My favourite ways to stay inspired and stick to my raw vegan lifestyle.
Willpower isn't something I have and abundance of. Many people say, "Lissa, you must have incredible strength and willpower of steel to stay raw vegan as long as you have..."
“It's not willpower that makes me stick to my raw vegan diet. It's so much more than that.”
Not everyone can stick to a raw vegan lifestyle and that's okay. The best thing you can do is mostly try to stay at least vegan. Cut out the junk food and eat MORE raw foods. Even that can be difficult, so here are my top 11 tips on how you can stay on the raw vegan path.
1. Daily Affirmations
The power comes in doing them daily. They truly do work... if you do them. Changing your mindset is probably the most powerful thing you can do but it takes time. It takes remembering. Your old belief patterns will be hard to break and will take over when you are just going about your day. We are creatures of habit and habits are formed daily. It's so easy to be lazy, use justifications and to simply give up when we are stressed and tired. I get it. I tried to be a raw vegan for over 10 years before I ACTUALLY became one.
The main reason I believe that I stuck to this for as long as I have is exactly this. I use daily affirmations in so many areas of my life that I have told myself so many times that I now believe them as truth. I am a Raw Vegan. I eat healthy raw foods. I treat my body with respect. I enjoy creating my meals. I love sharing this knowledge... Stuff like that. Set alarms on your phone, stickers on your mirrors or papers on the ceiling. I even changed my passwords for things to an affirmation that has come true, that I never thought would. Even if you don't believe the things you are saying to yourself, keep saying them.
You don't need willpower. You just need to tell yourself the truth all the time, every day.
2. Go over your reasons for doing this?
What are your reasons for eating this way? When you have a craving, it's important to go back to the original motivators. What inspired you in the first place?
I am vegan the animals. I care so much about what we are doing to the souls we share this Earth with. I want to be compassionate and I want to stay true to what I believe. They have no voice, they can't tell us that they don't want to die for our pleasure. I will stand for them. This helps me stay vegan.
I am vegan for the Earth. A recent article was released stating that there will be a massive planetary catastrophe by the year 2030 if we don't do something. This is old news. I remember when I was a kid in the 90's trying to do my part to save the Earth, but we are getting to the point of no return, if we aren't there already. I remember when I was 12, they said by 2020 or something we would be in trouble. That seemed SO FAR AWAY when I was a kid. Well, we are almost there, and looks like it was true. We must change. It's so critical. This helps me stay vegan.
I am vegan for my health. After reading and researching I couldn't keep going with what I was doing to my body. There is way too much science out now showing the benefits to a plant-based diet. I choose this to stay as healthy as I genetically can over my lifetime. I choose raw because I feel they are the best choice of foods to eat. I also choose raw because I know that cooked foods lead down a slippery slope, of which I always slip down. I treat cooked food as a recovering alcoholic treats alcohol. It's not part of my life.
I am vegan for all of you. My friends, my family, the world that watches me. I am constantly surprised by the messages I get saying that I was the one that inspired them to go vegan. This fills my soul and makes me happy. My passion is sharing with you and helping in any way I can.
What are your reasons? Meditate on them when you are feeling low.
3. Review the movies, videos and books that originally inspired you.
In the beginning of my raw vegan journey I spent a lot of time watching movies and YouTube videos. I was so inspired by Fully Raw Kristina that I think I watched literally every video she ever made at the time. I remember finding her when her channel had first begun, about 10 years ago or so. In the comments section of a video, I saw someone mention to watch some movies. That day forever changed my life.
I watched back to back: Forks Over Knives, Cowspiracy and Earthlings. Those hours were precious to me. Filled with tears and resolve. I was a vegan. I went on to watch more movies in the future such as What The Health and many others. So many great documentaries coming out with so much wonderful information. I was convinced.
I then got some books and started doing some more research. I thoroughly enjoyed The China Study, Proteinaholic and How Not To Die. I also read through The 80/10/10 Diet by Doug Graham and decided that I was finally going to try the low-fat version of raw veganism.
4. Learn and do more research.
Learning new things is always beneficial. This is a great tip to stay motivated, by finding out new things about your new lifestyle. Keep up on current studies and soak up any information you can find. Keep an open mind and learn both sides. I personally love Dr. Greger's website Nutrition Facts, he goes through countless studies every day and creates short videos to pass along the results to us. If I ever need confirmation that this vegan thing is correct, I'll just head over to his site and enjoy a bunch of videos. It really helps you to stay focused and find that desire again to eat whole plant-based foods.
5. Create new recipes.
Whether you create them yourself or find new ones to make, go on a taste adventure and try out new recipes. The internet is your best friend. You can search for all kinds of recipes and discover new flavours that become part of your weekly rotations. I have over 200 recipes in my e-books all vegan and healthful. No need to worry about animal products or refined things going into your salads.
