Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Now She Done It...

Before I say anything I have to preface this post by telling you I've been where you are, reading some newly-gone-vegan's blog, and thinking, "So weird.  And so gross". If you told me even a year ago I'd be vegan by now, I would have shaken my head and said, "oh no. how little you must know me."  When the real problem was, I didn't know myself.  Not well enough anyway.  I didn't understand what was happening to my body every time I put something inside it.  But now I know.  Not everything.  But A LOT  more than I did six months ago, and what I know has led me to make some pretty big changes.  Good changes:)

It started about a year ago, after my open heart surgery, when my cardiologist, whom I admire and deeply appreciate, recommended a vegan diet.  You can imagine what I said....No Way.  I even scoffed at her.  As if I could do that.  Instantly, I thought of three reasons I couldn't.  1.  I LOVED FOOD, and thought vegans were people who used their diet as an excuse to starve themselves.  2. I knew it could be super time consuming...ain't nobody got time for that  and 3. I knew it could be really expensive.

So, she simply recommended I look in to it, and instinctively, I put the idea on my mental back burner.  Then, as I was looking up recipes one night, I came across this vegan's blog.  Her entire layout caught my eye and so even though I knew all her recipes would be plant,whole-foods based, I read on.  And before I knew it, I'd printed more than 30 recipes, all containing ingredients I'd never even heard of.

But that was it...for at least 5 months.  I decided to find, and purchase all those Vegan, non-GMO, Organic ingredients was just too much for me at the time.

But one really important fact remained.  I was not losing weight, I was feeling worse every month, and I was NOT at peace with food.  This sounds extreme to people who have not experienced something similar, but I had a personal vendetta against food.  Why? Because I'm a heart patient.  I am extremely restricted physically and therefore hate putting anything inside my body.  At least I did...You could say I may have suffered from a form of eating disorder.  I wasn't anorexic, I couldn't starve myself.  But I had literal, physical anxiety on a daily basis due to the simple fact that I HAD to eat...and wouldn't be able to exert myself enough to work it off.  I hated food. And I HATED my heart.  I HATED ME.

No fun.

Something had to give.

So, when my mother in law told me she'd left a book on nutrition for me to read on her china cabinet, I felt this strong feeling I needed to read it.  It was random, it wasn't expected, and I wasn't looking. Quite frankly I'd just given up.  I guess you could say she was inspired...because that book literally changed my life.

The book is called The China Study by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell. A father-son literary collaboration, written by two world renowned doctors who spent their lives designing and executing scientific medical trials.  The china study IS 'the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted' and proves it, with it's research and background.  I wish I could stand on the rooftops and preach the contents of this book to the world, because it literally saves lives.  If you haven't read it, READ IT.  Even if you have absolutely no health or weight concerns and could care less about changing the way you eat.  READ IT.  The information within will BLOW YOUR MIND.

Their research, confounded with others', over decades, across the GLOBE, has proven scientifically that a plant-based, whole foods diet, can not only prevent disease but REVERSE it.  When I read it, initially I was blown away.  But also a little sad.  Sad, because all the beginning chapters proved eating like a vegan could prevent diseases of affluence, but didn't necessarily say anything about helping someone like me.  Someone with chronic heart disease that is believed to have resulted from some sort of genetic trigger. Someone who has already experienced multiple heart attacks, or episodes of syncope, and was on a downhill spiral. It didn't address people like that...until the last half of the book.  Then, there was an entire section for people just like me:) People with heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and more! A whole entire half of a book that proved eating a vegan diet COULD and DOES help people with chronic or genetic illness. Helps us by completely catering to our bodies microbiologic needs, nutritional desires, and chemical order.  By not only preventing what may come if we continue our NORMAL diets, but REVERSING what has already begun, thus providing a longer, higher quality life.    *it's all very scientific and fascinating!

I'm not going to write a million words on what's contained within that book, and many others I've read similar to it.  Because if you care to know, you'll read it yourself.  I've simply summarized what I read that led me to make a major change.

So that's that.  I have fully transitioned to eating a plant based, whole foods diet.

And I haven't felt this good in a very.long.time.

I have more energy, I've already dropped some weight, and I feel better in every way.  I am finally on my way to being at peace with my body and with food.  After 12 years, I'm finally there.

Now, was transitioning to this diet a slow process? Yes.  Was it time consuming? Yes.  I had to make it a priority.  Was it more expensive? Yes.  But, am I ever hungry? NO.  And do I love the way I feel? Yes. Once you find the right foods, the right stores, the right recipes it becomes a normal part of your life.  It becomes something you can't NOT do.  And something you have no problem following to the T. I won't ever go back to my old diet, the things I used to eat on a daily basis. And here's why.  This is what I tell everyone who asks me, "Why the switch to veganism?"

Because if I've read, and now know the facts, the facts that may be my LAST chance at avoiding heart transplant or any other potential health risk, why wouldn't I do everything I can to do just that? Avoid the risks?  I've gotten surgery, I take pills, I keep my exertion low, I drink A TON of water, and now it's just a waiting game. So why wait? Why wait and see what will happen when maybe, just maybe, the chance that my heart could stay where it's at is completely within my control, simply by changing what I eat.  You better damn well believe I won't wait.

Therefore, I made the switch, and like I said, I already feel the difference.  And it's only been three months.

Now more than ever I've become dedicated and more involved in the quality of my own life, and specifically, my heart.  I want to live as long as my husband, and eating differently can do that.  I honestly, truly believe it.  Given my own scientific background with a Bachelors in Science, I was more able to understand the validity of what China Study and other books were trying to convey. And wish I would have discovered the research sooner.  Everyone should read it.  It's applicable to EVERY SINGLE PERSON.  If you're alive, if you're human, the books about YOU.

Anyway, now that this has become such a huge part of my life, a new passion of mine, be sure you'll find some recipe posts on here every now and then.  There is a lot of trial and error when learning how to cook these kind of meals, but eventually you figure it out.  And there is SO MUCH out there we are not regularly exposed to that is SO GOOD! And so good for you!  Here are some pictures of meals I've prepared and LOVED already.

My husband is by no means a vegan, or even a vegetarian.  He loves meat, he loves midnight runs to Beto's and he loves his whole milk.  But he's darn well the most supportive husband ever to be found. He eats my food, even some of the new recipes that aren't so's been a journey for the both of us, he hasn't left me hanging or made his meals separate from mine.  We do it together, and guess what, he doesn't starve either:)  And right now i'd say he's satisfied, as a full on carnivore, 7 times out of 10.  We're hoping to bump that number up to 10 out of 10 eventually;) But for now, I can make do with 7.

Anyway, that's my spurge on that! This really has turned into a love and passion of mine.  And I'm excited about it!  Till next time:P