Joining me today is vegan chef, author and mom of 3, Hollan Hamid. Hollan lives in Hawaii (ok, I might be a tad jealous!)
Although Hollan loves spending time by the ocean, her passion is creating new plant-based recipes for a happier, healthier and greener life.
I invited her to join me on TOL to talk about her new book, Good Food Gratitude, which is filled with simple, mouth-watering vegan recipes. (I highly recommend her vegan french toast-it’s delicious!)
- We talked about her journey from pastry chef to becoming a vegan
- How to navigate the vegan lifestyle at home when your kids are not plant-based
- How to organize shopping and meal prep
I loved my conversation with Hollan and I hope you do too! Make sure to check out the links below for everything mentioned in the show. I highly recommend Hollan’s book-not only does it have great, simple recipes, but it’s beautifully designed and makes for a great gift.
One more thing, If you haven’t already heard, The Enneagram & Clutter Course is available now! It’s a self-paced digital course connecting the dots between Enneagram Types and the different types of Clutter. The feedback has been great, and I’d love for you to check it out.
For a limited time, I am offering a special promo for all of my TOL listeners:
Enter promo code TOL30 at checkout to receive 30% off the course price.
To learn more, please visit: https://simplyborganized.com/enneagram-clutter-course/
Special thanks to our sponsor for this episode: 1Thrive who are committed to making organizing simple, fun and stylish through their collection of command centers.
Visit 1Thrive.com to find the system that works best for you.
Make sure to use code SB10 to receive 10% off your entire order!
Connect with Hollan
Links Mentioned in this Episode
Hollan’s Book Recommendations
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Struggling with Clutter?
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HOT MESS: A Practical Guide to Getting Organized is my witty little survival guide that helps you get to the root of your clutter. Learn about the 3 types of clutter, Physical, Emotional, and Calendar, along with how to avoid the 5 Clutter Pitfalls.
Now is the time to reclaim time, find freedom, and feel empowered from the “stuff” that is holding you back.
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ANNOUNCER 1: Welcome to This Organized Life. If you're a mom, wife or coffee lover seeking advice on how to reduce clutter and reclaim time, look no further than your host, Laurie Palau, founder of Simply B Organized and author of Hot Mess: A Practical Guide to Getting Organized. For a lot of people, clutter is their dirty little secret, but it doesn't have to be. Each week we will share practical tips, chat with experts and provide strategies on how to keep you organized. I hope that by sharing our stories, you feel a little less alone and more empowered to tackle the areas that are holding you back. So let's get started.
LAURIE PALAU: Hi, everybody, and welcome to today's episode of this organized life Podcast. I am your host, Laurie Palau and I am really excited for today's guest. I like to listen to what you guys want to hear, and I look back at other episodes that we've done that have done really well or comments that people have made and whenever we do an episode that has to do with meal planning, or food, always tends to do really well. And I'm a foodie, so I don't know if that's just because I've like-minded people with me, or if that's just an area that people really struggle with, or a combination of all of it. But today's guest, I'm really excited to share with you. Joining me today is my friend Hollan, who is a vegan chef, she's an author, she's a mom, and has written an amazing cookbook that I literally have sitting right in front of me and I'm like putting it up for anybody that can see, if I like take a picture of this, it is ear marked all over with post it notes, from Josh and me, on our favorite recipes, because she has, she's really built an entire platform on clean eating and just living a healthy lifestyle and simplifying the process and which is all things that I love. So I wanted her to come on and share a little bit about her story. Also, fun fact, which again, she is going to talk about, she's based in Hawaii. Hello! So major envy as I'm sitting here in a sweater, and a hot cup of coffee, chatting with her. But we're gonna talk all about some inspirational ideas and ways for you as we are starting a new year and we all want to put our best foot forward, how can we begin to maybe incorporate some really good healthy habits into our lives. So without further ado, Hollan, welcome to the show.
HOLLAN HAMID: Thank you so much for having me. I'm thrilled to be here and I hope that we can give your listeners some food for thought.
LAURIE PALAU: Yes, absolutely. And so I gave everybody, you know, a very top line overview about you and what you do, but in your own words, can you just tell everyone a little bit about who you are?
HOLLAN HAMID: Yes. Currently, I definitely would say that I try to inspire people to eat healthier, I try to meet people where they're at, and I am currently trying to change our beliefs in food, and that food is medicine, but it also is an emotional experience and so I'm trying to hit on both of those things with people, through cookbooks, through courses, through private clients. But my background, I was a restaurant owner for six and a half years before I sold it. I went to pastry school 21 years ago. And, you know, as a mom, I'm constantly trying to get healthy food in front of my kids and even as they grow into adults, and so that's one of the big purposes in my life as well.
LAURIE PALAU: I love that. And I just I had to like chuckle in my head a little bit. So you went to pastry school. So and now you're this like vegan clean eating expert guru. That must be a complete shift, or maybe not, I don't know, it just seems like pastry I think of like sugar and creams and all yummy stuff, that.
HOLLAN HAMID: Yeah, all of it. I literally went to pastry school because of my lab, I've just been in a kitchen, after I had my first child, I loved being in the kitchen, but I loved consuming pastries. That's why I chose pastry school. A croissant, you know, morning pastries, cakes, and so it definitely was a huge shift when I went vegan, but it actually was like my saving grace because I was able to take everything I had learned in pastry school and culinary school and I was able to adapt these new ingredients to the styles that we cooked. And for me, it allowed me to keep my love of food while I transitioned over to a plant based diet.
LAURIE PALAU: I mean, that's a big shift. And my husband became vegan in January of 2020. So, I mean, it's been a little over a year at this point and obviously there's a lot of different reasons why people make that decision and make that commitment. Can you just talk to us a little bit about your experience? What drew you to become vegan? And just kind of give us that background?
