Monday, January 30, 2012

Our story

Our story began about 5 years ago when David found out he had high cholesterol.  It wasn't a huge shock because his entire family has high cholesterol.  The doctor wrote him a prescription for Vytorin, a statin medication, and said that because his was obviously genetic that he needed to take the medicine.  David asked him if he could at least try changing his diet for 3 months before going on the medication and the doctor said, "Well, you can try, but it's probably not going to work so here's your prescription."  So we quit eating meat and ate a lot more salads, vegetable soups, oatmeal for breakfast with honey and walnuts and he began exercising.  I researched like crazy and tried modifying some of our normal meals to vegetarian (substituting beans for meat in chili, making vegetable enchiladas instead of beef, etc.)  After 3 months David went back and had his blood work done again and the results confirmed what we thought.  His cholesterol levels had dropped substantially.  I cannot remember the exact numbers, though that would possibly make a more interesting post, but suffice it to say that we proved to ourselves that eliminating meat from our diet really did lower cholesterol.  His doctor mailed the lab results with a handwritten note at the bottom that said, "The diet is working.  Keep up the great work!" 

Shortly after that, however, our life got a little chaotic.  We moved overseas for two years and worked as dorm parents where one of our primary jobs was to feed and care for teenagers and other guests in our home.  Life was good, but it was hard to maintain strict vegetarianism so we went back to mainly omnivorous eating with a few vegetarian meals thrown in here and there. 

A couple of years ago I began doing medical transcription.  One of the doctors I type for is a gastrointestinal surgeon.  As I began typing reports on patient after patient who suffered from GI issues along with many who are obese and looking into gastric bypass surgery I just kept thinking, "If only they would eat more whole grains and vegetables they wouldn't have these problems!"  It also reaffirmed to me that our health is a direct result of our diet.  I began reading a lot more and researching the benefits of vegetarianism.  I stumbled onto a series of podcasts by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.  She was so informative and I attribute much of what I know about plant based nutrition to her cookbooks and teaching.  We also watched the movie Food, Inc., and read The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan.  He is not a vegetarian, but the movie was very powerful in portraying the atrocities of the meat and dairy industry. 

A few weeks ago I stumbled on the movie Forks Over Knives and was again reminded/convinced that a whole-foods plant based diet is the best there is for optimal health and for prevention of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and many cancers, to name a few.  I decided that enough is enough and that there was really no excuse for us to be eating any meat or dairy from now on.  Subsequent to Forks Over Knives, I came across the Engine 2 Diet.  I wish it didn't have the word "diet" in the title because it is misleading and I fear will cause it to be dismissed as another fad diet or a weight loss plan, which it is not.  It is simply the facts of how and why a plant based diet is the best thing for you and shows you how and why you should avoid animal products.  There are recipes and helpful hints on eating out, traveling, etc. 

So our story continues.  I started this blog in an attempt to show what we are eating and to hopefully pique the curiosity of others who want to pursue health and wellness this way.  We are still a work in progress and are working to make it realistic for our family.  It is a significant change for us, but one that has been a long time in coming.  Thank you for reading our story.