I have to be honest to myself. I have eaten myself to illness again. I’m one of those people that have lost and gained weight since I was 11. A few years ago - before COVID, before my sister died, I watched “What the Health” on Netflix. Ironically I was sitting there watching it as I ate fried chicken and french fries. I never finished that fried chicken. And then I watched Forks Over Knives which is on Amazon now but at the time was on Netflix. I started reading piles of books:
- The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, PhD
- The Starch Solution by John A. McDougall, MD
- Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, MD
And I added in their cookbooks where I could. I started buying the Forks Over Knives magazine which shows up at the grocery store quarterly. I started believing science over media and since my blood pressure had been at 140/93 and my cholesterol was bad and I was pre-diabetic - I listened. And I lost weight and my blood pressure went back to normal and my pre-diabeties disappeared. And I lost over 150 pounds in that year!
But, then my only sister died in 2018 and I was lost without my morning call to her. We literally talked on my commute to my job every single work day for years. And then that profound silence on my drives destroyed me. My oldest daughter truly tried to get up and be there for me, but she is not a morning person. I was still plant based but I was starting to depend on vegan fast food and substitute foods. So the weight that I lost started to return. But I didn’t care as my pre-diabetic state never returned nor did the problematic blood pressure or cholesterol.
Then COVID - we all know how much that impacted our lives and I was a teacher. I am very computer literate and had taught as a side job online for my school for 7 years - but, teaching Spanish was ALWAYS face-to-face as my main job. And now I was trying to teach it to 165 8th graders from home. I started to slide into some seafood or some real cheese. Heck, sometimes with the stress I would eat a canister of Pringles. I still didn’t eat meat per se, but my habits were deteriorating. Then my mother got diagnosed with Alzheimers and she lives with me and that added more stress. Honestly, we all have the same daily issues that change our lives and can destroy habits we thought we had established - I am absolutely no different and I'm not trying to make excuses but explain why I self-destructed.
Another problem with Forks over Knives recipes is the amount of time I had to spend each week to prepare for the week. I was giving up either Saturday or Sunday - the entire day - to prepare my food for the week. And I love to cook, but that got old by the second year. You cannot sustain that level of commitment to cooking - not with a full time job, a 4 generation household (mom, daughter, granddaughter and me). Plus I would rather spend my time writing or reading or playing video games with my grandchildren down in South Carolina.
Now, here I am today with almost all the weight back. My knees and ankles hurt all the time. I hate walking but I need to be doing it. I have heartburn and indigestion and I am getting my blood work but I’m scared to see where I have returned. And I still don’t eat meat, but the cheese is there and the seafood and fried food - piles of fast food and chips. My diet is almost SAD (Standard American Diet) again.
I love to write and I want to be a writer - I have always written in the background and I reconnected with a great college friend, D. Thea Baldrick, who encouraged me to join VOCAL. I’ve played with VOCAL this summer and I have had a great time. And it makes me write. Using the book Atomic Habits by James Clear says to link new habits to habits you have. So my HUGE idea to help me continue to write and actually submit it AND lose my weight is to write weekly about my year (52 weeks) living fully plant based. And I will be honest here.
First, honestly, I want to be vegan. I know that it is better for the animals, the planet and our world - but I’m not a perfect vegan. This year I will strive to be vegan but will accept starts and restarts as long as I stay healthy! And I’m going to work so hard to become vegan this year fully committed to it.
Where I am now:
- Blood Pressure: 143/93
- Total body inches: 356 (arms, chest, waist, hips, thigh, knee, calf and ankle - and if there are two of them - I doubled it)
- Daily exercise minutes: 0
My list of rules:
- Plant Based mostly on McDougall but using G-Bombs and F-Goals to help maintain the correct daily nutrition
- Use my canned foods and easy recipes to make it WORK!
- Will not spend an entire day during the school year on preparation unless it is a canning day (in autumn I do sugar-free applesauce, marmalades, stock, etc)
- Exercise twice a day (will start small and work up to 15 in am, 30 in pm) with allowed one day off a week
- Once a week - allowed one meal with vegan substitutes because I don’t want this to be so strict I quit.
- 10 meals during the year can be “specials” - off plan BUT only 10 meals. And I’ll report them to you.
- Every Tuesday I will submit my weekly article to VOCAL which should show up by Thursday.
- Every Friday I will submit recipes that are easy to prepare that are plant based in a second article.
If you want to know what I eat in a day you can follow me on Instagram and I’ll post there - Preservingplantbasedvegan is my name. I’m going to keep a food log and daily journal. HERE WE GO! Let the Health return!
About the Creator
I write, I read, I cook, I preserve, I strive to be my best at them all. But, writing, cooking and preserving are all works in progress - just like life. I've got the reading down pat except for the lack of time.
Very well written. Keep up the good work!
Heartfelt and relatable
The story invoked strong personal emotions