Hey there, fellow plant-based friends! Today, let’s dive deep into something that doesn’t get talked about enough in our community, or any community really: stress. That’s right. Stress doesn’t just mess with your mind; it can mess with your diet too. So, grab a cup of herbal tea, and let’s unpack how stress can throw a curveball at your plant-based lifestyle.

Picture this: You’re cruising through life, proud as a peacock of your vibrant new diet, and are proud of the weight you have lost. But suddenly, stress comes knocking at your door like an uninvited guest. Whether it’s a job loss, family drama, or just the chaos of everyday life, stress can sneak up on you when you least expect it. And when it does, your diet might take a hit.

Let’s break it down.

  1. Emotional Eating Escapades: When stress hits, your emotions can go haywire. Suddenly, that tub of ice cream in the freezer starts whispering sweet nothings to you. Emotional eating is real, folks, and it doesn’t discriminate based on dietary preferences. So, instead of reaching for those comforting treats, try to find healthier ways to cope with stress. Take a walk in nature, meditate, or call up a friend for a good old-fashioned vent session.
  2. Convenience over Compassion: Stress can turn even the most dedicated dieters into lazy cooks. When you’re overwhelmed, the last thing you want to do is spend hours in the kitchen preparing elaborate meals. And that’s where convenience foods sneak their way into your shopping cart. Sure, that frozen pizza might seem like a lifesaver at that moment, but relying too heavily on processed foods can leave your diet lacking in essential nutrients. So, try to strike a balance between convenience and compassion by opting for quick and easy whole-food meals whenever possible.
  3. Budget Blues: Let’s face it: With current inflation, food isn’t always cheap. Not just healthy food but anything you buy nowadays. Have you seen the price of Diet Coke or a bag of your favorite chips? How about eggs and vegetables? And when money gets tight, stress levels can skyrocket. Suddenly, you find yourself pinching pennies and cutting corners wherever you can. But unfortunately, that often means skimping on quality foods in favor of cheaper alternatives. While it’s totally understandable to be mindful of your budget, try to prioritize nutrient-dense foods like legumes, grains, and fresh fruits and veggies. Your body will thank you for it in the long run.
  4. Social Struggles: Being a lone plant-based eater in a sea of carnivores can be tough on a good day. But throw stress into the mix, and suddenly social situations become a minefield of temptation and frustration. Whether it’s navigating family gatherings or dining out with friends, stress can make sticking to your vegan guns feel like an uphill battle. But fear not, my plant-powered friends! With a little bit of planning and a whole lot of confidence, you can weather any social storm that comes your way. Who knows? You might even inspire a few meat-eaters to give veganism a try!
  5. Mindful Munching Goes MIA: One of the cornerstones of a healthy diet is mindfulness. Paying attention to what you eat and how it makes you feel can help you make informed choices that support your overall well-being. But when stress rears its ugly head, mindfulness often goes out the window. Suddenly, you find yourself mindlessly munching on whatever happens to be within arm’s reach, without giving a second thought to how it affects your body. So, the next time you feel stress creeping in, take a deep breath and remind yourself to slow down and savor each bite.

Stress and diets might seem like unlikely bedfellows, but the truth is, they’re more connected than you might think. By being aware of how stress can impact your diet and taking proactive steps to mitigate its effects, you can stay true to your plant-based principles even in the face of life’s many challenges. So, the next time stress comes knocking, remember: You’ve got the power to nourish your body and soul with compassion, no matter what life throws your way.

How to recognize stress eating-

If you look deep into when and why you stress eat, I think you will find some common themes:

Financial Stress: This is one of the most difficult stressors to combat. You are in a state of fight or flight 24/7 wondering how you are going to keep the lights on or pay the mortgage. Your job hunt seems to be going nowhere in today’s current market. Every time you reach for your phone or turn the news on, you hear how another five companies just announced layoffs. The three hundred resumes that you submitted haven’t generated but a handful of callbacks, and somehow, they chose to go with another candidate that fits their needs.

Medical Stress: Maybe one of your family members is going through a medical diagnosis and you are wondering where you will find the money to help them. Worse yet, that family member is you, and you are wondering how you will navigate this rabbit hole with a favorable outcome.

Relationship Stress: Is your relationship suffering? Maybe you are married and you and your spouse have taken a break. Or, maybe you are single and your relationship is going nowhere. You think maybe it is because you have lost yet another job, and now your confidence has been stripped. Now, when you are in interviews you bring in the lens through which you view yourself and that is, “the imposter syndrome”. Know matter how many self-help podcasts you consume, you cannot seem to shake it.

Boredom Stress: You have no money to go do anything. Your friends and family have stopped calling. Your family thinks you will ask them for money, so it’s crickets. Your friends think you just aren’t fun to be around and the invites have stopped. So, you are alone with your thoughts and the TV. That half-gallon of ice cream or bag of chips is calling your name. You try to fight back the urge, but it always wins. Why?

No one form of stress is worse than the other. Maybe if you got news of a terminal illness for yourself or a loved one. I think that tops all stressors on the immediate side, but financial stress is very long-term. The one thing you do know is that you keep reverting to your old ways of eating and you feel like crap. All the gains you made, are quickly going out the window. The weight comes back, so do the headaches and you have a feeling of malaise.

Ways to calm your mind

  1. Deep breathing exercises
  2. Journaling and getting all your venting/concerns out in a safe space
  3. Read a book
  4. Go for a walk
  5. Spend some time with your children or pets
  6. Color (the adult version with pencils)
  7. Draw or paint
  8. Other hobbies as well

All of these things can help get your mind off your situation. Just know that their are others out there. Maybe you can find a supportive FaceBook group. Just get out of your old routines. Routines can be our Achilles heel! When stess hits, we tend to slide back into our routines before our health journey began. Fight this urge!

Need a journal? You can find beautiful journals in my Etsy Store:


Thank you for all your support!