Sunday, September 4, 2011

My Transition to a Plant Based Diet

I was very blessed to be raised by parents who are health conscious. My father was an avid runner and mountain bicyclist. My mother always strove to feed us the best quality food she could provide. She never bought us soda, candy bars, or sugary treats. If we did have any candy it was because someone else offered it to us. I believe my desire to be as healthy as possible is deeply ingrained in me because of my parents' influence.

When I married a vegetarian, that was all the impetus I needed to become one myself. So for a few years I was a lacto-ovo-vegetarian, meaning I excluded flesh foods, but ate dairy products and eggs – which are still animal products. Let me just say, you can be a “vegetarian” and be extremely unhealthy. Simply because someone omits meat doesn't mean that they are going to be beaming with amazing health! I ate a lot of starches, processed food, and lots of cheese. I would try to include vegetables, but the life was always cooked out of them. Salad wasn't always included when I served dinner. I began toying with the idea of veganism. I finally did go vegan, but I kept wavering back and forth from being a vegan to lacto-ovo-vegetarian.

In the past year and a half I made the latest transition that has made the most amazing changes to my health and wellness. I began including much more raw food in my diet. I gradually increased my raw food intake until after about a year I am at a point where my diet is now 90- 95% raw/vegan. I absolutely love it! My hair, skin, and nails feel so much better now. My mind has become so clear. (This is difficult to describe unless you experience it yourself.) I didn't know I had foggy thinking until I experienced an open and lucid mind by comparison. I also had crow's feet wrinkles by my right eye that began to disappear. Did you get that? My wrinkles disappeared!!! My skin which continually had break outs began to look so healthy and free from blemishes. I feel rejuvenated and happier. For some unexplainable reason I feel like I have a more positive outlook on life. So what made the difference? I made an intentional effort to drastically increase my consumption of dark leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, sprouted grains, soaked nuts, and soaked seeds. I will never go back!

I began my raw journey, not by omitting items and depriving myself of the things I wanted the most, but by crowding my diet with nutrient-rich, organic raw food. I started with green smoothies. (These can taste really great! Don't let the word “green” fool you!) I also prepared a huge salad along with each vegan meal that I cooked for my husband and kids. At mealtime I would fill up on salad first before I continued on to the cooked food. I bought raw food recipe books and began experimenting. Before I knew it I was eating raw all day long. The days turned to weeks and so on. If I ever craved cooked food, I would eat it. Eventually, however, my cravings for cooked food dissipated, and more importantly, my desire to eat junk food went away as well. The key to my success was the freedom to cheat. If I fell off the wagon, I didn't beat myself up. I would just get back on. I started with a cheat weekend which later was reduced to a cheat day. Now, I have a cheat meal and a half once a week. I also cheat while on vacations – it's harder to stay raw while away from home, during holidays, or when dining with friends. (People would laugh at what I consider cheating.) I think that being too strict while beginning a plant based diet can be a recipe for failure. You gotta have a little elbow room and let your body adjust gradually. The exception to that would be if you are sick with a life threatening disease – that warrants strict adherence to a vegan, high raw, alkaline diet.

In the next couple of posts I will be sharing programs and recipe books I have found that help people transition to a  plant based diet. One program I plan to share with you moves fast over the course of six weeks. Another one I'll share moves you to a mostly raw diet over the course of a year. Both plans have phenomenal testimonials from people who have been healed from all kinds of diseases. As always, I hope that what I share here will inspire readers to pursue greater health and wellness.

Enjoy the journey!