Whenever I feel bored or tired of what I am eating, I will get creative in the kitchen. I used to get bored with the stuff I used to eat and do the same thing - so why can't we do that as vegans too?
6. Eating enough and eating low-fat.
Trying to be a raw vegan for 10 years before actually doing it fully, I found it difficult to maintain because I was eating high-fat and not eating enough calories. I believed that it wasn't right for me because I couldn't sustain this diet. It wasn't because of the diet, but I didn't understand at the time. It wasn't until I attempted the high-carb and low-fat version, that I was finally able to stay raw vegan. I was full, hydrated and healthy. Cravings went away and I felt alive. You can't use the standard dieting advice parroted by society when eating a raw vegan diet because you are not eating the standard diet foods, restricting calories and enjoying more than your fair share of healthy fats. If you aren't active, pregnant or breastfeeding, then sticking in the 5-20% calories from fat range should be perfect. Just make sure you eat enough of everything else.
7. Train your mind.
Any opportunity I had to tell myself the truth about what was real food, I took it. I used to believe that fish was healthy, but it isn't. I had to tell myself every single time I saw a photo of fish, that it wasn't real food. The more I told it to myself, the more I believed that to be true. The same goes for other lies like, I must restrict calories to lose weight. I told myself that if I ate low-fat I was completely fine to eat higher calories. It took time and you'll never be perfect in your thinking, but you will get stronger and it'll be easier to believe the truth.
8. Be an example.
One day I was at the grocery store buying my regular fare. There was a girl walking around the store who was constantly looking over at me. I thought nothing of it and proceeded to the checkout counter. The girl had also followed me and was standing behind me in the line. When it was my turn, the cashier asked for my phone number and name in order to get my loyalty discounts and when I told her my name, the girl behind me said, "omg it IS YOU!!! I follow you on Instagram... Raw Food Romance, right?" I was so surprised to be noticed! We took some photos together and hugged. It was lovely to meet a fan!
As I walked home I thought about how much of an example I am to others. What if I was cheating in private and buying a bag of Doritos in line and she saw that? What if someone caught me eating cooked vegan foods at a restaurant that I never go to, just to hide. Now I know not everyone is gonna get recognized randomly in the street, but pretend that it's possible. Act as if the world is watching you, because they are. This is a huge motivator for me. I won't buy things because I want to stay an example. I don't eat cooked things in private because I want it to show in public. I want to always be the best Lissa I can be to show this lifestyle is worth it.
You never know who is watching you. Your friends and family see you change, they watch what you do and you would be impressed at who messages you a year down the road and says, "hey cousin, you inspired me to be a vegan. Thank you!"
9. How you feel every single day.
By giving up junk foods, animal products and stimulants, should change how you feel in a fairly short amount of time. Focus on the improvements you are feeling. There is an adjustment phase and sometimes things can take longer to heal than expected, but be grateful for the feelings of health you already are achieving. It took a long time to help my skin and lose my weight but I was grateful I was seeing small improvements and was determined to remain feeling better every day that went by, which brings me to the next tip...
10. Remember how you felt in the past.
Where would I be if I hadn't changed 4 years ago? How would my health be? Would I have gained another 100lbs? Most likely. I remember having incredibly painful joints and I hated my skin. I still have scars on my skin that are from years of acne healing improperly because I wasn't feeding my body the nutrients it needed to fix my skin. These scars are constant reminders of what I did to myself in the past. They remind me of where I came from and what I have overcome. My stretch marks that have remained (although are getting lighter as the years move on) remind me of the weight I used to be and how uncomfortable I was in my own body. I remember, therefore I choose health. I don't want to go back to that and if I want to maintain my current healthy body, I have to keep making good choices. Every day.
11. Look forward to the future.
I am excited to see where I will be in 5, 10, 20 years with my health. I am no longer scared to age fast, and hope that I can age as gracefully as possible.
Imagine that your future self comes to your doorstep. Sick, tired, riddle with disease, aged and exhausted with life. This future you has come to warn you, not to go down the same path that they did. "How do I avoid this?" You ask. Your future self says, "Eat right please!!! Stop eating the junk... Go vegan, exercise, sleep properly, manage stress and laugh often."
Imagine that your future self comes to your doorstep. Fit, healthy, hydrated, youthful and full of energy. This future you has come to motivate you, to go down the same path that they did. "How do I achieve this?" You ask. Your future self says, "Eat right please!!! Stop eating the junk... Go vegan, exercise, sleep properly, manage stress and laugh often."
Both future versions of yourself will end up giving you the same advice. Will you take it?