MGU 145 | Achieve Peak Physical Condition

 

For many people, their journey to health and wellness is so inconsistent that it can feel like you’re not achieving any results thus far. It is time to change that and take charge of your health and wellness goals to achieve peak physical condition that is sustainable and healthy. In this episode, Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen guide us with the wisdom from their eBook, Take Charge. They share some of their personal tips, as well as those from other health and wellness thought leaders, on how to achieve what you consider as peak physical condition that is not only for short-term but sustainable and healthy. Join in on this fun and interesting conversation to learn the ways you can take care of yourself better than ever.

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How To Achieve Peak Physical Condition That Is Sustainable And Healthy

This episode is the second part of a series we’re doing around our free eBook, Take Charge!, which is all about helping you get consistent, stay committed, and follow through on your health and wellness goals. You can download this free eBook, follow along, revisit it after this episode at our website, Wellevatr.com. If you go to the Free Resources section, this is one of several free resources. We have a few eBooks, some videos for you there, and lots of things to support you and guide you through the different elements of your health and wellness and your well-being. This book came about in 2019 after we had done a survey and talk to our community more about what they were struggling with. We enlisted the support of some other amazing wellness warriors, which we talked about in the previous episodes. All the upcoming episodes will be a thread through. These amazing people helped us answer some of the common questions.

This episode is about how to achieve whatever you considered peak physical condition in a way that is sustainable and healthy for you. We’re going to share with you some of our personal tips, some of the tips that came from these other health and wellness thought leaders and to share more about our experiences with this. Hopefully, it will inspire you, give you some more ideas and help motivate you. As we talked about in the previous episode when we started the series, a huge struggle for a lot of people is consistency. A lot of these tips are going to sound familiar, easy and things you already know, but sometimes hearing them from different people like us, from these other wellness warriors we’re going to talk about, which is a phrase we love to use because we have this program called Wellness Warrior Training.

We’re passionate about helping you discover however you define being a warrior in your own life. That might sometimes mean that you’re super active and you’re taking charge as this is the phrase of this whole eBook. Sometimes being a wellness warrior is tuning into what you need and slowing down, which is something that we’ve been talking a lot about especially because both Jason and I are visiting family. Jason’s got over a day left with his friends and family in Detroit. How are you feeling about that, Jason? Are you nervous about going back to Los Angeles? Do you wish that you had more time? Do you feel like you’ve had enough time? What’s your overall feeling in terms of heading back to a non-travel life? It is an awkward way of putting it, but you’re doing something different. You’re visiting a place that you only get to visit about every year, if you’re lucky. You’re with your family members and some friends that you don’t often see. What’s your overall state of being now?

I’m feeling a little bit like, “I wish I could stay longer.” It’s just under two weeks that I’ve been here and it’s always wanting more time. My mom and I talked about me coming more often out here because one of the offshoots of this pandemic phase has been spending time with people in person whenever possible more. For many years, I put my career or my professional drive ahead of seeing the people in my life and my family back here. I want to flip that. It’s not that getting your dreams, goals, aims and accomplishments are important but for a long time, I put seeing family and people I love on the back burner. I don’t want to do that anymore.

It’s a mixed bag emotionally. I wish I could stay because it’s beautiful here. I love the weather and I love more time with my mom and my friends here. I do miss my animals. I miss Laura. I miss my people back in LA. I don’t miss LA at all. I feel like it’s going back to purgatory for me. That’s another conversation perhaps. I’m not feeling great. In my discomfort, I’m admitting that. I’m not feeling amazing. I’m feeling a little bit emotional, sensitive and sad about the idea of leaving.

I can relate to that. I don’t know if this makes you feel any better but even after being with my family and friends on the East Coast, I also feel nervous. I planned to leave. One of the benefits of driving out here is that I have some flexibility, but I also need to consider how long it’s going to take me to drive back to Los Angeles, anything that could happen along the way, as well as our work schedule plus my own work schedule. There are a lot of different considerations when you are taking a more flexible mode of transportation versus flying when you have a reservation and all of that. I too have similar feelings.

I talked about a little bit in the previous episode how I almost feel nervous about going back to Los Angeles. It’s not that the city doesn’t affect me in the same ways that it’s been affecting you, Jason, I know that you’ve been deeply considering leaving. I’m not at that point yet. Even during this trip where I’ve been seeing different parts of the country, spending more time on the East Coast where I grew up, and seeing what you can get for less money or living a slower pace of life. All of that is appealing to me, and yet I still think that LA feels good to me for the most part. However, it’s hard to leave. I’ve been sitting with that and examining it. What is interesting as you share your feelings is I wonder if it ever feels like enough time.

If we do something every day, even for ten minutes, that has a long-term effect on us. Click To Tweet

I don’t know if this is part of what you’re experiencing but I keep thinking, “I wish that I could have more flexibility.” Yet, here I am with a lot of flexibility and it still doesn’t feel enough. I still wish that I could leave when I felt like it, but part of me is wondering, “Will I ever feel like leaving?” I don’t think that’s about me not wanting to go back to Los Angeles. I just think I’m comfortable here and it feels uncomfortable to leave. I wonder if this is also what you’re experiencing, that fear of not having enough. We talked about the fear of not being enough and that overall experience of not-enoughness that many of us expressed to one another. What about not having enough time?

I think it’s a time thing for me. I feel tense around that and I know that you do as well. There’s that ongoing feeling of not only, “Am I doing enough?” It’s also, “Am I spending enough time with my family members?” I would love to hear your commentary on that. I would also love to share something that I experienced that ties into this conversation. Does any of this resonate with you in terms of what you’re experiencing? Especially if you step back and think this common thought that I often have when I’ve flown out here, which has been most of my trips to the East Coast was taking an airplane because it’s much faster than driving. I had this perception that if I drove out here and spent more time that it would feel satisfying. Is it that you don’t feel like you’ve spent enough time and you wish that you had more time? What would even feel like enough time for you if two weeks didn’t feel like enough?

In terms of the duration over the years, I’ve played with the amount of time that I’ve been here to gauge what feels like a good amount of time for me. Most of the trips that I’ve taken in the years that I have been away from Detroit have been anywhere between 7 and 14 days, I did one time when I was writing the first draft of my book, Eaternity. I came here on the holidays of 2014, 2015, because the book came out in 2016. One of those winters I came and spent 22 days here. After that, I felt like I was ready to leave. I know that it is a small sample size, but after spending a little over three weeks here, there was a part of me that’s like, “I’m ready to go back to California.”

