Friday, 28 February 2014

Are you up for the Challenge?

I've been feeling a challenge coming on for myself.  But I've been hesitant to start it because one of my focuses this year was to find BALANCE and I've been feeling as though if I started a challenge, I'd fall victim to the "all of nothing" approach which in turn could end up in the "if I have one bad thing then I've stuffed my diet up, and may as well start again tomorrow" territory, which I don't want to happen.  So i've been breathing through these feelings and meditating on the thought of doing a 42 day vegan challenge to make sure that it's not my ego driving my desire to do this, but that it is coming from a deeper desire for absolute health and wellbeing.  I've had to be honest with myself and realise that right now, the way I'm going I'm not feeling my absolute best.  I really want to be a walking advertisement of health and wellness, I really want to practice what I preach in the hope that I can inspire just one person to change the way they view their lives and start living a healthier more abundant life.

So why 42 days and why a vegan diet?

Well studies have shown that creating a new habit takes 21 days to stick, well in my history... I need a bit longer than 21 days.  To be honest, I'm just getting the hang of things at 21 days, but I haven't formed a new habit.  This brings me to doing something for 40 days, research has shown that after repeating an new pattern for forty days, you can change the neural pathways in your brain to create long-lasting change.  Mythical examples range from Moses's forty days and fort nights spent on Mount Sinai to the story of the Buddha reaching enlightenment on the full moon in May after meditation and fasting under the bodhi tree for forty days.  So I'm taking cue from the mystics and committing to a 40 day vegan lifestyle change, and because I like to have things even, I'm aiming for 6 weeks so that makes it 42 days, the extra two days are just a bonus!

Why a Vegan diet specifically?  Well I've been flirting with a vegan diet for a few months now.  I've been having meat and dairy free meals at least 2 meals a day, and the days I fully commit to a vegan diet, I wake up feeling more vibrant and full of energy than the days that some cheese or even some meat may have crept into my meals.  Now I'm coming to understand a few new truths.  Diet and meal choices are not one-size fits all, so while this feels right for me at this point in time, it might not be right to you.  It's certainly not the right fit for my fianc√©, he needs his meat and that's ok.  So if you're thinking you want to embark on this 42 day challenge with me, but following a vegan diet isn't right for you, give something else a try.  It might be quitting sugar, or giving up dairy, or following the Paleo principles, or even just implementing one vegan meal into your diet a day / week.  Do what ever feels right for you at this time.

People choose to be vegan for health, environmental and/or ethical reasons.  For example, some vegans feel that one promotes the meat industry by consuming eggs and dairy products.  That is, once dairy cows or egg-laying chickens are too old to be productive, they are often sold as meat; and since male calves do not produce milk, they usually are raised for veal or other products.  Some people avoid these items because of conditions associated with their production.

The main reason I'm doing this is for my health, I've lived a vegan lifestyle before and honestly that has been the best I have ever felt.  But it also feels pretty darn good to choose this lifestyle to promote a more humane and caring world.  I know that I am not perfect by I believe I have a responsibility to try to do my best, while not being judgemental of others.

The key to a nutritionally sound vegan diet is variety.  A heathy and varied vegan diet includes fruits, vegetables, plenty of leafy greens, whole grain products, nuts, seeds and legumes.  And for me I will still include some eggs.  I have chooks at home, I know how they are being treated and I know what they are being fed, and I am content that they live in a great environment.

If you will be joining me on this challenge.  Take some time before hand to become clear on why you are wanting to embark on this challenge.  Also work out what you want to achieve at the end of your 42 days.  Because if you are not clear in the beginning it will be easier for you not to stick to it and fall back on old bad habits.

Why not follow me on my instagram account for photos of meals and I'll also be loading a heap of recipes up on the blog to give you heaps of ideas and keep you going.  I'll also keep a bit of a online journal of my progress if you are interested in it.  I'll also track down some inspiring vegans and have a chat to them about they reasons for choosing this lifestyle and the positive way it has impacted their lives.

What an exciting way to start Autumn.  Hope you have a great Saturday!


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