Welcome to Episode #50 of the Raw Food Podcast. I am your host, Laura-Jane, the Rawtarian. Today’s episode is for you if you need a motivational boost to start taking action on your health-related goals. In this episode we’re going to be talking about the difference between learning about something new versus taking action on your new thing. I’ll be sharing a story from my personal life and then we will talk about the differences between acquiring knowledge and then putting that knowledge into action. At the end of this episode I’m going to give you a clear game plan for how to move forward with your health-related goals. So stay tuned, and I will be back with you shortly.
ACQUIRING KNOWLEDGE VERSUS TAKING ACTION
Hello, and welcome to Episode 50 of The Raw Food Podcast. I am your host, Laura-Jane, the Rawtarian, and today we are talking about something that I think is a topic that you don’t give a lot of consideration because we’re all moving forward in our lives doing what we think is best for ourselves and our families. Today what we’re talking about is the difference - and the importance - of knowledge versus taking action - so, putting that knowledge into action in our lives. Big picture here today on the episode - what we’re going to be talking about - I’m just going to tell you a little story from my own life first about what led me to want to record this episode today, and then we’re going to look at knowledge and acquiring knowledge in terms of, say, figuring out what equipment you should buy to eat healthier or make change in your life - you know, learning about something. Then we’re going to talk about taking action. That’s the idea of, well, maybe you’ve bought a blender and you’ve got some recipe books, and now you’re actually going to put those recipe books and blenders into action and actually make some healthy recipes. We’re going to be talking about healthy eating, yes, but we’re also going to be talking about all areas of our lives because learning about things and taking action on them is something very different. Probably we all know we should be exercising more or eating more fruits and vegetables, so we don’t need more knowledge about this - but maybe we think we do - but what we need to be doing is actually putting this knowledge into action - every day getting a bit more exercise - actually doing it - or getting out there and eating more as well - eating better, better foods.
As I said, we’re going to be talking about knowledge, and we’re going to be talking about taking action, and some tips for both of these areas. Then we’re going to end on talking about the balance between the two because, of course, some of you will be really heavy on acquiring all this knowledge and learning, learning, learning before you’re ready to start anything new, and other people will be more likely to jump right into things and maybe not learning enough. So we’re going to talk about the balance that is appropriate. I’ve got a solution for you about how to negotiate this whole knowledge versus action issue.
Of course, both of these things are important, but I think how you’re balancing these things could be hugely affecting your life. This is maybe something that seems a little like, “Oh, this is supposed to be about healthy eating. Why is she talking about mindset and psychology?” But sometimes, this sort of thing - how much time you’re spending learning about something you want to change (like healthy eating) versus putting it into action (drawing your attention to the fact that, “Oh, I’m a knowledge gatherer, and I maybe need to start putting some of these things into action”) could hugely make a change in your life. So that’s a general overview of what I’m going to be talking about on this episode.
