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Transcript of the No-Bullsh!t Vegan podcast, episode 105

Demystifying [and mastering] vegan meal planning with Sophia DeSantis

Karina Inkster: You're listening to the No-Bullshit Vegan podcast episode 105. Sophia DeSantis is here to show us how to move from overwhelmed to empowered when it comes to vegan meal planning.


Hey, welcome to the show. I'm Karina your go-to, no BS vegan fitness and nutrition coach. Today I'd like to give a shout out to one of our awesome clients: Jess. Jess says, “I feel like I've come so far since the beginning of my journey. I really had it in my head that I wanted to get back down to an old weight, and that would make me happy. But along the way, as I became stronger in the gym and saw the progress I was making, that all fell away. I have such a better relationship with food and with my body image. I stopped weighing myself months ago. I just focus on how I'm feeling and how I'm performing and it's made such a difference in my overall happiness with myself. I know if I got back down to that weight, I would likely have to sacrifice muscle that I've put on and that's just not worth it to me. I'm not chasing this idealized body anymore, and just focusing on what really matters and what will really make me happy, and I have you ladies to thank for that.”


Wow! Well, with the huge amount of harmful bullshit in our industry about what bodies should look like, breaking away from ideals like that is extremely empowering. So congratulations to Jess on her many accomplishments. After working with coach Zoe and me since October of 2020, she's ready to continue her fitness and overall bad-assery on her own and we wish her all the best.


If you're thinking about leveling up your own fitness and plant-based nutrition, check out our three coaching programs at karinainkster.com/coaching. We have a few spots available right now for new clients, so if you're interested in starting or furthering your strength training, making sure your plant-based nutrition supports your fitness goals, and working with two long-term vegan coaches and a community of worldwide vegans, we would love to have you on our team. So again, our programs are at Karinainkster.com/coaching.


Introducing our guest for today: Sophia DeSantis. Sophia is the fun loving mom behind Veggies Don't Bite. As a client centred health coach, meal systems expert, and plant-based recipe creator, she focuses on helping people feel empowered instead of overwhelmed when it comes to overall health and wellness. She teaches that small habits can lead to big changes. Her favouriite vegan meal is her new bolognese. Hope you enjoy our discussion.


Hey Sophia, thank you so much for coming on the show today and speaking with me. Happy to have you here.


Sophia DeSantis: I am so happy to be here.


Karina Inkster: Well, let's jump right in. I want to hear about Veggies Don't Bite. And I also want to hear about your story to coming to the plant-based world. So I think it probably makes sense to do your story first and then how Veggies Don't Bite kind of came out of that. What do you think?


Sophia DeSantis: Yes. it's kind of an all in one thing. And it's actually more my husband's story. It kind of goes back. I struggled for about three years to have my first child. And I went through about three years of fertility IUI, IVF, you know, surgeries, like all the things. And between my third IVF and my fourth IVF, I started seeing a holistic nutritionist because those people listening that have been through fertility you know that you basically will do anything. Like if someone said eat 17 bananas a day, you'll get pregnant, you'll eat 17 bananas a day. That's just the way it works. And so I kind of stepped a little bit out of my comfort zone and I started seeing her and that was my first kind of inkling about how nutrition and everyone's bodies are different because I saw her for about six months and did some very different woo-wooey type things that were out of the traditional medical field.


And then I went back and did a fourth IVF cycle and my doctor basically called me and he's like, yeah, whatever you did, you've completely changed your body because the numbers we're getting right now is not anything like what you got before and you know, to step away a little bit from science and to not to bore people, basically I got pregnant after that fourth round of IVF. And then I actually very quickly got pregnant with my second without, you know, trying. I was two months postpartum and found out I was pregnant again. So my first two children are 15 months apart. And so we had just had our second baby and my husband had started traveling for work, like weekly travels. And, you know, we had two kids, all of a sudden when we only had prepared for one and he's traveling, so stress was high and he had blood pressure and like kind of cholesterol issues.


They run in his family. He'd been on medication all of his adult life. And then his medication really kind of stopped working. His cholesterol was skyrocketing and he went to a new cardiologist and the cardiologist is like, you know, look, we have a lot of options. You know, we can try different meds, whatever, or you know, I help a lot of my patients through dietary changes. And if you're interested, you know, here's the documentary, no pressure, whatever. And my husband decided he was interested, wanted to try something different. And I remember the day he told me and I kind of laughed to be honest. Cause we were healthy. It's not like, you know, quote-unquote healthy, whatever that means, but we ate whole foods. Like we’d eat meat, but we weren't eating a bunch of junk like every day you know? Like I believe in balance, of course we had our French fries and had fun, but generally we ate a pretty good, you know, nutritious diet.


