Let me start this post by saying that I offer no absolutes. For every ascertain I make, one can most likely find a loophole, an exception, a contradiction. That’s life. That’s why there are highly educated lawyers in this world. Everything is open to interpretation. And depending upon what one’s endgame is, there are infinite interpretations of a set of finite words. So, with that in mind, I’d like to write a little bit about some common questions, and some ideas that have bubbled into my head after having heard them fairly often.
“What do you eat?”
This one is kinda easy.
The first thing I’ll say about this is the way I eat hardly ever requires a recipe, or some structured plan. I don’t dislike recipes or structure at all. I know of several authors whose books are full of great ways to get started, and pages can not only help you create delectable table fare, but also create a plan. And I often refer anyone transitioning to seek them out and use them. But the “be careful of caloric density” caveat I often give gets left out in execution.
So, here’s how I’d like to answer the question:
I eat a diet of beans, whole grains (not bread. whole entire grains), greens, and fruit. I want my fruit and greens to be raw almost all the time. These real human foods are able to be mixed in infinite ways. Familiarize yourself with all the different types of beans, grains, greens, and fruit. Experiment. Find favorites. Watch people who eat this way on social media, you will see stuff you’ve either never heard of or never thought of trying. But you have to do it; it’s not a function of finding the right recipes.
I have smoothies that I mix with oats often as a breakfast, yes, but I also usually have a really hard, calorie-demanding run as an appetizer. I mention my appetizer because 1.) there’s no better way to spur appetite (not that most of us have that problem), and 2.) because at that moment I want my body to get calories in a way that is proportionate to my use of calories, and I want to fuel cellular recovery as efficiently as possible. If you don’t do anything as appetizer before you eat a delicious, whole fruit, no sugar added (by “sugar” I mean any sweetener added to make it taste “better” honey, agave, raw organic cane sugar, or crystalized angel tears), you really shouldn’t have one. Really. Eat a breakfast that you need to chew. Like a piece of fruit, or six.
At the grocery store, I mainly purchase from the produce section, and I go to the store often because the food I buy is very perishable. I know we are accustomed to “makin groceries” like once a week or so, but I prefer to go more often. Plus, I’m lazy and I only buy what I can grab with my hands & I’m out. (I know, I know, I don’t have children tastebuds to satisfy. Again, I point to those who have written cookbooks that I recommend namely “The Plant Power Way”.)
“Yeah, but what about the cravings? I’m a picky eater, I only like certain things.”
This statement is often posed in a way that says “now what? Answer me that!” As if it’s a thing you were born with, like progeria or something. Your cravings and food pickyness is just a thing you do. Stop it. That’s what to do. Stop eating things you have cravings for that make you sick, and cause you to seek answers from someone who has figured it out, to certain degree, for himself in the first place. Yet, what he did won’t work for you because you have cravings, and he doesn’t. Wrong! I have them, but I have turned their volume down in my head, on purpose, because I don’t want the proven outputs associated with them. I have truly educated myself, on purpose, about the difference between what we call “food” and what our evolved bodies know and desire as food. I do these things on purpose because I’m creating a better, more authentic version of myself—to borrow from my mentor, Rich Roll. My existence craves that.
Or, you can keep doing that and wonder why nothing works. So what if a juicy steak is something you “just can’t live without.” Stop lying to yourself. You not only can live without it, but you should significantly curb you intake (like to zero oz.s/day. lol). Most of us know that. Most of us, modern medical science included, know that saturated fat and cholesterol are bad for our cardiovascular system (hence the 610,000 meat-loving cardio patients’ deaths per year—and despite the lauding of Time Magazine covers). Yet we still “can’t live without it.” I submit that the opposite is true. I also submit that as long as you harbor that obstacle, and search for the answer outside of yourself, you will not get traction; you will constantly spin in place, wondering why you just can’t seem to get it together. I’ve lived there most of my life.
Educate yourself thoroughly on what food really is and not what you want it to be (Netflix: Forks Over Knives, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, Food Matters, Hungry For Change. Books: The Plant Power Way, Whole, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, Thrive, Finding Ultra, Eat & Run…). That’s how I overcame “the damn cravings!”
And, yes, get some professional help. You probably need it(I know a guy in Houma, holla). Get a positive group around you that supports your new approach. Don’t be afraid to call it, or deal with it as, an addiction.
