Listen to your interior. What do you want to improve? What aspects of your life deserve better care? Is there pain or discomfort in some area of your body? Are there not-so-good habits you want to reduce or stop doing? “Listen to your inner self, your inner guide.” This is one of the phrases that we use most often with patients in the clinic where I work. There is wisdom within us, possibly the solution to the problem, or at least the knowledge of what the problem is.
Today, decide to make changes. It is not yesterday or tomorrow; we need to start today. Having a better relationship with food and having a better relationship with ourselves are not drastic or dramatic changes to be completed today, just started today. Many patients tell me in the first consultation: “I need to make changes and don’t know how to start. I’ve tried many times and failed.” I ask them, and I’m asking you here: What you need today to start? What have you learned from your past attempts?
There are small changes which can bring great results. Be persistent. Promise that you will not surrender. Allow yourself to feel that inner restlessness — e.g., I need to integrate meditation or relaxation into my hurried life….It’s important that I start to have a better relationship with food in order to have a better quality of life…I need to eliminate the cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs that are controlling my life and could be slowly killing me….I want to have a better relationship with myself and the world around me, because I am worth all this and more.
In my work as an addiction counselor, I’ve heard such statements every day and I’ve come to understand that food and lifestyle changes are closely related to successful treatment with my patients. The more changes they make, starting with better food, the more stability and better results can be identified. When physical activity and/or meditation techniques are added, we can expect to see improved sleep quality, mood, and even an improvement in interpersonal relationships. Witnessing all this is what began my interest in studying nutrition and healthy lifestyles.
I invite you to dare to do things differently in favor of your wellbeing. Whatever time and money you spend on a vegan lifestyle is an investment in your future. It feels great when people see your changes — how radiant your skin looks, the happiness and calm that you project, the way your whole being and even your environment begins to reflect wellbeing. This creates harmony and improved communication with everyone around you, with mother earth, and all living things. You become more sensitive as your body is purified by what you eat, think, and believe.
Positively influence people: it is very satisfying. Contribute to society and to the world with little actions that bring big changes. This is something that is real and possible. It can be seen daily in the workplace; as people observe your life, they see the world around them differently. When you share your achievements with them, they begin to see that your successes could be theirs, too. Compassion is a virtue that must be cultivated. With sensitivity to life around us and to life itself, we can create a better world includes veganism, kindness, and fair treatment of all, This is a lifestyle based on compassion and love. Dare yourself.
Mitzy González, VLCE, is an addiction counselor and a 2015 graduate of the Main Street Vegan Academy (the first graduate from Puerto Rico). She currently works as a nutrition coach in a chiropractic clinic, offering cooking seminars and healthy lifestyle workshops that focus on mental health, nutrition, and harm reduction. Mitzy is finishing her doctorate in Organizational Leadership.