My sweet spot based on how many times I’ve come here to visit is between 2 and 3 weeks. Next time, I would push it closer to the 2.5 or 3-week mark to see how I would feel because there’s still more I want to do here. There’s still more I want to see. There are more people I want to see. The backdrop of COVID has made it difficult to see certain people because everyone has different levels of comfort or discomfort or boundaries with physical distancing. It’s a little challenging because I feel like there’s more reflection I want to do here. Not all of it has been a comfortable reflection.

Some of it has been meditating on certain memories of creative projects I had here or bands or dreams I had of becoming a professional musician. There’s a lot of history here for me. It’s still the longest place that I’ve ever lived because I grew up here. It is good to bring things up for reflection. I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with all of it emotionally, but there’s a lot coming up for me as I’m ready to leave. I’m sure I’ll have plenty to chew on when I get back to Los Angeles.

We can learn so much about ourselves about how travel can help us be more present and aware. Especially on this trip, Jason, I’m curious as things are coming up for you. As you’re saying, you’re chewing on them. Before I went on this trip, I anticipated having all these breakthroughs and feeling less burned out and catching up on sleep and rest because I’m outside the city. Maybe I am at a slower pace, but there have been a lot of moments that are even faster pace on this trip while I’ve visited people. During the drive out here, you’re literally moving fast. In my case, it’s ten days nonstop. There are moments where I’m thinking, “I need to be more intentional, slow down, do less and sleep in.”

I’ve had some of those days too. There have been days where I slept for eleven hours, which was awesome. I’m going to try to have at least one more of those days before I head back because I’m going to be on the road for another week or so. It is interesting to examine expectations before a trip. I’m curious, did you expect to get more sleep? When we spoke, you said that you feel tired and I almost felt surprised to hear that from you. In my head, I thought, “He’s going to be with his mom. He’ll be more relaxed. He’ll feel taken care of. He’s outside of LA. He can sleep more.” It sounds like you don’t feel any more rested in Detroit in this scenario than you do in LA.

MGU 145 | Achieve Peak Physical Condition

Take Charge

In both of our cases, it’s not always true that when you leave home to go on a vacation or visit people or whatever you’re doing while traveling, you don’t necessarily feel more rested or less burnt out. You’re not slowing down necessarily. You also might not have big breakthroughs. That’s the other thing for me as I thought, “I’m going to learn so much about myself during this trip.” Maybe I have, but I haven’t processed it. What do you think about all that? Is this trip what you expected? Have you had some curveballs? Are you surprised that you still feel tired even outside of LA? It seems to me that a lot of your motivation for wanting to leave LA aside from the financial impacts of that is you feel distressed in LA. Do you feel less stressed being in Detroit or not?

I do feel a lot less stressed here for sure. One of the things that I’m experiencing is insomnia. I’ve been struggling with not necessarily falling asleep but staying asleep. I don’t feel the level of stress or tension. The energy is as dense here. It’s a different vibe. I know that my soul is asking for a slower and quieter pace of life and more nature. I know that in coming here and getting to see the beautiful nature here in the fall, it’s the most gorgeous season here, it’s changing the narrative of this idea that I’ve always had to be in the big cities to set myself up for success, creative or financial success.

There’s still this pervasive mythology around places like New York City, London, San Francisco and Los Angeles, to a lesser extent, Chicago, Tokyo and places like that. There’s a mythology around that if you’re a creative person, an artist or even an entrepreneur, you have to go to these narrow and select areas on the planet to set yourself up with connections, collaborators and career options. I’m realizing that I don’t buy into that mythology anymore. We’ve talked about how many people we know who have left LA. We have a running joke of how many people in both of our lives keep moving to Austin, Texas. I’ve heard other friends of ours moving to Nashville, Oregon, Washington State or going to Colorado.

There are different places that people are relocating to smaller metro areas, not these big meccas. They seem to be doing well so far. What I’m experiencing is a relandscaping of the belief system that I’ve held onto for my entire professional career, which was you got to be in a big city to do your thing. That’s run its course. I don’t know that that’s going to be a desire that I feel again. I’m getting an astrocartography reading. That’s a whole other side note to this episode, but I’m getting a friend who is going to be doing an astrocartography reading. It’s going to be super interesting to see what that reveals. I will have more to report on that soon after my two-hour reading comes up.

I don’t even know what that is so I’m going to save all my questions for that episode where we explore that more. I already mentioned what this episode is about and certainly the title has teased that as well. We can tie a lot of this into how we achieve the physical condition that we’re in. There’s this desire to get into peak physical condition. It’s similar to creating our life and figuring out what is truly sustainable for us physically. Certainly, we’ve been discussing the mental side of it, which ties into life in general, also our mentality and outlook about how we treat our bodies. The number one tip that we have in our free eBook, Take Charge!, which you can download for free to follow along as a complement to this episode. It’s at Wellevatr.com in the Free Resources section.

The first tip that you’ll see in there is to move every day. We talked about this a bit in the previous episode and because a lot of these tips overlap. We’re going to repeat some things here. If you haven’t read that episode, that’s okay. We’ll share some tips, but we recommend this whole series because one tip leads to another. This idea of moving every day, I’m curious to hear how that’s been going for you, Jason, because you’ve had an injury that you’ve been working on for a while. Because you’ve been traveling, I’d love to hear how that’s been going. In general, through COVID, which is one of the big elements of the series that we want to talk about, not only is it timely when this episode comes out, but we don’t know how long we’re going to be in this new normal that people have been calling it.

We don’t know how long the fitness studios and various places that you would work out typically are going to be different. It is interesting to me for somebody that doesn’t go to the gym frequently. I’ve never been to the gym. I’ve had a few gym memberships over my life and wasn’t that into them. They haven’t been sustainable for me in keeping my body in good shape. I’m much more of a yoga person, where Pilates or bar. I find it interesting that the gyms have adapted to COVID. For instance, when I was in New York City, I walked by one of the chains and there was a line of people waiting to go in. I thought to myself, “I can’t imagine having to wait in line to go and work out. Who knows how long these lines are?”

Consistency is tricky for people because we often want results to happen right away. Click To Tweet

I then remembered how I used to wait in line to go into my yoga class because if I didn’t, then I would risk missing out due to the fact that they only had limited spots in the class. I used to get up at 5:00 in the morning and drive down the street, wait in line for only 5 or 10 minutes, go inside, get my spot and then wait for class to begin. It was this whole ritual I had. Now, I can turn on Zoom and have the same class with the same teacher in a virtual scenario. It’s been interesting for me because I see how differently I react to a Zoom virtual class versus in-person classes and how I miss that ritual, even though it took more time. That particular class started at 6:00 AM to 7:00 AM. I would get up at 5:00 something and I would get there at 5:30.

