The months seem to fly by, especially at the end of the year. Thanksgiving zoomed by, and we’ve passed Christmas and New Year’s! During the holidays, there’s more pressure to stay on top of eating a whole-food, plant-based diet (emphasis on the “whole food”) and, for many of us, to create a memorable holiday experience for our loved ones.
I hope your holiday was joyful without much stress. 🎉 I loved just hanging with the family. We took a leisurely 2-mile walk and enjoyed just shooting the breeze. Here’s our holiday photo that was taken in the fall with our two boys and Andrew’s girlfriend.
We had three birthdays in our family in December including mine. 🥳
It’s hard to admit I’m getting older and, at the same time, I know how blessed I am to be in this world. However, I don’t want to become irrelevant or lose anyone who thinks that I’m too old to offer advice. I’ve had a lot of life and learning opportunities, especially with eating a healthy diet, so I confidently feel I can guide people to find better health. I love you’re still with me! 💕
It feels wonderful to be healthy and active without taking any medications as I age and I hope you can get there, too.
That’s not to say that everything’s perfect. I often have trouble staying asleep which wasn’t the case when I was younger. I know just about any alcohol will affect sleep so I occasionally have a glass of beer or wine.
I like to ensure I get enough B vitamins, especially since vitamin B12 is deficient in a vegan plant-based diet. From my research, it looks like B vitamins are very important for quality sleep. I take a B complex periodically. It contains the Methylcobalamin form of Vitamin B12.
All of the other B vitamins are available in food and are most abundant in these vegan foods: beans, soy products (made from a bean), whole grains, nuts, seeds, fortified nutritional yeast, and cereals.
I alternate the vitamin B complex supplement with straight Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin). Dr. Michael Greger from nutritionfacts.org recommends this kind, but many others recommend the Methylcobalamin form which can be confusing.
Dr. Greger has a video explaining the difference between these two types of vitamin B12.
If you’re interested, I’ve written an article about the need to get enough B12 if you’re eating a vegan, plant-based diet. It’s called, Worried About Vitamin B 12? Why You May Want to Supplement.
I’ve also discovered a podcast by a Standford scientist, Dr. Andrew Huberman. It’s called the Huberman Lab. His episode on sleep and our circadian rhythm, Master Your Sleep and Be More Alert When Awake, is very informative.
He also has a Toolkit for Sleep I know you’ll find interesting.
Anxiety During the Holidays
Unfortunately, during the holidays, I had a bout of anxiety. Anxiety has periodically been a part of my life.
This time it was pretty bad, so much so that I had a couple of panic attacks which is quite unusual for me. The good thing, though, is that panic attacks don’t frighten me because I understand what’s happening and must simply wait them out.
I usually chalk up anxiety to genetics or maybe the fact that I was adopted at a very young age. Maybe Covid has something to do with it as it seems to have caused so many to have anxiety.
I decided it was a good time to get some blood work and happily, it came back with everything a-okay.
Unfortunately, my doctor suggested I start taking a drug to help relieve the anxiety.
I didn’t want to cover up the symptoms just to feel better when I knew it was essential to get the root cause, so I chose not to take the drug. And, frankly, just getting the positive blood work results did put my mind at ease.
When the anxiety was at its worst, I read a book called, Rewire Your Anxious Brain: How to Use the Neuroscience of Fear to End Anxiety, Panic, and Worry. It explains how structures in our brains, specifically the amygdala and the cortex, work in tandem to keep us safe. It also goes into how to actively manage these two systems when they’re in overdrive and creating anxiety.
It’s a fantastic book with proactive suggestions which are pretty empowering.
I’ll continue to work through the helpful tips from the book and to find time for meditation, making sleep a priority, connecting with friends, eating well, and having a meaningful purpose.
Speaking of finding meaning. I imagine many of us struggle with this in our daily lives. When I was younger, I had quite a lot of trouble trying to find my way in the world. I knew I wanted to be involved in something that made a difference and it took a while.
There’s a new book out this month called, Hero on a Mission: A Path to a Meaningful Life, and I’d recommend it if you’re struggling with finding meaning and purpose in your life.
One way this book is different from others is the author points out that we will struggle in life at times. And, even if we’re on a meaningful path, we’ll still find chores, feedback, criticisms, and hard work that causes struggle. This is just what occurs when we’re on the journey to meet our goals.
These are the challenges we face when we’re on a mission and put ourselves out there. It’s rarely an easy path but so worth taking when we find passion. We shouldn’t give up or be dissuaded because of this.
I hope you share with me how you’ve found meaning in life and some of the struggles you’ve had to overcome. Like the hero in a story, we can transform from being without purpose into a hero in our own story.
Helping Our Friends Change
I’m still working on my new program to help our friends and family start eating a plant-based diet. I’ll be offering a complete meal plan for a dinner party that includes the recipes and shopping list, and importantly, meal prep options to help make it easier on you.
My first menu will be a Mexican theme. Almost everyone enjoys Mexican food. These recipes have been tested by my friends with great feedback, so they should be great for you, too.
The meal plans will also include tips on how to discuss being plant-based during your dinner party.
Would you like to throw a plant-based dinner party for your friends or family so they can taste just how delicious this way of eating can be? Let me know if I’m on the right track.
Until the next Coffee Klatch, I bid you adieu, and hope you’re following your passions.
If you like this new Coffee Klatch series, I’d love to hear from you, and thanks for sharing this journey with me. I hope you’re doing well.