The beginning of my vegan journey started in the spring of 2016 after watching the documentary Forks over Knives. The title of this program depicts in three words the content and good news that to me was profound: by changing what you put on your plate, you can avoid disease that may take you to a surgeon.
At that time in my life, I was working in a cardiology practice as a nurse practitioner. I was taught that coronary artery disease is progressive and the best you could do was manage the disease with medicine and exercise, so it doesn’t get worse. I was fascinated to hear in the documentary that eating a whole food plant-based diet can actually reverse heart disease. So I was hooked and began reading, researching and practicing this model in my personal life.
In September 2017, I attended an International Plant-Based Nutrition Healthcare Conference. I was excited to learn about Physicians for Responsible Medicine, which is working to get the good news out to, not just people wanting to avoid disease or those with chronic disease but also to educate physicians to treat the root cause of illness instead of just treating a symptom with pills. Many disease states begin with inflammation & many of the foods (or I should say food-like substances) we eat cause inflammation. By switching to whole foods and plants we allow our bodies to heal from the inside out.
What helped me the most getting started is to:
- Cook at home and get rid of food that tempted me
- Keep the food simple, avoid complicated recipes and ingredients and to keep those foods in supply.
- Batch cook! I can’t emphasize this enough because eating real food instead of manufactured food-like substances takes time. Batch cooking keeps food at the ready, so meal prep is simple as well as quick.
- Find support.
I entered into this lifestyle to be healthier, but the more I learn about the effects of adopting a plant-based diet can have on the environment and other sentient beings, the more committed I become. To me it is such encouraging news …I am more hopeful about aging, in spite of a broken healthcare system. I now have more control over my health and can avoid debilitating conditions. I can be also be part of the solution to heal our world too!
Note: there is a big difference between being vegan and whole food plant-based (WFPB). I am 100% vegan but endeavor to be WFPB, as I discussed above. That is where the magic happens toward health. For example, a potato chip is vegan but not WFPB because it is processed and loaded with oil and salt, thus won’t reap the rewards of reversing or staving off disease. Every step on this journey wherever one plugs into it is exciting…but less scary when there is support. I would be happy to share any resources, recipes or hacks I’ve learned along the way.
What is attractive about a vegan diet? What repels me?
Share your thoughts in a comment below.