This month, Tara from Lush Palm and I connected. Being a big fan of beaches, surfing and the ocean myself, I was really excited to collaborate with LushPalm. As you guys may have seen, I shared my addicting Peanut Butter Energy Bites on their blog, which were a huge hit! I asked Tara to share a little something on The Pure Life to share with you all, and here she shares epic advice and her experience about her “Journey to Healthy”. Take it away Tara!
Hi Pure Life readers! I’m Tara, nice to meet you. Me in a nutshell: I live by the beach in Encinitas, California, I’m passionate about travel, food, surf, yoga, and living a full life. I started a surf travel blog called Lush Palm, and I’m pretty ecstatic about feeling the healthiest I’ve ever felt, without counting calories or any extreme dieting.
If you’ve found your way to The Pure Life you’re probably interested in bringing some more health into your life. Since I’ve recently made some big shifts in my own diet and lifestyle, I wanted to share some insights about my journey to healthy!
What is “healthy,” anyway?
Being healthy means a whole lot of different things to different people. This is because the term healthy is relative to what we’ve been exposed to and our environments. To one person, “healthy” could mean having a diet soda with their meal, and to another person “healthy” could be running 10 miles every day.
To me, healthy is all about living with balance, and nourishing my body and mind. It’s about feeling good in my body, and feeling good about myself.
My journey to a healthy lifestyle has been a long one. I’ve gone from vegetarian and Bikram yogi, to party animal, and every shade between. I’ve had some highs and some lows, but I’m happy to report that at 31, I’m feeling stronger, fitter, and healthier than I was at 18. And if you couldn’t tell, I’m pretty excited about it.
I’m not a nutritionist, I’m no expert by any means, I just started listening to my body and doing what works for me. This didn’t happen overnight, rather, it was a gradual process to get to where I am today with my health. And it’s still a process!
Since you’re here at The Pure Life I’m suspecting you’re either already on a plant-based diet, or you’re thinking about bringing a more healthy diet into your life. If you’re just starting to transition to a plant-based diet, or making any other lifestyle changes, it might seem intimidating or daunting to get started. And I feel ya! It’s hard to make changes—especially when there’s processed food and sugar temptations at every turn!
Well you should know you’re not alone. I’ll bet most people who make lifestyle changes feel overwhelmed at one point or another. But taking control of your health and feeling good in your body is one of the best decisions you can make. We have one body—we might as well take care of it and feel awesome!
It’s a Progression
I love to surf, and there’s a word used a lot in the surfing world to define the continuous learning process: progression. There’s a lot of things in life that require lots of practice to become really good at, but some have steeper learning curves than others. Surfing is one of those things with an extremely steep learning curve, but more than that, it’s literally an ongoing progression.
The waves are always changing, you have to continuously adjust to shifting conditions, different types of surfboards, and you can spend your whole life learning and improving. One day I’ll be really feeling it and have an awesome surf session, and then the next session I’ll surf terribly like I took five steps back. And surfers will tell you that this is the norm—it’s a very gradual progression to improvement.
I bring up surfing because I think it’s a great metaphor for the progression to living a healthier life. I doubt many people just decide, hey I’m going to stop eating junk and be healthy, and then they live happily ever after with their perfectly plant-based diet and workout routine. Making a lifestyle change is going to be a gradual process—just like surfing, it’s an ongoing progression!
Your health journey will shift and change as you discover what works best for you. You’re going to be faced with different environments and changes throughout your life. And you might fall off the wagon and eat some chocolate cake once in a while, and guess what? That’s totally okay! More than that, it’s totally normal. Which brings me to my next tip…
Keep Your Head Up
We’re so hard on ourselves when it comes to a lot of things, but especially food-related things. If we make a food slip-up and eat something we know is unhealthy, an overwhelming and completely disproportionate feeling of guilt usually follows. Please do yourself a huge favor and give yourself a break!
There’s no such thing as perfect. Once in a while you might just eat that thing that isn’t so good for you. So instead of feeling all guilty and letting it sabotage your big picture goals, save yourself the guilt trip and then do an extra hard work out the next day if you want to.
But be nice to yourself and remember that it’s not a sprint to any finish line. Making healthier food choices is a lifestyle change! It’s not something that happens overnight, and you should give yourself license to indulge once in a while, because hey—balance is healthy!
Do What Works For You
You know how we learned in kindergarten that we’re all special snowflakes? Well, our bodies are just as unique and special as the rest of us! A diet that makes one person the shining picture of health could have a completely different effect on someone else.
At the end of the day it’s about finding out what works best for your body and lifestyle. If you’re not sure about what makes your body feel good or bad, start using a food journal and be conscious about how you feel after you eat. You should be able to identify patterns and isolate the foods that make you feel really good, or not-so-good.
Strive to become an expert on your own body and health. Being in touch with what makes your body thrive is something that will benefit you throughout your life.
A Word on Fad Diets
It seems like every day there’s a new diet someone is shouting from the rooftops. One company after another claiming their incredible formula will magically melt off the pounds… the diet of diets! Oh, and you don’t even have to do anything! [record scratch] Just in case you don’t know by now, those claims are just about as real as unicorns on Mars.
While there’s thousands of different types of diets out there that all have varying degrees of results, sorry to break it to you, but there ain’t no magic formula. The closest thing to a magic formula is the following equation:
minimally processed whole foods + exercise = feeling awesome :)
It might be challenging to live this formula sometimes, but it’s quite straightforward, and I believe it’s the most balanced way to get and maintain health. Find exercise and activities that you love so it’s not work. Whether it’s pilates, hiking, crossfit, or yoga—explore what makes you feel good and make it a priority.
Personally, I thrive on a steady exercise diet of surf and yoga! And the fact that those activities are as good for my mind as they are for my body is just icing on the cake.
It occurred to me the other day that there’s all these different diets out there that have different philosophies, but the three things they ALL say is to exercise, and cut out sugar and processed foods. (Disclaimer: I haven’t read about ALL diets out there, but every single one that I have read about! And if anyone says you should eat those things then it’s time to find another book.)
So the bad news is that there’s no magic way to eat chocolate cake every day and be the healthiest you, but the great news is that you can eat delicious minimally processed foods, sprinkle in some exercise, and you’ll be feeling awesome in your healthy lifestyle in no time!
I hope these tips will help you get started on your journey to healthy, or keep you going if you need some inspiration. If you’d like to get in touch or learn more about surfing or surf travel, you can find me over at Lush Palm , Instagram, and other social media at @lushpalm.