HOLLAN HAMID: Yeah. So I do say that normally people go vegan for three reasons. Number one, either health, they've heard that there's health benefits to eating an all plant based diet. Number two, for animals, a lot of people make the transition because they no longer want to eat animals. And number three is for the health of our planet. A lot of people have believed that global warming or emission gases are caused by our foods, so they choose for that. And for me, I went into it for health reasons although that latter two definitely, I call them bonuses, for me, because they keep me in it. I was 29 years old, I had been diagnosed with gestational diabetes in my third pregnancy, and it was the first a-ha I had that food was creating something in my body. If I ate a cookie, and I took my blood sugar, it spiked. If I didn't eat any sugar, it didn't spike. And so it just started to allow me to see that there is a reaction, besides my love of food and it making me feel full, happening in my body. And so that was my first a-ha at 29, and from there I just started researching food. I became a little obsessive compulsive on things, when they have my attention, and so I just couldn't believe it. And I had lost my health. I had had three kids, my first at 22, second at 25 and third at 29 and in those years, I just struggled. I had kidney stones. I had had surgery for endometriosis twice. I was always sick or had a hurt tummy. And so I just didn't feel good. I was overweight. I couldn't take off the weight from my third baby, I think I was up to 170 pounds. I had no lackluster or there was a complete lackluster for life and I knew it was within me. And so as I started reading things, for me vegan really made sense, a lot of the things that they were pointing out in animal products, and the disease that it can turn on in your body, just added up for me. And the funny thing is, is I think I chose vegan because you could still have pastries, right?
LAURIE PALAU: Oh, my gosh.
HOLLAN HAMID: Only one where it was no sugar.
LAURIE PALAU: That is so funny. Well, can I tell you a quick funny side story?
HOLLAN HAMID: Yes.
LAURIE PALAU: So my husband is type one diabetic. So he's been, you know, he's, you know, taken shots since he was 17 years old. And I think, and I don't want to speak for him, but I think he probably went into it for similar reasons, same with you, like for health, but then the other two things that you talked about specifically the environment was really, like, it started actually becoming more apparent as he did more and more research. But that's not the point or my story. We would go out and we used to go to this steak house locally and that was kind of like our go to place, but sometimes we would get like seafood and whatever. And when he became vegan, I'm like, what are you going to eat there? And he's like, I can eat French fries. And I was like, that is not what you're supposed to do and he's like, I'm gonna have a salad and French fries. And he's like, I'm allowed to have French fries. And I was like, oh my gosh, and so he's like, they're vegan. So that was like his thing.
HOLLAN HAMID: Which brings me to a very good point, right? Like, we're all looking for a diet that's gonna make us feel good, it's gonna keep us thin, especially as women, right? That's a huge factor for women, that makes us feel good. And what I, I've been doing this for 14 years now, and I've worked with hundreds of clients and people and what I've come to realize is everybody's different and your body constantly changes with what it needs and what it doesn't need. And then there's this inherent emotional aspect to food for us, right? And so for me, if I'm on a keto diet, or a paleo diet, which I believe every diet work shorts term, I do not want to put down anyone's theories, you know, anytime we consciously look at what we're putting in our body, we're making healthier choices and any diet does that. But what I found is, is if I can't teach you how to have things you love in a healthier form, or to tell you you can still have French fries or you know what, you can have a vegan croissant, it doesn't mean that you're never allowed to have it, it won't work. My biggest thing now is like sitting down with people and it's like what are the foods you love? What makes you happy? What makes you hit that zing thing in your brain so that you still have this love of food? And so like with someone like your husband, like hey, he loves French fries I would say 100% you can even have French fries, you know, once a week, every other week, things you haven't been told, as long as you're checking them with your body and seeing how they make you feel. But I think it's so important that we look at our love of food when we're deciding what lifestyle is going to work for us or else it won't be manageable, it will not be practical and it definitely will not be sustainable.
LAURIE PALAU: I agree 100%, and I mean we talk about this all the time when it comes to organizing and there's so many parallels between how people eat well or take care of themselves and their house and how they, you know, because it's all discipline, right, it's discipline, and I always, when I'm working with a client or I'm talking to somebody, you know, you don't have to have everything be color coded, that doesn't define something to be organized. I mean that's one way, but that's not the only way, you don't have to have everything decanted in clear glass jars that are beautifully labeled in order for you to be organized. There are a million, there's a spectrum, just like with eating and if you have to white knuckle your way through something then it's not, to me, like you said, it's not sustainable and it just becomes a drain emotionally as well, you know, in addition to your time. And so, you know, I think it's great that you, when you say that you talk to your clients about kind of like what do you love, what do you want to do, because I think everybody's goals are different and it's important when we're looking at that.
HOLLAN HAMID: And we attach to other people's goals, right, people sell us on something and I do want to say that any program I'm selling anyone on or any program someone is, it's a snapshot of their life from when they were feeling good and had things figured out at that moment, but when we sell it as something that's long term and that you constantly won't to have to check in with yourself and see where you are, I really think that we're doing people a disservice. And so for me it's really about teaching people how to check in with their bodies, being disciplined, you know, I just did a three day reset in my home for my children and me and, you know, had all the food prepared and knew what we were going to eat. I just think it's so important to start understanding that health is individualized and you're the individual and so it's your responsibility, and there's so many keys and so many tools that I can give people or other people can to help you there, but it really is a personal journey.
LAURIE PALAU: I think it's great that you said that and I echo everything that you're saying, and you bring up an interesting point because you talk about your kids, and obviously this is something that you started when they were babies or toddlers, you know, so they've grown up with you being vegan and so obviously you can make certain choices of what foods you want to bring into your house, what you don't want to bring into your house, what you want to expose them to. For people listening out there, and I just need to know, like how has your cooking, is this something that is trickled into your kids, are they vegan, do they eat plant based products, I mean, or animal products and what does that look like in terms of the kind of shopping, meal prep, all those things?
