My host for the night was Otto - a final year Public Relations student. Despite my 11pm checkin he was full of energy and a fascinating source of information on Riga. Amongst some fascinating facts about regional politics and demographics I discovered that Latvia has a strong tradition of local farming. Most students in Latvia receive regular support from home in the form of potatoes and other 'home grown' produce. Otto stopped eating meat 6 months ago. He had lost 20kg and he asked me for my suggestions.
"I want to eat healthy interesting food but I don't have a whole load of time to spend preparing it."
"Quick yes but not necessarily 'easy'. In Latvia we can get a lot done in a short time. We are efficient."
Based on my limited experience with a small handful of taxi drivers, shopkeepers and cafe staff this was entirely believable. I certainly didn't come across any idle Latvians! It felt to me like some kind 'Baltic hustle' mentality. Not in the slightest pushy or obtrusive but all about doing what needs to be done without any fuss and being ready to help the next person. I liked it! Otto explained that the Latvian economy was extremely slow so maybe that had something to do with the hustling but in any case as a student in Latvia his superfood budget was quite limited.
The coach in me became excited about the challenge. Busy people on a budget don't have the resources for dehydrating flax seed bread or luxurious raw vegan cheesecake. To offer something inspiring and useful I had to be concise and on point. Here is the 3 point plan I came up with for Otto:
1. Learn about what goes into your body - knowledge is power so you need to start doing your own research. Imagine how empowered you will be by the end of the year if you read just one good article per week! Notice how your energy levels and sense of wellbeing adjust as you start to make better informed choices.
2. Cut something out - what is one thing that your body will thank you for you eliminating from your routine? Often it is the small changes, applied deliberately and consistently over a period of time, that give the best and most sustainable results. Are you ready to let it go to make space for something new to take its place?
3. Try something new - pick two or three new things to try adding to your diet and find one that you really enjoy. Rome wasn't built in a day and your full-power superfood lifestyle doesn't have to happen overnight. If the changes are manageable and you feel like you are moving forward that will motivate you to keep going and to take the next step when you are ready.
Oh and if you end up in Riga and you want to stay somewhere authentic for a night or more then be sure to check out Otto's profile on AirBnB. You will be a short walk from everything and it will cost you about the same as a dorm room in a hostel with 12+ beds. This link will give you a £14 discount - about the same as you will spend staying for a night at Otto's place.
Disclaimer: if you stay with Otto he might use the money from AirBnB to buy superfood supplies to share with his housemates. Stuff like chia seeds, cacao powder and coconut oil from the local wholefoods store. You have been warned!