MEAT FREE MONDAY
Launched by Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney in 2009, Meat Free Monday is a not-for-profit campaign which aims to raise awareness of the detrimental environmental impact of eating meat and improve their health by having at least one meat free day each week. It’s a small and attainable step when trying to introduce a plant based diet and gives your body a rest from digesting animal foods, it also works out cheaper in the long run. My hubby found this difficult in the beginning as he believed we need animal proteins or we will wither away and die. Living with 3 vegans over the years has knocked that myth on the head and he now has 4-5 nights a week without meat, fish, or chicken. Remember once you introduce a change, stick with it until it becomes ingrained into your daily routine. A delicious veggie stew will do the trick or my roasted garlic cottage pie for a hearty meal on meat free Monday.
DAIRY MILK REPLACEMENTWhen I started this lifestyle my two teenagers Richard and Sarah were a struggle, believe me they were not happy campers when I cleared out the fridge and dumped the cheese, milk and yoghurt's after I read the China Study. The book written by Prof Colin Campbell documents his revolutionary research a decade ago which established the link between animal protein and cancer in such a compelling manner that it was hard to ignore. Nowadays we use a few dairy milk replacements, Julie prefers unsweetened almond milk, Sarah is a fan of coconut milk and I drink rice milk. The great thing about these milks is that they offer the benefit of not having any cholesterol, saturated fat or sodium, compared to a skimmed dairy milk which can have at least 5 mg of cholesterol and 130 mg of sodium. These milks are also naturally lactose free which is a huge benefit when you consider studies now show that approximately 65 percent of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy.
ONE JUICE A DAY
Try and make at least one juice a day for the family. It has so many benefits it hydrates the body, cleans it and floods the cells with nutrients. If you add an apple when you start juicing you will have no problem introducing a good daily routine. Younger children take to juicing very easily, just pop the juice in a sippy cup as you would their orange or apple juice and 9 times out of ten they don't even notice. If you have teenagers, explain to them the benefits of juicing, especially how good it will be for their figures, skin and hair. Don't give up on it, they will come around eventually. I spent many evenings following my lot around the kitchen begging them to finish their juices then to my surprise when my eldest two moved out they both rang me saying they wanted to get juicers themselves and both juice regularly now.
DON’T BUY JUNK
Even if you believe ‘a little of what you fancy does you good’, remember if you don’t buy junk foods then you can’t eat them. It’s okay to have a treat every now and then, at weekends or special occasions, but keep in mind they are TREATS, not something we should indulge in all the time. Nowadays we seem to use the smallest excuse to treat ourselves, "I had a hard day at work", "I had a good day at work", "its the weekend", "its Thursday". You need to retrain the brain to keep those treats for when you or the family really deserve them, a family day out, someone's birthday or one night of the weekend. If you over indulge on sugar and junk you are just undoing so much of your hard work.
Remember Rome wasn't built in a day, it has taken many years but I have managed to get my hubby to a point where he juices and eats mostly raw, he still enjoys his wine, meat and some dairy at the weekends so he is not my greatest success in the family but for him he has come a long way. We can't expect everyone in the family to have the same drive and motivation to change their lifestyle and eating habits but we can be there to encourage, teach and give them a helping hand in the right direction. My daughter Sarah has been making great progress over the past 3 years, what she found worked best for her was giving up her various vices in stages. She gave up meat, dairy, coffee, soft drinks, began juicing and eats 50% raw now, she still struggles with the sugar addiction which she is going to try to tackle next. I'm so proud of her and think her approach can work for lots of people, sometimes going cold turkey is just too much for some people and ends up resulting in failure and can even lead to binging. My motto is "any progress is good progress" so give your loved ones lots of praise and encouragement when you see them making a change, what may seem small to you might be a huge thing for someone else to change. Julie my youngest daughter was five-year-old when I started changing my diet, luckily she was still at an age where it was easy to influence her eating habits. Young children have not been brainwashed by advertising and have fewer preconceived notions about food so we have a great opportunity to educate them and instil healthy habits that will stand to them in the future. Julie is now 20 years old; thankfully, she has never had an antibiotic in her life. Her slim figure, long shiny hair and glowing skin say it all. Her health on the inside shines on the outside.