The online food world can be a stressful arena of conflicting information. The all or nothing extremes of different diet trends can feel overwhelming. Join us as we talk about all of the things people hesitate to address with plant-based and vegan diets. We will call out hard truths, stand up for unpopular opinions and create new space for the fluidity many of us need when it comes to food. We are fighting to make food choices less stressful, even if that means pushing some buttons along the way!
Small Habits Make Big Changes
While goals are great, small habits are even better. Working in tiny incremental steps will get you big goal success that is sustainable!
We are told to have big goals in life. Reach for the stars! But the reality is that trying to meet those big goals is overwhelming, and when a task feels to big to tackle we give up
So how do we achieve those big goals? It is possible with the right strategy! My education years getting my regular and special education teaching credentials and my masters degree in education, plus my 14 years as a teacher, taught me that small achievable steps had far greater results.
I then went on to become health coach certified, and my training further strengthened that belief in small steps. We need to create small habits and integrate them into our every day life so that our goals feel natural and not a mountain we must climb.
The Tiny Habits Method
Part of my training to become a certified health coach included a section on the Tiny Habits Method by a man named BJ Fogg. This was one of those boxed out side pieces that we often skip as we study.
But something about it caught my eye and I was fully immersed into this information. It took what I learned through my teaching experience and gave it a name. It all seems like common sense but I realized that many people don't know this.
The idea behind the tiny habits method is to make the behavior changes you want so small that they are easy to do. Not overwhelming. This is exactly what I did with my students when I was teaching.
I now take this method and use it in my health coaching business. I help my audience and clients achieve their wellness goals without overwhelm. When something feels achievable you are more likely to stick with it.
How to Start Small Habits
But where do we start? Actually starting seems to be one of the hardest parts. My free habits guide is a great place to begin if you're looking for a little push. I also work with clients one on one and in groups if you're needing a little something extra.
The first thing I like to focus on is your why. The big reason for making a change. It's really important because it keeps you focused and reminds you why you are doing something.
When things get hard, it's easy to give up if you don't have a why behind it. Your why can be anything that is meaningful to you. Just make sure it is about you and not what you "think" it should be.
Some whys by current and past clients are:
Help reduce my blood pressure and cholesterolReverse my diabetesAvoid diabetesAvoid the obesity some of my family has gotten toFeel strongerBe able to run around with my childrenLive long so I can see my kids get married and have children
But it can really be anything! There is no wrong answer, unless it is based on what someone else has told you to focus on. Your why must come from within or it won't be meaningful.
Steps for Creating a Small Habit
Once you have your why, it's time to choose a goal and then dissect it into those small habits. This is a very personal process so I can't give specifics but I can give an example of my own journey.
When we changed our diet to help better my husbands health, my own wellness also got better. This helped me realize that I wanted to keep working on my overall wellness. Since wellness encompasses the body and mind, I wrote down goals in both areas:
Why Willpower Will Fail You
Find out what willpower is and why you actually don't want to rely on it to meet your health and wellness needs!
We've heard a lot about how willpower can help you meet your goals, but what if we addressed it from another angle? Do you know how it can actually hurt you?
Jenn Trepeck is described as a “force of nature" in the wellness space. She is an Optimal Health Coach, Podcaster and Business Consultant. After graduating from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, Jenn founded Better Life Now LLC while working full time in hedge funds.
After over a decade of coaching clients, Jenn started Salad with a Side of Fries Podcast to help pay it forward and reach a larger audience to teach the nutrition education we are all supposed to know but no one ever taught us.
Jenn implements revenue generating wellness programs in doctors' offices, salons and spas to further expand impact and help change the state of healthcare as a Certified Transitions Lifestyle Coach and Consultant with nutraMetrix Custom Health Solutions.
When not hunkered-down at home during a pandemic, Jenn is typically working out at Physique57, discovering hidden gem restaurants in NYC or traveling to spend time with friends and family.
Click here to book a free wellness discovery call with Jenn!
What is Willpower?
The easiest way to describe willpower is that it is how we make decisions and what motivates those decisions.
It is like self control, and stems from a very complex neurological and hormonal function.
How Willpower Works
Generally our day starts strong. We make our best decisions in regards to our wellness, but as the day goes on it can go "downhill" as people say.