“What about all the extra skin?”
First of all, on this question, who gives a shit? Really? You’re overweight. So much so that you are asking me about what will become of all the “extra skin” that you know you have to cover all your extra fat. You obviously don’t like being that way. Yet, like with the “cravings” thing, you need to understand what will happen to it before you get started. So you’re willing to stay overweight to look better in your mind? You stand before me, a person who has something you want, to ask a question that says, in a nutshell, “what I’m scared of the most is to look like I think you look without clothes.” I call bullshit! This is road block creation. If there are roadblocks you can’t proceed, and it’s now out of your hands. Now there’s a good reason to quit before you start. Congrats.
“What if I don’t like to run?”
What you don’t like is pain and working hard on your free time and breathing hard and feeling tired and sweaty, or pushing yourself for the sake of a better self; All crucial ingredients to your overcoming this problem. If you say you can’t run, walking vigorously with a perpetual commitment to increase the intensity as part of your activity structure will serve you well until you start running. Unless you are born with a condition, like progeria, that literally prevents you from running/walking, or you have somehow otherwise found yourself incapacitated in regard to standing and walking, you should run/walk. It’s free. It’s nature’s intended use for this organism’s most prominent physical attributes, and will ultimately bring you to your athletic, natural normal when coupled with the natural whole-plant way of eating that evolution has been honing for eons.
Stop laughing-off the fact that you’re being a pussy. Google Derek Mitchell‘s story, then tell me you “can’t,” pussy.
“I’ve been eating vegan for a while, but I have not lost any more weight?”
Caloric density is probably your issue.
I eat from the green bars on this chart almost exclusively. Very rarely do I mess with anything to right of the “legumes” bar. Note that refined complex carbs,”Ref CC,” is to the right of my last green bar. This means breads, pastas, processed cereal, etc. are out 99% of the time for me. I know you can find these things in a minimally processed form, however, the human tends to go overboard with well-it’s-better-than-X foods. I treat the “ok” versions with the same caution.
Watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gTLpTq1nQk
“But do you hunt?”
I have hunted and fished my entire life. This question is usually posed as if it were a road block to a plant-based lifestyle. But I challenge you, hunter. I challenge you to consume your game in 1.) a quantity that seems naturally attainable to the human being without the use of tools (which is what makes the large consumable stock-piled-a-freezer quantities possible), 2.) consume it in its natural state; no sausage, tamales, burritos, or myriad other ways we eat our “wild game,” and 3.) keep your consumption to less than 10-20% of calories, not volume, calories. In other words, on a 1000 calorie plate, make the animal part 100 or less (using big numbers here for illustrative purposes).
We have a tendency to think we will pre-figure-out before we get started on things that are perceived as difficult in an effort to put off mustering the effort necessary to complete the thing. Homework comes to mind. I would be willfully confused a lot of the time, in retrospect, by my prescribed homework in an effort to prolong doing it. I would get my mom to explain it even after the teacher had already done so in a more specific, assignment-relevant way. Then I would still not “get it.” What was really happening was I was scared to start because it meant giving up something “fun.” However, with maturity, and a desire to thrive in a way that makes my entire being smile, I realized that the homework is the fun; it creates a better version of the Me that the universe magically manifested into existence. I’m only here for a minute. And I want that minute to be wide-ass-open-throttle-great! Come with us, as I am not alone; or hide, watch, and poke holes. Either way, imma do me. Peace.
One last thing: Sorry I called you a pussy. I still want to be friends.
17 thoughts on “F.A.Q.s (profanity. really. js)”
Straight talk with Josh LaJaunie, speaking the truth. Every single word of it! Thank you Josh for putting this out there.
YES! What he said.
Haha. Thank you.
Inspiring Josh. Thank-you.
Thanks for reading
Some great advice Josh. Little nuggets like eat ‘Whole Grains’ not bread etc. Love it. Ride on my friend.
Thanks for the feedback! ✌🏻️
Hi Josh! Trying to get in touch with you, but I don’t see an email address listed. I’m an editor at mindbodygreen.com – would love to discuss having you write for us!
Gotta chime in here on the “don’t like to run” issue.
As a life long runner with questionable form, my knees are shot. I can’t run any more. But when life hands you lemons, you squeeze for lemon juice (lemonaide has too much sugar).
