Find your Peeps…

Find your peeps, or your tribe. Find people who have similar goals and make social connections with them.

This is so important!

By peeps, I mean people like you.

By people like you, I mean people who think like you and who have similar goals and dreams.

Think about your goals.  What have you wanted for a long, long time? What do you want more than anything?

Maybe your goals/dreams are to…

  • become fit?
  • become healthy and get off medication?
  • lose weight?
  • climb the ladder at work?
  • be an artist?
  • be a musician?
  • get rid of all your debt?
  • make money from home?
  • move to another country for adventure?

Whatever the dream is, there’s probably something inside you, unfulfilled. Something you really want. Something maybe you’ve even tried to make happen, and you’ve given up. Or you’ve just put it on the back burner.

I believe it’s essential to find your peeps, when it comes to having true success with your goals and dreams.

Let’s talk about my dream.

For me, I’ve wanted to be whole-food, plant-based since January, 2010. I achieved success along the way, but I’ve never been able to stick to this healthy way of eating, consistently.

A year or so later, I learned that to truly be healthy and protect my body and arteries from damage, I needed to also get rid of oil from my diet. Yes, this includes olive oil!

This nugget of knowledge came from reading Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. This is a MUST read for anyone interested in health. Learn even more by watching his 2018 presentation at the Hippocrates Health Institute.

Eliminating oil from my diet created an even bigger challenge for me. In addition to avoiding highly processed foods and animal products (meat, dairy, eggs), I also had to get rid of added fats/oils.

Oil is everywhere. Just ask anyone how to saute vegetables, and they’ll tell you that you MUST use oil (not true by the way; just a myth and a habit).

I gave oil-free eating a try.

Again, I had some terrific periods of success, but I just couldn’t seem to stick to it.

How frustrating! I felt like a failure many times.

I talked to my husband about it, but he wasn’t committed to the whole food, plant-based, oil-free way of eating. I needed to connect with someone who was.

I realized that part of my problem was that I didn’t have one single friend who thought like me. I didn’t know one person who truly understood and truly believed that a whole food, plant-based diet without oil was the way to optimal health and an optimal body weight.

My husband and daughter have been super supportive, and they eat what I prepare/cook. When I’m buying and preparing healthy food, they eat it. When I fall off the healthy-eating bandwagon and buy cheese, they eat it.

It’s tough, because that means it’s really up to me. 

No pressure.

My siblings and mom have their own beliefs about how to eat. Eating meat, dairy, eggs and oils for nutrition and health is part of their belief system.

They don’t bother me about my way of eating; they are considerate of my diet. Even though there is some support, it means that foods I consider non-compliant (meat, dairy, eggs and oil) are at family gatherings. It can be very difficult to stick with my way of eating at family events.

Everyone around me is an omnivore. Colleagues at work, extended family and most friends. I know a few people who are vegan, but health isn’t their main concern, so oil and processed foods are part of their diet.

In my heart, I knew I needed to connect with other people like me. People who “got it”. People who believed what I did. People whose lifestyle was already whole food, plant-based and oil-free.

People I could talk to. People with whom I could have lunch who ate like me!

I realized I needed to find my peeps.

So, I looked for them.

I went to a few vegan potlucks, but I found a lot of the food had oil. For many vegans, health isn’t their focus. I usually didn’t feel connected to people at these events.

Next, I went online. I joined Facebook groups and started to follow Instagram and Twitter accounts.

Sharing your goals with others, through social media, can not only give you social connection; it can also create personal accountability, and ultimately, lead you to greater success.

Social media was a good start for me. It was helpful to go somewhere and learn from others, but the online community wasn’t enough for me.

Something was missing, and because it was, I began to get closer to finding my peeps.

In May of 2017, I went to a vegan market at a local community center. I walked around and bought a few things. I ran into an extended family member who was vegan and chatted with her. She became vegan for the animals, but didn’t have as much interest in the health side of things.

At one of the tables was a vibrant-looking woman who was there just to promote whole-foods, plant-based, oil-free living. She wasn’t selling anything…just spreading the word. I was thrilled to find out I wasn’t the only person in Winnipeg who thought whole food, plant-based, oil-free diets were the key to health!

I mean, I knew I couldn’t be the only one, but here was a live person who thought like me!

She told me her story and how she and her husband helped her ailing mother get back to health through this way of eating. The way I wanted to eat!

