Viva La Vegan!

Lani Muelrath, M.A. is an author, teacher, TV show host, and university kinesiology professor who is certified in Plant-Based Nutrition through Cornell University. I have interviewed her previously and she is one of the (over 100!) people interviewed in my upcoming Vegan Athletes Book. Lani recently released a new book, The Plant-Based Journey: A Step-by-Step Guide for Transitioning to a Healthy Lifestyle and Achieving Your Ideal Weight:


She's taken some time out to answer some questions, see below.

Why did you decide to write your book?

Journey was born out of my burning desire to meet a tremendous need, which I have not seen previously addressed in literature. This is the actual process of behavior change and transition to plant-based living as presented by a teacher

There are tremendous resources out there for plant-based nutrition, recipes, research, and addressing some of the details of living plant-based. The doctors, dietitians, and research-scientists give us the solid nutritional foundation of plant-based living. Connecting it with your reality is where I come in. 

I've seen it written and said that to go plant-based, you have to unlearn just about everything you know about nutrition. From a teacher's view, that's not right because we learn by making connections with things we already know. There are research-proven ways to make the learning and transition process smoother and sustainable, and that's what I wanted to do. I'd seen it work over and over again with private clients. And nowhere else had I seen the tremendous importance of the role of physical activity and mindset mastery when it comes to lifestyle change.  I teach to this in Journey too.

What do you hope to achieve with the release?

A deep sense of relief and recognition within the transition and plant-based living community for those who have been frustrated with their attempts to change, or to help others change - and for those who have thought about making the switch to plant-based but have felt intimidated by some of the messaging out there. We each differ in our style of transition, and while some people do well with the 'do this, not that' approach not everyone does, or we'd all be living glowingly healthy lives.

Early reviews of the manuscript, from plant-based food coaches, cooking instructors, and registered dietitians are that The Plant-Based Journey is so accessible. Doable, User friendly. And fun and inspiring at the same time.  I couldn't ask for a higher compliment and I'm thrilled with the early response. Other teachers and coaches have preordered large batches of Journey to use as their instructional base in their classes with students and clients is an absolute thrill for an in-the-trenches teacher like me.

LUMI-Photography-1159d-flatLani Muelrath - aged 60+

What’s the message you want people and activists to take from your book?

Lifestyle change, especially one as fundamental as transforming your diet, health, and activity levels, means looking the food, the physical activity, and the frame of mind - essential for real change and sustainability. And the value of making micro changes, which I teach in detail in Journey, to move you in the direction you want to go. Some people can make many micro changes at once, some only one, but one is not better than the other if continued improvement is what is taking place. We need to have compassion with ourselves when it comes to make changes that affect not only our life but those of everyone around us, because when we change, it shifts the homeostasis of our relationships. Many people are not prepared for this, but knowing about it going in, and assembling some strategies, makes it much easier. That's a process I simplify for you. 

And activists - which we all are when making a change, actually - need to keep the end result in mind. Stand back and take in the big picture, and realizing that encouraging people to find easy ways to eat more plants and less of everything else, while keeping their food satisfying and delicious, is more likely to result in long term change than trying to press people into a different lifestyle with guilt, pressure, or even ripping the salt shaker and sprinkle of sugar on their oatmeal out of their hands right away. Human nature is rife with biases, whether status quo bias, or any other trait that keeps us cemented in the behaviors that we have. We can be invited into shifts with compassion and delicious food.  And helping people discover and become clearer on their 'why' for change so that they have autonomy in the process - critical for us grownups! And kids too, actually. We all want to have a voice, to be heard, and to be confident in making better choices.

What are your future plans?

Journey is 100% my voice - and my immediate plans are to get this message into as many hands and hearts as possible.  This demands continued connection, outreach, writing, speaking, and otherwise advancing this message. 'Future plans' is a pretty broad term. Does it mean with writing? Projects? Where my husband and I would like to travel to next in our passion of outdoor living, wildlife, and protecting wildlife and habitat? Somewhere in all of these is your answer.

How long did the book take to make from creation to release?

I had the initial idea for this book about 7 years ago when I created The Woman's Fitness Blueprint: An Action Plan for Success, which addressed the three pillars for healthy lifestyle change: food, fitness, and frame of mind. This was a very successful program and the content just kept growing. The book proposal and writing of Journey itself took about three years. Recipes were along the way, with some added at the end. I'm not a big fan of cooking but I love to eat - and I don't think I'm alone here - so I've found ways to keep meals simple, yet delectable - and I wanted to share that with the recipe templates I have in Journey, along with a few other crowd pleasers. I think it's important that the food is good. I don't eat anything I don't like.

What other vegan people helped you with the book?

There are a handful of recipes contributed by vegan cooks. I had a lot of enthusiastic support from vegan friends who believe in my message and are also so excited to see that my choice for what I eat is born out of concern for health, the environment, and the lot of animals, and out of a joy of living - and eating.  These are all so interelated it's hard to see where one leaves off and the other begins.  It's such a simple, strategic way to make such a big difference for our physical and mental health, our planet, and all who inhabit her. It's a wonderful way to live.

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