In the course of the day we make many decisions, and as those pile up, so does our ability to make them. This is called decision fatigue.
Willpower is like making a decision and you need a brain in good form in order to make that decision.
Since willpower is based on making decisions, our willpower changes as the day goes on. This is why you may find yourself choosing more wholesome options at the start of the day and turning to those not so wholesome snacks as the day goes on.
The Science Behind Willpower
All of this is very science based. As we wear out, we need to replenish our bodies with it's needed sources of energy. One main source is glucose, which is carbohydrates. Our brain especially needs carbs in order to function at it's best.
Which is why we crave things like sugar or carbs when we are tired or drained. This helps us balance our blood sugar so that our brain can function at it's best.
This goes back to the caveman days when our fight or flight response was triggered as we faced real dangers, like being attacked by a bear. Our body needed that quick burst of energy in order to fight to stay alive, or flee to save ourselves.
However now, most of our stressors are mental versus physical. But our systems are still acting in the same way. It has not changed like our lives have.
We also need to take other factors of brain science into account. When making decisions, are we operating from the emotion center at the back of brain (using fear and stress) or are we using the reasoning center in the front of the brain (using ordered thinking and problem solving).
When it comes to making decisions with food.
A Vegan Vending Machine Story
When it comes to vending machines, vegan options are hard to come by. And one that is filled with all vegan treats is unheard of. Until now!
These two women are taking the world by storm with their new product, a fully vegan vending machine! Listen to find out why they are doing it and the barriers they are breaking.
Introducing CEO’s Gabriella Rubin and Aurellia Cammock the Founders of VEGMI LLC. Gabriella is 24 from Staten Island, NY and Aurellia is 25 from Brooklyn, NY.
VEGMI is a vegan vending machine business that is designed to offer snacking options for everyone. They also launched a global vegan market place in April 2021. Their mission is to save animals, stand up for human rights and help bring income to people all over the world.
Vegan Vending Machine Options
The goal of VEGMI is to replace every vending machine out there. To make grab and go snacks accessible for all, regardless of diet, allergy and perference.
Right now there, are not always options in vending machines for a variety of needs. And if there are, trying to figure it out while looking through the glass at something you may or may not be able to read is downright impossible.
VEGMI has the snacks clearly labeled so that you can grab and go without stress.
The snacks encompass foods that are vegan, gluten free, kosher, soy free, non gmo, organic and more!
Reasons to Have a Vegan Vending Machine
The mission for VEGMI is focused on accessible food for all but it's also about giving opportunity to everyone.
They want to make everyone feel included, so when you're needing that easy quick option there is something for you, no matter what diet you must or choose to follow.
What we consume directly corresponds to how we feel, so we need some healthier options out there for those that want them. And currently, most vending machines do not provide that.
Also, we need access to these types of options in all societies, money or not. We can't continue to sit back and watch our lower socioeconomic neighborhoods not have the same accessibility.
VEGMI also wants to create an opportunity for everyone. The VEGMI vending machines are individually owned, so anyone that wants to start their own business has the opportunity.
Gabby and Auri (we're besties now so I feel like I can call them by their nicknames), want to help people creating an income. Be their own boss and have that residual money coming in.
Things Inside a Vegan Vending Machine
There are so many options for what can be inside a vegan vending machine!
The idea is to allow each person to own their own machines, and then they can make up what they want inside themselves. If they want it all healthy options, then great. If they want it all vegan or all kosher or all organic, then they have the choice.
Some of the types of snacks you can find in a VEGMI machine are:
OreosPotato chipsPretzelsProtein barsBada Bean Bada Boom snacksTrail mixYum EarthPumpkin seedsNutsMade Good snacksHippeasVeggie chipsAnd so many more!
Where to Find Vegan Vending Machines
The idea is to replace all vending machines with VEGMI machines. So truly, anywhere you see a vending machine is a great place to find VEGMI.
A few places that you can find them are:
SchoolsShopping MallsOfficesAuto body shopsGyms Apartment comp...
What is Intuitive Eating Anyway?
We are unpacking the truth behind what intuitive eating really is, clearing up any misconceptions and shedding light on its benefits!