But he needed to, he wanted and needed to make this change. And so he was serious. And so I said, okay, well give me a month. I need to look into this because I'm a research prepare person. So I took the entire month of October to kind of play around with things and do my research. And then November 1st we decided to try it for 21 days and I'm like, well, if you're going to do it, I'm going to do it with you. I was postpartum and I struggled. I struggled pretty hard postpartum for my first two pregnancies, especially. So November 1st we kind of did, we gave ourselves 21 days and you know, it was kind of an elimination diet. We took out animal products, caffeine, alcohol, which was rough with two kids, sugar and gluten. And I was like 21 days - you can do anything for 21 days right?


So we did that and we just kind of had it open-ended. We decided when we were at the end we'd kind of see what we wanted to do. And at the end of that, 21 days, both of us felt really, really, really good. And he especially felt really good. So we decided that it's gonna kind of be a new life, but we kind of took a step back in the sense that we are very, both of us are very kind of anxious driven. And so I have a really hard time with all or nothing things like just in everything in my life. So we went into it as very plant forward and things have changed a little bit. Like for me, I can no longer do gluten. I haven't just for my own medical reasons. And so, because I had to step away a hundred percent from gluten, which is, you know, kind of a challenge for me.


When I go out, I don't worry too much about the animal products because I have to focus on what's best for my body and that is the gluten and my husband, he has to focus on he cannot eat the meat because of, you know, his medical issues. So we're definitely very plant forward in our lives. And just because we changed our diet, I had to start recreating some of our favourite things using plants because we're big foodies. We love to eat. Like we're not like have a little salad and call it a day type of people. We’re like, we love all the foods, the heavy, the nutritious, I mean the comforting, all the traditional. I'm Greek, he's Italian. And so I started recreating some of our favourite foods and people were just like, oh, I want that recipe. I want that recipe. And then someone, one day said to me you should start a website. And I'm like, haha! Right. I hate to write. I hate to write. Writing is my least favourite thing ever.


And I'm like, yeah, right. I'll never do that. Well, that was nine years ago. And I did do that. And it just kind of blew up from there. And I'm actually a teacher by training. I graduated college with a biology and a psychology degree. I went straight into teaching special education. I have two teaching credentials and my master's degree in education and that's what I did. That was my career until I had my two babies and with my husband traveling, we couldn't do it all. So I retired from teaching and this is kind of an avenue, I became a health coach along the process, and this is an avenue for me to teach just in different ways and to a different audience.


So I still am a teacher, you know, I'm a coach or whatever. And I use everything I did in my teaching career, which is so funny. I've recently made this epiphany that I'm teaching, just especially the skills I taught my students when I taught special education. It's the exact same thing when you're teaching people that want to add more plants into the diet and just don't know how. You're teaching people how to be able to feed their family quicker, easier without the stress. And they don't know how. It's the same exact thing. It's just different tools and audience.


Karina Inkster: That's such a great way to put it. And I can totally relate. I come from a family of teachers. My dad's a prof. My mom was a high school teacher. My grandma was a home-ec teacher back in the day. So it's like a line of teachers right. And I was in grad school. I did my masters in gerontology health and aging. Thought I was going to go on to do a PhD, become an academic. And so sometimes I find myself thinking like, what in the hell am I doing here? But like you just said, I mean, look, it's the same. It’s a bullshit busting podcast. So first of all, all the things I learned about, you know, peer reviewed research, doing lit reviews, critiquing studies in grad school, that's clearly applicable, not to mention we're working, one-on-one both you and I with folks in our audiences in various capacities, educating them. So I can totally relate to what you're saying and everything that both of us have done, even though it's not like immediately obvious, like we both don't need master's degrees technically for what we're doing right now, but it's actually pretty amazing that we have them.


Sophia DeSantis: Yeah. And what's funny you said, that I actually I went to college thinking I was going to be a doctor. I wanted to be a paediatrician. And that's why I took all the science classes and all that and then kind of switched gears. And then I was going to be an academic because my dad was an immunology professor. Well, he's retired now, but he's a professor. He was a professor at San Diego State, ran a research lab, the whole gamut. And I actually visited the Harvard education department because I was going to get my EDD. And, but yeah, I mean, life kind of takes you in these different, you know, roads and I just went with it.


