I was vegetarian for 18 years. In retrospect, I realize now I wasn’t a very healthy one. I ate cheese by the ton – the most unhealthiest of choices – and used “heart-healthy” (not) oil by the bucket.
Reading The China Study by T. Colin Campbell was the turning point. I finally got it – the health connection between the consumption of all animal products and the processed foods we eat with our personal health. With a strong history of cancer in my family, along with my own personal bout with the disease in 2001, I quit cheese cold turkey (pardon the phrase).
But having spent 18 years dining on fake meats and dishes smothered in cheese, I was at a complete loss when it came to switching to a whole foods, plant-based diet. “What do I eat, now?” I wondered. Making the transition to a healthy diet did not happen overnight, and that’s the point I want to emphasize. I did quit consuming dairy products and eggs right away, but the processed foods – well, it took a while to move away from the convenience foods because I wasn’t sure what to eat.
Dr. McDougall’s 5-Day Program in California was a lifesaver. For 5 days we were treated to three buffet meals a day filled with delicious food, along with days filled with fascinating lectures about nutrition and how to make smart choices, along with cooking demonstrations and more.
Making the shift to a new way of eating can seem overwhelming, at first. It requires a complete mind shift. Not only do you have to change the way you think about food, but also the way you shop and cook. But I promise the rewards of a truly healthy diet are worth the investment of time and effort.
I went on my first diet right after high school and that began a 40-plus year roller coaster ride. If I was on a diet I was losing weight, and if I was off a diet I was gaining. My weight was never stable. I lost a lot of pounds (a lot) over the years, but I always found them again along with a few extra companion pounds that weren’t there before. In all the years I learned how to diet, but never how to make a lasting lifestyle change – which is critical.
Since adopting a low fat, whole foods, plant-based lifestyle five years ago, I have lost close to 50 pounds. Better yet, though, I no longer worry about it. I don’t diet. I just eat healthy, and for the first time in my life my weight has stabilized. It either holds steady or it decreases – just the opposite of all those years of yo-yo rides.
Before, too, I had been trending dangerously close to diabetes (another family histroy) with blood sugar readings hitting 120. Now my blood sugar is below 100. There is no sense of deprivation. I feel great. I have tons of energy, and I’m passionate about the scrumptious, wholesome food I eat.
I’m also passionate about sharing the good news, and the benefits of eating a healthy diet. I’m not a dietician or a doctor, and I’m not a chef, by any means. I am probably a lot like you, an individual wanting to take charge of their health. If you are not quite sure where or how to start, I can help. I’ve been there, and done that. Jean