The process of change – both initiating and sustaining it are not easy tasks. There are several stages in the change process which include: pre-contemplation; contemplation; determination; action; relapse and maintenance. As vulnerable, imperfect beings, we move in and out of these stages over time.
One stage which is perhaps viewed as the most difficult and associated most often with feelings of failure is XXX? You guessed it! Relapse. Relapse is a return to old behaviours that are now considered undesirable and no longer helpful with your chosen desired goal outcomes – like living a lifestyle for optimal health.
Experiencing a ‘relapse’ into old behaviour patterns can lead a person down a path of disappointment and even destruction. The once committed suddenly find themselves spiralling into feelings of discouragement, frustration and downright hopelessness. Living a healthier life is not an end-in-of-itself and is instead a never-ending process. After all, who wants to stop being in optimal health?
Optimizing your health is about enjoying more energy, vitality, ideal body weight, and living in a state of overall wellness and not disease. So the challenge is to find ways to maintain a consistent state of wellness that gives you every opportunity to live your life longer, leaner and livelier.
How do you do this? Very simply: plan for it. Fully embrace the knowledge that relapse is not failure and is instead a common, understandable phenomena that each of us will encounter. In other words – it is perfectly “normal” to relapse. It is a part of any type of change especially change that you want to be continuous and lasting.
Will relapse happen just once? Not likely. It may happen several times in the process of upholding your healthier habits. Knowing this and making peace with this realization can make the incidents of relapse less frequent and more often shorter in duration. Relapse does not have to lead to destruction and instead can be a temporary detour. A detour that can be short and quickly return you on your desired path of optimizing your health.
Possessing this new understanding that relapse is common place and perfectly normal can now free you to create a plan of action. Whether relapse is imminent. or can be avoided – a plan of action that recognizes your triggers (leads to missteps off your path) can be empowering.
You can ask yourself: “What do I say or do when I am struggling is stay on track?”; “What can I do to help myself?”; “Who can I reach out to for support?”. The answers to these questions can help you to get back on track coupled with the practice of dealing with issues immediately, will all help a great deal. An important and much needed step toward rectifying a ‘slip’ into relapse is dealing with it sooner than later. Stop avoiding and using the delaying “I’ll start again on Monday” technique and instead get back right on track with the very next bite.
This strategy lessens the duration of relapse to minutes and hours rather than days, weeks or even months. Often accompanying this strategy with 24 hours of consuming fruits and vegetables can act to reset your taste buds for healthier choices. This containment of the relapse can help to uphold the newer “wiring” of healthier habits instead of fraying it.
The planning for relapse is most useful and it is equally helpful to keep noticing what you are doing right now that helps keep you on track. The motto attached to these positive, reinforcing behaviours is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” – in other words ‘keep on doing what works’. These combined strategies can empower you to reduce both the frequency and duration of any potential relapses. This keeps your optimal health goals in front of you instead of in the rearview mirror of life!!
Here are the “Vegucation” recipes, we demonstrated and offered taste samples of in our June potluck . . . enjoy! Please credit Fork Smart for recipes. If you try them – let us know how they turned out – your input is most valued and appreciated!!! Thanks!! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Spinach Artichoke Dip – Kate McGoey-Smith 403-519-9261
Gather and Prep: In a food processor, pulse
1. 2 10 oz. boxes of frozen chopped spinach- defrost- squeeze til “dry” (use a paper towel to help with this)
2. 2 cans of water packed artichokes – rinse thoroughly with water and squeeze out excess moisture
3. Homemade Replacement for 1 packet of Onion Soup Mix:
Gather and Prep:add to contents of food processor
- 1/4 cup dried onion flakes
- 2 tablespoons no-sodium veggie cubes (2 cubes0)
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon parsley flakes
- 1/8 teaspoon celery seed
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ cup nutritional yeast;
- 6 shots of Mexican Hot Sauce.
- 2 tBsp lemon juice
- 3 gloves of peeled garlic
Once thoroughly mixed, then add tofu mayonnaise to contents of food processor untilmixture is thoroughly blendedAnd then add tofu mayo slowly until mixture isfully blended and of a creamy consistency.
Tofu Mayonnaise (Base): Basic
- 12.5 oz of Mori-Nu Lite Silken Tofu (found at Safeway or Bulk Barn)
- 2 tBsp of lemon juice
- 1 tSp of maple syrup
- 1/2 heaping tSp of dry mustard
- 1/8 tSp white pepper
- 3 chopped green onion (white and green parts)
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
Put all ingredients in tall cylinder and use a submersible blender on high until smooth.
Pita Chips: Separate whole wheat pitas in two pieces, use kitchen shears to cut into triangles and spread on parchment lined sheet and back for up to 15 mins or until golden brown and crispy-remember to flip half way through. Cool and store in dry container.
