When I travel, it amazes me to see how much people pay attention to what I do or say. When I eat with groups before, during or after an event; many ask the question..."Are you a vegetarian?"
I'm not vegetarian or vegan, but I do eat a lot of vegetarian and vegan meals. Why? It makes me feel better and perform better. I have learned that the heavier the meal you eat the longer it takes for your body to digest. The fuller your feel the harder it is for you to breath. If you can't breath you can't speak. It's a little difficult to speak for an audience if you can't speak.
I first learned this lesson early in my speaking career when I traveled to Illinois to speak with my friend and speaking partner, Rodger Campbell. We had traveled all day and hadn't eaten by the time we got to our hotel. Weather delays. Rental car delays. Traffic Delays. We were having a long day.
In front of our hotel was a Popeyes Chicken Restaurant. We had about three hours before our performance and we were huuuunnnngggry. We ordered everything that looked good on the menu. We ordered and ate too much. A few hours later we were on stage and breathing and talking was very difficult. It took about 30 minutes to feel "right." Lesson learned.
Over the years I've been told that it's impossible to eat healthy while traveling. Challenging is a better statement. When you really want something, you'll make it happen. I want to give the best speeches and performances possible. Just like an athlete a performer needs to take care of their body. Which means I have to watch my diet and exercise. I'm in the business of being booked. The more I'm booked or contracted, the better opportunity I have to take care of my family and run a productive business. I have to look the part and live the part.
Why would people hire me to speak and work with them on the best ways to improve their organizations or business if I can't take care of myself? Several people in my life have experienced major health issues. Many were diet related. I began to study food with my wife. Lots of books, documentaries and experiments in kitchen thought me a lot. It's been a lot of fun. We started experimenting with vegetarian and vegan meals. Not only did the meals taste great, but I felt great after eating. I didn't have that weighed down tired feeling. While people I know are popping countless pills, I'm medication free. To be honest, going meatless isn't that big of a deal and when I do, I have more energy, sleep better and even perform better on the court when I play in my local basketball league.
I do like meat, but airports and hotels don't have the best food offerings when traveling. When I started eating clean at home, it became difficult to cheat on the road. When I ate something greasy, fried or full of preservatives, I felt terrible. The old saying, "you are what you eat," is so true.
When I started eating healthier, I felt good and I didn't want to do anything to loose that feeling. I began bringing food with me on trips and started asking clients for vegetarian or vegan meals. Vegetarian and Vegan meals are easier to digest, which means I can breath on stage. There are also times where a rice dish with veggies costs less than a burger and fries. Which means I wasn't spending as much money on trips and increasing my business profits. I also want to be as healthy as possible, so I have the energy and health to be around my wife and children and long as possible. If that means I eat more salads than pizza, then it's worth it.
I still eat meat, but not as much as I used too. I pay more attention to how things are cooked and how they will effect my body. I'm now more vegetarian than carnivore. I'm not on a big push to convert people, but when people ask the question, "Are you a vegetarian?" I'm excited to answer, "no" while explain the benefits of why I eat the way I do.
To live a dream, there are things you have to do or adjust to get your desired results. To live my dream of being the best speaker I can be, the best husband I can be, the best father I can be and the best business owner I can be; I watch what I eat.
Take care of yourselves this week. If you want to feel better and perform better, make time to learn about how the food you eat effects you physically and mentally.