HOLLAN HAMID: It's interesting, we talked about it, my kids are you know in their teens, I have an adult and then I have one child who's just about to turn 14, and it's been an evolution. There's been quite the spectrum with my kids, and when I first went vegan, you know, especially with the health aspects, like I wanted it for my children more than me. Like I cared more about their health than my own, right, like and so it definitely took me just letting go a lot of what I thought, right, because i think that happens is we learn things and we become so tightly attached to them and I really was like that with my kids when I first went vegan. And then as your kids grow up, they humble you and make their own decisions, which has been very true of my kids and so my kids eat all different sorts of things. They do eat animal products. For me, with being able to be in control in some way, or knowing that they get things, my house is vegan and so I don't have animal products in my house, I only cook vegan foods, my kids for the most part love vegan foods. I think that a lot of their comfort foods will end up being plant based foods because of me and, you know, when my son was in college and, you know, it's just like oh swoon, as a mom, especially like a health mom, but, you know, he sends me pictures of his shopping cart and he'll do vegan, gluten free cleanses when he's not feeling well. And so my kids definitely know there's a link between food and disease and the way you feel and so they're gonna have their own journeys and their own health journeys, but they definitely have a lot of information and keys that I didn't have at their age.
LAURIE PALAU: Yeah I think it's great and I love it and I think, again, so much of what our kids learn from us is just through what they live, you know. And I know, I remember when my daughter went to college, well not even when she went to college, but this year she was in an apartment, she was sending me pictures of like disorganization from her roommates, and my daughter is not, my daughter is like not a neat freak at all, like she used to say she was gonna grow up to be a hoarder just to upset me, but she was like mom, can you believe how messy this is? And she would send me a picture and I'm like that's not even that messy. Like, you're just used to a level that, like, because that's your norm, like that's what you grow up with. So I think, again, like looking at your kids, kind of the bar that you've set for them of like what's healthy and what's acceptable and what's not, like, or the way that we do things, it's just going to be, it's just ingrained in them. And so whatever choices, you know, and again that's not to say my kid doesn't have clothes all over the floor or, you know, doesn't put her stuff away, but it's just interesting kind of what they take with them.
HOLLAN HAMID: Yes and it's so true and, you know, I did realize at some point that my kids did have their own journey and I really had to let go and I can just be a reminder of those things, but it also has been very humbling for me in what I do, right, because people hold us to this certain level. I've been vegan for 14 years, I have not had one product that I consciously have taken in that isn't vegan, this lifestyle worked very well for me as soon as I started it, I just found more and more reasons, health wise and other, on why to continue. But I think kids are so great because they're so humbling in different ways, right?
LAURIE PALAU: Oh my gosh, yeah. So what are some of the immediate, not that this is a commercial for becoming vegan, but what are some of the immediate effects that you saw, because I think so much what empowers us in any journey, right, that we're going on, is when we see progress, when we see it. And that's, you know, I talk to my clients all the time about like when it comes to like clutter organization, like again like once you can start to see the results and how that's impacting you in a positive way, that in and of itself is motivation to keep going. So I'm sure that there were some specific things you could talk, so can you just talk about that?
HOLLAN HAMID: I mean for me they're still happening, and this is like 14 years later, and so a lot of it was just symptoms from disease I had, right, like endometriosis, it was very normal for me, when I was walking around, which if people don't know it's scar tissue that's sticky on your insides, and so I could be walking around and feel pretty normal and all of a sudden get stabbing pain and need to be in bed. Those pains went away very quickly. It was really odd where it was like even three weeks later where I was like oh my God, I haven't had any of my spells. Since then I have not even had to be checked for endometriosis whatsoever, let alone have surgery. I have not had kidney stones in 14 years and all of the things that come to it. My skin cleared up, I used to have like tons of little tiny bumps, bumps behind my arm cleared up. Restless leg syndrome I believe they called it where my legs would just kind of be tingling at night. And then the biggest one has been weight, right, like I don't struggle with my weight and I go on benders of not eating, you know, that healthy for what my bar is. I've been able to control my weight which is huge for me, I'm not someone that was one weight, I definitely fluctuated before. That's been huge for me. And then on the physical side of it, you know, and it's so hard to say because like I don't know where I'd be if I never started eating this way, but I'm going to guess I would be in a lot more disease, I would probably be overweight and at 43, you know, I have a yoga practice which I really do to clear my head, but my body's gotten stronger and stronger. This year I've been able to get into a headstand which I've never been able to do in my life if. I can do the splits both ways and I have goals of doing like a handspring and a headstand and I really think all of it comes down to what I eat, that I have vibrancy and, you know, I really do have this zest for life and this zest to learn new things. And I see on the flip side a lot of my friends who aren't, maybe more have excuses on why their body isn't working or why they can't make it to yoga or why they couldn't do a headstand, and so for me I believe like my abilities and the fact that I think I can still grow after the life sentence of 43.
LAURIE PALAU: Oh please, oh please!
HOLLAN HAMID: Has been completely... I know, exactly, but yeah, you know, I plan on being able to do more and more as I age and the biggest thing is is I really own my health, like no matter what, I mean I know we're in the time of COVID and I know I'm not fearful of disease. I'm not fearful of getting something, and it's not because I won't get it, it's that I know I have the tools and ability to heal my body. I do want to say like a little side note is I'm not telling anyone they'll live longer eating this way, because I don't know. I mean I believe I'm a baby at 43 right now and the truth is that I just own my own health in a way that I never did before, you know, and so that's pretty amazing that I believe with food and with everything I know about the body, that, you know, we can reverse disease, our body wants to heal, and I believe plans are the foundation of that.
LAURIE PALAU: Well so my first introduction with vegan plant based lifestyle was Chris Carr, with -
HOLLAN HAMID: Oh, I love Chris Carr.