Karina Inkster: That's amazing. So what kind of things do you do within the business, within the coaching then? So you mentioned health coaching. Clearly, I mean, I looked at your website, there's tons of resources that you have out there for your audiences as well. So can you tell our listeners a little bit about what you do and how you help?


Sophia DeSantis: Yeah, well, it started as really a recipe website and it's funny. My parents always thought I was an enigma because my parents were both - my mom's computer engineer. My dad was a scientist. I'm very science oriented and I love science, but I also have this really crazy creative side. And I've always been that way. I've always excelled in math and science. And then when I would get grounded when I was little, I'd go to my room and I'd create these things. Usually people are like creative or their scientists. Like they're not necessarily always both. And I used to watercolour. It’s crazy. And so I feel like recipe development is actually both of those worlds coming together because especially when you’re creating plant-based recipes, gluten free recipes, using whole foods like it's science and it's also creativity.


So that's kind of how it started. I started working with brands, which I actually really love. I love taking brand products and trying to be creative with them, showing people how to use these different products in easy ways. And then it kind of grew from there. I started loving the teaching part of it. The aspects people would ask me like, well gosh, you have three kids! How are you making meals? And when I first started this plant-based thing, I called myself a traditional meal planning failure because traditional meal planning to me, I was like, all right, we're doing this plant-based thing. I’ve got this, you know, I'm home, I'm going to plan all these things. And I have my calendar and Monday I'm making this and Tuesday I'm making this and Wednesday I'm making this. And I started realizing that by Wednesday I was burning out and I had all these plans and I got all these ingredients and a lot of them would go to waste because I just didn't have the energy to do it for just a variety of reasons.


But then as my kids got older, I realized that like, you know, some days are busier than other days. Like we have tumbling. And even when the kids were babies playgroup on this day and whatever, and I kept failing over and over and over again. But I'm a planner. So I struggled with this, of being a failure with meal planning, but also wanting to be a planner. Cause then I wouldn't meal plan and then things would get overwhelming and it was this vicious cycle. And so I started kind of noticing things people were saying when I would ask about it and I developed a different way to meal plan. It was just not traditional. It focuses on your varying energy levels and energy of us, not of calories of the food.


So it's more along the lines of like, so if you look at your typical week, so you plan this week for week. Beginning of the week, whatever your beginning of the week is. Some people it's Sunday. Some people it's Wednesday, depending on their careers. If you look at the week ahead, you kind of map it out. And you're like, Tuesdays were our crazy days this past semester. You know, we had back-to-back sports. So we didn't get home until six o'clock. So like Tuesdays are not going to be a day that I have any energy to do anything. So I knew this. Mondays, the kids, like with our varying schedule with schools, the way they were, Mondays I had a lot of free time. So Mondays, I was like okay, like that's a good day. And so I started mapping out the days where I knew I was going to have a lot of energy and the days where I knew I was not going to have a lot in the days where I was literally going to be able to do nothing.


So I created a system where you have high energy days, low energy days and zero energy days. And those go along with the meals that you're making. So I started to realize that high energy, you really only truly need to make, for me, it's one to two high energy meals a week, because as women especially, we have this aura around us that if you're not working hard, you're a failure. But the problem with that is that we burn out because resting is looked at as weak with women, you know, in this society and what we're told. And this is the problem with most of us is that we burn out and we crash and burn and same goes with cooking.


You will burn out if you don't give yourself a rest. And it is okay to not make these wholesome, nutritious meals every single day of the week for your family. And that's what I call my zero energy days. And I give myself usually two to three zero energy days, depending on my week. Sometimes one, if I've had a really good week, but I always have at least one, and that's really, really important. In your meal plan, you need to have one day at least that you're going out for dinner, you're taking in, or reheating something frozen. And you got to let that go, you know, and that's kind of the thing. Those were Tuesdays for us, for sure. And generally there was another one over the weekend just to bring in a little bit of fun. And then you have I would say, high energy.