MY JOGGING STORY - THE MOTIVATION FOR THIS PODCAST
As I mentioned, I’ll start out by telling you about why I wanted to share this information with you today on the podcast. So here’s a story. You know I’m the Rawtarian. I’m pretty good with the healthy eating thing and you know one of my struggles is exercise. Don’t get excited, people. Yes, today I did jog. It was a miracle. It was probably the first time in a few months. I just felt like I had energy first thing in the morning, and I thought, “Oh, I’ll just go take a jog.” And it wasn’t even that long. I was just out jogging - slowly - very, very slowly. At a certain point - I didn’t jog for very far, it was maybe 3 kilometers or two miles total - kind of near the end I thought, “Oh my gosh, I’m really feeling so happy and good and I’m really enjoying this jog. I guess that whole happiness endorphin jog thing actually really works!” As I had that thought process in myself as I was jogging, I kept jogging for a little bit, and I started reflecting on this. Then I thought, “Oh my gosh, of course I’ve read about this idea of you get good endorphins, and it helps you release stress and blah, blah, blah, about this jogging. All this stuff I know, and I’ve known for years, but knowing this doesn’t help me or benefit my life until I am actually out there doing the thing and experiencing the results. So for me I was really reflecting on this this morning and thinking about how what we all need to be doing is experiencing more of the benefits and the results, becuase so many of us are looking for more knowledge or more information. Talk about happiness, for example. You’re sitting on Facebook (I love Facebook, don’t get me wrong) and clicking on a link that says “The Top Twenty Tips for Happiness.” You might read an article about this, and it might say things like, “Take time for yourself,” or “Eat better” or “Get out there and jog and you’ll feel better.” You might scan this list and think, “There is nothing here for me. This doesn’t help me. I know all of this. There’s nothing new here.” But just because we know and are aware of some of these things that are supposed to make us happier or feel healthier - be at the weight we want, clear up our bad skin, all this kind of stuff - putting them into action and practice is what we need to be doing. So just because we might think, “Oh, here’s a recipe book. All that’s in it is smoothies,” or “Here’s a meal plan; it’s just got all these smoothies and salads. This is so not new and so not exciting,” and that may be the case, but that’s because what we need to be doing is not just learning, learning, learning and getting bored of learning about these things, we need to be actually putting them into practice. For me, I had that kind of groundbreaking moment about jogging, but I think I’m going to bring it back more to the food topic as we move through this episode.
So that was a little bit about my story in terms of why I wanted to record this today, but I think we all want to give this more consideration. Moving on to the first topic of knowledge acquisition, let’s take a basic example. You’ve been in a food slump and you want to make some positive changes. Maybe you’ve heard about this raw food thing, or you just want to eat more fruits and vegetables, and maybe cut down your junk food consumption. This is a common story. I know a lot of people want to be the best - to do the best job they can, research well, have a plan, and that is great and that comes from a wonderful place and we all need to do research. But I know that many of you will be doing a lot of research without dipping your toes into that action idea. You might be reading about some recipes you might try or even buying some equipment, which is great - maybe buying a blender or a food processor or even a dehydrator - so you’re acquiring knowledge, you’re learning, you’re looking at recipes, but a lot of us have a blockage and we feel like we don’t know everything and before we take action we need to learn more, we need to read more, we don’t have time, we just get a little nervous about dipping our toe in the action pool…
PROCRASTINATION IN TAKING ACTION
I also know as well sometimes it’s the action - well, actually, learning can be heard too, sometimes - but putting your learning into action - especially at the beginning when it’s something new - is not necessarily that fun. It’s kind of hard, it’s scary, it takes time. This is where you have to actually read the instructions on your food processor, read a recipe - maybe you’ve never made a smoothie before and you don’t know how to do anything. Do I peel this lemon? What do I do? It all feels really really hard. It’s the hardest at the beginning. So it makes sense that we have a mental blockage or barrier and we procrastinate dipping our toes into action. So you might have bought a smoothie book, you might have bought a blender, but you haven’t made your first smoothie yet, and that was like three weeks ago, and the blender is gathering dust; it’s still in the box in your closet. You’re not alone in this. That’s actually what I want to focus on: you are not alone in this, in wanting to do it well and finding good excuses for not making your first smoothie. Going back to the jogging idea, maybe you know you want to jog and you want to run a marathon and you’re reading about this marathon in 2020 that you want to take - but the first thing to do is lace up your sneakers and just get out there. Who cares? You don’t need an app. You don’t need perfect shoes. Just get out there and see if you can walk to the end of your block and turn around and come home. One of the best ways to get through that blockage - and I’ll talk about this a little bit later - is to just take a tiny step forward. You don’t have to do it perfectly. You don’t have to do it right. It’s just to get your feet wet. Start taking a little bit of action and feeling what that feels like.
We’ll move on to the topic of action now, because overall, many people listening to this - maybe you - are acquiring knowledge because you want to eat better, and I want you to listen to the podcast, but maybe you’re acquiring too much knowledge and taking no action or very little action.
