Episode 82: How I Eat Eight Plants

You’re listening to The Work Of Becoming podcast! My name is Dr. Karin Nordin. I am your host as well as a behavior change expert and self-proclaimed tornado girl. I spent years of my life struggling to change before I finally got my PhD and learned the psychological tools that I needed to actually make those changes happen. Now, I’m bringing you five-minute sneak peeks of how I’m applying the real science of self-help to my life. Let’s get started!

Hello, everybody! Today we are gonna talk about plants! So, if you are new to the podcast and you do not know this already, my New Year’s resolution for 2023 is that I wanted to eat 2,023 servings of plants during the year.

So, every single day I count up the amount of plant servings that I have, and I have a running total, and my goal is to get to that number (2,023) by the end of 2023. Keep in mind, this is servings of plants, not unique plants. So, it’s not like I’m going to the grocery store and finding unique species of carrots and trying to eat 2,023 different plants. It is a savings-based goal.

I am currently on day 45 of a streak where I have actually eaten 8 servings of plants every single day for 45 days, which is kind of exciting. I try not to focus on streaks too much because that can create all-or-nothing thinking if you break the streak, and that’s something that we work on in coaching as well, but I wanted to put that out there because I have talked a little bit on Instagram about how I’ve been eating all these plants and how I generally eat eight per day, and before that I was really shooting for six, but I got behind in February, so I needed to increase it for March. So, I got on this habit of doing eight per day. Everybody always asks me, “Karin, how do you actually do that? How do you make that happen in your life?” There are three kind of concepts that I want to touch on today that help me.

Number one is that I have essentially templates or systems in my life that help me do things with less brain power. This is how I do everything that I do. I have so many things that I’ve reduced the brain power by creating templates or systems. What I mean by that is I have certain recipes that I know are a specific amount of plants. So, I have a salad that I eat that I know is three servings of plants. I have a smoothie that’s two servings of berries, one serving of spinach, one serving of chia seeds. That’s four servings of plants for the day. I actually have a list that exists on my computer of all of those different options.

So, every single day, I go — and I plan my food ahead of time which is what I’ll talk about next. I look at that list, and it’s very easy for me to just pick things out because I know in my head I don’t have to think about, “Oh, what are the individual plants I’m gonna get today.” It’s like, “Oh, I’m gonna do a smoothie. There: four. Halfway done for the day.” And so, if you don’t have templates or systems that make things easier in your life, that is something that I would highly recommend you work on, and that is something that we cover a lot with our clients. We typically have clients in Alliance Coaching who are very busy, they have a lot going on, they have kids, jobs, etcetera. They have a high amount of cognitive load, and one of the reasons why they aren’t getting things done or they’re procrastinating or they feel overwhelmed all the time is because they don’t have systems. They don’t have easy default schemas for their brains to follow that help them get those healthy behaviors done. So, that’s tip number one is have systems.

Tip number two is to visualize your day ahead of time. So, this month inside of Change Academy, we are doing a workshop on how to build a routine that will change your life, and I’m gonna talk more extensively and give you actual tools for this in that workshop, so make sure that if you aren’t in Change Academy you want to be. But inside of that workshop, we’re gonna talk about mental rehearsal.

So, one of the things that I do is, as I’m falling asleep at night, I visualize the next day. I typically look at my calendar or planner before I leave work and before I go to bed for the day just so I have kind of a mental image of what my calendar looks like, and then I think I visualize from top to bottom (from morning to night) what my day is going to look like. I walk through it. This helps me identify obstacles that would prevent me from getting those plant servings.

So, for example, last night I was visualizing today, and today is Tuesday. It’s my open day. I literally have no meetings, no nothing. Today’s my rest day from the gym, and that actually backfires on me because I end up laying in bed the whole morning, and I’m not quite as much on a routine as I am every other day of the week. So what I did when I was visualizing is I visualized a concrete stop point. So, at 10:00 AM, I’m gonna get out of bed, get up, go get the plants in, go for my walk for the day, and I have an idea of how those plants are going to come in. I also personally track my food, and so, I track my food ahead of time so that I have a concrete plan for the day.

So, those are two tips. The last thing I will say is to give yourself really easy options to add in. So, I have a giant thing of spinach in my fridge. I can confidently say that I am not the person anymore who has spinach that always wilts in the fridge. I used to be that girl. But now I am the girl that goes through spinach and I’m, like, out of spinach in the middle of the week and I have to go to the grocery store to get more spinach because I will toss that shit in everything. Same thing with chia seeds. If I am doing yogurt or anything liquidy (granola, oats, that kind of thing), I’m tossing chia seeds in there. So, if you want a behavior to happen in your life, give yourself easier options.

That is what I’ve got for you today. Those are my top three tips for getting in your servings of plants. As always, if you have questions for me to talk about later on, in the show notes there is a form you can fill out with requests. Thanks, y’all!

PS: if you are on a journey to become a better you, and you want to learn the tools and techniques that will actually help change your life, make sure you check out my Change Academy Membership. Each month, we do a 1.5-hour workshop on a different psychological topic, but we also provide resources like journal prompts, worksheets, and trackers. We host community events and more. If you’re struggling to close the gap between knowing what to do and actually doing it, this membership was built for you. Go to www.karinn4.sg-host.com/change-academy to learn more!


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Hi, I'm Karin

I’m a funfetti flavor super-fan, a loving dog mom, a PhD expert in mindset and behavior change… and I’m here to help make personal development and transformation a process that’s actually fun.


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