I wouldn’t start class until 6:00 or 6:15, whenever it was. I would be done at 7:00 and get back. It would be two hours that I was out of the home, going to this class, not to mention taking a shower and whatnot. Now, I can turn on my computer or even my phone if I want. I can go anywhere and it’s just that an hour-long class. I’ve saved time. It’s also less expensive but I found it mentally challenging to stay consistent. This is one of the big keys to moving your body every day ideally. A quote from Robert Cheeke, one of our contributors to this eBook said, “By far, the most important step in achieving any fitness goal is to be consistent.”

It doesn’t matter what it is that you’re doing. It could be running, weightlifting, yoga, hiking, whatever you enjoy doing. If you are consistent with it, you’re going to be more likely to improve and find success and joy. I think that’s true and I keep that in mind, but there are still days where I know that my class starts on time and I drag my feet. I then go through this game in my head of like, “Maybe I’ll skip it.” There’s then a little voice in my head that says you shouldn’t skip it because you should be consistent as Robert is saying. It’s tempting to skip it. It’s tempting to come up with excuses even with a virtual class. I’m curious for you, Jason, how have things changed in terms of your movement? Do you have an intentional practice of moving your body somehow every day? Are you taking online classes? I know you were doing some in-person outdoor yoga classes at one point. You haven’t told me much about what you’ve been doing outside of that. How has that been affected by your injury?

The injury was a blessing because the first couple of months of quarantine, I wasn’t moving my body at all. I was in this mode of I don’t feel like it. I got inspired to start working out again. There was a local basketball court near my house in Los Angeles. I had driven by these courts and noticed that there was almost no one there ever. I thought, “I have my own private basketball court.” I was working out, getting my legs back, doing drills, and spending an hour a day playing basketball. One of the days, I rolled my ankle and I kept playing because I wasn’t in pain. I had rolled it bad, but it wasn’t hurting. I’m like, “This is fine.” About 5 to 6 days later, it blew up like an eggplant. It ended up being a gout flare-up, which I realized that I had a previous bout with gout years ago and the injuries reaggravate it. I waited so long to go get the foot looked at, which was an egotistical decision by me of like, “It’ll work itself out. It’ll heal.” I ended up with severe tendonitis. I got rid of gout, but the tendonitis was bad that it hurt to walk on my foot. I went to physical therapy and I’m still doing the protocol.

I finished my eighth week of physical therapy and the foot feels incredible. One of the side benefits that is hilarious to me is these exercises are hardcore. They’ve been building intensity. I had my second meeting with my PT doctor and he gave me some new exercises to do. One day, I was getting out of the shower and felt my butt. I was like, “I think my butt’s bigger.” I was laughing at myself. I called Laura over and I’m like, “Is my butt bigger?” It is. The side benefit of injuring my foot was getting this PT protocol where in order to be able to walk without pain, I had to get my legs stronger and my midsection stronger.

As a side benefit, all of a sudden, I have booty for the first time in my life, which is hilarious to me. For me, it became my resistance. I still don’t enjoy working out. There are times where I will start my routine, whether that’s my lower body PT or my upper body to get my chest, my back and my arms strong again. Almost every single time, I’m like, “I can’t stand this shit.” I don’t enjoy working out, but I do it because the pain that I am experiencing is an exchange. I dislike it and it’s painful, but I would rather move through my discomfort and dislike for something and feel the pain of growing my muscles and getting stronger rather than the pain of hobbling around on an injured foot. That’s how I negotiate my mind. It’s like, “This is going to hurt. You know you’re uncomfortable and you don’t like this, but it’s a lot better than the pain.” When it was bad, my foot was 9 out of 10 pain. It was some of the most intense pain. It’s a pain exchange. I’m going to hurt now so I don’t hurt worse later.

That’s an important element of this as well. I bet Robert Cheeke would agree with this. It’s like that no pain, no gain mentality. Robert is interesting. We talked about him in the previous episode because he was one of our guests in one of our favorite episodes. If you haven’t read that episode with Robert, we encourage you to because he talks about not only fitness but social media and mental health anxiety. He opens up more. Robert’s opinion about fitness has changed a lot. We did check in with him when this eBook was written. I’m interested to see how people’s mentality around fitness fluctuates. As we talked about in the previous episode, one of my favorite tips about staying in good shape with your body, whatever that means to you, because we all have different perspectives on “shape” and what “peak” physical condition is. Dreena Burton shared a tip that if we do something every day, even for ten minutes, that has a long-term effect on us.

MGU 145 | Achieve Peak Physical Condition

Achieve Peak Physical Condition: One thing that you can do if you’re looking for ways to move your body is to incorporate it with something else that you love.

I try to think about that. One thing that’s helped me out is having an Apple Watch. This could be any device. There are many wrist devices, whether they’re watches that are specifically for fitness like a Fitbit, for example. These are cool because depending on the model that you buy, they will notify you about how often you move your body. Mine is set to move every day for about 30 minutes. My watch will tell me if I haven’t hit that goal yet. You can adjust that. If I wanted to, I could bring that down to 10 or 20 minutes to split the difference. That way, I know how often I’m moving. The key is not to get obsessed with this. It’s easy, especially with devices that are tracking you that you want to hit your goals and you want to hit your metrics. As we’re going to keep reiterating, the more important element is to be consistent even if it’s something small.

For example, I am far and above my goal because I did two forms of movement. One was I took my yoga class. I don’t think I’ve ever admitted this to anybody else that I’m a little amused by sometimes because I take Zoom classes. I will log on to Zoom, I’ll have my camera and microphone off so no one can see me or hear me. Sometimes, I won’t start participating in the class until fifteen minutes into it or so. I ease myself into class and I find that a little amusing because it feels lazy. I’m usually the only person in this particular class I take that doesn’t have my camera on so I can see the other students. They’re all doing the moves. They’re there for the full hour of class. I’ve found that for my mental wellbeing, which is an important thing that we always stress on this show is if I don’t feel like doing a full hour of class, that doesn’t mean that I can’t do part of it. Sometimes I just show up and the beauty of a video class is that you can leave whenever you want. I am respectful to the teacher so I show up on time, I turn my Zoom on so that she sees that I’m there, and I keep my camera off so I can choose what I want to do and what I don’t want to do.

Part of me feels like I’m selling myself short with this. When I used to do my in-person classes, I didn’t have that option. I had to show up on time. I had to be there for the full hour. I couldn’t be checking my phone during class, as I sometimes do during the Zoom classes. I also try not to beat myself up because we are living differently than we used to. I did twenty minutes of the hour class and I was slacking a little bit more than usual, but I also had to listen to my body and my mental state. I didn’t feel like I physically wanted to do that full hour or mentally, I felt distracted. I also knew that I was going to be going on a long walk with a friend that I met virtually. I didn’t tell you about this, Jason. I got together with a wonderful person who is a fellow vegan and somebody who is known for doing keto.