I loved hearing her story, and it inspired me to keep working at eating the healthy way I believed in.

A couple of weeks after my visit to the vegan market, on June 3, 2017, I joined this woman’s local plant-based Facebook group, called Plant Based Living Winnipeg.

I just knew I HAD to meet this woman and other people like her, so I could increase my chance of success at eating a healthy diet consistently.

Luckily for me, Plant Based Living Winnipeg was having its first potluck in April of 2018. This was my chance. This was my opportunity to get off my butt and go out and connect with people like me.

So, I did.

It was awesome. Everyone was welcoming, and each person was at a different place on their plant-based journey. Some people were vegan. Some were experimenting with eating plant-based. And some were just like me…. still working on it.

After we filled our plates with delicious, plant-based food, we went around the room to introduce ourselves and give a brief story about how/when we became plant-based or became interested in eating plant-based.

Listening to people talk about books I had read and hearing their stories was so amazing. My eyes were watering because I was so happy, so grateful, to FINALLY have met a group of people that were just like me! It was such a wonderful feeling.

I realized at that moment how important it is to Find Your Peeps.

Peeps2

I had found mine!

I’m not sure why the term, “Find your Peeps”, rings with me. There is a more common, trending term called Find your Tribe, which pretty much means the same thing. Use whatever works for you. I just love saying “peeps”.

At the end of the potluck event where I found my peeps, I reconnected with the woman I met at the vegan market and who ran the Facebook group…Michelle Tree.

I knew I needed a one-on-one connection, so I asked Michelle to join me for coffee one Saturday morning.

The best decision EVER.

Michelle is her own unique and incredible woman. We are different in many ways, but we have so much in common, especially our mindset. We talked for ages the first time we met, and unless one of us has a pressing appointment, we often have lunch, coffee or walking meetings that last for hours.

She “gets it”. She knows the same science-backed nutritional information that I do. She knows even more.

It’s been 6 months since I met Michelle, and I am grateful for our connection and friendship.

Since I’ve been back at work, teaching, things have been super busy and I’ve been more focused on lesson planning and collaborating with colleagues and less focused on my diet. Michelle and I also haven’t been able to connect as often because of my busyness.

September led me way off track with my diet. I’ve eaten cheese, tuna and even egg salad. I told myself that I’m busy and stressed, and that it’s just temporary.

Deep down, I’ve been worried that I’ll never be able to achieve my goals of eating healthier on a consistent basis.

Luckily for me, I have my peeps!

Michelle and I met for breakfast the other day, and our conversation reignited my fire to get back to eating the healthy whole food, plant-based, oil-free diet I fully believe in. Our conversation confirmed my nutrition philosophy. Our conversation helped me reconnect with my own values.

Not only does Michelle run a Facebook page with over 500 members, she was on the organizing committee for the recent Veg Fest in Winnipeg on Sept. 15. She is currently developing her website, Treelivity.

This past weekend was Thanksgiving in Canada, so I decided to recommit to my health right after the weekend (we’ve heard that before, right?…I’ll start Monday).

I went to two different dinners which involved me eating foods like cheesecake and potatoes with butter. I didn’t feel badly when dishing up my food because I had decided that starting, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018, I would recommit, once again, to the healthy way of eating I know that nurtures the body to its best ability and helps to prevent most diseases.

It is by finding my peeps, and having a friendship with someone just like me, that I can reconnect to my values and feel inspired to recommit to my health.

It is because I found my peeps that I have a stronger chance of successfully adopting a whole food, plant-based, oil-free diet on a long-term, consistent basis.

I truly believe that we can be our truest self when we connect to other like-minded people. We can achieve our goals and dreams with support and encouragement with others like us.

Peeps1

I wish I had made the effort to find my peeps sooner.

This week (starting Oct. 8) I recommitted to my goals.

  • Be 100% whole-food, plant-based, without oil
  • Become as healthy as I can be
  • Achieve a weight that is ideal for my body

Although I haven’t been tracking my habits in my Lifestyle Log this past while, I continue to monitor my weight loss. Here’s where I’m at, based on my weight Oct. 8.

Oct. 8 2018

Your goals or dreams may have nothing to do with health. Whatever they may be, don’t give up on them.

Take some time to think about your passions, interests and goals. If you have trouble staying on your own path, like I did, reach out and find your peeps.

Who knows what you’ll find? Who knows what will happen?

Wishing you health and success on your journey,

SignatureAli

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