LAURIE PALAU: I know. And again, my community, my audience, knows that I do a lot of work in my private life with pediatric cancer research and just cancer in general and so obviously there are so many links about plant based diets being such a healing tool for people with cancer, it's not necessarily, again, not going out there saying anything's curing anything, but just I've seen firsthand with friends who have been battling, just the positive impacts from, you know, a plant based diet.
HOLLAN HAMID: Yes.
LAURIE PALAU: I do want to just talk a little bit about, because we have people that might be listening going, this sounds great, right, this all sounds great, but it's work. It's a lot of work. It's so much easier for me, as a mom or as a, I mean I know we're not, especially like currently, we're not like necessarily on the go as much as we were before, which in some ways is a good thing, but, you know, it's so much easier for me to give my kids chicken nuggets, it's so much easier for me to just do the like low hanging fruit, no pun intended, or and it's this is going to be like another job. Like for me to cook vegan is going to be like another thing on my to do list.
HOLLAN HAMID: Right.
LAURIE PALAU: Can you, what do you have to say about that, because I'm sure that that's a common thing to hear?
HOLLAN HAMID: Yeah, it's habitual. So it's like it's easy to you because you've been doing it. That chicken nugget seems easy, you know, it's because you're on autopilot. It's, like, you know, when we're driving around our neighborhood and it seems like nothing and then you like fly somewhere and you're driving and you're gripping the handle and you're like oh my God I have to pay attention, it's because we're not on that autopilot. That's part of it, you're gonna have to learn new ways, but, you know, I can tell you that I promise it becomes as normal as the lifestyle you're living now. For me it's just as easy to throw in broccoli or, you know, I love these field roast nuggets into the toaster oven, I don't use a microwave.
LAURIE PALAU: Yes.
HOLLAN HAMID: As it was to throw in chicken nuggets. people ask me constantly like how is it you shop? I don't understand how you do this and the truth is is I don't understand how regular people shop at this point. Like it's been 14 years. Like I go to the outers of my grocery store, there's not very much in the middle aisles I want. Everything that you love probably is based on a sauce that we can make plant based so all your vegetables and everything hit on that. And so that's a whole nother thing is that, you know, we coat our food and we cover our food and we season it and we salt it and we do all these things and what I find with a lot of clients is that you actually love those, things not even so much the protein that's under it. For me it's really about that, how do we take what you're doing, not have it be more time, right, introduce you to new ways of cooking in old ways, take what you know with new ingredients and just get started from there. But it definitely is gonna rock you a little with your habits because you're learning something new, although I promise you our brains love learning new things.
LAURIE PALAU: I love this. I think it's a perfect time for us to just take a quick pause and then I want to come back and I want to dive into your book because I love it, love it, love it, I just can't wait to share it with everybody, so sit tight.
LAURIE PALAU: Hi guys, I am so excited to share with you that after months of planning, my first ever enneagram and clutter course is here. The framework looks at how our motivations, not just our behavior, play a role in how we deal with clutter. So if you're interested in the psychology of clutter, or why some people struggle while other people are more naturally organized, this course is for you. It's a self-paced, fully digital course that includes over 20 video lessons, downloadable PDFs, journal prompts, you can watch a little at a time or binge all the lessons at once. To learn more, visit simplyborganized.com, click on the courses tab, and make sure that you enter code TOL30, that's T-O-L 30, at checkout, to receive 30% off your purchase price. Now, back to our show.
LAURIE PALAU: Okay, when we first got connected, you sent me a book.
HOLLAN HAMID: Yeah.
LAURIE PALAU: And I couldn't, again, it is, first of all, it's gorgeous. It's a gorgeous book. It's one of those books that you're like, oh, I love this. I just want to be in it okay. It's got amazing images, and pretty, vibrant colors, and just all of the things. But what I love most about it, okay, so first of all, let me say, I don't like recipes. I'm one of those people that likes to do a little bit of this, a little bit of that, I like too many things. I don't like to follow recipes because I feel like they become labor intensive.
HOLLAN HAMID: Yeah.
LAURIE PALAU: And I, but I said, because I knew I was gonna have you on the show, I'm like, I'm gonna go through here, I'm gonna pick out some things, and I'm gonna make them. Your recipes were so easy to follow, so simple, it was like, five ingredients and this was like a masterpiece. I want you to talk about, first of all, what made you decide to take the leap from living a vegan lifestyle to then writing a cookbook? And then how did you come up with all the recipes? Just walk us through the whole scenario.
HOLLAN HAMID: So friends used to come to my house all the time, right, and I had the restaurant as well and I'm like you, I do not like cookbooks, I don't like recipes, even as a chef, when I go through them I'm like, oh, my goodness, you are going to have me at five stores, I am going to be tired before I even get in the kitchen, right? And then having kids, I have three kids, there were things that they liked and there were things that they didn't like. So all of my recipes had to be very, very simple, right? He doesn't like onion. She doesn't like carrots, that one doesn't like dill. And so for me, that became a very easy way to make staples with very few ingredients. And who has time, right? But so when my friends would come and visit me, they would all say, oh, I could eat this way if I just had you in my home. So I decided what's the best way for me to get into people's homes? And it definitely would be with a cookbook, and really trying to teach it and it definitely was a stretch for me with learning how to write down what I do. I'm a very organic cook, I throw extra stuff in if I have it, I don't, I remove stuff if I'm not eating it. And so for me, it definitely made me sit down and get very organized with my process and start to understand how I could share that with other people. I wanted people to look at this book and be like, oh my god, I have that in my cabinet, I can make that tonight. And I also wanted people to be able to personalize it, like what spices do you like? Do you like spicy? Do you like no spice? Do you love cilantro? Do you hate cilantro? You can add it in. You know, it's not my preference.
LAURIE PALAU: Yeah. And I love that. And I did, there were a couple minor tweaks, because again, I was like, it was like a test to myself that I was like, I'm gonna try to follow her recipe like, to a tee because again, I'm like that rebel part of me is like I want to just do a little bit of this. But there was like, I forget what ingredient, there was like one spice I didn't have, I was like, oh, whatever. And then there was, you know, again, but it was so simple. And then, like my husband doesn't like spice at all so I'm like, okay, well, we won't do this but then I can add this, you know, later if I wanted to.
