Pay Now or Pay Later: Making Lasting Changes

I’m on a semi-cleanse, nothing too restrictive, just hoping to get off sugar and processed foods, while eating more veggies, raw foods, and juicing more. I already made the commitment to my health and happiness over 9 years ago when I went vegan. So I don’t feel like I need to do a restrictive cleanse for the new year. I want to make lasting impacts on my diet and wellness that will continue on throughout my life. Did you set a new year’s resolution or goal to do the same? Or are you doing a “cleanse”? Cleanses can be great when done right. But I hope that your real plan is to continue a lifetime of health and wellness even after this cleanse is over. And you switch your diet to more whole foods like this beautiful macrobiotic plate at one of my fave restaurants Casa de Luz.

(About cleanses: Spring is really the best time to do a cleanse (winter can be hard to eat raw or juice only), but if you are ready now to jump in I recommend a 21 day detox type cleanse. If you sign up for the 21-day Vegan Kickstart with the you will get free support, menu plans, recipes and more.)

Reading over everyone’s best of 2011 blog posts, I enjoy seeing peoples’ success stories, how they conquered a disease or ailment with diet, how they lost unhealthy pounds, found a new love for exercise, stopped chasing a skinny unrealistic image of themselves, and found peace with their bodies. Over the last year I also saw people destroy their health, choosing to take pleasure in unhealthy food, stocking up the medicine cabinet and eating themselves into a grave. But that isn’t you!

That might have been the old you, but it’s not the healthier, happier you that wants to choose your health first, save billions of animal lives, and tread lightly on the planet. You are here reading my blog because you care about these issues. People often say life is too short not to enjoy it, but I think we can have it all. We can have our taste buds satisfied and have good health! But you want to make changes that last. You can either pay for it now (with diet and healthful food) or pay for it later (having your chest cut open for heart surgery). As I talked about here, my good health has been an accumulative process.

Here are a few tips on how to make lasting changes that stick.

No One Size Fits All Cleanse

Yes, we could all benefit from eating less sugar and processed foods, and eating more whole foods and veggies. Duh. But if you are wanting to do a cleanse, examine first what your goals are. Do you have a health condition, does gluten make you feel icky and bloated, do you have a digestive disorder, do you want to lose weight, do you need to cook more at home? You will want to find a cleanse that is right for you and your goals. Not everyone can do a 30 day juice fast and for some people’s conditions that wouldn’t be the best choice. So maybe commit to eating no processed food, having a green juice every day, or eating more raw food.

Think About Today, Not Forever 

I have a friend who wants to get off sugar and gluten. She said “I can do anything for a month, but I’m depressed thinking about giving this up forever.” I told her to just think about today and tomorrow. Don’t worry about the future (“forever”). Like I always say, what works for you now may not work for you next week or even next month. Just think about this moment and the healthful choices you are going to make today. Maybe you set weekly goals, like baby steps, to work up to eliminating something unhealthful all together.

Make Your Kitchen a Sacred Space

Getting yourself in the kitchen more should be your most important goal of 2012. I really don’t like using the word “should” but I just can’t help myself here. Cooking more meals at home with whole food ingredients will automatically make you healthier. Cooking may seem daunting so I suggest making your kitchen a fun place to be. Equip yourself with the best tools, grab some beautiful cookbooks, make the lightening welcoming, even paint the walls or hang photos that make you happy. Make it a place you want to spend some quality time in.

Move Your Body

Even if you don’t want to lose weight this year, exercising regularly is essential for good cardiovascular health. It’s also good for stress relief, which is a silent killer and wreaks havoc on our immune systems. Even if it’s just 30 minutes 3 times a week you will see a world a difference in your health. If you are feeling adventurous sign up for a half marathon or olympic triathlon later this year and start training for it. Then you have a training plan, which will keep you committed to your weekly exercise routine.

Keep It Simple

I talk about this in my book: each meal doesn’t have to be a gourmet cook-a-thon. Keep things simple. Learn how to make one-pot meals, spend time making one “fancy” recipe from a cookbook then serve it with simple sides. The elements of your plate should contain a grain, a protein, and a vegetable (I usually make half the plate veggies with a dark green thrown in). That could even mean a huge salad that has quinoa and chickpeas on it. When I cook for myself I keep it very simple and make big batches to eat for leftovers.

If you need help on your journey consider my 28-day online wellness program, Wellness Reboot!

What do you commit to this year regarding your health and happiness?

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  1. Great advice, Christy.  I am also going to be cleansing over the next couple of weeks, but nothing over the top–just real, clean, whole foods.  I may have indulged a wee bit too much over the holidays and want to get back on track.  The funny thing is, as I was going through the cleanse materials, I realized that I already eat all those foods and have everything in the house–I won't even have to buy any new ingredients for this.  Just the focus will change. 🙂

    Happy 2012 to you!