For those of you that didn’t know this, I have been doing a vegan keto diet off and on since 2018. I wrote a book about this called The Vegan Ketogenic Diet Cookbook. Before I did that book, I read a book called Vegan Keto, which is phenomenal. It’s written by this woman named Liz MacDowell. Liz and I connected on Instagram. We hit it off with each other and come to find out that she lives in Massachusetts. Not only that, but she lives 30 minutes away from my parents, which is relatively close. She grew up one town over from me. Liz and I got together in person for the first time in this wonderful part of Massachusetts called Concord, which is one of the most historical parts of the country. We took a two-hour-long walk together through the woods on these beautiful trails in Concord, historic trails like Paul Revere and all this cool stuff that happened back in the day.

As Jason was talking about with Detroit, it’s stunning. It was a beautiful warm day in the 60s, perfect clear skies, the leaves are falling, and they’re colorful orange, red and yellow. I brought my dog, Evie, with me. We went on this leisurely stroll through Concord and it was magnificent. The perk was that I got all the extra steps than usual. I looked at my stats and I have gone well beyond my metrics or my minimums for fitness. This is a number I love to look at a lot. I know that you don’t use your Apple Watch very much, but in addition to seeing how much time I spent moving my body each day, looking at your total steps is fascinating.

As of 4:00 PM, I have walked over 13,000 steps because I went on this wonderful walk. Long story short, one thing that you can do if you’re looking for ways to move your body is to incorporate it with something else that you love. That could be walking your dog, which is something I love to do. Jason does that as well. That could be walking with a friend or family member. That’s a great way to spend time with each other because we are generally less at risk for infecting one another during COVID if we are outside. Liz and I wore masks and we stayed 6 feet apart, as long as we could. It was easy to stay apart from other people on the trail and we were outside. It felt comfortable for us. I’ve done that with a few people during this trip.

That’s a nice little COVID tip as you find a way to comfortably socialize and get some movement in. If you’re by yourself, one of my favorite tips is to listen to a podcast or an audiobook. Maybe one of the readers of this episode is on a walk. You can find some ways to multitask or to make it more pleasurable for yourself. I sometimes make phone calls that I’ve been putting off or catch up with a friend during a long walk. It’s amazing how fast time can go by and you can easily get in your steps and do at least ten minutes of movement every day.

It's important for us to be gentle and mindful, knowing that nothing's permanent. Click To Tweet

Something that I already knew related to fitness and moving my body is I feel like getting out of the house and being in nature is apropos of this larger theme that I want to be more in nature and out of the city environment. Music is my first love other than writing and books. Playing some old school hard rock stuff I haven’t listened to in a long time during my workouts has been fun. There’s something about that vibration of putting on ACDC, Pantera, Metallica, Judas Priest or some old metal. In my mom’s basement, she has a cool setup with weight racks. My mom has a legit fitness set up here at the house. It’s been a blessing because it’s been easy for me to not only do my physical therapy for my foot and get my legs stronger, but she has a bench press and a whole bunch of heavyweights. It’s been cool to see how much better I feel mentally. There’s been some new stuff that I’ve been researching online. Some new studies come out about the link between neurotransmitter function and dopamine serotonin and physical fitness. It’s not just an aerobic working out like lifting weights and doing body weight resistance, but also aerobic exercise.

It goes back to this whole thing of I know I’m going to be uncomfortable with this. I know that I’m going to dislike it. Even when I was doing basketball and track and cross country in high school, there were parts of it I didn’t like. I find that pairing the right music or when I’m in control of the music, not in a class where they pick the music, when I’m choosing the playlist, I prefer that. I’ve been able to put on some hardcore shit that I like. I find that I get through my workout better when the right music is playing.

The big key here is to figure out what works well for you. A couple of other tips on this note of moving your body every day is that we have to remember that you’re not going to get the results that you want and expect things to change overnight. You need to be consistent with it and show up every day. That’s why taking this verbatim of moving your body every day makes that long-term difference. It also helps you be more sustainable over time. Consistency is tricky for people because we often want results to happen right away. If we don’t see results happening, we can give up on it. That thought in your head like I often get with my yoga practice is, “I can skip today. It’s all right.”

I don’t do yoga every day. I usually take 3 to 4 yoga classes a week, which is good. The rest of the week, I’ll do some other movements like walking or stretching or I have hand weights sometimes I use those. I’ll do something that feels good with my body for ten minutes at least. If you’re not focused on getting quick results and amazing results and being gentle with yourself, knowing that your body is different than other bodies, that’s important, and finding a way to manage any of those thoughts that will prevent you from sticking with something. One of the biggest keys is to commit to it. Put it on your schedule. I have yoga on my schedule. It’s a repeat event so I know that these are the times that I do it. It’s easier for me to stay consistent when I see it on my calendar when it’s the same time each week or each day of the week, when I plan it out. If I don’t have yoga, put in a time. I am blocking that off and saying, “This is the time that I’m going to take that walk with my dog,” and finding some pleasure and enjoying it. I loved that side of adding in the music element or doing it with somebody else. That is a key too. When you were talking about your mom, Jason, it reminds me of the accountability element of it, which is coming up on an upcoming tip.

We should move on to the next tip, which is something that we can cover easily because we talk about it quite often. When it comes to taking good care of your body and achieving the way that you want it to look and keeping that sustainable, we are big advocates for the plant-based diet if you didn’t know this yet. We believe and a founder of personal experiences that eating a diet free of animal products has made us feel good and it’s impacted our bodies. When I first tried the vegan lifestyle, my body changed a lot. It has gone through some fluctuations, but for the most part, I feel better physically and mentally eating a plant-based diet. Some people will take different avenues within the plant-based diet.

For example, we have Chef AJ as a contributor. She’s passionate about avoiding processed food and chemicals. For that, she means sugar, oil, salt, flour, caffeine, nicotine and tobacco. You can dabble with that and see what works for you. I’ve done that myself and I found that to be a little extreme. For example, I enjoy oil and I’ve done the keto diet as I talked about. To me, it was exciting to have more olive oil and coconut oil. I’ve done a lot of research that led me to believe that certain types of oils feel good in my body and can have some health benefits. There are certainly people like Chef AJ and numerous doctors that are completely oil-free. They have a lot of data to back that up. My big tip is to experiment and do lots of research and try not to be stuck in one way of eating and moving your body. You’ve got to experiment to see what brings you joy and feel sustainable for you.

We also include Robby Barbaro in this book who’s been eating a mainly raw foods diet for many years. Ever since I met him, he has lots of fruits, starchy vegetables, legumes, whole grains, leafy greens, herbs, and spices, all of that. That’s wonderful. I had also tried a fruitarian diet and an 80/10/10 diet as it’s often referred to. That did not feel sustainable to me. I found that when I went the exact opposite and ate a vegan keto diet, which was high fat, low carb versus high carb, low fat, the high-fat diet felt better for me and felt more sustainable. Granted now, I’m not doing it, this is where we tie in the COVID side of things.