Let’s talk about action. This is where we get the results that we want. Even in terms of money - it could be, “Oh my gosh, I’m freaked out about my retirement. I know I need to save money, but I don’t have time. Or I don’t have enough money to save any money.” One of the best ways to get used to saving money would be to put literally one dollar - I know we can all afford to do that - in a savings account or piggy bank or whatever. And then you can get used to the feeling of whatever it is, like transferring money into a savings account. Similarly with exercise - just get used to cracking a tiny sweat - very, very baby steps, because this is where we’re going to get the results. Just think: even if you’re putting in a dollar once a week (I don’t know; that’s probably too frequent; once a month?) then you’ll start to see the results accumulating. And again, going with this whole banking idea, it’s going to be annoying. You have to set up a savings account. You have to remember to transfer your dollar in. But that’s the idea: it doesn’t have to be perfect, but you’re going through the motions of setting up this bank account and figuring out and remembering to put your one dollar in, but you’re actually doing all the motions and setting everything in place so you can - well, it’s going to be easier as time goes on, because you’ve already set up your bank account. You’ve already got some routine for how to transfer in your one dollar, and then let’s say you get a raise and now you can afford to save fifty dollars a month, and you’re already in the groove, you know what you’re doing, and it’s a lot easier to make accelerated changes.
THE HARDEST PART IS GETTING STARTED
So let’s start at the beginning. Let’s pretend you’re a knowledge acquirer. You’ve bought fifty books about how to improve your health. You’ve got a blender and a food processor and a dehydrator and you’ve never used them. And that’s okay, because it might mean a few things about yourself: you’re really good at doing research and wanting to do things perfectly and wanting to make the right decision and not wanting to make a mistake. That’s a common fear that we all have. So let’s not get down on ourselves for that. All that means is excellent, you are ready to start making some actual changes that will, at first, feel tough, so you’re starting to walk. It’s hard. It’s like, “I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m going to fall down. I have to think about ‘How does this work?’” (Okay, the walking is a complicated analogy.) Let’s say healthy eating. Let’s say, “I’m used to eating Mr. Noodles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so how am I going to make a smoothie? What? It says ‘orange’ on the recipe. Does this mean a clementine, a mandarin?” There’s so much you have to learn at the beginning, and that’s when it feels really hard. Let’s get away from the smoothie. Let’s say you’re going to make a nut pate that will be satisfying. You’re going to put it on top of your salad. So this might be the first raw vegan recipe that you’ve ever made. So you’re there. You’ve got your new food processor. You’ve never used it. You can’t figure out how to get the lid on. You are looking at the recipe and realize, “Oh my gosh, I bought almonds instead of walnuts. I’ve got the wrong nuts here. I was going to make this now. I don’t understand step three of the directions. It says ‘soak the nuts.’ What does that mean?” All these barriers have hurt. You’ve got the wrong nuts. Now you’ve got to go back to the store and get the different nuts. You need to stop what you’re doing, go to YouTube, read about how to soak nuts. When you’re starting out, I’m acknowledging and I’m commiserating with you that it’s tough at the beginning, but if you can persevere and think, “Well, I’m going to have to learn about this soaking. I’m going to have to get these nuts. I’m going to have to struggle with this food processor lid and figure out how to get it on or off.” That’s all very annoying. but that is usually stuff that is only annoying one time. So you’ll be like, “Oh, this is how this lid works,” and eventually maybe you’ll get the right nut and you’ll realize, “Oh, for soaking, I watched that video and I think I need to do this and that.” So, I’m just acknowledging - and we all need to realize - yes, at the beginning, things can be very annoying and tough, but when you’re going through that, you need to remind yourself that usually these really difficult challenges are at the very very beginning.
THE MENTAL MODEL
Let’s talk about going to the gym - another example. You are freaked out about going to the gym because what’s the changing room situation like? You’re going to have to walk in there, you don’t know anybody, you have no idea how to use these machines… all of these are huge, huge barriers. What are you going to wear? What’s everybody else going to be wearing? How crowded is it? But once you go to the gym - not that I go to the gym very often, but I have in the past - once you go one time, so many of those fears get alleviated because you can now picture it and have what they call a mental model. I remember learning about this in psychology. It really helps you to have a mental model of what you’re going to be doing.
