I didn’t grow up in a healthy house. My parents didn’t exercise. They were smokers, and I never heard any conversations about living an “active lifestyle”.
It was the 70’s and 80’s.
We ate macaroni & cheese, roast beef, hamburger, and hot dogs. I ate Cap’n Crunch for breakfast. It was delicious, and I didn’t know of any other way to do it. I ate fast food during High School and sometimes lunch even consisted of chocolate donuts. There may have been a lack of healthy behavior, but there certainly wasn’t a lack of love! I miss my parents every day.
I’ve been a runner since high school. I went from a teenager on the track team to running 5Ks, 10Ks, and eventually marathons as an adult. As part of my effort to run strong, I started learning about nutrition. I began paying more and more attention to the varying approaches out there regarding carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Because of ever-changing information, I was never quite convinced that what I was reading was truly reliable information.
Back then, it seemed like carbohydrates went from being good for you (carb-loading before marathons) to be very bad for you (low carb diets claiming that bread and pasta will make you fat!) And then back to good for you. Then came high-protein diets and high-fat diets. It was so confusing! I was just a girl who wanted to make sure I was making the right food choices.
Finally, fast-forward to the last couple of years: I watched the Forks Over Knives documentary. That’s when everything changed for me. That’s when I learned about the plant-based diet.
I was shown real evidence, scientific studies, and real people improving their health through a plant-based diet. The best part was that it was all explained by doctors who are passionate about healing their patients and improving their lives through nutrition. It made me think about my parents. If they had this plant-based diet information, they’d probably still be alive today. We’d be spending time together, laughing, having fun, and traveling. If I could go back in time, I’d make them switch to a plant-based diet.
I was shocked and convinced. I committed to making a change immediately.
But, what exactly should I eat on this plant-based diet? How do I prepare the food? And, where should I shop? Do I need to buy my food in someplace special? I had so many questions and it all seemed complicated. Would I still enjoy eating on a plant-based diet?
This post is about the journey towards a plant-based diet!
What would I eat for snacks? Do I need any supplements, and which ones?
I needed to learn how to change my habits. I had to know what my weaknesses were, and how to prepare for them when they hit. I knew I’d have cravings. What happens then?!
I needed more education.
I completed the eCornell University Plant-Based Nutrition program where I learned how best to improve my everyday energy with my food choices. The course focused on how an optimal diet can help prevent and reverse chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. It also included easy recipe ideas, staples in the kitchen, caloric density, and the importance of nutrition on our overall health and quality of life on a plant-based diet.
After the Nutrition class, I completed the Rouxbe Plant-based Cooking Program. Here, I learned how to cook without oil, how to create flavorful dishes, and how to really slow down and enjoy time in the kitchen! Cooking on a plant-based diet is a lot simpler than I suspected. So much of it is back to basics. Basics, plus some spices and healthy sauces and you’re good to go. Not boring!
A plant-based diet definitely doesn’t have to be complicated.
Final Thoughts on Starting A Plant-Based Diet
I want to live a long, active life filled with bike rides, travel, and creating memories. A healthy, energetic, zesty life! Not a life filled with doctor’s appointments and reduced energy levels. This is my personal “why ” for adopting a plant-based diet and for taking nutrition very seriously. I still love food and plan on continuing my journey to create delicious plant-based meals. And, share them with you!
Visit here to read more about It’s A Zesty Life blog!
To access the Forks Over Knives documentary, go here.