The phrase intuitive eating is thrown around the internet often. But what actually does it mean? There is a lot of misinformation out there and today our guest nutritionist is giving us the truth!
Steph Gaudreau, NTP, is a nutritional therapy, intuitive eating, and strength training expert helping purpose-driven women build stronger bodies and healthier relationships with food.
In her best-selling book, The Core 4, she details a four pillar approach to building health, embracing your body, and owning your power. Steph is trained in biology and human physiology and is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, and USA Weightlifting Sports Performance coach.
Her weekly podcast, the Listen to Your Body Podcast, has 3+ million downloads. She’s an international speaker that has been featured in Outside, MindBodyGreen, SELF, and ESPN Radio.
Make sure to check out her FREE Food Freedom Mini course!
What is Intuitive Eating?
Simply put, intuitive eating is a set of 10 principals that you use to improve your relationship with food, yourself and your body.
It is when what your body is telling you (as in your likes dislikes, etc) merges with the external stuff you are exposed to (like things you should and shouldn't so, what's "bad" or "good," etc).
Th goal is to find overlap between what the external world tells you and your internal world to achieve optimal health for you.
Everything we consume online and in the media has made people more disconnected with our own bodies and it's needs, so it helps bring us home to our body.
Intuitive Eating and Mindful Eating
Intuitive eating and mindful eating have a lot in common. Mindfulness is a component of intuitive eating, but intuitive eating goes a lot further and deeper.
Both are centered around the concept of honoring your body, being present and in tune.
Both have many studies, but one main difference is that the studies associated with mindful eating tend to be centered on weight loss. However intuitive eating is weight neutral.
You can also get certified to be an intuitive eating counselor.
The Basis of Intuitive Eating
Intuitive eating was first coined in 1995 by two registered dietitians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch.
It is based on 10 principals:
Reject the Diet MentalityHonor Your HungerMake Peace with FoodChallenge the Food PoliceDiscover the Satisfaction FactorFeel Your FullnessCope with Your Emotions with KindnessRespect Your BodyMovement- Feel the DifferenceHonor Your Health- Gentle Nutrition
While it has been around a while, it's really in the last few years that it has caught on.
There are over 150 studies and growing, going into things like the efficacy of intuitive eating for mental and physiological health.
Weight Loss and Intuitive Eating
Intuitive eating is a weight neutral practice. Weight is something that is not focused on and can go up, down or stay the same.
Honoring your hunger is one of the principles of intuitive eating. This not only focuses on the idea of eating when you are hungry, but also learning to feel your body's cues of satiety.
Food Accessibility in Health and Wellness
Food accessibility is an area not taken into consideration often enough when we talk about wellness. Healthy can be done in many forms!
The online world makes us feel like if you don't eat fancy products you can't be healthy. From superfoods to super grains, it's a super amount of money!
The Evolution of Healthy Food
Being what they call "an influencer" I see it all online. From people pushing fancy products with the promise of optimal wellness, to the opposite side of simply being able to access food for some populations.
In today's almost post pandemic world, health is of uttermost importance. So why do we focus on creating newer "better" products instead of trying to find ways to get simple wholesome food to all populations?
I consider myself very blessed to afford what we do. Yes, we work hard for it but my families history wasn't an easy road.
I am first generation Greek, my parents were Greek immigrants to this country. When I was little, both of them worked full time in order to get food on the table and give us a good life.
However my mom came from very little. She grew up poor in the mountains of Greece, not knowing if she would have food every day. She was one of the only women to go to high school and the first woman in her village to attend college.
Back then, at 13 the women were brought home and married off. But my grandmother saw a light in her that needed to be fueled. So my mom was pushed to get an education.
My mom is a hero in my eyes. She taught me the concept of hard work, and accomplishing dreams. She worked her ass off to give us an incredible life, and now lives very very comfortably.
She gives a lot to the less fortunate, not only here in San Diego but also to family back in Greece who live on barely anything. She has volunteered and mentored at the homeless schools and basically is an incredible human.
I tell this story, because I was raised on good wholesome healthy food. My mom also grew up eating all whole fresh foods, when they actually had food, because that was what they could grow and trade for.
No superfoods. No fancy products. But here we are in America today where it seems if you can't afford Whole Foods prices, you are screwed. Except, you aren't.
