In order for us to break those habits and acquire new skills and tools for negotiating happiness in our universe, we need to recognize the two fold process of letting go and being open; closing one door so that another opens.
This is not the easiest of combinations to realize, but it is a strong behavioral opportunity for self-assessment, self-evaluation, personal growth, and change. Whenever we are letting go, whether of a food, a drug, a behavior, or attachment, it is supportive to identify the healthy alternative, or positive choice, with which you will replace the unwanted choice.
For example, a former tobacco smoker had realized that a 3 lb. bag of apples cost the same price as a pack of cigarettes; yet the return in health was vastly different. Switching from one hand to mouth habit (smoking) to another, more positive, hand to mouth behavior (eating apples) supported the individual’s choice to initiate a positive change. The diabetic who made a daily trip to the vending machine for a diet soda each afternoon, has switched to a daily trip to the juice bar for a fruit smoothie- achieving a 20 minute exercise activity and selecting a healthy food choice will support the desired change of eliminating diet soda from the diet.
When switching to a vegetarian lifestyle, I took a cooking class with two macrobiotic chefs. They made an impression that has lasted a lifetime and supported my good health for over twenty years now. Nutritionists, doctors, and health coaches say things like ‘eat healthy’, ‘don’t smoke’, ‘eliminate sugar’, ‘don’t drink’, etc. Life does not always support those statements in the everyday reality, making such efforts ‘easier said than done’. Budgets, time, and most importantly, knowledge, among other factors, impact our health choices, even when we hear the healthy messages. Equipping one’s self with the knowledge of the replacement behavior, or the positive choice, is essential to success in health. The macrobiotic chefs entered their clients’ homes and told them to empty their cabinets. They began to remove everything that would not make a positive health contribution to the person’s life. Often they were left with little or nothing of the original stock. They didn’t leave at this point and say, ‘Okay now get healthy’. This elimination process was only the first step: identifying what you can, want, and need to eliminate.
This was followed by a shopping trip and to re-stock the cabinets with health positive choices – whole, real, non-processed food items and supplies that would support a healthy lifestyle. One cannot expect good health if the only choices you offer yourself in your home are unhealthy ones- you buy what is in your kitchen. The refined sugars, hydrogenated fats and oils, artificial ingredients – they just aren’t welcome in your home if you want good health.
What you can welcome into your kitchen, your home, and your life are organic choices, healthy oils and fats (nuts, avocados, flax, hemp and chia seeds, coconut oil, olive oil), dried beans and legumes for sprouting and cooking, fresh and dried herbs for seasoning foods and promoting health, dried fruits, local preserves, and value added products from local farmer’s markets or your own garden. All of these ‘supplies’ are there to enhance your meals and food experiences; the primary, essential, ‘supply’ for your good health habits however, is, and always will be fresh produce. We are urged to ‘eat the rainbow everyday’ or to select foods of a variety of vibrant colors. Your chakras will thank you for it, as each chakra has an affinity for the foods that correspond to its color, vibration, and energy.
When I make wraps or burritos, for example, instead of a processed flour tortilla wrap, I use a fresh collard leaf with the thick part of the stem removed; lightly steam it to make it more pliable, fill it with all of the prize ingredients, fold the bottom edge over, turn in the sides, roll it, and enjoy! Try a salad everyday to replace your daily doughnut, a fruit cup each morning with hemp or flax seeds in place of a processed cereal, or a serving of mixed raw nuts with dates in place of the heavily creamed and sugared coffee. These switches are small when completed one at a time- try adding a new switch each week until you have realigned your habits with your desire to be well and experience health. This gradual realignment, one switch, or step, at a time will support the long term sustainability of your positive changes and healthy choices, because it will not be as demanding or stressful as trying to change everything all at once. Going step by step will allow you the chance to see where your strengths and challenges are with each choice or switch you choose to make. If the change for a particular week is not manifesting as you’d like, go for a second week of working on just that change. Don’t be afraid to enlist your buddies or support network, but if there are naysayers in your circle, turn here for encouragement and if necessary, keep the process to yourself and enjoy your rewards without them!
Knowing what we don’t want is important but, exploring good choices and the never ending possibilities of good health, can provide us with a variety of alternatives that support long term changes and positive health. Consult with the yogi in you today, and see what kinds of switches you are ready to make in order to give yourself the best possible options in making and supporting good health decisions.
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