making the switch


"The problem with all or nothing thinking is that it keeps people from even taking the first steps." -Dr. Micahel Greger

This quote is one that really stuck with me when I first began working towards my Holistic Nutritionist Certificate. It is so true, not only with eating but for many other things in life where people want to make a change, but fear ultimately holds them back. What is holding you back from becoming the healthiest version of yourself??

Lets talk about some labels, what it means to live a healthy lifestyle, and easy ways you can transform the way you eat!

Diet vs Lifestyle

Diet: short term. restrictive. tend to be trendy. caters to a broad group of people. usually not individualized to someones specific needs. not maintainable. can leave you feeling deprived. can be stressful to follow. Exception: elimination diets, which help you discover what foods may be making you sick or uncomfortable.

Lifestyle: maintainable. long term. eating for your body and your needs. restrictions are limited. can lead to permanent and positive health changes. this way of living becomes routine. 


For a while, I was labeling myself as plant-based (not vegan), meaning that I primarily consumed whole foods; such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains. There was also a time when I was strictly dairy-free and vegetarian but I eventually realized that way of eating wasn't working for me anymore, especially after finding out I was pregnant. I would still consider myself to be a non-meat eater, but I don't get so hung up on the label anymore, occasionally I will have shrimp or tuna, and I have even had pork a few times during my pregnancy and ya know what? IT'S OKAY. As for being dairy-free, I initially cut out dairy a few years back to control my acne and stomach aches, and since then I have realized what my body can and cannot handle so again, I don't obsess over it anymore. Labeling yourself as vegan, or vegetarian, or dairy free, or gluten free or whatever it may be only defines what you DON'T eat, and it completely disregards all the foods you DO eat. Labels centered around ways of eating can often times make us feel restricted and we put ourselves in this "box" instead of being mindful of what we are eating and listening to what our bodies need. 

Transitioning to a healthier lifestyle

Remember that quote from the beginning of this post? Making the switch to eating healthier doesn't have to be all or nothing. Give yourself some grace and flexibility, and slowly start incorporating changes when you can! Here are some tips and tricks for easing into a healthy lifestyle.

1. Don't let the fear of giving up your favorite snack or meal keep you from making any sort of change towards eating healthier overall. What you eat on special occasions is insignificant compared to what you eat on a typical day or week. 

Example: From our standpoint, my husband and I eat relatively healthy throughout the week, with meals consisting of lots of veggies, whole grains, legumes, and healthy fats. But on Sunday's we like love having chips and dip or ordering pizza. It would be way harder to maintain eating a certain way during the week if we knew that we weren't "allowed" to have some of our favorite snacks or meals every once in a while. We both know that what really matters is the healthy foods we eat most often, and we don't feel guilty about indulging here and there. A life without chips is just too boring in my opinion 😂

2. Redirect your cravings. In most cases, there is a healthier option for most foods and drinks. Don't let gimicky sales tactics trick you though.. Eating processed dairy-free cheese isn't necessarily healthier just because there isn't dairy in it. Be mindful of the ingredient list, even if it is marketed as a "healthier" option. 

Example: Chips and dip ⇢ Veggies and dip  ~ Ice cream ⇢ nice cream ~ Soda ⇢ Sparkling water ~ Beef chili ⇢ Three bean chili ~ Pasta with alfredo Pasta with tomato sauce ~ Chocolate bar ⇢ Dark chocolate covered almonds ~ Peanut butter with added oils and sugar ⇢ PB with only roasted peanuts and salt. This list could go on and on!

3. Try "crowding out" when you sit down for a meal. This means that instead of cutting out certain foods, you just fill your plate and stomach with the most nutrient packed foods first, then there won't be a lot of room leftover for more calorie dense foods, BUT you still have the option to eat a variety of different foods and meals.

Example: Start your meal with a plate full of salad or steamed veggies first. Fill your plate and don't hold back! More likely than not your "main course" portion will be smaller than it would have been without crowding out. This process allows you to still eat what you want, but in smaller portions and with focus on filling up with vegetables which have so many health benefits. This works for pasta, rice dishes, burgers, steak, etc! The same goes for breakfast, try starting with a big bowl of fruit before you dive into those pancakes or waffles ;)

4.  Eat well while eating out

For most of us, when we choose to go and eat out at a restaurant it is either for convenience or as a way of treating ourselves. If you have committed to moving towards a healthier lifestyle, you have 2 options for eating out at a restaurant. You can either let this be your indulgence of the week or month, or however you have your lifestyle structured OR you can practice these tips to ensure you can eat out and stay on track.

➤ Try to choose the restaurant when you can. This allows you the flexibility to eat foods you are comfortable with. For example, if you are trying to cut out red meat then maybe you would avoid choosing to go to a steakhouse.

    Remember that cuisines like Indian, Mexican, and Asian offer a lot of vegetarian and vegetables based meals if you are trying to cut back on meat.

Look at the menu ahead of time so you know your options and you can be prepared.

        Don't be afraid to crowd out before you go out! There is nothing wrong with eating a salad or some veggies or even fruit at home before you go out.

    Just do your best! The beauty of living a healthy lifestyle vs. being on a diet is that you choose what is right for you. This can change from day to day or even meal to meal. Don't be too hard on yourself and remember that ANY change is powerful and a step in the right direction, no matter how big or small.

5. Snacking and traveling

Just like with eating out, traveling doesn't have to derail you from sticking to a healthy lifestyle! Of course it isn't easy sometimes to find healthy options when road tripping, or when you are limited to a hotel room without a way of cooking but there are options! 

Example: instant oatmeal with nuts or dried fruit ~ whole grain crackers or rice cakes ~ trail mix ~ veggies and hummus ~ nut butters ~ tortilla chips with salsa or guacamole ~ whole wheat bread with nut nutter or hummus ~ fruits ~ nuts

6. Prepare your family but don't try to convert them

Doesn't it seem like people can sometimes get really defensive when it comes to talking about diets or eating healthy?  Everyone is free to make their own decisions when it comes to how they choose to live their lives, and that is why it is important to not pressure anyone into following your lifestyle 😃 Instead, try leading by example and encourage your loved ones if they express interest in your lifestyle changes! 

When it comes to making changes in your life what is holding you back? On the flip side, when making changes what helps you keep going? Let me know!!


Inspiration for this post comes from personal experience and from the book The Whole Foods Diet


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