By Callie McBride
For all the dedicated health foodies out there who devote large amounts of time and energy to maintaining a healthful and active lifestyle, it usually feels like its simple 90% of the time, and nearly impossible 10% of the time. For a number of days in a row you wake up early, eat a good breakfast, get a great workout in, and make a homemade dinner at the end of the day. Then, out of nowhere, you wake up one morning and find that it can be incredibly challenging to keep up consistency with exercising, or to find variety in the kitchen, or even the motivation to drink lots of water! You feel distraught that you’re craving trashy TV and a big bowl of cereal; you feel anxious that your momentary break from veggies and 6am yoga may throw you off track. You feel surrounded by those pesky little things called vices.
Do not fret; there is a solution!
Give In To Your Vices
In my own personal experience, trying to fight through cravings and vices never works. I attempt to go without coffee for a month, and suddenly my 5am wakeup calls become positively dreadful. I ban any sugar or chocolate from my diet, and magically I crave sweets as though they’re oxygen. I mentally order myself not to miss a day in the gym, and in effect my bed becomes that much more comfortable. It seems that all of the restrictions or rules we place upon ourselves only backfire and cause us to fall into bad habits or take less care of ourselves. This happens when we strive for perfection in our health and fitness. We aim too high and forget that we are only human! While it’s wonderful that we delight in eating right, staying active, and maintaining a lifestyle meant for optimal wellness, we can get too caught up in the midst of it all. This, in turn, leads to a temporary lapse that leaves us feeling lazy or uninspired. I’ve been there, and I know how upsetting it is to feel like your goals were thrown off by a long holiday weekend or an unnecessary TV binge.
Instead of warding off all potential vices in our lives, I say we embrace them. Um, what!? Don’t write the idea off just yet. Accept your vices as they come, and learn to control them instead of let them overpower you. I, for one, have a strong vice for coffee. Though I am aware that it’s highly acid forming and addictive (not to mention costly), I cannot seem to give it up. Instead of steering clear of all Starbucks (an impossible feat in NYC) and vowing never to sip the drink again, I can allow the vice into my life in a healthy way. I hopped online, did some research, and found an amazing way to make your own cold coffee concentrate. Since no heating is involved in the process, it is much less acidic which leaves me feeling guilt-free and satisfied! Mixed with ice and some homemade almond milk, and my coffee vice has just transformed into a delicious pleasure.
Another vice of mine, that I am venturing to guess could be yours too, is ice cream. Is it the devil? The angel? We’ll never know. Since becoming vegan a number of years ago, I was immediately excited to hop on the health train and learn all that I could about feeding my body perfectly and becoming as healthy as possible. There’s that word again-perfect. After I while, I grew exhausted from always “being good” and refraining from this nighttime snack or cool summer treat. I became nostalgic for the delicious taste of creamy, cold ice cream that always hit the spot. However, I still am not interested in a dairy-filled, sugary pint that is chock full of artificial flavors, fillers, or thickeners that don’t do anything for my body. Again, I turned my vice into a pleasure by taking the time to control the situation, instead of avoid the treat and eventually break. I discovered the Raw Ice Cream Company, which offers multiple flavors of cashew and coconut milk-based ice cream. Sold in half pints to control portions, this ice cream is entirely good for the body and the planet.
Whatever your particular vices are, I encourage you to accept them as a form of self-challenges. If you don’t have any, then I am convinced you are a robot. Imperfection is part of being human, so take these pesky habits and turn them into ways to further your quest for healthy living. Just as I can now enjoy my iced coffee guilt-free, you can also change your perspective on your own vices that get under your skin. Be creative, be resourceful, and be active in maintaining health and wellness as a large part of your lifestyle.
Willing to share your vices, and possible ways to turn them around? Comment below!