I had usually one to two days a week where I had, you know, the high energy meals where it would be following a recipe, like a legit recipe. A recipe that you have to really focus on what you're doing. And the everything in between is what I call low energy. And these are things like you're throwing in a bunch of veggies and roasting them and sticking them with pasta or tacos. That's low energy because the oven is doing the work. You're just putting the veggies on the tray, leaving them, and walking away. You can buy your toppings. You can buy the salsa, you can buy the guacamole depending on your day and your week. And that is what's considered low energy. We do a lot of component cooking where my high energy day, I make a lot of different parts. And then we put them together throughout the week in different ways for low energy meals. But really it’s adaptive to you and your life. And the thing with this, doing it like this, is you're able to do this longterm. You're not going to burn out because you're working in those recharge and rest days into your schedule.


Karina Inkster: This is like training. This is like fitness, but meal prep.


Sophia DeSantis: Yeah, exactly. It's the same thing. It's like anything - you really can adapt this concept to anything -like it is like training. If you are working out, and I've been through this, working out six days a week, hardcore, like you're actually not going to make improvements in yourself because your muscles need to rest. And I find that, you know, when I've actually worked in my rest, I actually feel more fit. And it's crazy. You wouldn't think that, but it's true.


Karina Inkster: This is brilliant. It kind of feels like putting a structure around what I aspire to do. And it's not quite at this point. I mean, my husband and I both cook. So he will often make a large batch of something, you know in one pot, like African stew or chilli, or something high protein. And then we eat that probably three days a week. I mean, we're very utilitarian. We're not as much of foodies as you guys are. We're like, yeah, we just need the food. That's cool. But like what you said about, you know, on the days where you know that you're going to be high energy, you could make these different components. And so something like that could be like maybe Buddha bowl bits and pieces that you put together in different ways. What are some of the kinds of component things that you might do on a high energy day, and then how would you use those on a low energy day?


Sophia DeSantis: Well, the best thing is like for people that say they don't like leftovers, this is the best thing about it. So like we traditionally always do like some sort of roasted, sometimes sautéed, but mostly roasted, veggies. We just, whatever's seasonal cut ‘em up, drizzle them with, you know, spices, maybe a little olive oil, stick them in, and we just roast a big batch of things. And then the first day we decide like what we're roasting them for so like with pasta, which is great, in tacos, burritos, in a Buddha bowl, and then along with that, we think of our protein. Like sometimes I'll do crispy tofu. My husband loves the field roast sausage. Sometimes it's a batch of beans, and sometimes it's both. And then we use that to do things like bowls, pastas, tacos, burritos, but the best thing is, after you've done that for a few days and it's starting to get like older, you can take those and actually create a whole other meal.


Like I take the veggies and the beans and I pulse them with oats or whatever, and I make burgers with them. And so you're taking them and you're reconstituting it into something totally different. They're not in the whole form anymore. They're making the burgers. You also can do a soup. You put them in a pot with a little bit of broth, heat it up and just puree it. And that's a soup. So you're like using them in different ways. The leftover veggies, I take a jar of my favourite pasta sauce, put it in a blender with the leftover veggies, pulse it and it's a pasta dish, but in a different way. You don't have those whole veggies anymore. Like the beans, you can make a dip and you could serve it with, you know, sometimes we do appetizer dinners. You can puree it and make it like a re-fried bean dip, even pulse in some of those veggies because you blitz that thing, nobody has any idea there’s veggies in there.


Karina Inkster: That's brilliant. So brilliant.


Sophia DeSantis: Yeah. It's just using them differently.


Karina Inkster: This seems kind of like what my coach colleague Zoe does. So she's on our team in our business and she's always telling our clients about kind of the bits that she will prep. So she's not necessarily prepping an entire entree on a Sunday, or two or three. We both have air fryers and we're kind of obsessed with air fryers. So we did a lot in the air fryer, like you said, crispy tofu. That's like our favourite thing in there, but she'll do like, you know, your sweet potatoes, your grain that you do on the stove. So your quinoa or your rice or whatnot, and then all of your veggies. Roasted veggies you know, you could sauté some if you want, and then she's putting them together like you said, in a whole bunch of different ways throughout the week. So even though you're technically only doing food prep once, you now have, you know, like work week's worth of food.


Sophia DeSantis: Yes. Yeah. And that's what we call component meals. And we do those a lot. I mean, I also sometimes prepare actual meals like a casserole or whatever, and enchiladas, whatever it is. But the best thing about component meals is you can make them into those things. You can component meal if you have a high energy day maybe towards the middle of the week, you can component meal the beginning, and then your high energy day, you take those veggies, you take those beans, pulse them and make like a bolognese type sauce, make it with pasta, stick it in the oven and bake it as like a, you know, a pasta casserole. You could take it and puree the beans, or just pulse them and put them in tortillas, put some enchilada sauce on there and all of a sudden it's tortillas. So you really can make it both, which is what's so great about it. And it just, it's so much easier and you're still like being creative every day. You're not eating the same thing. Cause some people say like, oh, I get bored. I can't do the leftover thing because I get bored. So this is a way to have leftovers and make them into different things so that you don't get bored.


