When people hear that I am whole food plant based, otherwise known as a vegan diet without the processed junk food. They ask …. Why? Don’t you miss meat? I always pause for a moment and consider whether I am going to tell them the full truth or a succinct answer. In reality I want to yell from the roof tops about how great I feel and how amazing the food can be if you learn to cook using more herbs and spices.
I am going to be totally honest and somewhat vulnerable by sharing my journey to a whole food plant-based diet with you. I am not trying to convert people and respect the rights of others to choose to eat as they wish. As the story goes it was about 3 years ago that I started to get very interested in eating “healthier foods” it was not because I needed to lose weight but rather I just wanted to know I was looking after my body the best I possibly could.
I began educating myself by watching documentaries such as Food Inc and many others that I found on Food Matters. I felt horrible watching Food Inc and seeing how the animals in factory farms where treated. I was a kid who at a very early age got upset when I realised the “chicken” I was eating was the same one I had been singing about on Old McDonalds farm. Nevertheless, I still grew up consuming animal products and I truly believed that a healthy diet MUST incorporate them.
It wasn’t until one night my husband and I sat down and watched Forks Over Knives. We sat there gobsmacked and outraged about the information and links Dr T Colin Campbell had proved through the China Study regarding casein and cancer. I remember clearly pausing the DVD and saying “I hope this is all a load of shit”. However, after watching it we thought well it sounds credible but let’s look into the science. Not what you find on Wikipedia or some pretty blogger posts, but actual credible and peer reviewed science. Too much of the research you find is biased and industry funded. Anyway, we embarked on reading The China Study and Whole and we were convinced. I remember thinking “damn it, this is not convenient”.
Mostly, I changed my diet because I have seen and experienced too much pain. Losing my family members to horrible battles with cancer. I lost my beautiful aunt way too early to breast cancer. She was my mentor and the cool aunt that is more like your best friend. To see her lose her struggle was heart breaking and to see how this tore my family and Grandmother to pieces I hope others don’t have to experience. I lost both my Grandfathers to cancer and saw their bodies turn to a shell of their former selves. I know that you are probably reading this and thinking yeah, I have experienced this too. Why do we sit down and take it? When we know that there is research proving that despite your genetic risk you don’t have to go the same way. I read in a book somewhere a great analogy about genes. “Genes load the gun … lifestyle pulls the trigger”. Well for me I knew that I didn’t want to pull the trigger. I won’t lay down and accept a fate that I haven’t given it 100% to avoid. There is no amount of bacon, eggs and cheese that will wipe the image of my gorgeous vibrant aunt in her last weeks fighting to live or seeing my Grandfather take his last breath… he still wanted to be the life of the party … he wasn’t done living.
In no way do I want to make people feel upset or triggered but this is something that is close to my heart and it is time that I finally speak my truth. The great part of this change has been learning to cook incredible food and helping others eat a more plant-based diet through my health coaching and recipe books appealing to peoples taste buds. The by product of this change has been that my behaviour is also inline with my ethics and love of animals. I can hold my head high knowing that my food is having an impact on the health of environment and all these things bring a sense of peace and non violence to my life.
Fast forward to today … I have now read and made my life about finding and immersing myself in the best possible research to learn about human health and longevity. The science points out time and time again that a plant-based diet is the healthiest diet for humans. I am starting my degree to be a nutritionist so that I can learn more and help more people. I know we don’t live forever but while we are here lets enjoy great health and live every moment to the fullest.
Some of the game changing books, studies and information that I suggest you check out is:
Proteinaholic (Dr Garth Davis): for when you need to calm your nerves that you WILL easily meet your protein requirements
Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease (Dr Caldwell Esselstyn): this was amazing … preventing and reversing the biggest killer.
How Not to Die (Dr Michael Greger): Simple tips of how to avoid the biggest killers and the research that supports it.
The Blue Zones (Dan Buettner): Follows the research by National Geographic about the areas in the world that live the longest and healthiest lives.
The Rich Roll Podcast: Listening to the many guests talk about their research, athletic performance and journeys to better health.
Adventist Health Study