Sometimes I need to re-calibrate. I need to step back, try something new, cut something out, and do things differently so I can decide where I want to go next. Last week was that time for me. I’d been out of my element for many meals. I felt sick after almost every meal toward the end of my stay and some recent reports on food company controversy piled on top of each other to lead me to feel like the least overwhelming thing I could do for me was to cut out food for which I did not have easy access to information.
Following this challenge, I do not intend to change everything about the way I’d been eating (prior to the challenge and my trip).
I do not intend to avoid all meals for which I do not know and understand the ingredients.
What I do plan to do:
1. Make one change I can deal with and stick to that.
When I switched to fair trade commodities in my home it was one at a time (the chocolate, the sugar, the bananas, the vanilla and coffee…) until buying that one thing differently felt normal.
2. Enjoy the snowball effect, but don’t get locked into legalism.
Often one switch will lead to another. For example, trying to come home with less packaging this week led to using few paper towels while cleaning. If I would look at that and say, “ok, I’m not using paper towels now,” I would buck against the new rule until I ended up frustrated, using more disposable materials than I would otherwise, or giving up other progress I’d already made. If I just enjoy the change and cheer myself on, it ends up being a more integrated habits instead of something I am trying to force. It’s like parenting myself.
3. Make another change when I’m ready.
Once I make one change a habit, I’m usually soon ready for another. This time I needed to look more at how I can support small farmers in my own area.
4. Enjoy meals away from home as the community glue that they are.
Not everyone I eat with is going to approach food the same way I do. There are so many benefits to eating together. Shared meals are best enjoyed with gratitude, joy, and openness.
5. (Find and) talk to people who will help keep me grounded, talk me off a ledge, and challenge me.
Sometimes several people will be needed to fulfill all those roles.
6. Don’t be afraid to try something new.
Any change done in a healthy way will carry physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. One healthy change has a ripple effect. If the change isn’t quite right, it can be dropped, but good habits will likely remain.
What do you do to stay sane when you’re trying to change big things?