When most people set goals, they ask \u201cWhat do I want?\u201dA new house or car, a trip to New York or India, or a fulfilling career running an NGO. When adopting a vegan diet, the better goal setting question to ask is, \u201cWho, exactly, do I want to be?\u201d When I first switched to a vegetarian diet, it was strictly for environmental reasons. A meatless and dairy-free farming industry equaled less methane and less climate change. Crops could then be grown to feed humans instead of animals and we\u2019d have cleaner water, richer soil and better air quality. Throw in some savvy composting techniques and the planet would be a greener place. Later, after my 72-year-old friend, Bill, switched his life over to a vegan lifestyle and reversed his stage IV cancer using nothing but organic plant-based whole-foods, that\u2019s when being vegan held a whole new meaning. Bill lived strong and well for another 22 years and veganism became all about the health for me. Being vegan for ethical reasons \u2013 that took time. Perhaps my empathy centre was broken. But as my palate was cleansed, my heart healed, and my back pain morphed into a backbone, I innately started to connect to all living beings on a deeper level. Lately, I discovered a fourth reason to switch to a vegan lifestyle. For over 10 years I\u2019ve studied, taught and then witnessed hundreds of clients reverse hundreds of chronic degenerative diseases using vegan food as medicine. Beyond the eradication of pain and disease and the boost in energy that my clients experience quickly when they turn to a vegan diet, there are two themes that unite the healing experiences of my clients: human potential and higher consciousness. Science tells us that within our unique gene make-up, we have the potential to be any one of nearly two thousand different versions of ourselves. Yes, one body equals 2,000 different versions of YOU! And this can happen simply by changing the environment that your genes are exposed to. Diet is responsible for over 90% of that environment which can switch the \u2018bad\u2019 genes off and the \u2018good genes\u2019 on. So which version of yourself do you aspire to create? Do you want to be an ultra-athlete that suffers from chronic pain between races or the kind that recovers quickly and can outpace your meat-eating counterparts? Or are you an energized mother and teacher that can outplay her four children and 30 students? Or does your diet make it hard for you to get out of bed each morning leaving you in a lethargic heap that needs coffee to rise and wine to sleep with no energy left to realize your dreams. The foods that maximize your human potential are vegan \u2013 that\u2019s the given that my clients experience daily. When you eat a diversity of the 77,000 edible veggies, fruits and grains on the planet, you feed your body the insoluble plant-based fiber, vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients that feed your microbiome which then goes on to feed your brain. Your neural mitochondria count (the powerhouses of your brain) increases. And here your body and mind are calmer and operate efficiently. Meditation is deeper. Regeneration is faster. Excess anger and weight melt away. You think and act better, quicker, with patience. Also, every morsel of food that touches your lips evokes deeper awareness into the web of life that unites us all. Happiness, peace, and enlightenment are then attainable. There are four key tenets to making sure that you don\u2019t destroy the human-potentiating benefits of vegan foods. One, choose only vegan foods that are organic and plant-based, whole vegetables, fruits and grains \u2013 minimizing nuts and seeds for when you need them most. Two, don\u2019t eat anything that has a label on it (yes, a bag of potatoes labeled potatoes is A-OK, but processed foods are not). Three, eat a wide diversity of said foods in abundance in both cooked and raw form. Foods can also be juiced or blended into soups, dips, dressings and desserts. Aim for 30-plus varieties each week. And four, ditch the refined sugars, salts, and oils. These processed ingredients act like a drug that create disease and addiction not unlike alcohol and cigarettes do. They numb your connection to source and power. Consciousness creating foods are abundant in all the macro and micronutrients that fuel your physical being and your spirit. Thankfully, they are inexpensive compared to their packaged counterparts. To learn more about how to prepare these potentiating and consciousness-building meals, dive into my book, "Eat Real to Heal," visit one of our Green Moustache cafes or join us at our Nutrition + Detox Wellness Centre to learn how you can begin to maximize your potential, regain your zest for life, and become the best version of yourself! Nicolette Richer is the Founder, CEO + Chair: Green Moustache Organic Cafes, Richer Health Consulting, Richer Health Nutrition + Detox Wellness Centre, Sea to Sky Thrivers Society Image Credit:\u00a0Anastasia Chomlack's All of You Become a CLUBKINDLY member today!