MGU 145 | Achieve Peak Physical Condition

Achieve Peak Physical Condition: Remember that you’re not going to get the results that you want overnight. You need to be consistent and show up every day.

I’m curious, Jason, where you’re at food-wise. Sometimes we don’t dive into all these specifics. I found that during COVID, I did change my diet a lot, and I think a lot of people have. It’s important to address this, especially because people get concerned. There are even concepts around gaining COVID-19 pounds, which is harmful to our mental wellbeing if we’re concerned about gaining weight. We’re also about to go into the holiday season. That can be a hard time for our bodies and our minds too as we get concerned about what we should eat and how much we should eat? Should I indulge here? Is it okay? What about these meals that I’m having during certain holidays?

It’s important for us to be gentle and mindful and know that nothing’s permanent. That consistency is a big key. We have been in this pandemic for longer than any of us anticipated. I remember at the beginning of it in March 2020 in the US when we went into quarantine, I was being gentle. I was like, “I know I feel good eating a high fat, low carb diet, but I want to eat more potatoes and rice and pasta.” I was a little nervous getting together with Liz because I perceive her as being consistent with keto. She’s been eating a vegan keto diet since 2012, which is remarkable to me, while before even keto was a trend.

It showed me that my perception of other people isn’t always right because when I told Liz and I felt like I was admitting it to her like, “I am not doing keto now.” I haven’t been especially during the pandemic. She was relaxed about it. She’s like, “I’m not always strict keto. I have my days where I indulge in higher carb foods. I love eating potato chips.” I was like, “You do?” It was nice to hear her say that because I realized that other people aren’t always that strict. Some people are like Chef AJ. I perceive her as being strict. Maybe she is, maybe she isn’t. Robby has been on this long-term diet. I’m making an assumption here. I don’t know how he eats all the time, but my point is that we don’t know what other people are doing. Even when they say they’re doing something all the time. People change and you’re going to change too. We’re in a new time during this pandemic of a lot of stress.

I’m curious for you, Jason, have your diet changed much? Do you ever get uncomfortable around people that you perceive as being strict? I know that you’ve interacted with Chef AJ a lot and she certainly has strong opinions. When you were doing demos at some of these events with her, did you feel like she was going to judge you for the way that you were eating? Was she judgmental? Was she different than you thought she was going to be? It doesn’t have to be Chef AJ, it could be anybody. I’m curious about if you experienced that fear of other people judging what you’re eating and how you’re eating.

First of all, over this quarantine COVID thing that we’re all in and experiencing, one of the best things that I’ve experienced is making a lot more food at home. If I had to guess, at least 90% or even higher of the meals that I’ve had have been made at home, which has been cool to concoct new recipes and experiment with different variations of old ones and being in a new relationship. Laura is excited about food. She loves trying new things. She also has some food allergies that I get to work around and get creative with, which is not a big deal because I also have some food allergies that I have had to work around my whole life. It’s been cool in the sense that I feel physically healthy by virtue of the fact that it’s been mostly home-cooked meals, which has been great. There have been some carry-outs. I want to keep certain restaurants in business and also there are certain nights where I’m exhausted and don’t feel like cooking, but it’s been awesome to get back to home-cooked meals all the time. It’s been lovely to experience that.

In terms of what I’m eating, it’s mostly been unprocessed whole foods. I’ll have a chocolate bar every now and again. I’ll have some ice cream, piglets and pork rinds, whatever the deal is. I haven’t been exclusively whole food plant-based, but it’s been the majority of that. That’s been one of the reasons I feel like I’ve been for the most part thriving through this period. In terms of judgment, it’s interesting you bring that up. I don’t get hung up on that with people. I realize that there are many variations in how people eat now. Aside from many variations under the plant-based umbrella, you’ve got the variations of keto, different paleo, ancestral diet, caveman diet, carnivore diet and 80/10/10. The list goes on and on. I feel like if I am eating in a way that gives me energy and brings me joy, I’m excited about the way I’m eating, and I feel sustained and nourished by it, then what other people think is not my business.

When I go to conferences and things like that, and there are people that are eating a different variation of a lifestyle or diet than I am, they’re entitled to their opinion. I can see a lot of similarities. I also see those differences and I try not to focus on those differences. If someone tries to tell me that salt or oil is “bad,” I look at the research and I determined for myself what I think and feel. Moderation is important with a lot of things, but I personally don’t and have not cut salt, sugar or oil out of my diet. I use it mindfully. I use it in moderation. As a chef and someone who is an artist, I want to make meals taste as good as they can. For me, as an activist, food has been a huge way to open people’s minds and hearts to eating and living in a different way. It’s not that you can’t make great recipes. I’ve had delicious recipes without salt, oil or sugar. I personally don’t subscribe to that. I don’t want to banish them completely.

Moving our body reduces stress. Click To Tweet

I am on the same page with you. It was interesting doing the keto diet because for a while, I wanted to keep it to myself because I was afraid that people would judge me. It’s interesting too because ketos, paleo and vegan are trendy. Even with gluten-free, I remember when I went gluten-free in 2010, some people seem to judge me for doing something trendy, but I felt much better and my body felt and looked better. It was that mental, emotional and physical benefit. That seems the right direction to go in. With keto, not only did I experience some of the superficial elements of it like shedding some pounds, but my inflammation went down. I had more energy. As I talked about in my book, there were many benefits to keto beyond those trendy temporary things that people do it for that I keep going back to it over and over again.

As I was talking to Liz, I found the long-term side effects of it were I don’t feel as interested in certain foods anymore. I used to be obsessed with Kombucha and hard cider. I’m sure you remember these elements of me, Jason. Everywhere I went, whenever I would travel, I was excited to try whatever hard ciders were around and available, especially on the East Coast. Now that I’m here, I see those drinks and they don’t excite me anymore. That was a factor of going keto because those were in our high carb beverages. The same thing with Kombucha, I was obsessed with it. I wanted to try every kombucha I could get my hands on. I stopped drinking it during keto. Now, I’ll have a sip here and there, but it doesn’t excite me the way that it used to.

That showed me that keto feels like a good choice for me. It is the same thing with fruit. I’m not into fruits. That’s why a fruitarian 80/10/10 diet did not work for me because I don’t want to eat fruit all the time. I’ll have it here and there. It’s nutritious. It’s a nice alternative to processed sweets, but I would rather have a piece of dark chocolate if I’m going to have something sweet or some berries. That was interesting too. I had these fears when I released my cookbook. The reason that Liz and I ended up chatting more frequently on Instagram, which led to us meeting in person was I reached out to her and said, “I’m scared that the vegan community is going to attack me once they see that I’m promoting keto.”

