The Guidelines

I’m many things. I’m Suzanne, I’m Mom, I’m wife, I’m caregiver, I’m pet owner, I’m author, I’m flexitarian, I’m photographer, I’m happy. These are the things that popped into my mind first. I could dig just under that surface and acknowledge that I’m demanding, empathetic, logical, loyal, a dreamer. Deeper still, I often fight depression, am Type 2 diabetic, and have struggled with weight issues my whole life.

I’ve been fascinated with the world of raw veganism for several years now. I read books on it, and work hard at putting it to practice. But I struggle to stick with it. And that frustrates me greatly because this is an area where I really wanted to succeed. Spring and summer are not usually an issue, making me quite successful for a few months. The fruits and vegetables available in summer are so appealing. However, then fall turns into winter and comfort foods start calling. Fall and winter, living in central Canada, get a tad chilly (you hear the sarcasm right?).

In December 2016, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. This was my wake up call to “smarten up!” I was going to do this raw vegan thing and get healthy. But I worried that I, again, wouldn’t be able to stick with it. How would I make the changes more permanent? Then I had an epiphany: What if I ate raw or vegan MOST of the time, but not ALL of the time?

How would I make that work?

I came up with some basic guidelines. The word guidelines is important – they are not rules. Rules are hard and fast, black and white, inflexible. I use the word guidelines because they imply flexibility. I can bend them and then bend them back. I can make them work for each day of the week, or each hour of the day if I need to work in smaller chunks. Guidelines are forgiving.

My 10 guidelines:

  1. Eat vegan 70% of the time. Preferably raw vegan, even if I need to warm the food in winter. The other 30% is about making life easier, healthy choices but not necessarily vegan.
  2. No sugar. (Diabetic)
  3. No dairy. (Lactose intolerant)
  4. Low carbohydrates. (Diabetic)
  5. Drink water.
  6. Repeat mantra: Fruit, veggies, nuts and seeds first.
  7. Yes, chicken and seafood, some pork, but rarely red meat.
  8. Read the ingredients lists. Is there sugar? Put it back.
  9. Don’t be so strict that your friends stop inviting you out. Stay social! There are ways to make healthy choices in restaurants.
  10. Exercise regularly, with lots of variety.