Karina Inkster: Love it. So what about people like me who don't see themselves as creative? I mean, I feel like, yeah, sure, There's a creative part of my brain. I mean, I do a lot of music and there's like, you know, some level of art going on, but when it comes to food, it's kind of funny. Cause even though I have a cookbook, well, two actually, I'm not creative in the kitchen. So what do folks like us do where we're just like, okay, we're utilitarian, maybe we don't have kids. We don't have other folks in the household other than our spouses who need to eat and who have their own preferences, you know, I need to fuel my training. Yeah it should taste good. Where the hell do I even start?


Sophia DeSantis: Well, I mean, just generally what I work with people to do, you know? And I do different things with different levels where I mean it could even be like you work with somebody to like, hey, this is what I'm making this week. Shoot me over some ideas. And the thing is, it's like we can't all do everything and that's why each of us have our careers and help people. And while, you know, if you can't figure it out yourself with all the scaffolding that's out there, that's when you hire somebody to help you, you know, that's like you with training. Like if you are like me, that works out just for feeling good and getting out any stress and whatever, great. But if you want to up it and have certain goals, a lot of the times you have to hire somebody to do that because that's not in your wheel house.


You know, it's like if your light goes out, you can change a light bulb if it's just a light bulb. But if the circuit is broken down the line, that level of support, you need to hire an electrician for. So I would say it's the same thing. Use your resources that are out there and, and be okay with the fact that you can't do it all. That's the problem. I think sometimes our society and social media and everything makes us feel like if we can't do it all, we are failures. When in fact, the point of life is that you have a gift and a talent and you share that with other people and other people share their talents with you, and that's life. It takes a village and that statement is so true. And sometimes I feel like especially in motherhood is if you can't do it all, you're a failure. And I'm really trying to step away from that, and it being part of life to not do it all.


Karina Inkster: That's amazing. I love that. So part of what you're saying is not working with this whole traditional meal planning thing is you basically are trying to do it all right? Like Monday, I'm going to do this Tuesday. I'm going to do this Wednesday. I'm going to do this. And it's a different thing every day. It's a full meal every time, you got to follow a recipe. So part of what you're saying is that approach basically is attempting to do it all. And the point is we can't, nor should we.


Sophia DeSantis: Yeah. And I mean, if some people we always have these outliers, you know, some people that can, that's what they do. Great. You do, you. But from what I found is that a majority of us lay in the middle of this, “I can’t” - and maybe you can for a week, every once in a while, but majority of people tend to burn out. And the sooner we accept that and actually come to terms with that and are happy with that, the better, I think you're going to be, you know, better off in life and happier. And it leads to overall wellness. And that's the goal, is sliding on that wellness scale towards the wellness side versus the illness side, because we all know that stress causes illness. I mean, stress is the biggest factor of illness in my opinion.


Karina Inkster: Well, let's talk about this a little bit. So the wellness concept and presumably what you're working on with your clients, you know, as a coach, you've mentioned that your approach is very, well, it's an approachable approach. It's really like small habits, things that you can maintain longterm, which I'm all about by the way, which is why we don't do, you know, the 30 day cleanse or the, we've made a decision not to train folks for things like physique competitions and all those things. So can you tell us a little bit about your approach when it comes to wellness specifically? So, you know, making some of these small habits, maybe some of the myths that are out there about starting on a journey like this? I know that's kind of a loaded place to start, but let’s dig in.


Sophia DeSantis: Well, you know, I feel like, so I started realizing when I was teaching special education, let's talk for example, the student who does not know how to read, that has a reading disability. They would come to me with a reading disability and my job was to give them the tools so that they can learn how to read using their specific brain and their brain didn't work traditionally or else they wouldn't have a problem. The first thing that I had to do was I actually had to work on the confidence and that's the first thing I did because kids that are failing and failing and failing, they feel like failures. So that's the first thing is to step away from the whole failure concept and getting back their confidence, and then it's little tiny bite-size pieces. When it comes to wellness, you want things to come naturally.