I like this gym idea for this example, in that, again, once you go to the gym one time, you’ve been through all the motions. You’re like, “Okay, so next time I can picture that there was a lot of room and I can use the machines. I can picture where I have to check in and pay. I know that I need to bring a quarter for the locker.” You have a mental model and you can go through it in your head before you go. That really helps to alleviate stress and worry about the unknown because so much of our fear is about the unknown. Maybe you’re listening to this and don’t want to go to the gym. It’s going to be full of these super fit people. You might have that worry: “I’m going to stick out. I need to lose weight. I’m going to be the biggest person there.” You have all these fears. But if you can just tell yourself, “Well, I’m going to go check this gym out and I’m just going to get a mental model in my head so I know what it’s like and get rid of some of those fears, and I only have to go once, just to do that.” That is going to be so huge.
So let’s take a moment - like an ‘om’ moment - to acknowledge that starting something new, taking a tiny bit of action, taking the first step is usually the most horrendous hard thing. I know that doesn’t excite you, because you’re like, “Laura-Jane, why are you telling me that this is so hard and awful, and that my nut pate is going to be so hard?” But I think when we go into something knowing, “Okay, I'm going to the gym for the first time, I’m going to have butterflies in my stomach, I’m going to be worried and I’m going to hate it and it's awful,” once you can push yourself through that just to go, who cares if you even exercise or not on that first day at the gym? And in fact, I would say, don’t try to make it too complicated. You don’t have to go there and exercise for two hours. Just go in there, use the treadmill and walk on it for five minutes. Or maybe you’re freaked out at the treadmill. Then just walk around the gym and then leave. You would be amazed at how proud I would be of you and you should be of yourself if you can actually push yourself to do that thing and get that first one over with. It’s kind of like losing your virginity of something you’re afraid to do. So I just want everybody to acknowledge - I know I’m kind of beating a dead horse, but it’s really important - that it is hard. And it feels hard. But the good thing happens once you are deflowered of the very first learning - and sometimes that takes a while.
PERSEVERANCE PAYS OFF
Again, let’s pretend you want to eat a lot of raw food. Maybe the first week you’re also dealing with detox. You’re body’s like, “Oh, what is all this fiber? I have to go the number two all the time,” so at the beginning, things are hard. I’ve been reading this book - I’m sorry to keep talking about it on the podcast - it’s about creativity. It’s called Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, and it’s not really about food at all. It’s just about creativity and putting ourselves out there. I remember there was a really good section in that book that talked about how usually people quit when anything - I think she was talking about meditation - it’s like people tend to quit when people are just starting to get interesting. They’re in the middle of that first week, say, of eating new foods where it’s like, “Oh, I’ve been doing this for three days. I’ve been eating all raw, and it’s still taking me so long to follow all these recipes, and now I have to go number two all the time because I’m eating all this delicious fiber, and, oh, this is awful.” But you’re quitting right at the most silly time to quit because you’ve done really well. You’ve gotten your foot in there. You’ve done a lot of research, but you haven’t really gotten to any of the results or the benefits yet. You’re three days in, and you're like, “Oh my gosh, these recipes are taking me forever.” But if you had just hung on a little longer - it doesn’t mean you have to be completely raw - but if you keep hanging on and persevere and push through that hard part, that interesting part where your’e learning new things, you’ll be amazed that the trajectory of learning is going to get a lot easier very quickly. You might be at the bottom of the hard part, so you just need to keep going through because pretty soon you’ll be like, “Oh, a nut pate. I know how to get my food processor lid on and off - boom, boom. Oh, yeah, I’ve made this recipe before. It’s just like throw everything in the food processor and press ‘go,’” and what used to take you twenty minutes to figure out is a three minute thing that takes very little mental energy, especially once you can start repeating things.