I had experienced that in some minimal ways, but it was never as extreme or hasn’t been as extreme as I thought it was going to be, and it was such a relief. Publishing a book can feel vulnerable and stressful. It’s a big deal because it takes so much work. It ended up leading more people to me that was curious about keto too. I didn’t even realize that you could do it plant-based so that was exciting. One of the other tips that we have in the Take Charge! eBook is around intermittent fasting. This was something that I was introduced to through the keto diet. Another cool benefit to me is that because keto is associated with peak physical condition, working out, learning more about your body and optimizing it, I started to try other things that were connected to keto like intermittent fasting. As Melissa shared her tip in this section, I found that giving my digestion a break for long periods of time makes me feel better and more energized. I would try the strict version of intermittent fasting. There are a few different versions of it if you’ve never tried it, where you fast for sixteen hours and you eat in an eight-hour window.

That’s the one I’ve experimented with at times. I like that one. I’ve not done it for a long period of time, but I’ve experimented with it on and off. That protocol resonates with my body, big time. The other thing too, I was having a conversation with my mom over breakfast because we needed to get up on the earlier side. I had an appointment with the foot doctor because I had minor surgery. All is well. My foot is feeling great, but getting up early to get to the doctor’s appointment check, she’s like, “You don’t want to have breakfast before you leave.” I expressed to her that for me, listening to my body in different ways has been such a Godsend because there’s this protocol as we talk about intermittent fasting of you need to eat three square meals a day. For me, there are some days, whether I’m intermittent fasting or not, where I might only have two meals a day because my body when I wake up, I’m not hungry until noon. There are some days without even intentionally fasting with that. It’s rare, unless I’m doing a detox or a cleanse, that I’ll sometimes eat one meal a day. Listening to our body, especially in the context of intermittent fasting, is more important rather than fixing ourselves mentally to a regimen of having to eat at specific times of the day. There’s this American protocol of we sit down to eat dinner at 5:00 PM. Eat dinner when you’re hungry. Listen to your body and eat when you’re hungry.

Trying something like fasting helps you learn about this. We’re not quite at the end of our episode where we do our brand shout-outs, but I’ll throw one in there. Jason and I have each done this program called ProLon. They have an interesting setup that was designed by a doctor who studied fasting and found a way to mimic fasting, which allowed you to still consume some food. ProLon is considered a Fasting Mimicking Diet or FMD. The founder of ProLon wrote a great book about this that I’ve read and developed this whole plant-based protocol, where they send you packets of dehydrated food. I don’t think anything was fresh in there. There are supplements and soups that you mix the powder with water to make an instant soup and crackers. A few basic things and I believe you do it for five days.

I’m in my Mom’s office and The Longevity Diet book by Valter Longo is right next to me on the bookshelf. The principle of it is that it has a specific ratio of micro and macronutrients, and a specific number of calories that keep your body in that fasting zone. We both did it. My mom’s done it and experienced some cool results. I remember when I did it for the first time in 2017, I ended up losing 5.5 pounds in five days. It was a little over a pound a day. I didn’t feel weak. I didn’t feel bad, but a pound a day is good. I didn’t need to lose weight. It was more like an experiment, but I’ve seen great results. I didn’t feel as famished as I did when I’ve done strict juice cleanses in the past. The longest fast I’ve ever done was juice, tea and water cleanse in 2010. I did it for 21 days. By all means, this was much shorter, but I didn’t feel the same level of ravenous hunger that I did when I’ve done juice cleanses in the past.

MGU 145 | Achieve Peak Physical Condition

Achieve Peak Physical Condition: “Our food and fitness choices are reactions to the stress in our life. Less stress often means better and easier choices.” – Sid Garza-Hillman

The nice thing is that you still get to enjoy that experience of eating food. The big element of cleansing or fasting that’s frustrating for people is if you’re just drinking liquids. I’ve done a ton of cleanses and fasts, and there are all sorts of data on them about how they affect your body for better or for worse. What I like about ProLon is simply that it was developed by a doctor is that you get to eat food and it’s a nutrient-rich food. Full disclosure, ProLon is not 100% vegan. I know they’ve been working on making it so. I did a video where because they sponsored me back at the beginning of 2019. I shared my whole experience there. You can watch me go through it and do a review. I still advocate for them. I’m an affiliate of theirs. Sometimes I get special discounts.

Speaking of which, we mentioned a lot of brands and resources on the show. If you don’t find a discount code, a permanent one because some brands like ProLon, I don’t think I have a permanent code to give you a percentage off. If I do, I’ll put it in there. If you don’t see a discount code for a product that we recommend, send us either an email at [email protected] or send us a direct message on Facebook or Instagram and ask us, “Do you happen to have a discount code?” We love hearing from you, but we never want you to hesitate to get something just because it’s expensive for you. If we can find a way to save you some money, we love to. Brands like ProLon often run promotions or we can even reach out to them on your behalf and say, “We know someone who wants to buy this. Do you have a coupon code?” We’re happy to do that for you. We never want money to get in the way of your health. I’ll do my best to find you a discount so you can try it out for yourself.

We had talked about accountability, Jason. Hearing you mention your mom and the weightlifting setup there, who do you feel like is a good accountability partner for you? Your mom sounds like she’s great. You guys talk a lot on the phone. When you’re in person together, you do things. Do you have other accountability partners? I know that you’ve worked with a trainer in the past, which was awesome for you. What is your accountability set up for yourself if you have one? What has worked well for you in the past?

If any of the readers want to check out more information on building muscle and increasing your fitness, there are many wonderful people we’ve already mentioned here like Derek Tresize, Jack Monroe, Robert Cheeke, Sam Shorkey, and many great contributors. You can get all of these in the Take Charge! eBook. There are many wonderful fitness experts, but the two that I’ve personally worked with that I can vouch for that maybe a little less known in the Pantheon of wellness and fitness. One is Damon Valley who trained me for several years at a gym in Los Angeles called Barbell Brigade. He helped me to exercise without injury and pay attention to my body and form, and doing it in a mindful way. Damon is also an incredible musician. He just released a new album in 2020 that he’d been working on through the pandemic. Damon is an old friend of ours. He’s doing great work in the world both with music and fitness.

