My decision to improve my nutritional health had everything to do with who I surrounded myself with and that journey began over four years ago.
We are who we choose to spend our time with. As parents, we will carefully monitor who our children select as friends because we know that they have an substantial influence on their behavior. Yet as adult, we pay less attention to how our circles influence our own behaviors --finances, fitness, faith and family.
While I have always been a fairly healthy eater due to my mother's nutritional background, I began looking at food in a different way when my daughter became friends with a young lady in the health and wellness space: Haile Thomas.
Their paths began to cross frequently until Haile and her family became a regular part of our lives. Most of our interactions took place around food. Since Haile and her mom, Charmaine, are full fledged vegans and my daughter and I were flexible with our eating options, we usually let them decide where we would meet and eat. This is were things began to change for me.
As a card-carrying carnivore at the time, Haile and Charmaine, never seemed to judge me for eating meat when we were together. I say “seemed to judge” because that was my bias at the time. I felt Vegans judged everyone who didn’t adhere to their lifestyle beliefs. It’s funny because as a Christian, I hear that exactly statement.
As we shared our flaws and frustrations about our vegan and Christian communities, our differences became an opportunity for unity and growth. Too often, we place ourselves in a cage of familiarity because it feels safe. Nipsey Hussle said it best, “If you look at the people in your circle and don’t get inspired, then you don’t have a circle. You have a cage”
That being said, I was inspired. I had the opportunity to try new foods that I might never have tried and I shifted my mindset regarding nutrition to a new gear, and I am enjoying food in a way I didn't think possible.
Our relationship challenged me to identify the cages in my life, not through proselytizing or judgement, but through an authentic appreciation for community; something that applies to all aspects of life.
So now I challenge you. If your circles are not resulting in your 4F growth, it’s time for a change.
If you want to get inspired, check out Haile’s fantastic new cookbook “Living Lively” available everywhere books are sold.