    1. Hope you don’t mind I shared your story here! I think eaters like us don’t really need to do over the top cleanses because we eat so clean most the time. What cleanse program are you looking at?

  2. Cindy emailed and said "I enjoy all of your emails, but especially appreciated your message today.  I’m doing green smoothies and trying to eat better more consistently and hopefully thereby improve some health issues. Your message and the information are very inspirational and useful – thanks!"

  3. I want to continue eating a plant-based diet but start limiting sugar, salt and oil. I loved reading all your tips. I agree with your idea of just focusing on today. Thinking about the long run just makes it too much of a burden. I like to think about eating the most colorful, varied, healthy food "today" that I can…

  4. Very timely blog post.  I'm on Day 5 of an Elimination Diet and Detox Cleanse.  I feel great already, so much energy.  I love this new me!  I was a 95% vegan before I started this, but I still ate processed foods (crackers, chips, soy foods) and of course sugar, but had given up caffeine and alcohol.  Now after five days I'm off all gluten foods and all sugar.  I'm drinking super green smoothies, eatings lots of salads and really getting in touch with my inner vegan. 😀

  5. Great post Christy!  I miss Casa de Luz, moved back to MA four years ago after living in Austin for 7 years…I digress 🙂

    Thanks for the great reminders which are needed after all the holiday festivities.  I personally am not cleansing only because we follow a pretty clean whole foods plant based diet (since June of last year) and I am happy to say that I did a very good job of fending off the food bullies during the holiday season 🙂

    Are there any particular recipes in your book that you recommend for a cleansing effect?

    Thanks for all you do – you helped us make the transition from omnivores to plant based eaters easier and enjoyable!

    1. Casa de Luz is so good *drool* About Blissful Bites and cleansing recipes, honestly the whole book is about eating in a way that is cleansing and good for you. So if you follow the plan you’ll be all good!

      Thank you for your kind comments. I feel blessed I could help you make the transition more blissfully 🙂

    2. I left Austin for Houston in 2006. Like you I mourn my loss of Casa.

      Christy, the one on one coaching and your book of recipes are great.

      Here is the but. Could you provide a quick start guide that I cloud build on over time? Maybe one-pot meals. I cook for myself, committed to plant based “but” I am “very lazy”


      1. Hi Andy! I don’t really do one-pot meals because I cook all kinds of dishes. I highly recommend The New Fast Food which is a pressure cooker cookbook that has tasty one-pot meals in it!

  6. i love how positive and inspiring you are!  i don't like making resolutions at the beginning of each year.  instead, i like to evaluate the last year to see how i can continue to grow to become the best that i can be. 

    i love your helpful list.  those are things i try to adhere to as well.  like you said on your ustream yesterday, i don't really do cleanses either because i eat really healthy all of the time.  i think that it's important to realize that not all cleanses are created equal for everyone 😉

    1. Thank you Caitlin. Life is too short to be negative! I didn’t really evaluate the last year enough I think. I’m so gung-ho for the future lol. One of my goals is to live in the present more. I forgot to add that to my bucket list!

  7. Thanks for all of your wisdom Christy!   Eight months ago I was in a serious motorcycle accident and though I have been vegan all along, I have not had access to my own choices of vegan food until a few months ago.  I want to get all of the sludge out of my body thus I am focusing on a green juice a day as well as my normal clean food – I'm just amping up the greens with no sugar, oil or processed foods.  It is great to start to feel "normal" again.

    1. That’s a great idea and I hope you will blog about it! I don’t pay too much attention to all the little details I just make sure to eat the whole rainbow, get lots of nutrient rich food in every day. Dr. Furhman has a great chart that lists foods in highest nutrient value order you might check out.

  8. Christy, I'm so glad that I came across your blog.  I'm going to challenge myself to a 10 day juice cleanse.  I'm so glad that you posted a pic from Casa.  I love that place.  Is that suncheese on your plate? 

  9. Great advice, Christy! I like the “one day at a time” approach myself. My hubby watched many “meet your meat” type videos to keep himself on track when he first went vegan. Now he makes sure he has something green at each meal. What a difference!

  10. Hi Christy, it’s been almost 2 years that I’ve been vegan. I’ve had your book for about a year and own about 40 others, but I must say that I have consistently gone to yours the most, you should see all the flags, happy faces & and a few spills. I’m soon to be 55 yrs old and feel the best I’ve ever felt, minus a few aches and pains as I’ve been a very active woman. I’m just so thankful that I found you, I get your newsletters and anxiously await a new book, I just wish I lived closer so I could meet you and have a cooking class ( not that I need it because of your book). Just wanted to let you know your a part of my life as I’m sure many others.

    Best wishes

    1. Awww Debbie thank you so much for stopping by and leaving this! I’m so happy I can help you along your health journey! Keep up the great work lady! A second book is probably not coming for a while but I do plan to do an eBook and have weekly meal plans available for purchase in the next few months! Best wishes to you and do stay in touch! <3

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