That's kind of the goal, you know, is you want things to come naturally. You don’t want to have to work at it every single day because it’s exhausting. You know it's going to take some work like anything. But when you have this goal, like when someone's like, I have this giant goal: I'm going to become plant-based! And it's like, great! But you eat a lot of meat right now. So you're just going to start, you know, you're going to go cold Turkey? And yeah, for some people that works, but for most of us, it doesn’t. It does not work long-term. So I would say something for the example of let's say someone that does not eat vegetables. Like they don't like vegetables. I would say, okay, do you like smoothies? You do? Great! When you make your morning smoothie that let's say, traditionally they'll use like fruit and milk or whatever, throw in a handful of spinach.


You're not going to taste it. You're just not. It doesn't taste, and throw a handful of spinach and start making that, connecting this new habit to a habit you already do. And that's the key is when you're like every morning, if you're making a smoothie for breakfast, that's a habit. You come downstairs, you know what you're doing. It's automatic. You're putting it in. If you start associate throwing a handful of spinach with that habit, it's going to become part of your habit. And now when I go downstairs and make a smoothie, I never not take out my handful of spinach. And I say spinach, because I think that's the best veggie to start with because kale, chard, those things can sometimes have an earthy flavour and it comes through whereas spinach is very mild.


So you want to attach these new habits into a habit you already have. Let's say your habit is you want to move more. You don't exercise at all. Well, if you don't have an exercise at all, like, you know, you're not going to go run a half marathon. It's not going to happen. You have to start small. So people that do not exercise at all, I would say, start a habit of taking a walk after dinner in the evening. Start small, 15, 30 minutes, whatever it is. So you eat dinner every night, that's a habit. Well, after your dinner, attach that walk to part of your habit. And then that becomes something your body craves. Like I had dinner. Now I'm going to go on a walk and it's part of adding habits. And then you build upon from there. You're not going to all of a sudden just eat a ton of vegetables when you don't eat any at all. It's very challenging to do that.


So it's taking those goals. And when I was teaching, I would take these - it actually was part of our educational plan is we'd have a child, we'd come up with yearlong goals that they're going to meet within a year. And then within those goals, we would have benchmarks. And within those benchmarks, we would have steps. So you're kind of breaking it all down into tiny, small, manageable steps. Now that is not only is easier to work with, but it also builds confidence. So when you're successful at that small step, you feel good about yourself. And when you feel good about yourself, you want to keep going naturally - it's motivation. Whereas if you have this big goal and you don't meet it, you feel like a failure. And when you feel like a failure, it really does take away your energy and you feel like, you know, it's hard to keep going. So that's kinda, my thing, is you're working on these small habits, but you're also working on confidence at the same time.


Karina Inkster: That's brilliant. It's the whole idea of small wins. And you're kind of proving to yourself through these behaviours that you are a certain type of person, right? Which goes with - James Clear's Atomic Habits is one of my favourite books ever. So I always go back to his idea of habit change is identity change, right? So if you want to be someone who eats vegetables, that's what you need to think of yourself as. I am a person who eats vegetables. You’re not looking at it as just, well, I need to put veggies in my smoothie in the morning. You know, it's an identity thing now. You're plant-based or plant-forward or whatever word you want to use. So this is really cool. We use a similar approach when we work with clients. We're not going to start off a complete newbie with six days a week of working out 90 minutes a day clearly.


But something that we notice is, especially for folks who are really ready to go, you know, like they want to make changes. Maybe you have a client who just like, wants to go vegan in the next 12 hours and they're a huge carnivore, you know? So how do you mitigate this feeling of yeah, well going for a 15 minute walk, that's not really going to do anything, so I'm not going to do it at all. You know, like this idea that it's not enough and it's not going to make a difference. How do you approach that?


Sophia DeSantis: Well, it's mental, that's a mental thing. You know, that's a hundred percent of mental thing. And I kind of like, I sit there and we, look at the future, okay. So if you're going to go from zero to 60 in 30 seconds, that 60 is not going to last very long. So long-term wise, if you look far into the future, you're not going to get anywhere. Whereas if you're going slowly and you look at the future, and you compare those two things, that's what you're looking at. And that's the success that you're looking at.