HOLLAN HAMID: Yes.
LAURIE PALAU: And the beauty of the recipes that I've made so far in your book, as I'm like kind of working my way through it, is if you didn't know, like if someone didn't point out like this is a vegan recipe, like it's like delicious. There's flavor and depth and richness and you're full and it's not, I think there's this, maybe hopefully less just because it's becoming more mainstream and there's so many vegan options, but you're not eating rabbit food, like you are full and the food is like there's sustenance to it.
HOLLAN HAMID: Yeah, you know, that's the thing I think with a lot of people when I first start working with them is the difference between feeling full and satiated, it's like a lot of people full means feeling sick, but you get tired, that's like kind of how they know. And so for me, I really try to teach people to start to pay attention to how they feel after they eat something, because food is energy, it's actually supposed to give us energy and we've gotten really used to it bringing us down or making us feel tired or lose like our love of life, or, you know, whatever it is.
LAURIE PALAU: Or fall asleep.
HOLLAN HAMID: Or fall asleep. Like people, when I put them on this diet, like a lot of them are like, well, I don't think I really felt full. I'm like, this is the other thing, right? Like, there's no bad cholesterol in plant foods, none. That only comes from animal products and a lot of people don't know that. And the thing is, is that like, if you need to eat two beyond burgers, because you used to eat a burger, like do that until your brain and your stomach caught up with what it actually feels like to be feel, like you cannot overdose on vegan food. Like I dare you to try to eat enough vegan food to feel sick like you do on regular food. That's part of it as well is like teaching people like, I don't care if you eat a whole pan of my lasagna, and you would have only eaten one piece of regular meat lasagna, I want you to see what that actually does to your body and your digestion, that you could feel better eating a pan than you do eating one.
LAURIE PALAU: Which is, for somebody who's like a portion person.
HOLLAN HAMID: Oh, yeah.
LAURIE PALAU: It's great. Because I'm all about like, I could eat like a linebacker, like, I'm a portion person. So just having that like freedom is -
HOLLAN HAMID: Yeah, like a bowl of salad with like my vegan ranch.
LAURIE PALAU: Yeah.
HOLLAN HAMID: Eat three of them, eat three giant ones, I dare you to feel full, or try to get to the point where you're like, oh my God, I cannot take another bite, you know. And or I want you to get there while you're transitioning, like have those feelings because your body's going to catch up. I have this other theory on food, just very quickly with an evolution and you saying it's a spectrum, right? Like people who are just trying to make, not like your husband, where he read about it and he wants to make this complete lifestyle change, right? He's special, but most of most of us are not like that, right? We want to tiptoe into things. And so for me with health and not just vegan, I just want to remind people that like if you eat McDonald's, right now, if you switch to Subway, your body is going to catch up and make changes. And as soon as it stops making changes, maybe go to the local sandwich shop and once you are eating there and your body stops making changes, then I want you to go to maybe Whole Foods and get an avocado sandwich instead. And then maybe from there, down the road, you'll switch that to a salad. It's just like evolving what you eat now into a healthier form and it doesn't have to be the healthiest. Like I run into people at the grocery store all the time, who like are overweight, they don't know a lot about health, and they'll show me like the program they're going to do. And I'm like, that would be hard for me. Like that would be hard for me, now, and you're going to do this. And so that's the other thing, we believe that to lose weight or to feel good, we have to be deprived. And I just want to tell you, you do not have to be deprived to have a healthy relationship with food that supports your body, right? And so start your evolution, start your spectrum. Where are you on this spectrum? And are you trying to make this huge jump that isn't possible? Or can you take baby little skips, right, on each one. And your body will tell you, when you plateau you know, and it's time to make another change. But your body needs very little to start making the changes for you. And so that's like one other thing like just baby steps, just try it out and see how you feel.
LAURIE PALAU: I love it, and it's true. And again, just kind of linking it back, I see the same thing when it comes to organizing. This is, the way that you've been eating is a product of probably how like you've lived your life for a certain amount of time. If you're used to eating a lot of meat and potatoes and, you know, heavy stuff all the time or a lot of dairy and all of a sudden, like, you're not, that's a shock to your system. Like that's a big deal. And it's, and I say the same thing with clutter, it's like if you don't have systems and you're not used to putting stuff away, don't all of a sudden say okay, I have to change everything at once. Make one small step, just start by saying I'm gonna hang up my coat, I'm gonna put unopen, I'm going to open the mail, I'm gonna make the bed. Like those little changes and then once that muscle memory becomes, starts, you know becoming routine and -
HOLLAN HAMID: On autopilot, right?
LAURIE PALAU: Right. Thank you. I couldn't think of the word, I had a brain freeze. But once that goes on autopilot then do something else, add to it, layer it, it doesn't have to all be at once. You don't have to make this quick 180 degree turn at once.
HOLLAN HAMID: But I want my house to look like yours right now.
LAURIE PALAU: Yes.
HOLLAN HAMID: Right?
LAURIE PALAU: Yeah, right, and again and I think it goes back to everything that we see on Instagram and everything that we, you know, look at it in a magazine or whatever, is we look at our today, like we look at where somebody else is and we judge ourselves and not playing, you know, giving credit to like what it took for that person to get there, you know, what was the work that went into having that look like that or them look like that or whatever that is.