There are so MANY other things you can do besides running! The most obvious is to ride a bike. Rich Roll rides a bike quite a bit (understatement). And if you can ride to work, BONUS! You have to get to work anyway. There are off-road forms of biking that are a lot of fun. And, you don’t have to buy an expensive bike to grt around on the road. In fact, riding a cheap old bike is becoming fashionable. Don’t believe me? Go walk around Portland Oregon.
Endurance sports not your thing? Try learning a martial art! I did muay thai for a while and can tell you, THAT is an INTENSE calorie torching, and fun workout. You also learn self defense. If you go to the right gym, you don’t have to get punched in the face if you don’t want too. 3x a week will get you in great shape.
Ever hear of kettlebells? That is also an intense workout that will work on strength, stanima, flexibility and will make you freakishly fit all ’round. 3 x a week will do it. Try a class first to get the form done. No classes in your area? Ther are several great DVDs for sale.
Now, if you elect to go the martial arts or kettlebell route, I would try to sprinkle in a little steady state cardio in the form of hiking an hour or more on off days. To make hiking challenging, you can wear a backpack with added weight. Then, as time goes on, you can add weight, distance, time, intensity (by adding the amount of hills) or whatever you want! In fact, the weighted hiking on it’s own can help get you in shape.
I have done EVERYTHING I just listed above. Heck, as a 51 year old, I have found that variety is a key to longjevity when it comes to fitness.
Give some of these things a try and see what you like. There is more than just running, believe me!
Good luck and take care
I don’t disagree at all! As long as one moves their body in a way that results in exertion similar to what running would otherwise bring, that’s great. My point here is bipedal locomotion is innately human, free, very cathartic, and while maybe YOU actually can NOT run, most people who say that are not being accurate; they can, just “don’t like to.” Another reason I am so run-centric is because it is free, requires no membership or scheduling or classes, the logistics of which I see oft used a reason to delay getting started on a healthier lifestyle.
I was 360-380lbs when I began to “run.” It hurt because that’s an unnatural running weight. But I walked, until jogging felt doable, then jogged until running felt doable, then marathoned until ultramarthons felt doable. Running can have momentum that, especially when mixed in with a group, can propel one beyond what one ever thought possible previously. I’m fully aware of other activities that can make up a healthy humans activity portion of their earthly existence. And I am a big fan of spinning, but I have seen too many terrible accidents on the roads in that sport. I know Rich is a huge fan of the ol pedal bike, but I worry about him as well.
This post was about common questions I get, and my gut reactions to them. and while there are other things one can do beside running, I think it’s a great place to get started, and most people who eschew it are not incapable, just unwilling. That’s my point.
Thank you so much for taking the time to write this. I’m sure it will help provide some alternatives to folks reading who may actually NOT be able to run.
Thanks for the reply Josh. I am a big fan of your’s since hearing you on RR. I hope I didn’t come across as as being critical to running or your decision to run as you primary fitness. I’d still be out there training and racing if I could be. I was just trying to provide a little help and hope for those that truly can’t or just really don’t want to run. Trying to convey the message that they don’t HAVE TO run to follow your awesome example and embark upon a similar journey.
Best wishes and keep on running!
Not at all, Joe. Thanks for the comment. Really. Thank you.
Your the man Josh!! Keep on keepin it real!!
I am just getting started on my journey and listening to you on the RR podcast has been my motivation to start. My wife has been vegetarian for a few years but I am far from it. I’ve gained almost 100 pounds since marrying her, topping off at my current weight of 295. I have never enjoyed running, even when I was in better shape, but am willing to actually do it after reading the ways that you explain it. My biggest mental hurdle to the plant based lifestyle is wrapping my head around what I would actually eat on a day to day basis. I know there are lots of cookbooks and things out there for the plant based lifestyle, but my biggest wonders were what you eat on just a regular day. Do you really put together big production meals throughout the day? Anyway, thanks so much for your inspiring words and I will continue to be an avid fan/reader of your blog. Thanks again
my daily food rhythm: beans, grains (whole grains: rice, barley; not “whole grain” breads, pastas), cruciferous veggies (raw mostly), fruit, water. the combinations are endless.
thank you so much for reading, and your very kind words!