Giving up vices is all the rage in January. In 2024, the trend appears to be towards giving up alcohol and toxic positivity as well as sugar and animal products. Great! Swell, I say! However, I propose you tweak your thinking just a teensy little bit to approach your New Year’s resolution with an attitude of abundance rather than scarcity.

Let’s say you want to reduce your sugar consumption in January. Excellent choice. According to, excess sugar consumption can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, inflammation, weight gain, and fatty liver disease, which are all linked to higher risk of heart attacks and strokes. It seems to me, even if you’re not experiencing any overt negative effects, it is still a prudent choice to reduce your sugar intake. 

So you decide to cut it out. You read the labels and you vow to avoid anything with added sugar, sucrose, corn syrup, even organic evaporated cane juice — haha — they tried to trick you but it didn’t work! For the first two weeks of January, all you can think about is how you “don’t eat sugar.” And a weird thing starts to happen. The more you think about not eating the sugar, the more you think about the sugar. You begin to obsess about the sugar, so you look up all the reasons it is bad for you, so that you can strengthen your resolve. You Google sugar and why it is bad. You watch YouTube videos and Netflix documentaries about the sugar. You begin to resent The Sugar and the mysterious (maybe even conspiratorial?) hold it seems to have on you. The Sugar becomes The Forbidden and after a while your inner rebel emerges, whispering in your ear about your “precious”. You’re hungry because you haven’t done anything other than remove thing A without a thought as to what you will replace it with. Inevitably a gigantic swing ensues from puritanical avoidance of all things nectar, syrup, and anything ending in “-ose” to hedonistic lust for Mrs. Baird. The pendulum swings from one extreme to the other and before you can say “powdered donut,” you’re off the wagon, on the ground, rolling around in a heap of maltodextrin, middle fingers in the air.

What if there was a different way?

Enter the “crowd out” method.

It’s ridiculously simple. Instead of focusing on what you will take away, what if you focused on adding more of something better for your body? More leafy greens, more healthy fats, more Ezekial bread, more real food. I’m not talking about tricking your stomach by stuffing it full of romaine lettuce and baby carrots — that doesn’t actually work because it doesn’t lead to feeling satisfied. You body is not an idiot. Your body feels full when you feed it ample protein, some dietary fat, and fiber and nutrient rich plants. 

Think eggs and veggies or greek yogurt and berries for breakfast — aim for 20-30 grams minimum each meal. Have some chicken or plant-based protein with lunch, plenty of veggies with a protein source for dinner. Stuff that beautiful body full of whole plant-focused foods, whole protein sources, add some avocado and watch the craving for sugar naturally reduce to a minimum.

Use the crowd out method for any habit you are trying to change — toxic positiviy? Try crowding it out with MORE being real about how you feel. Keep in mind, the thing you add in order to crowd out the thing you want to quit needs to have a similar effect. It has to be an equal trade. So, quitting alcohol? Simply swapping for water isn’t going to cut it. We drink alcohol to feed another need. Instead find healthier methods for taking the edge off, such as running, reading, napping, hiking, petting your dogs, etc. Crowd out toxic people with healthy relationships, crowd out trashy TV with a trashy book. Crowd out meat with really yummy vegetarian dishes. You get the idea.

I am confident that this simple shift in focus from removing to adding is going to serve you well in 2024. And further more, I hope you read this post with the tongue in cheek flavor that was intended. 😉


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