Why I’m Plant-Based

Why I’m Plant-Based

thI have found something that I think will save lives, and I want to shout it from the rooftops — a plant-based diet!

You do not have to accept that when you get older, you’ll get sick.

You do not have to accept that just because your parents had cancer or diabetes that you will too.

You do not have to accept that pills are the only path to good health.

Want to know how? By eating a plant-based diet. And guess what, the federal government finally agrees!

Have you ever noticed that every time you go to the doctor, they prescribe medicine? It’s like that is all you go to the doc for these days. Ailment? Med. Nose bleed? Med. Sniffles? Med. That really bothers me and I want another avenue.

Two out of every three Americans are overweight. Diabetes, heart disease, cancer and stroke are degenerative diseases that will kill most Americans. We have simply accepted as a foregone conclusion, and I refuse to believe we can’t do anything about it.

I know we live longer lives now and the life expectancy of my generation is the highest it has ever been. But are they long and healthy lives or are they just lives prolonged by medication? What happens when that no longer works? I’d say we’re already there. Current studies show that our children are the first generation ever not expected to live as long as we do. That’s unbelievable. They are fat and getting fatter. We live in a society that has more wealth, more resources, and more access to medical care than ever in history and now our children won’t live as long as previous generations.

Why is that? Because pharmaceuticals can only do so much.

A friend and I were chatting about nutrition and health one day. I thought I was pretty healthy. I didn’t eat red meat much. I ate salads a bunch and only ate the chicken options at Taco Bell. I worked out a few times a week, and drank ice tea (sweet). At my annual physical, the doc would prescribe my blood pressure meds and I went about my merry way.

She gave me that “Yeah, right, you’re healthy” look and then told me to watch “Forks Over Knives.”

Dr T. Colin Campbell of Cornel and Dr Caldwell Esselstyn of the Cleveland Clinic each did an independent study on the effect of nutrition that resulted in some pretty astonishing ideas.

Campbell did a 20-year study in China with nearly 800,000 people and compared those to studies done in countries with high and low rates of cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Esselstyn, an oncologist by trade, conducted a study of his heart patients and their nutrition.

indexThe results were comparable. In areas with higher vegetable consumption, there were lower rates of degenerative diseases, and in areas of higher meat consumption, there were higher rates of degenerative diseases.

Think about that a second. Meat provided something for diseases to feed off of: heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and a lot of cancers. They even went so far as to conclude that eating vegetables, whole grains and fruits could reverse some of these diseases.

Imagine that. Reverse and prevent the major killers of most Americans. In other words, live your life without being under the constant threat of prescription medicines, open-heart surgery, chemotherapy, or amputation.

Several other doctors agreed: McDougall, Furhman, Barnard.

My father had heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. My brother had non-Hodgkins lymphoma cancer and my mother and both grandmothers had breast cancer. Those are reasons enough for me to make the switch. You could say it’s genetic, but Dr Esselstyn would tell you this: Genetics load the gun; lifestyle pulls the trigger.

Campbell and Esselstyn will tell you the change is simple: Eat whole grain foods. Period. Plant-based. Nothing in a package, nothing from a drive through, nothing that once had a face. Whole grain foods.

My family made the switch and I couldn’t be happier. Weight is down. Blood pressure is down. Seasonal allergies are gone. The afternoon slug? Gone.

A plant-based diet gives you every nutrient, vitamin and mineral you need.

But, Jenny, where do you get your protein?

imagesWell there is protein in most green veggies and cauliflower. Spinach is 51% protein, mushrooms 35% and beans 26%. You don’t need tons and tons of protein in your diet anyway.

Think about this. How do you feel after eating a heavy lunch of meat and potatoes? Ready for a nap, right? Well, after a lunch of salad and grains, you’re ready to finish your day.

I don’t shy away from carbs – I just make sure they are whole grain: whole grain pastas and breads, brown rice, potatoes, oats, millet, bulgur and beans.

I know I’ll die one day but I’m hoping this is staving off any diseases I may have gotten. Giving up meat is a hell of a lot easier than open-heart surgery or a lifetime of drugs.

So, this weekend I got busy and made four different types of salad dressing, three types of hummus, a mushroom ragout, garbanzo-bean omelet with peppers and onions, and these desserts:

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Chocolate stuffed strawberries

 

Banana-Chocolate-Raspberry-Mango Parfait - made with tofu
Banana-Chocolate-Raspberry-Mango Parfait – made with tofu

 

Jalapeno & Kale Muffins - so stinking yummy!
Jalapeno & Kale Muffins – so stinking yummy!

Information retrieved from www.forksoverknives.com, www.engine2diet.com, and www.nealbarnard.org

2 Replies to “Why I’m Plant-Based”

  1. Well said, Jenny! My husband and I watched Forks Over Knives last year and it changed our lives! Like you, I already thought I was pretty healthy, but the data surrounding meat consumption in this documentary was indisputable. Now, we haven’t cut out meat entirely. Instead we do something called Weekday Vegetarian (we discovered the idea from this TED talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/graham_hill_weekday_vegetarian?language=en), which I like because it takes away the all-or-nothing pressure of going vegetarian while still reducing meat consumption by 70-80%. Your recipes sound, and look, absolutely delicious! Wonderful blog post 🙂

    1. Thanks for the link Kate! One thing Travis and I talk about a lot of how difficult it is to go all the way. It’s hard to stick with, so we’re working on Sundays off. And we do eat a little fish from time to time. Honestly, my biggest weakness is French fries! I LOVE them 🙂 But because I do it for health, it’s easier to only have a couple as opposed to a bucket load.

      Thanks for stopping by! I’ll definitely check out the Ted talk – thanks!

Would love to hear from you!

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