Social Determinants of Health
If we are going to make health something all people can achieve, we need to take certain things into consideration. We need to think about where people are born, work and continue their life.
There are social determinants that must be considered such as socioeconomic status, eduction level, the actual physical environment, their social networks, where they work and access to healthcare.
While this is a deep discussion that could go on for hours, I will touch upon a few of these aspects and why we need to work on changing the narrative.
Economic Access to Food
The most talked about issue with a healthy diet is being able to afford it. If you can't shop at Whole Foods, is there still hope you can live in ultimate health?
There are so many factors with economic access. From the income you bring in, your expenses, the debt you have, your medical bills and other supports. They all play a factor.
While money is a major issue, we also need to think about the fact that some people can't even get to places that offer fresh nutritious food.
Food Waste Solutions for a Better Planet
The health of our planet needs our support. Being creative with food waste by reusing, recycling and upcycling is a great first step!
My guest today is a food waste solutions expert! She has all the tricks to help us move closer to saving our planet.
Known as The Plant-Powered Dietitian, Sharon has established an award-winning career in the field of plant-based nutrition and sustainability. One of the most widely recognized registered dietitians in the world, Sharon is an accomplished writer, editor, blogger, author, speaker, professor, advisor, and media expert.
Sharon has authored over 1000 articles in a variety of publications, including Better Homes and Gardens, Oprah Magazine, and LA Times.
Her latest book, California Vegan: Inspiration and Recipes from the People and Places of the Golden State, was published on March 1, 2021. And she’s currently working on her fourth book on plant-based eating due for publication in 2022.
She serves as the nutrition editor for Today’s Dietitian, associate faculty in the MS of Sustainable Food Systems Program at Prescott College, judge for the James Beard Journalism Awards, nutrition consultant for several organizations such as AICR and Oldways, and co-founder of Food and Planet.
Sharon recently completed her Master of Science in Sustainable Food Systems from Green Mountain College in Vermont. And she still has time to blog every day for her popular online community (400 K members strong and growing) at The Plant-Powered Dietitian.
Living in the sustainability mecca of Ojai, California with her husband and two dogs, Sharon enjoys tending to her own organic garden, visiting the local farmers market, volunteering in local environmental organizations, and cooking for friends and family.
What is Food Waste?
Food waste is when you discard edible nutritious healthy food, basically throwing away food that can be eaten. 40% of our food supply is wasted. That's crazy!
This is not just about food going bad, it's about waste happening on many different levels.
A lot of it is happening at the consumer level, in our household, when we shop at the grocery store and when we eat at restaurants. While it also happens at the grocery level and with the restaurants themselves, a lot is a result of what we do.
All of this food is wasted while 12% of our population has food insecurity, meaning they don't know if they will have food to eat.
Why Food Waste is Happening
There are many reasons why food waste happens in our country, but a large issue is our food is relatively inexpensive compared to other countries.
A study was done on the percentage of income we put towards food and when compared to other nations, it's a lot lower. This info is purely statistical and not related to food insecurity or those that cannot afford food.
Since we put a lot less of our salary towards food, we don't value our food as much. Therefore, wasting it isn't something that we think about as an issue.
Also, we don't use the entire plant when it comes to produce. We tend to throw away a lot, things like carrots tops, peeling veggies and fruit when the peels are edible and stalks of broccoli.
Also, here in the US we are disconnected from our food system. Many people have never been to a farm, so we don't stop to think about all that goes into getting our food.
Another issue is our perfection principal. If produce isn't perfect,
Thank you for keeping it real!
Love love love this show! The insights that Sophia and her guests bring to bear on the problems we all face is mind-blowing every. single. time. This podcast truly lives up to it's name... and I'm so grateful!
Great introduction to plant based eating
Love this podcast. Sophia is very down to earth! She is always quick to reply to any questions on Instagram, too. Her podcast is very informative and makes you feel like you are hanging out with a friend. She truly cares about helping others.
A great listen
I really enjoy listening to Sophia’s podcast. She has great guests and together they discuss so many different topics. From being a busy mom and trying to balance it all to self care. She covers a lot of different topics. I’m a primarily plant based eater but love that she says it’s okay if you have a piece of fish- no shame in it. Very entertaining and informative at the same time. Check her out.