Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Book Review & Recipe: "Change Anything" with Sunny Carrot Hummus

If you are like most of the general population you find sticking to and achieving goals and changing behaviors difficult. "Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success" by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzer sets out to give anyone the tools to change the areas they are stuck in--from enhancing a career, to losing weight and getting fit, to getting out of debt, to improving relationships, to overcoming addiction. According to "Change Anything" it isn't having willpower that will get you to change your behaviors, it is learning the strategies and understanding the six sources of influence that affect your daily decisions and using them in your favor that will enable you to master your goals.

The authors identify the Six Sources of Influence as:
  1. Personal Motivation (having the will or desire to change)
  2. Personal Ability (having the skills necessary to change)
  3. Social Motivation (having good role models to influence positive behaviors)
  4. Social Ability (getting help, information & support from others)
  5. Structural Motivation (linking short term rewards & punishments to new habits)
  6. Structural Ability (making changes in your environment that help you focus on your goals)
The book provides plenty of tactics to support each of the six sources of influence and also gives examples of how they were used by individuals in making the different behavior changes. Everything is broken down step-by-step so although there are a lot of ideas and information in this book, it doesn't feel overwhelming. Strategies like identifying those crucial moments and temptations that distract from your goal, coming up with ways in advance to avoid them and establishing guidelines for circumventing them, or looking at slip ups as an opportunity to learn and adjust your behaviors rather than viewing them as failures, are valuable and go beyond basic goal-setting. The authors based the book on an award winning article they wrote called "How to Have Influence" and the research behind the articles found that people who used the change model increased the likelihood they changed their behavior tenfold.

I decided to practice the ideas using the six sources of influence and some of the tactics from the book as I completed my 28-Day Engine 2 Challenge--a vegan diet challenge that I went on with a group of Whole Foods employees and customers.

What my Six Sources of Influence Looked Like:
  1. My Personal Motivation: I wanted to complete the challenge without cheating as I was speaking to the group and wanted to set a good example (personal pride!) and I also set a goal of losing ten pounds on the challenge--something I was anxious to achieve.
  2. My Personal Ability: My ability to cook well and come up with recipes, as well as my studies in nutrition and vegan diets made it easier for me know how to eat so I was satisfied and getting my nutritional requirements, making it easier to stick to the plan.
  3. My Social Motivation: Going through the challenge with a peer group and meeting once a week, as well as avoiding situations (or at least preparing for them), where I would be tempted helped me stick to the challenge plan.
  4. My Social Ability: Whole Foods provided information, foods to try, a 28-day food journal and advice from others who had completed the challenge. Between that and a copy of the Engine 2 Diet book, I felt like I had information and support.
  5. My Structural Motivation: Some short term rewards I used when I hit daily and weekly goals were--lunches out at a great vegan place with a vegan dessert, a couple of new vegan cookbooks, a piece of expensive dark (vegan) chocolate when I hit my exercise goal for the day, etc. No junk television unless I completed my exercise goal for the day was a "punishment" that motivated. ;-)
  6. My Structural Ability: The diet was vegan/no oil so I put the olive oil (and my other oils) away during the challenge. I also hid the salmon, butter and other no-no's so I wasn't looking at them. I made fruits and veggies front and center in my fridge and prepped them so that they were easy to eat. I also used my journal daily--having to write down what I was eating made me focus on it, and I put my walking shoes, resistance bands and weights in the living room in plain sight.
The result? With a little thought and preparation I completed the challenge without any cheating or slip ups, lost 11 pounds (one more than my goal), and I got a cute challenge shirt from Whole Foods for completing it. It was such a positive experience that I signed myself up for another 28 days eating vegan--both for overall health and to drop a few more pounds. (Although I did decide to add a little olive oil back in this time!). ;-)

I found "Change Anything" to be helpful and a great resource for achieving my own goals as well as in coaching others to reach their goals. So much of it rang true and even applying just some of the many tactics it contained seemed to work. Although it takes a little thought and preparation--if the results last, it is worth it. If you are looking to make some changes in any area of your life and want some support in eliminating stubborn habits--this book is a great place to start. It is one of the best books on goal setting and achievement that I have read. The book even has a companion website with additional tools and support for making changes at changeanythingbook.com.

As part of my structural influences, I made it a point to have delicious, healthy snacks around. I came up with this Sunny Carrot Hummus when I was trying a recipe for a carrot "butter" that was very blah and boring. I knew I could make something better so I took the pureed carrots and added chickpeas and spices to make a healthy, oil-free hummus that has pleased everyone I have served it to--even the carrot haters.

Sunny Carrot Hummus
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes about 2 1/2 cups)

2 cups carrots, peeled and sliced, (1/2 cup of cooking liquid reserved)
1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup natural almond butter (or peanut butter)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch of cayenne pepper (to taste)
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp salt or to taste
ground black pepper

Place the sliced carrots in a medium saucepan and cover them with water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer carrots for 10-15 minutes or until tender when pierced with a knife. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and set aside. Drain carrots well.

In a food processor combine cooked carrots, garbanzo beans, almond butter, garlic, cumin, cayenne, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Process until mixture is smooth, adding small amounts of the cooking water from the carrots to keep ingredients moving and until the hummus is the consistency desired. Taste for seasoning and add more if necessary. Cover and chill for one hour or more. Will keep about 1 week in the fridge--but it may need to be stirred before serving or using.

Notes/Results: bright and tasty. This is great as a dip with healthy, low fat / low sodium crackers or the raw veggies of your choice. It also is wonderful as a sandwich spread--especially with avocado, cucumber and tomato on a multi-grain bread or wrap. I like almond butter, but you could also use a natural peanut butter or tahini. It is nice with the kick from the cayenne but you can lessen the amount or leave it out if you are making it for kids or don't like things spicy.

Obligatory Disclosure Statement: A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher and PTA Reader Rewards but I was not compensated for this review and as always my thoughts and opinions are my own.


  1. I think so much of changing your behavior is about being prepared to change and by thinking about all of these "steps" you were definitely more prepared! Congrats Deb! I'm SO happy for you!

    This hummus looks delicious and is exactly the kind of snack I would turn to as well!

  2. so cool that you achieved your goals! way to go!

  3. I am in awe of you, Deb! Well done!

    And the hummus looks fab - I have all the ingredients in!

  4. congratulations on your success Deb! Very cool

  5. I think it is true that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. I'm so proud of you for achieving this goal. I will definitely have to try the carrot hummus.

  6. I admire your dedication to see things through and am so happy for you on completing this challenge! Losing 11 pounds as an added bonus is absolutely amazing.

    You know I'm on board with hummus of any variety and carrots just happen to be one of my favorite veggies. This looks delicious!

  7. ... I've just made this. So delicious! Thanks Deb.

  8. Congratulations, Deb, on not only thriving on your vegan diet but also committing to another month! I went vegan over 3 months ago and haven't looked back! :)

    I agree that it is important to be cognizant of the triggers that may help or hinder your progress to change. Glad you were able to work through it! :)

    I look forward to seeing even more of your vegan creations. This hummus looks great!

  9. An enjoyable read Change Anything Kerry Patterson . loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and original, this book is going in by "to read" list.


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