HOLLAN HAMID: Yeah, and the highs, lows, right and like those are things I want to talk about, I think we don't because we get really righteous, right. Like I know vegans that have had cancer, so like I never want to say anything like that, but I do know that for the most part people who eat vegan have much lower rates of cancer and so that's something we should look at, right. And also with disease, that's like one of the things I try to point out to people is that besides inheriting disease from your family, which I believe I have like eradicated so many by just changing the way I eat, what my family history was, I don't see any of those signs. However, we inherit our family's habits and so I don't know what came first, if it's a gene that predisposes you or it's the fact that you drink half and half every single day that puts your body in disease, but that's one of the things, just, you know, food for thought. Like did I actually inherit this or did I inherit my family's habits and is that what's causing the disease?
LAURIE PALAU: Also there's a big part of just mindset and I think that that is really an important thing for people to just recognize, because and I can, I'm speaking from personal experience okay, I gave up dairy almost two years ago. I have arthritis and I have inflammation and I eat pretty cleanly, I'm not vegan, but I eat pretty cleanly and I was but I loved to have half and a half in my coffee. So I wasn't sitting down, I wasn't eating bowls of cereal with milk, I wasn't eating gobs of ice cream, but put a charcuterie tray in front of me and i was all over it and I would have, I'm a coffee drinker, everybody knows like I love my coffee and I said I could never, this, I would say, I could never give up my half and half.
HOLLAN HAMID: Never used that word.
LAURIE PALAU: Famous last words, I could never give it up. And I decided one day I was like I am going to, I really think I eliminated so many different things from my diet, I had tried gluten free, I had this stronghold when it came to dairy and I finally said, you know what? I’m going to make the switch. I'm going to give it up. And I know myself, I am not, I have to be an abstainer, like I can't just have a little bit. Like I'm an all or nothing person, so and I love pizza too. So it was like hard for me, but I said I'm giving up, I'm giving up dairy and I switched to almond milk and at first it really, my coffee was gross, at first, and I hated it, but I powered through. I played through for about a week, like it wasn't long, it was a week, but I was like I can have coffee. Like it wasn't, for me and for me a lot of it it's the ritual, like we get into things based on our ritual of wanting to do it and the fact that I was still allowed, I'm using my air quotes, to have my coffee even though it wasn't with the half an hour, after a week my taste buds adapted and now if I even have a sip of, by accent, if I accidentally like pick up somebody else's coffee, I can't digest it. You know it's amazing how we adapt.
HOLLAN HAMID: Very quickly, and your taste buds have to change. Like I can't tell you that like I enjoy my coffee with almond milk any less than I did my coffee with half and half, right, but that first week definitely with the change of taste buds and also like I want to point out to people, right, that almond milk, let's take that one, for instance, just like in dairy you have nonfat milk which is going to be all your shelf stable nut milks, they are more water, they're going to be nonfat milk. If you like nonfat milk buy it off the shelf. If you're a two per center for dairy you want to go ahead and grab that refrigerated milk. It has more almonds, less water, that's why it needs to be in the refrigerated section. And so if you're a whole milker I'm going to tell you want to replace that properly with canned coconut milk which is gonna have the taste but it's the only way to get the fat content. So like if you've had almond milk and don't like it. I prefer, I loved two percent milk growing up and so for me, I'm not sponsored by them, but [crosstalk 00:40:06.12] almond milk in the refrigerated section to me replaced everything and, you know now I'm very, very fond of it. And I also want to say with disease and organization, I find it's more those micro doses of things that affect people, like people will tell me like, oh, well, I'm allergic to nuts and you know, and I was like, well, when's the last time you had nuts? They're like, oh, I don't know, like three months ago, I'm like, okay, well, one serving of nuts three months ago has not done this to your health. So let's talk about what toothpaste you use, like, what do you use in your coffee every day? It's those micro doses that we consistently do that cause disease. So what are those little things? Do you have a bowl of cereal every night before you go to bed? Can we replace that with almond milk, or cashew milk or hemp milk or oat milk? So for me, I'm a big believer in breaking up your little things that you do habitually every single day and looking at those before you look at like, oh, you know, I kind of get a hurt tummy when I eat broccoli, but I only eat it every six months, because those are the things I deal with. We just have it backwards and we haven't been taught this, right? Look at what you're doing every single day and you can find probably where disease is setting in, whether it be dairy, whether it be meat, whether it be products or chemicals in your products. It's kind of all of those things. Because I am in health, right? It all comes back to this because I think there's so, at least with what has happened with my body and what I've read, there's so many misconceptions, and we're really missing something.
LAURIE PALAU: No, I love it and it's true. And again, like everything, this isn't a judgment, we all have choices, and it has to come down to kind of what's a priority to you? What's a priority to your family? And again, you know, you have to put in the work at the beginning. And again, it's like when I organize a space, and I'm like, it gets worse before it gets better and you look at it, you're like, oh my gosh, what did I do? And it can feel foreign and uncomfortable and overwhelming, but then that becomes your new norm, right? We adapt to it. And when you start to notice, like when I gave up dairy and I, again, my taste buds adapted, and I was like, okay, but then when I noticed that my joints ached less and my ankles weren't swollen and I wasn't retaining, like I started, that was the motivation, and so I think whatever that is for you out there listening, when you can find that, you're like, wow, I am empowered to do this. And I think that your approach and your cookbook, specifically, makes it really easy and attainable for anybody. I mean, your French toast, hello!
HOLLAN HAMID: How amazing is that? And it's like, the truth is, is that's actually the original French toast recipe. Like a lot of the things we didn't have that abundance that we have now and so French toast literally was when from when people had stale bread and they couldn't eat it, they still had flour, they mixed it with water, how can you get a second life out of your bread? And as we became abundant in animal products, we started oh, it would be so much better if it had the yolk of an egg in it or some milk or butter for fat, right? But how yummy is that?
LAURIE PALAU: Oh my God.
HOLLAN HAMID: I mean, I love that recipe, I'm just saying.
LAURIE PALAU: It's incredible. It's incredible. Seriously, people, like I am gonna, and I'm starting to get hungry also, because for me, it's approaching lunchtime. So I'm like I just want to, but again, the stuff is so great. And in terms of, you know, meal prep and shopping, like it's very simple because again, you're not looking at these like crazy ingredients that you have to go to 50 different stores, and most grocery stores today, maybe at least where I live, like I'm not shopping, like I don't have a, I live in a small little country town and I don't have a Whole Foods. I have a Trader Joe's.
