four pillars of motivation

Plant-Based Motivation: The Why

For many of us, having the motivation to adjust or change a behavior is a significant component for success. Motivation can be especially difficult for changing our eating and lifestyle.

We all hear about people who after experiencing a traumatic life event, take action to bring about change. It is difficult to make and maintain lifestyle changes without such motivation. In adopting the Power of 5, the same holds true. Regarding my experiences, just putting pen to paper played a major role in motivating me to look at life and then to implement what I had learned in my observations of success stories. I looked at my life, family and career and wanted to be healthy and around for a long time to enjoy it. Children, grandchildren, beloved family, and friends were tremendous motivators for me to implement changes.

In the past few years, I have addressed all the elements in the Power of 5; they interlock with each other to promote better health. What we eat is a major contributor to our health, longevity and vitality. Since my wife and I love Mediterranean food, much of what we ate fit right into that lifestyle. That part was relatively easy. In 2017, we turned things up a notch and transitioned to a whole-food, plant-based eating lifestyle. It started with a desire to learn if we could further improve our health by making such a change. We had open minds when we began our investigation.

First Pillar

When I address what transpired, I describe four pillars that provide the foundation for the changes to a plant-based diet. First is the belief that if done correctly, a plant-based diet provides at least the same medical benefits as a Mediterranean diet, if not more. Olympic and professional athletes in various sports have validated this. I suggest watching the documentary, The Game Changers for a better understanding of this aspect. 

Second Pillar

The second pillar was humanitarian. I became more aware of the inhumane way the animal agriculture industry treats the animals being raised for slaughter. I would encourage anyone with an interest in this subject to view a couple other documentaries to develop their own perspective: Forks Over Knives and/or What the Health.

Third Pillar

A third pillar was the surprising discovery of the impact that animal agriculture has on climate change; producing as much as 50% of all the greenhouse gases worldwide. My wife and I commit to reducing our carbon footprint and its contribution to climate change. If you have not seen enough about this in the previously listed documentaries, consider watching Cowspiracy.

Fourth Pillar

I know that three pillars would be enough for me to decide to transition to a plant-based lifestyle, but I have embraced a fourth: biblical texts.

It is up to interpretation but much of what we learn in the bible has to do with kindness. That kindness extends to all creatures in this world. I acknowledge the bible relates many stories about animal sacrifices, but there are also many passages recommending plant-based eating.

The Couple Who Eats Plant-Based Together …

So when Melissa and I plan our meals, we think about the four pillars that I have outlined to support our dietary decision. By doing so, our meal selections become straightforward. There are great dividends when one’s significant other, in this case my healthy and beautiful vegetarian wife, will easily oblige eating a plant-based diet with me, no questions asked.

In 2017, we eliminated all food products derived from animals. Some people eliminate honey as bees (animals) produce it. I avoid honey mainly because of its high sugar content (glycemic index) although I also care a lot about bees. I believe that harvesting honey does not harm the bees.

Self Reflection

Now is an appropriate time to explore your feelings about each of the pillars I have presented.  Decide if any apply to your life and philosophy. I encourage asking lots of questions. Research, read and discover what you can do to ease yourself into the healthiest eating lifestyle you can fashion.

  • Your eating lifestyle, like the rest of the Power of 5 and life are a journey, not a sprint. Take your time, learn what you can, and implement the healthiest choices you can.
  • Consider a meatless Monday, or any day of the week!
  • Check out the healthy recipes that Melissa places on this website in her recipes section. You will discover many delicious recipes that will open your eyes to the great taste of a plant-based lifestyle.

To a Long and Healthy Life,

David Bernstein, MD

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