At PBNSG we extol the value of a whole food, plant based diet at our monthly meetings at Groves High School and in the Small Groups all around the metro Detroit area. Earlier this week at our Sterling Heights Small Group the topic of how to maintain a health diet at family gatherings and going out on weekends with our family and friends was a concern of one of our newer members.
As everyone shared ideas on how to we deal with this most common situation it allowed me an opportunity to notice the contrast between the plant based veterans and newbies. What I saw on a personal level was the anxiety in the newbie just trying to comply with the recommendations because they felt that it was the “right thing to do” as opposed to the veteran who had little or now anxiety because they refused to give up their health and well being.
As most people continue on their plant based journey they notice the incremental benefits as time goes on. Not only do they lose weight, require less meds, and do not need to visit their doctors as often, they just plain feel better. We shared our experiences of those “indulgences” which often results in what I like to call a “food hangover.”
I think we have all been confronted with a situation where you just caved in and ate whatever was at the buffet because you didn’t want to be rude, or call attention to yourself. The problem wasn’t so much the actual act of eating, it was how everyone felt after they ate the food. There was bloating, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue and lethargy. Some stated it took a few days for their bodies to recover. I like to call it a food hangover. So, when a similar situation arose again, the same people chose not to eat and politely declined. They would often bring their own dish. I suggested blaming it on your doctor saying that you are on a very strict diet.
From my perspective, what was most fascinating is how the veterans chose to feel good. Nothing was going to stand in the way of their well-being. The longer we continue to practice healthy habits and we accrue the benefits, the less likely are we going to participate in behaviors that will compromise there health and well being.
Plain and simple, we all just want to feel good. Healthy eating is a practice that cultivated by education and a commitment to your personal health and well-being. It is one aspect in cultivating the habits of health. As you continue the practice, you become more aware of how your body reacts to the foods you are eating. In time, you will discover that the approval of our family and friends fades in lieu your loyalty to your own health.
My advice is to give yourself a chance to feel good. So many of us have lived in a suboptimal state of health for so long we don’t remember what it was like. Look at the PBSNG website for ideas, as well as the many contributors to PBNSG as there is so much out there. Seek the support of others that have already dealt with the
challenges that you are going through. And, most important, have fun! It is fun to feel good. This is not an act of deprivation, it is a celebration of what is good, healthy and whole.
Michael Dangovian, D.O., F.A.C.C.