Building New Eating Habits: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly News
Have you ever tried to change something about your diet and found that very difficult? As we’ve recently discovered, it is especially difficult when you assume that this change only requires a single decision, while, in reality, it has you embarking on a journey that requires lots of decisions - without you even realizing it. All the sudden, you are engaged in a set of complex questions that seem to appear out of the blue.
As with any journey, there can be a lot of trial and error when you don’t have enough information to make good decisions. This can be quite painful. However, it can also be avoided by having a good guide who tells you where to go and what to do. Nobody would consider traveling in Thailand (or anywhere else) without a guidebook! And yet, we embark on ‘journeys at home’ without any such help.
The good news is that journeys are also very exciting! With the right guide you can easily pick out your favourite bits and have a phenomenal time.
Our favorite question nowadays – how to eat less meat - is really nothing other than building new eating habits. In other words: it is a journey. In our last post, we talked about some of the great experiences that made us stick with this new habit. Today, we’ll also talk about some of the bad ones and how we’ve overcome them.
The Good News
Trying new things can be so rewarding, especially if you find new gems that you hadn’t known about and really enjoy eating. Vegetables don’t sound like the most fascinating thing in the world to explore, but when you pair them with the right spices and prepare them in a cool way, they taste ridiculously good. We’ve dived deeper into this in a previous blog post, so we won’t go on about it again.
Accomplishing your goals
You obviously wouldn’t change your diet without having a good reason. Whether it’s to improve your health, make decisions you’re comfortable defending, or do your bit to avoid harming the environment, it feels REALLY nice when you set yourself a goal and actually achieve it. In our case, this is what gets us out of bed every day and keeps us following these new eating habits happily - as long as it’s enjoyable!
The Bad News
It’s well known that humans find decision making quite tiring. The main reason we build habits is to avoid having to make too many decisions every day. When you travel, figuring out what to have for breakfast requires decision making. At home, you never even think about it. Changing your diet to eat less meat is like traveling, it requires you to build new habits. If you don’t, eating the meat will continue to be the easier choice, even if it’s not the tastier, healthier, cheaper or better one. The good news is that once you’ve built habits around vegetarian food, you are back to not having to make too many decisions. Hurrah!
When you travel, figuring out what to have for breakfast doesn’t just require decision making. It also requires research. And so does eating less meat. When you get started it seems like eating meat, eating carbs or going hungry are your only options. That isn’t actually true though. There are lots of delicious foods that keep you full without being full of carbs or sugar. This is probably the toughest bit: you need to figure out what your body likes and what makes you feel good. The universal truth seems to be that eating chicken breast makes everyone feel good (except for the chickens). With plants, different bodies react differently and you need to figure out what works for you. Then again, it’s quite rewarding to get to know your own body!
The Ugly News
Have you ever microwaved popcorn? Rice seems to have similar super powers and we’ve found that if you use rice milk for porridge in the microwave (because you’re trying to use less dairy) the whole thing pretty much explodes. Not great. The whole point of microwavable porridge is that you won’t have to clean a pot. Cleaning a microwave is worse. So it’s very useful to be told in advance that rice milk and microwaves don’t work that well together.
Some vegetarian dishes are just awful. But then, some dishes in general are just awful. With things we know less about we are more likely to get it wrong, which is why a change in habits can make us believe that the new type of food we are trying to get into is generally less good. But it isn’t necessarily the food’s fault. It often is just our lack of knowledge that makes us fall into the traps. And once you’ve overcome that bit it actually gets really rewarding!
Why are we telling you all this?
More Than Carrots’ mission is to help curious foodies enjoy and maintain a sustainable diet. It seems fair to say that most of us tend to stick with new habits if the positive experiences outweigh the bad ones, so we have set ourselves the goal of helping you by making sure that you get lots of the good experiences, and none or very few of the bad and the ugly ones.
We are currently cooking up a solution for this that we’ll introduce next month. to be the first to know! Follow us here to be the first to know!