How to navigate food (and life) transitions
“How do you get your family to accept a real food diet when all they want are chicken nuggets?” “My kid is a picky eater. He only eats cereal three times a day. What should I do?” “I want to eat ‘healthy’ but I crave a sugary snack every afternoon (and evening, if I’m honest)!”
The struggle is real! You are now convinced of the basics: that eating a healthy diet means eating more real, whole foods, and less of the food-like processed stuff that comes in packages! Bravo! But how do you go from the head to the heart (or should I say to the mouth)? That is, how do you translate what you know intellectually and put it into practice?
I have a few suggestions, based on my own experience—but not just with food! I am currently transitioning from working at my church as a worship leader to working on podcasting, and podcast consulting, full time! There have been a few bumps and bruises along the way, and I certainly anticipate more, but I have my eye on the prize. When it is time to make changes, there are perspectives that can help smooth the way.
Consider the following tips when transitioning your diet or your life!
Go small or go home. Obviously, this is the opposite of “Go big or go home.” In terms of food, there’s no need to go whole hog on changes (even if the hog is organic, haha). Big changes can quickly get overwhelming and are often met with resistance from the family. So, feel free to take one small step in the right direction. It’s easier and the healthy pay-off is quick! Swap out canola oil for shelf-stable organic coconut oil. Get real butter from the farmers market in lieu of the margarine spread that you usually buy. Make a change in one area first, and then do another after a month or two. (And I'd begin with fats, by the way, because they are so pivotal to our well-being and brain function.) In terms of work, I took a tiny step today. I posted my first Instagram story. Stories help you get your message out, but I just hadn't gotten around to them. So I posted a short video. It’s not pretty but I did it. A small step in the right direction is better than no step at all. (Go to @holistic_hilda to see it!)
Stay on message. In terms of food, you will meet with resistance but if you stick with the party line with your kids, they’ll tire of trying to persuade you to take them to the fast food restaurant or to get you to buy them their artificially-flavored and colored cereals. It could be anything from “I only feed my family the best” to “Our bodies need the best fuel to be healthy.” Repeat ad nauseum. In terms of work, “Holistic Hilda” is now my brand. I am a voice for healthy living. This is why, on my most of my social media platforms, I don’t post pictures of concerts I love or cat videos— because they are “off brand.” If I’m a voice for healthy living, I’ve got to stick with that message until it sticks.
Focus. I’m not going to lie. Sometimes eating real food takes a bit more effort. You need to plan ahead, defrost your farm fresh meat in morning, buy your additional ingredients after work, chop up the veggies and throw it all together at a decent hour for dinner (not 9:30 or 10:00 p.m. like I sometimes do). So, focus on what really matters and put the extra effort into doing this. It is worth it. Dining in will actually save money in the long run and save your health, in the process! In terms of work, I am leaving my church job and my position as director of communications with Body & Soul to focus on podcasting. I’ve had too many plates spinning for too long and now it’s time to focus on a choice few.
Don’t let the bumps in the road throw you. You will hit bumps and challenges along the way. You might want to throw your hands up in the air. Go ahead, but don’t do it in desperation. Just imagine that you are on a rollercoaster! In terms of food, I was trying to help my kids transition from the cheap-o 20-dogs-in-a-package brand to something similar, but healthier. So I bought hot dogs from a farm in Pennsylvania. When they were delivered, we were shocked. The hot dogs were grey. Seriously grey. I guess they had no food coloring or other additives (which is great) but they were just. so. unappealing. And one night, my son had a friend over and this is all we had to serve. It was embarrassing. We never bought them again, needless to say, and today we laugh about that experiment. But we also buy our hot dogs elsewhere. In terms of work, my main podcast is the Wise Traditions podcast. I conduct a lot of interviews remotely but it’s a treat when I can interview guests in person. I got excited at the Wise Traditions conference in Minneapolis last November and thought it’d be cool to do a group interview. I had a “snowball” microphone that is supposed to work well when you have multiple voices. So, at lunch one day, I gathered together Ben and Jessa Greenfield, Anthony Jay, Lindsea Willon and Laura Schoenfeld. We huddled around the table and had a great conversation about health trends. But when I played back the audio later, it was no good. The lunch room was busy and louder than I had imagined. And even though we made an effort to lean into the microphone, the audio was simply unusable. This was a BIG bump, even looking at it in hindsight. But the good news is that a lot of these folks have since recorded individual interviews with me…and there’s always next year’s conference (where I hope to have a different microphone).
So are you going through any transitions, food or life-wise? Comment below and let’s offer each other mutual support! Because one final recommendation for navigating transitions in life is to walk through them with others.
Hilda Labrada Gore is a podcast professional who helps holistic health practitioners launch their own shows! She is also the host and producer of the Wise Traditions podcast, sponsored by the Weston A. Price Foundation for wise traditions in food, farming, and the healing arts. She is an integrative nutrition health coach, a fitness professional, and the DC Metro Regional Director for Body & Soul Fitness. She lives in D.C. with her husband, Mitch, their children, and their cat and dog.