Vegetable Kebabs: Kate McGoey—Smith of forksmart.org
Gather and prep: string on wetted bamboo sticks (soak in water for up to 10 mins before using)
Choose a variety vegetables and cut in bite size pieces: red and yellow peppers, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, red onion and any other veggies you would like to roast
String on wetted bamboo sticks and spritz with lemon juice.
Put on barbecue or broil in oven – turn half way through cooking – 5-10 mins until roasted.
Leave on stick or remove with a fork and serve on bed of rice or on their own as a side dish.
Barbecued Pulled Mushroom Sandwich – Kate McGoey-Smith, Visit Kate at forksmart.org
Gather and Prep:
- Flavoured wood chips (like Apple) and a metal smoker box
- King Mushrooms (these mushrooms are huge with a brown cap and long, thick stem with roots still attached – often found at Super Store or Walmart produce section – come in three mushrooms to a cellophane package at ~$2.97 each) (4 pkgs for 6 people)
- White Onion – large, thinly sliced
- Barbecue Sauce – prefer no oil Bone Suckin Sauce (Esselstyn recommended)
- Whole grain no oil bun or rye bread
- Coleslaw with a tofu mayo (optional) or lettuce and tomato or without any toppings
- Soak wood chips in bowl of water for 30 mins and place in smoker with lid off
- Pre-heat gas barbecue on maximum heat
- Place smoker box in the hottest section of barbecue and close barbecue lid for 15 mins (allows smoke to build)
- Wash and remove root of each king mushroom and then place on upper rack of barbecue- close lid and cook for 15-20 mins until very brown – check avoid burning
- Remove cooked mushrooms and cut in half from cap to end of stem, then using the prongs of a dinner fork, ‘pull’ mushroom from cap to end of stem in long, length-wise strands (like a pulled pork sandwich)
- In a hot, dry frying pan, add thinly slice onion – let it sweat until caramelized (stir often)
- Add pulled mushrooms to frying pan and then add ~ ½cup of barbecue sauce until all mushrooms are well-coated
- Toast a whole grain bun or rye bread, add tofu coleslaw and top with mushroom mixture.
Alternative: Pre-heat oven at 375 F and arrange on a large parchment-lined baking sheet – king mushrooms split from cap to stem with internal side down and sprayed with liquid smoke. – cook approximately 15 mins on each side until soft and cooked
Luscious Lemon Cake with Lemon Sauce and Blueberry Compote – Kate McGoey-Smith of ForkSmart.Org (Dedicated to Ann Esselstyn – who is exudes the ‘zest’ of life!!
Note: please double this recipe to make a large single layer cake in a spring-loaded pan
Gather and Prep: Preheat oven to 375 F; In a large mixing bowl, whisk together
- 1 ¾ cups of oat flour (GF is preferred)
- 1 ½ tSp baking powder
- ½ tSp baking soda
In a small mixing bowl, mix these wet ingredients
- 2/3 cup of unsweetened apple sauce (2 snack packs containers)
- ½ cup of maple syrup
- ½ cup of unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tSp vanilla extract
- 2 lemons – zest from each
- 3 tBsp lemon juice
- Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients bowl and use spatula to thoroughly blended.
- Pour cake mix into a 8’ spring-loaded cake pan
- Bake for 35-40 mins or until golden brown and coming away from edges of cake pan
Gather and Prep: In a tall container, using a submersible blender, combine
- 1- 12.5 oz of Mori-Nu Lite Silken Tofu (found at Safeway or Bulk Barn)
- 1/4 Cup maple syrup
- 1 lemon zest from one lemon
- 3 tBsp of lemon juice (include any pulp) – used a reamer to do this
- 1 tBsp vanilla extract
Chill until ready to serve on top of slice of Luscious Lemon Cake.
Gather and Prep: In a small saucepan, put
- 1 cup of frozen blueberries – defrosted
- 1 tBsp lemon juice
- 1 tBsp maple syrup (or could use one medjool date (mashed)
- 5 tBsp cold water
Bring contents to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, stir gently occasionally for a few minutes andwhen blueberries softened, remove from heat. In a small bowl, mix 1 ½ tSp cornstarch with 1 ½ tSp water until becomes a paste. Stir paste into blueberry mixture and returen to heat for about 30 seconds until blueberry mixture bubbles again and thickens. Pour into bowl to cool and for serving.
To serve cake: Slice, add lemon sauce and top with spoonful of blueberry compote. Forksmart.org
Peaches and Cream Nice Cream – adopted from Chef AJ of Ultimate Weight Loss
Gather and Prep: In a high speed blender combine
- 2 frozen peeled bananas (approximately 8 oz) – cut in thick slices
- 2 cups of frozen sliced peaches (8 oz)
- ½ cup of plant milk – prefer unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tSp vanilla extract
Blend completely in high speed blender – add peaches and then bananas and then wet ingredients -will need to use plunger to thoroughly blend mixture (use regular and high speed settings). Store in freezer ice cream container and freeze or serve immediately.
Raise your fork to better health,
Kate and Andrew