I’m like many women out there.
For years, I’ve been trying to lose weight and keep it off. My goals have also included achieving optimal health. This journey’s been like a roller coaster.
You know the one….up, down and repeat. Sometimes I hear myself scream, or I feel like I’m stuck at the bottom of a deep, deep pit; other times, I’m at the top, and I’m rewarded with joy and thrills. It’s not boring, that’s for sure.
Since January, 2010, I’ve focused on nutrition and health. It’s not that I have any chronic diseases or illnesses to worry about. It’s just that I’m getting older, and I’m more aware of the quality of my life. I’m more aware of how the little things that are bothering me now could become bigger problems later.
The list below shows the things that have been bothering me, since 2010. These are the issues happening with my body and mind. They haven’t all been an issue all of the time.
- Exhaustion (or just being tired all the time)
- Low morale (not depression, clinically, but bouts of sadness with a negative focus)
- Low energy
- Small patches of eczema
- Sore ankle and knee joints (not debilitating)
- High cholesterol
- Uncomfortable bowel movements
- Excess weight (ranging from 20 -50 extra lbs)
When you look at this list, it’s pretty laughable, actually. In fact, I’d bet a high percentage of people regularly endure these small bodily inconveniences. Although they may not seem “small” to the person experiencing them, many people have conditions that are much more difficult to endure.
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Cardiovascular diseases (heart disease and stroke)
- Cancer (breast, prostate, lung, pancreas, liver, bladder etc.)
- Multiple sclerosis
- Inflammatory bowel diseases
I don’t want to end up with any chronic illnesses! Heart disease and cancer have both been in my family, so over the years, I’ve wondered about my odds of becoming seriously ill.
I used to believe we were much more likely to get cancer or heart disease if it was in our family. Turns out that’s not the case. Now that I’ve learned more about the science behind the causes of these two killers, I know genetics plays only a small role.
Not just with heart disease and cancer. Today, we know we’re not doomed to get the chronic illnesses our parents or grandparents had. Genes account for only 10-20% of our risk.
We now know, that with many health issues, genetics loads the gun and lifestyle pulls the trigger.
I’d like to divert those bullets!
Lifestyle includes many factors such as our diet, our consumption of alcohol or other drugs (caffeine, tobacco, pharmaceuticals), our quality of sleep and our level of exercise. The biggest factor is the quality of our diet because it affects everything else. Food is the foundation of our health.
We need to put more of the good stuff into our bodies and WAY less of the bad stuff.
My interest in nutrition started when I read The China Study by T, Colin Campbell. Actually, the nutrition seed was planted WAY back in the early 1990’s after reading Diet for a New America by John Robbins, but that’s another story.
After reading The China Study, I was convinced that a whole-foods, plant-based (WFPB) diet was the path to optimal health. I still believe it. The only problem was that I couldn’t seem to pull it off right away. I went 6 months eating this way, and I didn’t know a lot about how to eat in a way that was tasty and varied. So, I changed my course. Then, the ups and downs began.
Along my journey, I learned that in addition to animal products, added oils (even olive oil!) and high-fat plant foods (avocados, nuts, coconut) can damage a thin layer of cells that line our arteries (called the endothelium). The damage can lead to heart disease and other issues.
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn’s book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, is THE bible on this topic. His research proved heart disease can be prevented with a whole food, plant-based, oil-free diet. In many cases, this highly nutritious diet can even reverse the disease once it’s there. Huge!
I added this new nugget of information about oils and fat to my nutritional arsenal and continued to work at eating a diet of only whole, plant-based foods that were low in fat and without added oils.
I lost weight and felt better. I gained weight and felt worse. The ups and downs continued.
No matter what I tried or what my successes and failures were, I ALWAYS came back to seeing WFPBNO (whole food, plant-based no oil) eating as the ideal way to go. This also means no processed foods (except those with few ingredients and that are without oil, sugar, chemicals etc.).
When I am eating this way, I feel AMAZING! Light. Energetic. Calm and clear-headed.
In April, 2018, I completed the eCornell Plant-based Nutrition Certificate.
It confirmed what I knew and helped me further my understanding of nutrition and the incredibly important role it plays in our level of health.
Knowledge is useful, and it helps us make decisions that are right for us. We need more than knowledge, however. We need to know the HOW.
I have three main goals for this blog:
- to help others learn about the tremendous healing power of whole, plant-based, oil-free foods and to help people understand the dangers that lurk in fatty, sugary, salty, fat/oil-laden and processed foods and animal products.
- to show others how easy it can be to buy, prepare and cook healthy and delicious whole, plant-based foods without oil.
- to share my knowledge and experiences that have helped me move closer toward optimal health and an ideal weight (I’m still not there yet).
For me, this is a journey. I began this blog in August, 2013, and if you look back in the archives, you’ll see my roller coaster experience.
I didn’t change my eating overnight. I tried and succeeded. I tried and failed.
The most important thing is that I didn’t give up. I kept working at it; I continued forward on my journey.
Your journey is unique and is part of who you are and who you are becoming.
My hope is that you gain some insights into your own health and well-being after learning and experimenting with the WFPBNO way of eating.
Feel free to contact me with any specific questions or blog post topics you’d like to see.
Wishing you health and success on your journey,
Updated Oct. 14, 2018