And it's just, you know, it's human nature. It's human nature that, you know, and again, we have these outliers that it works for them, which is great, but most of the people and traditional human nature, it's  you’re not going to build a house without a foundation. You've got to build that foundation first. And I would just seriously like send articles on human nature and habit building and, you know, and because like you said, the research - do the research, the real scientific research. And if you look at science, if you look at real human nature and the people that have studied it for hundreds of years, moving at it slowly is going to give you the success long-term. And not only the success, but the sustainable success. And that's the problem is some people can do it overnight, but is it sustainable? Check in with those people a year down the line. Is it something that they can continue to do?


Karina Inkster: Absolutely right. And I think part of the issue here is like the info that we're getting from social media or mainstream media about what it actually takes to make a huge change or what to expect when we want to make a huge change. So when we see these ridiculous before and after photos, for example, you know, like someone got completely shredded in 28 days or whatnot, it's just feeding into this myth that a) you can do this in such a short period of time. And by the way, yeah, sure, maybe you can, but it's not going to be very healthy. And b) that it's going to last. Like they're going to look like this now for the rest of their lives until they're like 94, you know? So I think what you're saying is actually super important. Some of it is going to be expectation management, right? Like reeducation almost.


Sophia DeSantis: I Actually do have a class called Plant-Based Parents. And one of my things that when it comes to feeding kids, plants, veggies, getting more veggies into your kids, one of the number one things I say is lower your expectations. You got to lower them. Your kids are kids. Part of our problem is we are surrounded, like you said, by social media. And our expectations are like this, where they really need to be a lot lower. And another thing I would tell people is actually stay off of social media or curate your feed. Get rid of those accounts that when you see them gives you this feeling inside of comparing. If you're comparing yourself when you see this, get rid of it or stay off of it altogether. Some people just need to stay off of it all together until they have worked on their own life to a point where they can handle it.


And I actually had a podcast guest on my podcast about social media and comparing, and she was sharing some research that as women, the first thing we subconsciously do when we get on social media is compare, whereas men, their first thing when they get on social media is informational, and we're just different people. And perhaps, yeah, it's just some study that was done. And while we would go on there for information as well, instinctively when we see something, we automatically go to the comparing thing. And so with women especially, it's hard. And so I would say either curate your feed - I’ve curated my feed. Like I don't have any accounts anymore that I follow that are very either like all or nothing demeaning, like you can't do this. Like I can't do that. I needed to get rid of that. So, or just stay off of it and work on your own life for awhile.


Karina Inkster: I love that. I think that's genius. I think especially in the nutrition world and the health and the fitness world, it can be very difficult to like make sure you're following folks who are actually going to help, you know, make a positive change and be beneficial to your mental health. We actually made a decision just recently to not have before and after photos on our website anymore for similar reasons, even though, you know, our clients sometimes use them themselves for their own journeys.


But it's that kind of stuff, you know, it's actually kind of against the norm, unfortunately, for somebody in the fitness world to not have before and after photos on their website. And for you, maybe it's against the norm of meal planning, right, to have like an energy based week or an energy-based meal planning concept. The thing is though, like you said, that's what's going to lead to the long-term habits because you're not burning yourself out. You're not doing something insane for 14 days or whatever, and then that's it. I think it all ties in together, right? Like the sustainability, the positive it's going to impact your mental health in a good way versus detract from your mental health. And basically what we're both doing is trying to get folks to change long-term and help them with something that they already want to do, which is a pretty good place to be.


Sophia DeSantis: Right. And I would tell people like, if you find yourself, you know, questioning whatever, is go back to what your vision is, like your longterm. Go back to that. And remember that that is what you're leaning towards doing. And that's where it is. I mean, it's not going to get there like that. Like you don't, you know, I hate to be cliche, but Rome wasn't built in a day and that's the truth. The reason that we can keep going back to that statement is that it is true. You're not going to do it in a day. I mean, I've had my business for nine years and I'm still curating it, changing it, working at it. It's always something that I work towards and that's just life.


Karina Inkster: Absolutely! Well, let's leave it there Sophia. Thank you so much for coming on the show. I loved speaking with you. We're of course, going to have show notes where we have links, where our listeners can connect with you, but it was great speaking with you getting to know you and thank you, you so much.


Sophia DeSantis: I'm so happy that I was here. It’s been super fun.


Karina Inkster: Sophia thank you again for joining me on the podcast, much appreciated. Sophia has some amazing resources on her website, including two free guides: Creating Small Habits for Big Changes and Reading Food Labels. Get access to these and connect with Sophia at our show notes at nobullshit vegan.com/105. Thank you so much for tuning in.




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