Monday, August 11, 2014

My conversion to healthy eating: A Plant Story

2009 as a missionary

I have always been a lover of food.  Have you ever heard the expression, “eat to live or live to eat?”  I have always been on the “live to eat” side.  Unfortunately, when I was younger, living to eat meant eating extremely unhealthy.   Some people say they eat unhealthy, but I REALLY ate unhealthy.  Let me give you an example.  A common snack (not my lunch or dinner, a mid-afternoon snack) would be two frozen chimichangas, fried a second time in butter, topped with two eggs, fried in the chimichanga grease, and smothered in melted cheese...then dinner came a couple hours later.

…like I said…unhealthy…

            So how did I change from gorging myself on all the fake, processed foods I could get my hands on, to being vegan, living a plant-based lifestyle, and juicing or making green smoothies every day? 
When I was 19, I was serving as an LDS missionary and was suffering from many health issues.  I had chronic headaches, stomach problems, and was gaining weight incredibly quickly.  I was also getting colds almost monthly as well.
Doctors didn’t help much.  Every issue I would present to them would be met with a pill.  Without any alternative education, I would take these pills, thinking; “If I take this magic pill, all my problems will disappear...right?”  Unfortunately, that’s not how it worked.  The pills only made things worse.
Finally, after nearly two years of suffering, one doctor examined me and simply said, “you should cut down a bit on red meat.”  In two years, this was the first time any physician had given me ANY kind of dietary advice.  I decided to cut out all red meat and see what happened.  After only a few days, I could feel a noticeable difference!  I was still very sick, but I had a little bit more energy, and the headaches were slightly less severe.  During this time, I remember thinking to myself,

hmm…perhaps the food I eat affects my health!

             After seeing positive results from cutting out red meat, I determined that perhaps I would have even better results if I cut out all meat!  When people invited us over for dinner, I would eat the meat they served, and would occasionally eat some lean meat on my own, but ultimately, I became vegetarian.  This decision not only again increased my energy, and decreased the intensity of my headaches, but it also made me feel happier and more focused!  It was easier for me to study the scriptures in the morning, and I felt like a fog lifted from my brain (a fog I didn’t even know was there!).
When I finished serving as a missionary, I returned home determined to discover how I can live the healthiest lifestyle.  While searching, my mother introduced me to the book “The China Study,” a book all about a “Whole-foods plant based diet.”  Before I was halfway through it, I adopted the whole-foods plant-based diet for myself.  Over the next six weeks, my headaches and stomach issues went completely away.  I no longer needed any pills and lost 36 pounds!  I remember getting on the scale some mornings and worrying that I was going to wither away to nothing with how fast I was losing weight!

March 2014 on a Cruise with my family

"Just pills and bills...well not anymore!"

Ironically, at the same time, I was taking a nutrition class in college, and after I had lost all 36 pounds, we took a BMI (body mass index) test, and mine was perfect!  I had lost every excess pound I had on my body, and had reached my genetically perfect weight.
It has been over four years since I changed my eating lifestyle.  I don’t get headaches, I don’t have stomach issues, I don’t get colds, and I don’t need pills.  I also haven't gained or lost a pound since I hit the weight I'm at right now.  

Before I began eating this way, I was always someone who “lives to eat.”  I am so happy to be able to say that I have never changed to someone who “eats to live."  I have been, and always will be, a lover of food!  I still “live to eat,” and thanks to my conversion to eating healthy, I am going to live a long time while doing it!

 "Eating Healthy is extremely important, but never forget that the healthiest thing you can do is be kind."
                                                           -Jacob Moench