Negative is Normal
Hope you’re doing well. Actually, take a moment to think about how well you’re really doing.
If you’re like most, you may automatically think about what’s not going well. It’s known as the negativity bias, a basic human instinct. As migrating hunters and gatherers, we used our inclination to focus on the negative as a survival mechanism. When settling into a new place to call home, for instance, we looked for what was wrong with the space first – then fixed the problems if we decided to stay.
So, when asked how you’re doing, your brain scans your internal terrain to find the problems first. Being negative is our normal. To make matters worse, we tend to beat ourselves up for our shortcomings – which makes being positive even more of a challenge.
I attended a talk on positivity years ago, where the speaker offered up a positivity hack used in business consulting. Instead of spending time and energy on the problem areas, shift your thinking to identify what’s going well and do more of that. I’ve been using it throughout my life ever since.
To give it a try, pick something easy to work with, like eating vegetables. How’s that going? We all know that “doing more veggies” will promote positive outcomes for our health. My newest wellness crush, Dr. Will Bulsiewicz, a gastroenterologist and author of Fiber Fueled, has dedicated every fiber of his being into promoting plants.
Not only does Dr. B recommend using fiber to optimize our gut microbiome – the primary source of wellness based on emerging science – he pushes fiber to eliminate constipation – a huge source of our unwellness. He claims, “There's a shockingly high proportion of people who don't even realize that they're constipated.”
To be well, the body has to eliminate completely. To do more of that, we need to eat more fiber. According to Dr. B, our diet should be 90% plants to meet the 25 and 38 grams of fiber needed per day for women and men, respectively. You've probably heard this before, and it shouldn't be a big deal to do since experts estimate we ate upwards of 150 grams of fiber as Paleo people!
Rather than counting grams, though, Dr. B encourages his patients to eat 30 different varieties of plants a week, think vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, herbs, spices, whole grains. Diversity is key. It ensures we are nutrient loading and getting in both fibers, soluble (food for gut microbiome) and insoluble (helps with motility and bulk).
If you’ve ever done my Resets, you know I’m a plant pusher too, using vegetables many students have never tried before. Even still, hitting 30 different plants for me was a stretch given that I avoid legumes and grains to keep my carbs and inflammation in check. (More on that in my Reset – stay tuned for the next one this spring.)
It was only Tuesday when I decided to see how many veggies I consumed since Monday. I counted 15 varieties already. Adding the remaining 15+ was a fun challenge. 🤓 Here’s how my week wound up...
Red Pepper Flakes
Coffee (yes, it has fiber)
As a rule, I don’t recommend counting foods, calories, nutrients, etc. It only makes eating more stressful. I do plan to simply keep diversity top of mind. Even still, you need to have many of the same plants multiple times a week to get in enough fiber.
If you’re eating 5 plant varieties now, don’t jump to 30 overnight. Focus on slowly doing more plants – and other things in your life that are going well – and enjoy the positive shifts.
To really do more wellness, join me on my next retreat in the Hudson Valley, September 18-21, for a transformative experience as we reconnect to nature and our place in it. I have FIVE luxury cabins left. ALSO, I’ve decided to retire this retreat after this year to explore other terrain. So, if you’ve ever wanted to join me for this stunning experience, NOW is the time.
Lastly, I am running another retreat at the spectacular Auberge Wildflower Farm also in the Hudson Valley this October. It's sold out! If you have any interest in attending October 21-24, 2024, please email me.
With heartfelt intention....
P.S. Scroll down for my newest favorite soup with 11 plant varieties.