HOLLAN HAMID: Me either.
LAURIE PALAU: So like for me, I'm shopping at the regular grocery store.
HOLLAN HAMID: Yeah.
LAURIE PALAU: You know, and I can find 99% of everything that you're putting, I can probably find 100%, but you know, there's always probably something you can't find so that's why I'm saying, you know, I can find the majority of things in a regular grocery store. So you don't have to go to like some super health food store or, you know, a specialty shop in order to get this stuff. It doesn't have to add any more to your day.
HOLLAN HAMID: Right? It's funny because when I got the booking for this, like I was like, ooh, The Organized Life, like I don't know if I should be on that, right, I was like I need her. But you know there is a truth to organization, right, in the kitchen and in shopping and it's one of the things I realized. So like for me, when I'm going to make a bunch of stuff or I know what my food prep is going to be right and hopefully this will help your listeners in some way, but I write down my list, right, of what I need and then I know what I have in my kitchen, right? You know, if you have dill or oh, I have milk, I don't. And so I start to scratch what I have off of those, right? The recipes, I'm gonna make, what I have, I just scratch that off. And then I actually move everything I need into categories in the store. So I have like my baking aisle, I have like my fruit and veggies. And so for me, that saves so much time where I'm not like, oh my god, I forgot baking soda and I have to go back. And so ways like that I'm very organized, right. Same thing with food prep, in terms of, I'm a big believer, if it's made, you're gonna choose it. Like, even if I drive by a pizza place, if I know I have food in my fridge, I'm like, hmm, I'm gonna eat that, right. And so that's another thing like, how can you support yourself in having foods that are readily available. I'm a huge believer in a salad bar in your fridge, I try to clean all of my greens, get everything going, have carrots chopped up, celery chopped up, you know, cucumbers, all in separate containers, four different sauces, I normally have like rice or sweet potatoes, and then being able to throw that together in two or three minutes and make a bunch of different meals out of it is just I think that's the best way to be organized in the kitchen. And then time limits on stuff. So for me, when my kids were little, I called it bath time prep, where I would start and I'm like, literally like Iron Chef like I am running from the bathroom to the kitchen because I tried to have all my prep done before it fills up. And I used to laugh, it used to be for my kids and now it's for me, it's like I fill up the bath for myself during food prep. You know, with busy lives, like, I don't have more than five or 10 minutes of like prep time, not cook time, because stuff can cook on its own, but prep time, you know, to feed my family or even to feed myself and so that's part of it is like believing that you can get better in the kitchen and faster and use tools to get there and that it doesn't have to be complicated is like one of my really big things for being organized. It's like not allowing other things to, we only have so much time, right, other things to radiate in. Like I can't be late for this interview because my prep time in the kitchen went longer than I thought. That's another thing for me, time management, time management in the kitchen with all of it.
LAURIE PALAU: Oh my gosh, I love everything you said. And as I'm sitting there, I think again, that pre-meal prep, like you said, if you've got stuff ready to go, that is key, and I have done that. I do that in my own home. I do, for me, Sundays, I'll do like I cook in parts a lot of times, so I'll make my husband's Spanish, right or he's Cuban. So like, we have a lot of rice and beans in our house. Like even -
HOLLAN HAMID: Yeah.
LAURIE PALAU: But like, you know, our sautéed vegetables or this or that, you know, made so that when people come in and you're ravenous, you have something that you can grab and go as opposed to go into that quick default of going into the pantry and grabbing something to just fill up the void and not really get to the root problem.
HOLLAN HAMID: Or a second cup of coffee. I'm like oh, I'm hungry, maybe a second cup of coffee because there's no food made.
LAURIE PALAU: You're singing my song sister.
HOLLAN HAMID: Right.
LAURIE PALAU: Before we go to, we have one more quick break before we wrap up, but can you just let our listeners know where they can go to learn more if they want to take your courses or look into any of your one-on-one coaching, get the book, all the things. Where can they go to find you?
HOLLAN HAMID: So hollanhawaii.com is the best way to find me because it has links to everything. I have two of my resets on there, you can order the cookbook from there and you definitely can contact me, I'm in charge of my own email so I respond to everything. This really is my life mission. I love answering questions. I also love knowing what people need so that I can give that content so please reach out to me and I'm most active on the gram every single day you can find me there. Yeah, I really love doing this and I really love, you know, letting people know that they can change their life and they can change their body and I'm proof of that and they can do it in their own way, like, you know I would never want to take like your husband from Cuba and change the foods he loves. Like I just want to show him like how it can be healthier. Cuban, Cuba loves pork. I went there, I was like I could barely even eat. It was like the best cleanse I've ever done. I called it the Cuba cleanse because I could eat nothing when I was there. I was like wait, there's pork in your salad dressing? Wait!
LAURIE PALAU: Oh my gosh. Would you just eat rice, could you just eat or did they put pork-
HOLLAN HAMID: Oh no, there's pork broth in their beans and the rice.
LAURIE PALAU: Oh jeez.
HOLLAN HAMID: Oh no, no, no, no, there was really nothing I could have and the internet was down but literally I realized when I was there and this is the thing right? I realized when I was there that I'm pretty allergic to soy, as a vegan, because they have no soy, so for me cutting it out it was one of those things that I was doing very small amounts of because most vegan products have soy additives.
LAURIE PALAU: Yeah.
HOLLAN HAMID: And soy sauce or tamari was my biggest flavoring, I love it, now it's coconut aminos, but things like that, right, really can show you something. Like I went somewhere where I couldn't eat at all and I literally found a missing puzzle piece to my health.
LAURIE PALAU: Wow, that's incredible. That's really incredible.