My original vegan trainer is a buddy of mine named Kevin Hill, who is doing a lot of work for plant-based children’s wellness. He’s in Hawaii now. He moved out to Los Angeles years ago, but Kevin is an old friend of mine who was my original trainer years ago. We started working together in 2011 or 2012. They’re both great resources and both incredibly cool guys who have a lot of knowledge when it comes to this. In terms of my accountability partner, I talk a lot about it with my mom because we both wanting to be consistent with it. She has a great setup here, a great exercise bike, and a whole weight set up. I go back to what I said, which is pain is a great teacher. My motivation now is not wanting to go back to the pain that I was in when I injured my foot and had extreme tendonitis. You were with me on the East Coast when I was battling my first about of gout years ago. The foot injuries I’ve had have been some of the most pain I’ve ever been in. I am on the floor crying and pounding the floor level pain.

My motivation is I’m willing to exchange the pain and the discomfort and be grudgingly working out because I don’t want to be in that level of pain anymore. I know if my body is strong and the endorphins and the good hormones are flowing, and I’m taking care of myself, it’s not a guarantee that I won’t be injured again. It’s not a guarantee that I won’t experience that type of pain I’ve been in, but knowing what I know about physical therapy and strengthening my tendons and my joints, I’m my own accountability partner because I don’t want to be in that pain again.

I don’t think you should be in that pain. It’s funny because I advocate for having an accountability partner, but I haven’t had one during the pandemic. Aside from signing up for a class, to me, the act of enrolling and having to pay something monthly that’s accountability because I don’t want to waste my money. When I was going to in-person classes, there are some people I met during my yoga classes and I started chatting with them. There’s this one guy named John who we became buddies. We started texting and we would check in like, “Are you going to class?” We’ve stayed in touch during the pandemic, even though we don’t see each other in person anymore. There was another woman named Diana, who would hit me up. We are all friends together. We were on a group text/chat now. Every once in a while, I hear from them. We’ve taken virtual classes together, me and Diana.

Staying in shape comes down to having your reason. Click To Tweet

I find that type of accountability is sweet, but it’s hard for me to find somebody who’s the same level of consistency as me, I suppose. I tend to work well when the teacher is looking forward to having me there. One of my teachers was sweet. I thought it’s a brilliant marketing tactic for her that she would text me and other people in the class after class. She would say, “Thank you for showing up.” She was doing this with a few other students that she knew well enough to do that. I felt like I wanted to show up because I knew it was important to her.

We need to remember that too. If we’re taking some teacher-lead class that they appreciate us being there and they love hearing from us, give them praise. Let them know how you’re affected by them, show up for them, and be on time. I always show up to my Zoom classes on time because I don’t want to be that student that shows up five minutes late. You can hear the little dinging as you enter the Zoom room. I also don’t want to leave class early. When I was slacking off a bit, I kept my computer on simply for the sake of not disturbing the class and I walked away from my computer. I wanted to be considerate. That mentality is a big form of accountability as well.

A few other tips for you in terms of your physical body, this one might not seem related, but something that Jason and I have experienced is learning how to manage your stress effectively. As Sid Garza-Hillman says, “Our food and fitness choices are reactions to the stress in our life. Less stress often means better and easier choices.” That makes a huge impact on consistency. What we often don’t realize is that moving our body reduces stress. It might feel stressful to move your body because you’re facing some resistance to it. If you can push through that resistance, you’re going to feel much better. You’re going to have less stress. That in turn will make it easier for you to work out the next time. Do you find that true for yourself too, Jason?

For sure. One of the big reasons too that I’m doing my best to be consistent and build momentum is the mental health benefits. I know that when I am stressing my body in a workout, somehow it seems that I’m able to handle other forms of mental stress in my life easier. It’s just a corollary. More in the research that I’ve been doing in terms of endorphins and a healthy hormone balance with testosterone and progesterone is that by challenging our body to move, especially with weight resistance exercises, be weights or push-ups or any resistance movements. There’s something that goes back to my newfound philosophy, which is I would rather put my body through this kind of stress than have to deal with the heightened stress mentally that I might encounter by not doing this. I see this as a series of trade-offs. My whole mindset around this is I’m going to intentionally put myself through this pain and this stress so that the pain and the stress of other things will be reduced.

I do find that there is an absolute correlation there. These ties into our final big tip for this section from our friend, Matt Frazier, which is, “You have to find your reason.” For me, I’m exchanging the discomfort, pain and stress of working out and growing my body and getting more muscular so that I’m potentially allaying any pain, reinjury or allowing myself to handle mental stress better. Matt said that staying in shape comes down to having your reason. That’s going to be different for people. It’s a compelling goal that you might become borderline obsessed with. It doesn’t have to be something crazy like a marathon or ultra-marathon. For me, it was recovering from injury. It was feeling better in my body and doing it for my mental health.

You have to have something and a compelling reason to stay committed. Matt says when he doesn’t have that, he doesn’t exercise. That’s all there is to it. Proper motivation and a compelling reason is true for anything. It’s true for sticking with building a business or staying in a relationship or being committed to your spiritual goals. Whatever your thing is, having a deeply soulful and compelling reason is the thing that’s going to pull us through the hard times, no doubt. With this commitment that I have, going back to my injury being a blessing in life, it’s helped me recommit to moving my body. I didn’t do it last time because I pulled a muscle in my back, but almost every single day that I’ve been here with the exception of one day, I’ve been moving my body. I’m proud of myself for that. Whatever your motivation is, you’ve got to find it. Whether that’s being healthier for your kids and extending your longevity, whether that’s feeling better in your body, coming out of quarantine and being in a shape that you envision in your mind. Whatever that is for you, it’s got to be deep enough and soulful enough to keep you going. What’s your motivation now, Whitney? Do you have a compelling reason for doing what you’re doing in terms of fitness?

It’s because I noticed that when I’m consistent, I get all these benefits that we’ve been talking about. I remember when the pandemic was starting to spread across the US, I hung on to going to yoga as long as possible. I took classes there at my studio up until they closed it down. I remember it was a risky thing to do. I had to weigh out the pros and cons of it. In March of 2020, there wasn’t a ton of information yet. We were all guessing and in a lot of ways we still are, but back then it was like, “Should we be seeing each other in person?” The studio started to space out the mats more. This is before we were required to wear masks.

MGU 145 | Achieve Peak Physical Condition

Achieve Peak Physical Condition: Try not to be stuck in one way of eating and moving your body. You’ve got to experiment to see what brings you joy and feels sustainable for you.

 

I remember I would go in and try to be mindful and wash my hands a lot. I was doing everything that I was told to do, and luckily, I didn’t get COVID. My feelings changed a lot after they shut the studios down. I got stricter and I declined offers to do classes in person outside because I started to enjoy doing yoga at home. It’s been convenient, and paying something monthly, keeps me motivated to keep going. For example, when I didn’t feel like doing that class, simply making that decision to show up and do it for as long as I wanted to, made a world of a difference. It felt better to me mentally to make that choice than to not do it at all.