So, again, going to the gym, very awkward and weird for anyone, especially with all the machines - it’s so awkward. But then once you’re like, “Oh, I’ve had somebody show me around the gym. They told me I should do this: jog for ten minutes, ride the bike for five minutes, and use these three weight machines,” you know what you’re supposed to do. In many ways, human beings are like dogs - or like my dog. We want to know what we’re supposed to do and when we’re supposed to do it, and when we can just follow along with that schedule, it becomes so much easier and mindless. Standing in the gym, looking at all these people, looking at all this equipment and wondering, “What should I do next?”… that is a terrible feeling. But if you can know, “I’m going to do this: bike for five minutes, jog for ten minutes, and then use three weight machines, and then I’m going to leave,” then there are a lot fewer decisions that you have to make and you don’t feel like you just have to stand around. So it’s tough to figure out what you should be doing and all that stuff. But once you can work through that and figure out, “Oh, this is what I need to do,” it becomes so much easier. So I’m just pleading with you to be gentle with yourself and knowing this is a really hard thing, but it’s going to get easier, and you just need to persevere through it, because that’s when you get to have the results and the benefits.
Let’s even go back to my original idea, which was talking about the jogging. Probably a year and a half or so ago, I began to experiment with jogging, and I kind of was awful. I used to jog really fast and I would be beet red, and I would be way out of breath and it would practically hurt my chest to breathe. Anyway, long story short, I went through all these learning pains with jogging - again, I’m not a big jogger, but I now understand these kind of rules for myself. I was jogging way too fast. It felt so awful because I was kind of like - what do they say? - pumping weight above my class, or whatever it is. I was doing it wrong. But once I learned by doing, now when I’m jogging, I know what pace to go at, I have my shoes, I have all my stuff, I know what to do, and so now it's fun. Kind of. It’s way more fun than it used to be. And again, with healthy food - of course for me, when I went raw in 2009 for my first thirty days, it was so hard and I didn't know what I was doing and I had to use so many brain cells - my little gray cells would get so tired because I had to learn all these new recipes and choose what to eat. But very quickly, it just became normal and I didn't have to think about it, much like how you probably come home from work and make your normal food, whatever that is. It’s not like it causes you great mental stress. You just do your usual things. (More on that in my episode called “Creating Healthy Habits,” by the way.) Overall, in order to get to this point where it’s like, “Oh, I know how to jog and I know what to make for myself that's healthy,” we do need to go through these growing pains of learning new things.
GROWTH CREATES HAPPINESS
And let me just say - oh my god, I know this is a rambly podcast, but I really feel so passionate about this - one thing I know for sure. I’ve done a lot of research about happiness, because that’s an interest of mine. Overall, one of the biggest determinants of happiness is growth. That means that we get happy when we are challenging ourselves and growing and knowing that this year I’m eating healthier than I was last year. This year I’m exercising more than I was last year. And that makes us feel happy about our lives and our trajectory and where we’re going in life. So I’m just encouraging you to grow more in your life and grow by not so much just learning about things but also putting them into action.
At the beginning of this episode, I talked about the solution, and I was going to talk about how to balance acquiring knowledge and putting that knowledge into action. The main idea I want you to play with - in terms of, say, healthy eating, and putting that healthy eating into practice - is this concept of just-in-time learning. What that basically means is if you are eating terribly, and you ultimately want to be eating 100% raw vegan all of the time, well, that's awesome, first. However, we all must start with a small step. If you've never made a vegan recipe, you don’t necessarily need to know and research everything you need to know about being a 100% raw vegan, like, “How much protein do I need? Do I need to take B12?” These are all really good questions, but they're not the questions you need to be asking today. If we can think about it, if you're eating McDonald’s for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and you know you want to make a big change in your health, well, what you need to know today is like, let’s pick one recipe that you can make with whatever you have in your house equipment-wise - so let’s dabble in that right away. Just to finish the thought there on the just-in-time learning — you need to learn some sort of healthy recipe that you can make today. So your challenge would be to look up a healthy recipe on the internet, print it out, take it to your kitchen, and if you don’t have the ingredients, go buy the ingredients and come back home and make that food. You are learning, but you're learning just what you need to know to take some action.
I remember learning about this concept in business. My old job was related to developing websites. People who wanted to have a really amazing website would sometimes do all this research about all this complex stuff that they didn't need to know because what they really needed to be researching or figuring out or doing was well, what should it be about? Let’s start it. The research you need to be doing is for the next piece of action that you can take. That is the concept of just-in-time learning. The real idea here that you want to learn something and put it into action right away. And then you're like, “Oh, I did it.” And then you want to learn something again.
