I don’t subscribe to the idea that change is impossible. That idea is downright frightening to me. I’m quite sure none of us want to live out life as the 14-year-old version of ourselves, yikes! Hell, I even cringe thinking about some of the things the 20-year-old version of myself had completely wrong. To me, it’s impossible to be stuck in these moments in time. I feel that we are constantly growing, changing and evolving to our surroundings. It’s not always a delightful process, but I’m no stranger to the growing pains associated with change.
Today, I’m the kind of person who walks into a grocery store and gets excited when the greens look especially vibrant and alive. I’m the kind of person that gets giddy looking at a plate full of beautiful colours. I’m the kind of person that can often be seen dancing around the kitchen, singing goofy songs to my girls about antioxidants, nutrients and cruciferous greens. Yep, I’m kind of a dork. I’ve accepted it and so have they. The bottom line is, I wasn’t always this way.
It all started for me on a day that I wasn’t feeling well. This had become something of a pattern, as back then, I was often fighting off some bug or another. As I would typically do when feeling unwell, I curled up on the couch and browsed through Netflix to see if anything piqued my interest. I came across “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”, a documentary by Joe Cross primarily about juicing and the power of plants. Basically, he was able to reverse his health issues by going on a prolonged, medically supervised juice fast, just flooding his body with micronutrients from all sorts of fruits and vegetables. It was pretty amazing to watch!
While the idea of a juice fast at that point seemed pretty daunting, I was really interested in the idea that we could heal our bodies with food, or more specifically, the right food. The flame of curiosity was definitely lit, so I began looking for related titles, coming across a documentary entitled “Forks over Knives.” This one explored the links between diet and diseases like cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and more. The many experts in this documentary agreed, the current Western diet is making us sick. I sat there slack-jawed and horrified (admittedly not my best look). How was it that this information wasn’t being shouted from the rooftops? I was hooked by this point and had to learn more.
The more information I gathered, the more I was convinced. It was empowering to learn that we aren’t slaves to our genes. We aren’t powerless as we wait for cancer to find us. We aren’t destined for disease and it’s not a natural part of ageing. We can heavily influence the likelihood of having to eventually face some terrible diseases simply through what we choose to put in our mouths. This was a life-changing moment for me, as up until this point I had been living in fear of the illnesses lurking in my family tree. I was going to take the plunge and try out a whole foods plant-based diet.
Some of you may be wondering what exactly a whole foods plant-based diet is. No, it has nothing to do with Whole Foods the retail chain. It’s a diet consisting of plant foods, as close to their whole, unprocessed forms as possible. Think fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. It just so happens that these are the foods that give us all of our important nutrients anyway.
So, by eliminating the foods that are notoriously nutrient poor and disease-promoting, we have more room for the foods that are nutrient rich and disease-fighting powerhouses. The result is significantly improved health and quality of life, whether you are in your 30’s or 60’s. While there are some people that may fight this idea pretty hard (change can be a bitch, can’t it?), it’s common sense by this point that we’re supposed to be eating our fruits and vegetables to be healthy and strong.
So, over the next month, I began trying new recipes, slowly dropping meat, eggs, dairy and processed foods from my diet and replacing them with beautiful fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. I started to feel so good, so full of energy, that I knew I was on the right track. Sure, I would feel tempted on occasion to eat something I used to enjoy, but I knew that it wouldn’t serve me well. It wouldn’t make me feel good, and that wasn’t a feeling I was willing to give up. I suddenly understood the old adage, nothing tastes as good as healthy feels.
Today, it’s been well over a year since I began fuelling entirely with plants, and when I think back, I definitely don’t miss the old foods. I’ve built a good repertoire of recipes that me and my family love and found good substitutes for foods we used to eat. I could lie to you and tell you it was super easy, but what would be the fun in that? I had to shed old habits and form new ones. I had to convince two kids that vegetables were awesome and McDonald’s was a no-fly zone. I had to learn how to cook with new ingredients (“WTF is nutritional yeast?!?”). Even my husband, who had been vegetarian prior to meeting me, admitted to the odd clandestine trip through the drive-thru.
So, it wasn’t always easy, but it was worth it. My energy level seemed to skyrocket, aches and pains that had started to plague me after a hard day of work were suddenly a non-issue, my skin cleared up and the numbers on the scale began to decrease effortlessly. The changes and improvements I started to notice right away in myself and my family were a clear enough message for me, this was the way forward.
My passion for this lifestyle has only continued to grow, which brings me now to this blog. My goal here is to share tips, recipes, information and some of the crazy hijinks I’ve encountered on this journey. I want people to see how easy, affordable and accessible this lifestyle really can be. I want people to see that their health is in their hands. So, whether you are looking for a laugh, some information, encouragement, or something tasty to eat, I hope to be able to share all of that with you.
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Feature image credit: Photo by Congerdesign via Pixabay.