UPDATE: It’s finally done! If you are interested, go check out my e-book and learn how to live a plant-based life!
Aside from chasing around three little boys, cleaning house, planting a garden, cooking, helping out a little at church, *almost* keeping up with Steve’s accounting needs…and losing my mind…I’ve been working on developing a health coaching program to help people who are looking for a healthy way to do life. It seems people often give up on a new lifestyle because they simply don’t know how to change. It is not easy to relearn everything you’ve always known about feeding yourself. It is HARD to figure out what to cook, how to cook it, and what to even buy at the grocery store when everything is new to you. Enter my obsessive-compulsive, over-organized, plan-making self (recently self-entitled “Master Shifu”). Thanks to the help of a couple of sweet and cooperative “test-families,” I have been developing a 6-week program that holds your hand from grocery shopping to meal preparation, making the journey to becoming a vegan chef as little work as possible. Still working on the final touches, but wanted to share a sneak peek in hopes of sparking an interest and desire in some of you to go for it! I hope to have things wrapped up with a pretty bow to share with you by the end of the month, so be sure to sign up for updates in the sidebar if you haven’t already! →
There is a LOT of information about different diets out there. It is all very convincing. And a lot of it has at least some truth to it. What I know I know partly from life (I’ve been vegetarian since I was 8 and vegan since my youngest son’s allergy issues forced my hand to give up dairy too!), partly from casual reading (health and fitness have always been an interest/passion for me), and partly from education (as a family herbalist and health coach). What I have found to be a recurring theme is that there are many things that can help improve your health, but almost every ailment I have studied and everything I and my family have experienced points me to the fact that a nutrient-dense, whole-foods, plant-based (WFPB) lifestyle eliminates all but the reality that we live in a fallen world and people get sick and die…eventually. You don’t have to wait until you are noticeably sick to start taking good care of yourself. A lifestyle that lends itself to the healing of disease is also a good lifestyle for preventing disease. There are no negative side effects of a WFPB lifestyle. Something I would have a hard time saying about pretty much any other approach to eating.
People do see huge improvements from other diets, but I would say most often it is in spite of some of the things they are eating not because of them. For example, not to pick on a particular diet, but let’s look at the increasingly popular Paleo diet for example. It can (and for many people does) help with a lot of ailments. I would attribute that success to the shift away from processed foods, dairy, and sugars coupled with a greater emphasis on vegetables than most people eat. But regardless of its redeeming qualities and admittedly successful short-term health improvements, the dangers of high protein diets have been studied many times and the long-term health risks are huge. Statistics over time have shown the rise in modern day diseases (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, etc.) directly related to the rise in animal protein consumption. In countries where the staple diet contains little to no animal protein, these health concerns are virtually unheard of. They are the anomaly that they ought to be, not the excessive actuality that they are in our country. Here’s a reality check for Americans: according to The Heart Foundation, “Every 33 seconds someone in the United States dies from cardiovascular disease which is roughly the equivalent of a September 11th-like tragedy repeating itself every 24 hours, 365 days a year.” Statistics are hard to trust because they vary so much between sources, but the CDC’s more conservative estimate (at the time of this writing) is that “about 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year – that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.” No matter what the statistical reports show and no matter where they come from, the fact remains that heart disease is a big problem in the U.S.
The healthy results of a WFPB way of life have been making their way into the spotlight with popular documentaries and books such as Forks Over Knives, Fat Sick & Nearly Dead, and The China Study that show how and why a WFPB lifestyle can and does heal and restore the body and greatly lessen the likelihood of modern diseases. If you haven’t read/watched any of the above and you’re a facts, figures, and results type of person, I highly recommend taking a look. I haven’t taken the time to do so yet, but I am also excited to read The Low-Carb Fraud and Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition by the author of The China Study when time allows. Go ahead and judge me if you want to, I know I’m not the coolest person you’ll ever meet ;).
Whether you choose to get help from someone like me or go it alone, if you decide to give a WFPB lifestyle a go, I encourage a commitment of at least 6 weeks to allow the body to adjust and detox before making any long term decisions about reverting to a standard American diet. Avoid anything processed (that includes oils – no matter what popular media tells you, none of them are good for you (no, not even olive or coconut oil) – more on that later…), dairy, eggs, and meat. For some that may sound extremely difficult. If that’s you, stick around and check out my 6-Week WFPB Challenge when it’s released. I know for a meat-lover it sounds too hard, and possibly not even remotely interesting. My husband was a perfect example of a hard sell. He’s been a meat and potatoes hunting man his whole life. But he asked me for help to look and feel better and I suggested that he try eating like me for 6 weeks instead of making me adapt his typical diet with a standard caloric restriction. He agreed to try it for 6 weeks and he hasn’t gone back. He still eats meat on occasion to “treat” himself, but less and less often as he feels like c.r.a.p. afterwards. He enjoys WFPB foods and leaves the table satisfied.
While you’re waiting on the edge of your seat for me to finish my little project…go ahead and try a WFPB meal. All of the recipes I have posted are listed on my know your food page. Hoping to get back to posting new recipes regularly soon!