Talking back to the raw food idea, let’s say you bought a blender. You got some blender recipes. Now you’re making smoothies. You're feeling like, “Oh, I learned it, I’ve kind of mastered how to put fruit and some spinach in my blender and make a good smoothie.” First of all, pat yourself on the back. Nice job. Now something you could learn would be “I want to make something savory in my blender.” So let’s look for a savory recipe. Maybe you're going to make alfredo sauce out of cashews in your blender. And you’ll get a recipe for that, and then you’ll make it. So you're going to put that into action. And maybe you’ll just put that over regular wheat pasta and eat that with wheat garlic bread - who cares? So you’re doing that for a while, now you've made a few nutty things in your blender, and now you're thinking, “Oh, I found this recipe for raw marinara sauce, and I want to buy a food processor because I need that to make these marinara recipes so maybe I'll buy a food processor.” So maybe now you need to research “What food processor should I buy?” and then go buy a food processor. Then use that food processor for a little bit.
You can see where I'm going here, because I know many people would approach this as, “I want to be 100% raw vegan; I’ve never made a raw vegan recipe; I’m going to read all this; I’m going to buy thirty recipe books; I’m going to buy a dehydrator and a blender and a spiralizer and all this stuff,” and kind of putting off the idea of using any of the equipment. It's great to have equipment; it’s just that we want to be doing just-in-time learning, which is do a little tiny piece of research and then take the action and feel the results and then feel proud of yourself that you've done it. Then know that maybe you want to advance a little further and do a bit more learning and then do a bit more action.
FINDING A BALANCE
That is really what I wanted to talk about today, which was knowledge versus action. I hope this has been helpful for you. I certainly know that for me my tendency is to be very intimidated by the idea of research and gaining knowledge. It's funny, because I feel that many of the people that I work with at therawtarian.com might be - I think there's a mixture of people, but I certainly know there's a big group of people out there that are better at doing research than they are about taking action. I think we all have a tendency towards a certain balance. Mine is like, “I don't want to know how to do it, just give me the thing and I’ll just figure it out.” For me it's been very hard to force myself to learn about nutrition and the science behind nutrition. We all have our things that we have to deal with and push ourselves, and for me learning about nutrition is very uncomfortable, but I do push myself to do that as well. So I think the idea here is to just reflect - I’d like you to reflect on what your pattern is. Are you a big learner? Do you procrastinate that action? Or do you jump into things and you eat raw vegan and you only eat watermelon all day and you get nutritionally deficient because you didn't learn enough? Think about where you are on the spectrum and see if you can push yourself a bit to take more action. And again, small bite-sized things - I want you to take action in a small way that's going to be easily actionable and easily able to be successful with that as well, because success begets more success. I think I’ll just end it there. I really hope this podcast has been useful to you. I’ve enjoyed recording it. Again, the key takeaways from this episode, number one, let's get to taking some action so we can feel more results, and, number two, recognizing that it is tough when you're learning something new, but just keep going and you will see the benefits and the results pretty quickly. We want to get you through that really tough spot and just to keep persevering.Thank you so much for joining me, and I'll talk to you soon.
You have been listening to The Raw Food Podcast with your host, Laura-Jane, The Rawtarian. Visit me at therawtarian.com to browse over 100 of my absolute favorite simple, satisfying raw vegan recipes for free. While you’re there, be sure to sign up for a free account so you can favorite recipes and access other special features. Also, consider joining the paid section called The Rawtarian’s Kitchen where you can watch over seventy video tutorials with me, download all of my ebooks, take online courses and cleanses, get printable PDFs, and much more. Visit therawtarian.com/gettrk for details on what’s included. Thank you so much for joining me here today on The Raw Food Podcast, and and I hope to hear from you soon. Until next time, enjoy your raw adventure.
This information is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. I encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with like-minded, qualified health care professional(s). I wish you success on your raw journey!