I came to this realization about 5 years ago when I started educating myself on diets and nutrition trying to figure out WHY cancer and heart disease, (along with every other disease state) were at epidemic proportions. Why are we so much sicker now? We have modern medicine...how can this be?
Well, modern medicine is part of the problem. Doctors want to prescribe pills for whatever "ails" you...it doesn't matter what your SYMPTOMS are, there is a pill to "mask" it. Modern medicine has it backwards....we don't need any more band ads, we need to STOP the bleeding. What's making us sick?
After doing so much research I finally found the answer, it's all the toxins that get into our body by what we put into our mouths. The food we choose can either heal us or harm us--it really is that SIMPLE. After researching hundreds of studies, articles, journals, and following basically four nutritional experts from Harvard, Berkeley, the Cleveland Clinic and Cornell, I became certified in a Whole Food Plant Based diet through Cornell. It was the BEST thing I ever did so far! After becoming certified, I now teach people what I know...some people embrace this lifestyle, try it and can't believe the results....just from eating the RIGHT foods. Others are skeptical, and that's fine...they just cannot imagine life without meat or dairy. However, if these skeptics become sick or are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, they usually come to me for advice....and of course I am extremely happy to help them....I just wish it didn't take an illness to at least convince them to try this way of eating.
Many people just don't know where to start or they feel very overwhelmed with 'how" to start something like a Whole Food Plant Based diet....IT IS SIMPLE. Here are 8 tips to get you started:
- Salad. Eat salad FIRST with lunch and dinner. People have a tendency to eat more of whatever you eat first because you are hungry. You can't overeat vegetables...successful, long-term weight control and health are linked to your consumption of vegetables--they are the healthiest foods in the world. (Personally, I probably eat a head of Romaine lettuce a day between lunch and dinner).
- Fruits. Eat at least four fruits a day. Have a piece of fruit with breakfast, have another for a mid-morning snack, have one after lunch and another after dinner.
- Variety is the spice of life. Eat a variety of vegetables, whole-grains, fruits and beans. Again, you cannot eat too many vegetables. Eat them raw in your salads, eat them cooked--throw onions and garlic in a pan, (sauteed with tiny amounts of water), add any vegetables you want--broccoli, squash, cauliflower, mushrooms, greens--anything you have--with some stewed tomatoes or marinara sauce...done. Eat as much as your heart desires....no counting calories, fats, carbs, blah, blah, blah....just eat!
- Beans or legumes. Beans are a person's best friend. They are a powerhouse of superior nutrition---they reduce cholesterol and blood sugar, they stop food cravings, they are digested slowly, and they are full of protein and fiber. Throw a cup of beans on your salad, throw them in soup or your stir-fries.
- Eliminate animal products. Yes, this means dairy too! Animal products make our bodies very acidic, (perfect environment for cancer cells to thrive), come packaged with saturated fat and cholesterol, and the main protein in dairy is called casein---casein FEEDS cancer cells.
- Have a tablespoon or two of ground flaxseeds. Flaxseeds will give you omega-3 fats that protect against diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Also, omega-3s can be found in walnuts and edamame, (green soy beans).
- Eat 1 oz of nuts and seeds a day. Walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, and other nuts and seeds offer disease protection against heart attack, stroke, cancers and help lower cholesterol. Throw some on your salads, make salad dressings, and dips with nuts.....this is the only food group on a WFPB diet that I ask people to limit...nuts do have "good" fats in them, but if you are trying to watch your weight, you have to limit the amount.
- Mushrooms. Mushrooms make a great meat replacement! Throw them in salads, saute them with greens, put them in soups, roast them with other vegetables in the oven....they are loaded with phytochemicals which fight chronic diseases, especially cancer. Who knew?
Keep this simple....it doesn't have to be complicated. It does take some planning and grocery shopping, but so does any other way of eating. You have to buy the food in the grocery store, it's just a matter of replacing meat and dairy for vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains. Once you are eating this way for a short period of time, you will FEEL the difference...actually FEEL the difference. Your weight will go down and your energy will soar, not to mention all the nourishment you are giving your body on the inside to work its magic!
Let me repeat myself...When you give your body what it needs, it will HEAL itself!