on the lower shelves in opaque containers and the good foods higher up in clear containers.
2. What are your triggers? Low blood sugar, stress, sleep deprivation? Write your triggers down and keep a diary. It will help you identify what your triggers actually are. A trigger could even be the time of day. If you can, move these triggers out of the house. Then write what steps you'll take when you're triggered. Are you going to take a walk or eat a healthy snack or call a friend? You might find that if you change some of these triggers, you can resist temptation much easier. Read this more in-depth article about triggers for more tips, "6 Tips for Dealing with Food Triggers."
3. Find solutions.
- Reduce stress - try meditating for 10 minutes a day.
- Get more sleep, eat "good" food when you're hungry
- Drive a different way to work, if you're triggered by your favorite fast food restaurant.
- Only indulge in a little, like an ounce of chocolate, if you can, after all, dark chocolate is pretty good for you. Get to know yourself and follow through.
4. Eat regular filling plant-based meals. Your stomach will get the signal that you are full. Fiber-rich veggie foods and complex carbs will keep you full longer.
5. Find substitutes such as this tasty hummus recipe to replace cheese or any on the appetizers on this page. I especially like making crunch corn tortilla chips in the oven or microwave. Not a bit of oil on them. Eat crunchy veggies like radishes instead of chips, and keep plenty of "good" food around.
One interesting phenomenon that occurs, according to Dr. Fuhrman, is when you eat a rich, plant-based diet, your cells will be getting the nourishment they need to function properly. You won't have what he calls "toxic hunger." Your body won't be saying "keep eating" I need more nourishment, but instead will feel full and only want to eat with true hunger.
Watch his video below for more on toxic hunger.
What ways have you found to strengthen your resistance against the temptation of "bad" foods and to keep eating healthy and plant-based?