Do You Have Room in Your Life for Health?

Deeper Look Logo“I don’t have time to eat a vegan diet! It takes too much time to chop all those veggies!” 

“After I work all day, I just want to relax. I don’t want to cook. It’s much easier to order take-out or stop at a drive-through on my way home.”

“My friends don’t understand what this vegan diet is all about, so when I’m with them, I just eat whatever they’re eating.”
There’s no question about it: it takes an effort to make a significant change in our diet or lifestyle. We have to make room in our lives for something new. But there is also no question about something else: If we don’t make room in our lives for health, later on we’ll have to make room in our lives for illness.

Anytime we start something new, we have to make room for it in our lives.

When we get a job, we have to make room for it. When we go to school, we have to make room for it.  If we decide to learn a new skill or hobby, we have to make room for it.  If we join a club, we have to make room for it. When we have a baby, we need to make LOTS of room for her.  So… when we decide to commit to health, we have to make room for that, too.  But for some reason, many of us don’t feel like we should have to make that much of an effort to choose health. Until, of course, we lose it. Then we go to great lengths and great expense to try to get it back.

Chopped SaladMaking room in our lives for something new involves several aspects. One, of course, is time. Every one of us has 24 hours in a day, and every second of those 24 hours is already filled up with something, even if it is sleeping or watching TV.  So when we want to do something new, something else has to move over to make room. But much of our time can be organized better so that we actually get more out of those 24 hours. We discover that when something is a priority, the time somehow opens up.
Time, however, may be one of the simplest aspects of this issue of making room. We also have habitual ways of thinking and behaving, and carving a space out of our old habits to make room for something new can feel like we’re carving a piece out of our very identity. Family traditions, cultural norms, and the expectations of our friends can box us into old, unhealthy ways of living — until we decide to get out of the box.

Beliefs may be the toughest challenge for making room for something new.

We may not be fully aware of our beliefs, and they may not even be rational. But our beliefs can be a stubborn roadblock to making positive changes. Examples might include beliefs about gender roles, racial prejudices, and even nutritional information (and misinformation.) We need to remember that just because we believe something certainly doesn’t make it true! A common belief that challenges many people is that we have to eat meat to get protein. I run into people who have been vegan for years who still worry about whether they are getting enough protein. (If you’re eating a variety of whole plant foods, you are definitely getting enough protein!)

No one appreciates health as much as the person who has lost it. 

If we really think about how important our health is, we’ll make a commitment to making room for it. We’ll make time in our lives to learn how to plan and prepare healthy meals. We’ll make time to shop and prepare the food. We’ll take time to sit down and enjoy the food!  And we’ll do these things even when it is inconvenient. 

We’ll also make room by deciding that our health is more important than going along with the unhealthy crowd who are stopping at the pizza parlor on their way to a heart attack.  We’ll learn that we can still love our parents while eating foods that are different from those they raised us on. And we’ll leave some space in our life to explore new information that challenges our old belief systems.

If we don’t do these things, we will have to make room for the illnesses which are the inevitable result of years of eating the Standard American Diet.

We can expect to suffer from the same chronic diseases which erode the quality of life and cause death in most Americans: coronary artery disease, cancer, diabetes, stoke, and Alzheimer’s. We can expect to spend endless hours in doctor’s offices and hospitals. We can expect to spend increasing amounts of money to fight the unending battle with diseases caused by our life-style. No pill or surgery can reverse the effects of an unhealthy diet. Only changing our diet can do that.

So why wait? Why wait until we are already sick to decide we want to be healthy, and that it is worth some time and effort? 

Why not start now making room for health, so that we’ll have more room later for all the fun we’ll have as we joyfully navigate our later years with health and vitality?

10 Responses to Do You Have Room in Your Life for Health?

  1. Tora January 3, 2013 at 9:20 PM #

    Congratulations on your first blog post! Look forward to hearing more about healthy eating the vegan way :-)

    • Delisa Renideo January 8, 2013 at 10:16 PM #

      Hi Tora,
      Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment! I’m excited about having this new way of sharing more information.

  2. B&B Poon January 4, 2013 at 4:59 AM #

    If we don’t make time for our health….
    We will be broke dead people. What fun is that?

    • Delisa Renideo January 8, 2013 at 10:15 PM #

      Boy, I’m with you on this one! That sure doesn’t sound like fun! And I know from my own previous experience, it ISN’T fun!

  3. Karen January 4, 2013 at 5:23 AM #

    So eloquently said. I get very frustrated with my friends and family who think I am odd and poke fun. But somewhere inside a little voice says “I do it to be heathly, someday you will wonder why you are sick and I’m not.” I can’t save them, its an individual choice one has to make on their own. Your phrase of “you have to make room” is perfect. It will be my new mantra. Thanks.

    • Delisa Renideo January 8, 2013 at 10:14 PM #

      Hi Karen,
      You’re so right — you will enjoy the benefits of good health while others, who either don’t know or don’t choose to eat a healthy diet, will likely get sick, as most people do on the Standard American Diet. It actually makes me sad that so many people don’t realize how much different they could feel by making some really simple (and delicious) changes. I think the day is coming — not too far away — when this information will be as well-known and accepted as our present attitudes about smoking. When my father died of lung cancer in 1966, smoking was still considered a normal thing to do. Now, even though many people still smoke, they absolutely KNOW it isn’t good for them.
      Hang in there! You’re providing a great model for those who are open to seeing the benefits!

  4. Jean January 4, 2013 at 5:39 AM #

    Thanks, Delisa, for these words of wisdom!

    • Delisa Renideo January 8, 2013 at 10:09 PM #

      Thanks for visiting my new site and leaving a comment! Much appreciated!

  5. jane January 4, 2013 at 7:14 AM #

    Eating a healthy diet full of veggies and whole grains is a good thing. However, I still think you need some amount of animal proteins in your diet for good balanced health. All the vegetarians and veggans I’ve met through life never looked “healthy” to me. Personally, in my youth I preferred a fairly vegetarian diet and every time i went for a physical, the drs looked at my bloodwork and immediately said, “you must be a vegetarian, you’re anemic. you need to eat meat at least once per week.” Now in my old age, I eat meat (mostly chicken and turkey) and my hemoglobin is good, I have lots of energy and I sleep well. When I eat mostly vegetables, I am constantly hungry and do not sleep well. How do veggans not feel hungry? Do they have to constantly eat to feel satisfied? What is a typical menu you follow throughout the day? You look healthy, trim and happy. Veggans I’ve met do not look like you. I would love to lose the meat from my diet, but I don’t know what a good substitute is for meat. I’m open to suggestions.

    • Delisa Renideo January 8, 2013 at 10:08 PM #

      Hi Jane,
      There are many vegetarians and vegans who don’t necessarily eat a healthy diet. Just leaving out the meat doesn’t mean the diet is healthy. French fries and coke are vegan! When we focus our diet around whole plant foods — not processed plant foods: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, we get all the nutrients we need (except for Vit. D(from the sun) and B12(from bacteria)) and we can feel very full and satisfied. If ALL you eat are green vegetables, you wouldn’t get enough calories, so you need to add some starchy foods like beans and whole grains, plus a few nuts and seeds.

      I explain what to eat and how to prepare it in delicious ways in my course: The 10 Essentials for Choosing a Healthy Diet. There is so much misinformation out there that I can understand why you’d be confused about how a vegan diet could be healthy. The good news is that it is actually very simple to understand and not hard to do, and you can enjoy your delicious food more than ever, while getting healthier and trimmer with every meal!

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