ISSUE #7: The “V” word & Change

First off, thanks to the people that have been sending me emails of encouragement regarding this newsletters, as well as those who’ve sent comments on certain topics. I love the idea of creating a dialog and then sharing those discussions in a future newsletter – rather than me just rambling on-and-on about what I think people are interested in. Two topics came up last week; 1) the “V” word and 2) how to get kids more involved. I’ll address the first topic this week and save the second for next week.

When it comes to diet, we use the term vegan to describe people that don’t consume animal products. [Did you know that this includes honey?]  However, veganism is really a lifestyle that opposes the use of animals for any purpose. I don’t have any problem with a movement that sticks up for animals to decrease their pain and suffering. However, I approach eating from a health perspective first and foremost, and since there are plenty of unhealthy vegan foods, I stay away from using the term vegan.

Also, I do think the word has negative ideological connotations that turn people off immediately when they hear it. Mention the “V” word and watch people tune out immediately. It’s hard to get any kind of message across once that happens. Besides, being vegan is very black or white, you’re either vegan or you’re not. Eat 1 piece of cheese and you have to turn in your “V” membership card. Whereas, I think of plant-based as a spectrum that you’re able to move along over time. Perhaps you start with Meatless Mondays or you take Mark Bittman’s Vegan Before 6:00 approach. Then as you get more comfortable and see positive changes, you move further along the spectrum. Most people aren’t going to make a complete switch overnight. There’s a learning curve involved and it takes time. We need to encourage people for the positive changes they’re making, as opposed to ridiculing them for eating that piece of cheese. The next thing you know they’ll be writing a weekly newsletter.

One reader shared the story of a friend who survived his second heart attack at age 67, after his brother and dad both died from heart attacks at 48 and 62, respectively. Apparently, this was “enough” to get him to start making some changes to his diet. My response; “Wow, it only took having TWO heart attacks to realize he needed to make a change.”

It shows just how hard it is to get people to make changes to improve their health. I’m sure there are countless reasons why, but here are half a dozen that come to mind;  

1) Change is hard.

2) We don’t know how or where to begin.

3) We think we’re invincible and nothing will happen to us.

4) We believe in heredity and nothing we do will matter.

5) We don’t think the foods we consume make an impact.

6) We need to be in pain before we’re willing to change.

Of these, PAIN seems to be the most powerful for creating change. However, on this episode of the Finding Mastery podcast, John Donovan, CEO of AT&T Communications, adds two other reasons that people change; PURPOSE and UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. So, we don’t have to wait till we’re in pain to change, we just need to look inward and find our purpose or look to those we love unconditionally. This was truly one of my favorite episodes of all-time and I can’t recommend it any higher.                                       

Back in ISSUE #3 of the newsletter I mentioned that my #1 nutritional tip is adding smoothies to your diet. If you’re in the Twin Cities on Saturday February 23rd at 11 AM I’ll be giving Smoothie 101 presentation at Performance Running Gym. Come by and cheer, heckle, or just drink free smoothies. Spread the word!


What I’ve been and watching, listening to and reading:

Do you ever get so many emails that you forget who recommended what? Well that’s the case for me when it comes to the documentary Quincy. No, this isn’t about Jack Klugman who played a medical examiner on a TV series with the same name in the 70s. It’s about music icon Quincy Jones. Every time I watch a documentary on the music industry, I’m amazed at how little I know – and how far-reaching the impact of key musicians really is. While not a “health & wellness” documentary, Quincy does have a couple health scares during the making of the movie. It’s interesting to watch his response to them.

If you’re into music documentaries, Muscle Shoals is another one that I watched awhile ago that provides a great behind the scenes look at just who’s making and recording the music we love to listen to.

Rich Roll recently spoke with Marco Borges on just about every key topic regarding the benefits of plant-based living. If everyone just listened to this episode, I wouldn’t have to send another newsletter. Of course, you’ve probably never heard of him, but you’ve heard of his clients, Jay-Z and Beyonce. Marco inspired the entertainment icons to adopt a plant-based lifestyle. I’m telling you there’s a change coming. It’s not because of this newsletter. It because key cultural figures and changing their eating habits and sharing it with the world. Exciting times.


Quote of the day:

“Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own thoughts unguarded. But once mastered, no one can help you as much.” – Budda

Chad Austin