HOLLAN HAMID: Yeah, so I love Cuba, by the way.
LAURIE PALAU: Awesome, one of my favorite.
HOLLAN HAMID: Favorite people I've ever met, in my life, Cuba, I'd go back in an instant.
LAURIE PALAU: Yeah, I want to, we want to go. I haven't been, so.
HOLLAN HAMID: Thank you.
LAURIE PALAU: Alright, we're gonna take a quick break and we'll be right back to do our wrap up questions.
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LAURIE PALAU: Alright, Hollan, this has been such a fun conversation. I loved it, I hope everybody listening is feeling energized and inspired and runs right out and grabs your cookbook. So we can do it again. We'll have links to all things Hollan in our show notes, including her book. We always like to wrap up our interviews by sharing sources of inspiration for our listeners. You've obviously been a source of inspiration for me and so many other people. So I have three quick questions for you and you can answer them in whatever order you want. So the first one is, what books over your life or book, it doesn't to be multiple, has inspired you, and it could be something related to health or parenting or just not even at all, just something else, a book that has meant something to you. And then we'll start with that and I'll go to our other two questions.
HOLLAN HAMID: So in terms of food, it's skinny, and I don't know if we can say the word on here, Skinny B.
LAURIE PALAU: Need some help? Yes, yes.
HOLLAN HAMID: Skinny Bitch was the book that changed my life and I feel like I owe my health to them. I mean, literally, I am so grateful, and that was the book I read 14 years ago. But in terms of making changes, I'm a huge Joe Dispenza fan and Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself is maybe my favorite life changing book.
LAURIE PALAU: And we will link to both of those, because I think people are always looking for resources. They love it when we linked other peoples' go to books. And then because our show is all about organization, but also about honesty and authenticity, we know that there's parts of our lives where we are thriving and feel like we are killing it when it comes to being organized and other parts where we feel like a little bit of a hot mess. So in this particular season of your life, where do you feel that you're thriving, and where do you feel like you need a little TLC?
HOLLAN HAMID: You know, I think where I'm thriving is definitely in I'm thriving in organizing myself for the life I want. Like I really am looking at myself for the first time and being like where do I want to be in a year? What does that actually look like? Where do I want to be in five years? As opposed to like, chasing something that doesn't have an end, if that makes sense?
LAURIE PALAU: Yeah.
HOLLAN HAMID: Like, I really am organized in looking at my future and the way I want that to look like and that feels really good, as opposed to like, oh, if this gets me here or there it's just like, I'm organized on the end game, you know, or the beginning game, whichever way you look at it.
LAURIE PALAU: Exactly. Exactly. I like it and I think it's great, because goal setting is really important and I think that really helps us stay on our path.
HOLLAN HAMID: Hot mess. So for me, I'm an all or nothing and I think we have very similar personalities, you've said things where I'm like, oh, that's so me. And so all or nothing, my life/work to before when my kids would go to school, I work for myself, but I normally have an hour or two organize myself and my life and I'm someone my like, my house has to be picked up, right? I can have dishes and laundry going but like if stuffs all over the floor, or places, like I can't do life. And so for me, I definitely am not killing it with my kids being home now. I live with my 18 and 21 year old, my 13 year old is on her way home and for me, it's really hard to clean, organize, when people are around. And so I'm kind of a hot mess in feeling like I have my mojo on it. Like I'm just like, every day I'm like is this just what it is? Is there actually a start and finish? So I'm someone that likes a clean house and then to sit somewhere and not move, right, before the kids come home and just know it's clean. And I haven't had that in like, the last year.
LAURIE PALAU: Yeah, I'm right there with you. And I think the struggle is real and I can relate to that and it's like, I just, I don't want to see a textbook out or another dish out or something, you know, like there's always stuff. I don't know if this works for you but I carve out one little area and for me, it's been my home office where like, I'm able to maintain that level of control because I do think it is what it is to some degree and I call that like situational clutter, right? So there's, this is there's a situation, you know, we're all home, there's all stuff, we're eating every meal at home, we're doing school, homework, home, all the things. So you're gonna have like, because we don't live in a magazine, we don't want to kill ourselves to, you know, say we're, you know, our house is like -
HOLLAN HAMID: You mean Better Homes isn't showing up today for a photo shoot?
LAURIE PALAU: Yeah, exactly. But for me, if you can just carve out one little corner of wherever that is for you, and keep that in that place of calm when you're starting to feel, like, just go there. That's what I do.
HOLLAN HAMID: I'm gonna do my dresser today and kind of set it up as an altar of my favorite things and care for that. You know, that's really funny because even with all of this, I felt so out of control and one day I was like, I'm going to go buy 12 house plants and just see if I can keep those alive, because I felt so out of control on keeping my, you know, home and my life in control. Like I was like, we're going back to basics. Can you keep houseplants alive, Hollan?
LAURIE PALAU: Oh my gosh.
HOLLAN HAMID: And they are, they're still alive.
LAURIE PALAU: Yay! That's awesome! That's great! Well, I love it. Well, again, thank you so much for coming on our show, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and putting this amazing content out there for the rest of us. It's truly a gift. And for all of you out there, thank you so much for tuning into this episode. If you haven't already connected up with us we are on Instagram at SimplyBOrganized or hop on over to our Facebook group, This Organized Life Podcast and ask your questions, comments and don't forget, click the subscribe button so new episodes will get downloaded each and every week. Until next week, I am Laurie Palau, peace out.
LAURIE PALAU: Thanks for tuning in. If you liked this episode, make sure to click the subscribe button wherever you are listening, so that you never miss an episode. And while you're there, go ahead and leave us a review. A special shout out to our amazingly talented Podcast Producer Don Jackson of the Raven Media Group, for all of his hard work. And finally, if you want to connect with me, visit simplyborganized.com, or find me all over social media at Simply B Organized. I'll see you next week for another episode of This Organized Life.
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