That’s a big thing I learned about myself. I want to be consistent with things and it’s tempting to slack off, but there are different levels of slacking. Maybe only doing twenty minutes of one-hour class is slacking in some ways, but it’s better than zero. I could have justified not doing class because of the long walk I went on, but I’m glad I did both. Tuning into myself and recognizing how good I feel when I move my body every day, and I find new ways to challenge myself. I have to remember that. I can write it down on a piece of paper or I can have it as a mantra like, “You’re going to work out or you’re going to move your body. You’re going to do something hard. You’re going to do something temporarily unpleasant.”

It’s a good mental workout for us too. I like challenges. I like getting uncomfortable. Fitness is certainly both of those things. After years and years of practicing yoga, I do see a lot of benefits to sticking with it. I’ve been doing yoga for many years. I started my first classes in 2006, which were at a gym back when I had a gym membership. I never enjoyed lifting weights and stuff and the circuits that you could do there. I enjoy taking fitness classes. That’s why I ended up ending my gym membership and joining a fitness studio. After I tried a few yoga classes at the gym, which were mediocre, all things considered, I went and I joined a yoga studio and started dabbling in that, and have been doing it ever since.

I’ve tried all these different teachers. The other thing too is that variety has helped a lot. Now that I found teachers that I love after many years, I can be consistent with them. Having the teachers knows me and my body is beneficial too. That’s something I enjoy. When I signed on to Zoom, my teacher knows when I can push myself harder, when I can hold a plank longer or I can adjust my hips in warrior or whatever. All of that stuff is exciting and keeps me going.

You have a brand shout-out. It’s time to give some love.

I also have an exciting update when I checked out the information on ProLon behind the scenes. It looks like we can get the readers at least 10% off. If you use the link here, you will get at least 10% off. If you want to message us or email us, please don’t hesitate. I will dig around and see if I can get you an even better discount code because you often can with these brands. My other shout-out that I want to give is for Amy’s Kitchen, who has been sending me products on a regular basis. It’s been lovely. I feel blessed. There are multiple PR companies that they work with because in the past few months, I’ve had various people representing Amy’s Kitchen reaching out. They’ve sent me some of their delicious frozen meals and they’ve sent me their soups.

I got into their soups during COVID, as I’m sure many people did because they’re convenient and they’re canned and they last a long time. They’re also great this time of year. Amy’s Kitchen has wonderful ingredients. Most of their products are plant-based, not all, but you can easily go on their website and browse through. It tells you all the details. Their cans are well-labeled. They use a lot of organic ingredients. I went on their website and it’s amazing to look at how many products they have in general. They also have great pizza. I’m getting insanely hungry looking at this. On the sidebar of their website, you can narrow it down by gluten-free. They have both a vegan and a plant-based label, which I’m curious how they define plant-based versus vegan. I often see the two hand in hand and it’s interesting to see a food company separating the two.

I don’t know off the top of my head how they define plant-based versus vegan. Maybe their plant-based foods are a little bit more nutrient oriented. You can go on there and scroll around and they have a lot of new products. I tried their Organic Tortilla Soup, which was fantastic. I might have mentioned this in the past, but a few months ago, I tried their new gluten-free, vegan meatless pepperoni pizza. That was phenomenal, all things considered. Granted, it’s not going to taste the same as a pizza with animal-based pepperoni on it. It’s not going to taste the same as a great vegan pizza fresh at a pizzeria, but for a frozen gluten-free vegan pizza, it’s good. Their tortilla casserole, I’ve tried. That’s on the newer side and Mexican inspired veggies and black beans, I tried and also the Moroccan inspired vegetable tagine and chili mac and cheese.

Amidst all the chaos and uncertainty in life, we can still choose to be good to ourselves. Click To Tweet

I’m browsing the website looking at all of these dishes, salivating and thinking about how great they are. I’m going to be taking their soups with me on my road trip. They’re sending me a few cans and I’m going to heat them up on the drive in my special little travel setup. I’m looking forward to taking a leisurely drive back to Los Angeles and enjoying some soup along the way during this fall season. Amy’s is cool because you can find them at most grocery stores. You can buy them online. They’re well-priced. They have great ingredients and they have a lot to choose from.

I’ve been on a cream cheese kick because my mom has been stocking some good stuff at the house. I want to give a shout-out to two of my favorite vegan cream cheese brands. Number one is Violife. They have a chilli peppers cream cheese. I didn’t even know it existed. I went to a local market here and went, “What is that?” It’s incredible.

Talk about salivating. I don’t know about the readers, but I am rearing to go for dinner or breakfast. Would you have cream cheese, Jason, in a non-breakfast capacity? If so, what would it be on?

This particular one is almost like a nacho cream cheese. We were talking about putting cream cheese on nachos. That’s how good it is. Violife’s chilli peppers cream cheese, you could plop this on nachos and go crazy. It’s good. Violife in general is wonderful. They have slices. They have vegan feta that’s delicious. They are one of my favorite cheese brands because not only of the level of innovation and taste but also the meltability. Their textures are close to traditional dairy versions. The second one that I’ve been pleased with is a more traditional white cream cheese. That’s from Kite Hill. Tal Ronnen helped develop these almond-based cheeses, but between the Kite Hill and Violife, I’ve eaten more cream cheese these past weeks than I have all year.

I’ve been going ballistic on cream cheese. I’m on a kick now and I’m not hating it. Those are my two brand shout-outs. If you are a dairy-free or plant-based or vegan, check out the cream cheeses and all the products from Violife and Kite Hill. Kite Hill also has some great yogurts. I’ve been enjoying their plant-based yogurts. They must have reformulated them lately because they don’t have some of the graininess when they first came out. I’m digging all the plant dairy and all the innovations. Shout out to all the great brands doing what they do in the plant-based dairy category. For all of the resources that we have mentioned, including the more expansive version of Take Charge!, the eBook we’ve been mentioning throughout this episode and the previous one, go to our website, Wellevatr.com. Our brand is called Wellevatr. You can go to the Free Resources section to download your copy of Take Charge! and get some other free video training we have there for you to enhance your well-being in a personal and professional capacity.

If you want to get in touch with us, send us a little love note, maybe even request a topic for a future episode. You can send us an email at [email protected]. You can connect with us on all the major social media platforms, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Twitter. It’s at Wellevatr.com. We’ll be back with another episode soon, going even deeper into the tips and pro strategies in our Take Charge! eBook for you to thrive in your life because that’s what we’re all trying to do. Amidst all the chaos and uncertainty in life, if we choose to be good to ourselves, that’s one thing we can control, whether that’s how we eat, how we move and how we connect with people we love. That’s something that Whitney and I are prioritizing in our lives and we encourage you to do the same. Until next time. Thanks for getting uncomfortable with us. Thanks for your love of the show. We’ll catch you soon with another episode!

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