I did it! I “survived” a whole week on a whole foods, plant-based diet!!
Yes, I’m being sarcastic to a certain degree. However, it wasn’t that long ago that my husband and I had the following (at the time, somewhat serious) conversation.
Him: “If the doctor told me I had to quit eating cheese (fat/dairy) or die, I’d choose death.” Me: “I agree, I couldn’t live my life fully without cheese. I’m from Wisconsin for Pete’s sake! I eat cheese ALL THE TIME.”
Last night sitting around the kitchen table, we marvelled that we don’t miss it. We haven’t thought about it at all. No staring longingly at blocks of cheddar, trying to catch a glimpse of the mayonnaise jar, or sniffing at my co-workers yogurt containers. Honestly, we just don’t miss any of it. It’s surprising.
My biggest challenge this first week has been cooking. My husband is a foodie. He is always on a quest to try new and interesting flavors and combinations of food. He loves exotic and ethnic foods as well as American classics, as long as they’re well prepared. While being married to a foodie has its perks, I have found that cooking for him can be a bit intimidating. You see, my husband tells me the truth about the meals presented to him. “Please don’t make this again,” was a comment heard often early in our marriage. While some women may have burst into tears or thrown a pot at his head, I came to appreciate his honesty. I never have to wonder if he is telling the truth to spare my feelings. And when I do make something he likes, he praises me for my accomplishment. I feel like a million bucks! –On a side note, I will have you know that my husband prefers my homemade spaghetti sauce over that of his best-friend, who is Italian and a professional chef! THAT blows my mind!– Now that you have that background information, you can imagine that trying to cook for my foodie, fat addicted husband comes as a huge challenge when trying to eat without added fats and salt.
I cook 96% of all our family’s meals. I would consider myself to be an average – good cook overall. However, like most folks, I do have particular dishes that I excel in making. I take pride in making a good deal of my meals from scratch too. This week was a trying one in the kitchen for me. My husband made our first two meals upon embarking on this endeavor. Then, I took over… After one particularly unappetizing dinner, which I attempted without a recipe, we mutually decided that I should stick with the recipes that come in Dr. Esselstyn’s book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure or from the online recipes at www.forksoverknives.com until I get the hang of this way of cooking. So it may be awhile before I am able to share any
edible good whole foods, plant-based recipes with you.
The recipes that we have tried thus far have been pretty good. (My personal favorite thus far is an African stew!) We can actually taste the individual foods in our meals. For the first time in my life, I ate naked corn on the cob. (No butter? No salt? It doesn’t need it! – SHOCKING! I know!)
I’ve adapted to sauteing my vegetables in a non-stick pan with vegetable stock instead of olive oil. It tastes a little different from what I’m used to, but it’s still good. I’ve removed the salt shaker from the stove top and put it in the cupboard. We’ve used many strong spices (coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, garlic, onion, cilantro) in our cooking to give some “oomph”, as recipes call for them. I even discovered a new spice, which I was shocked to find in our rural area… Asafoetida. (Have you heard of it?)
One challenge I’m not facing is a lack of variety or quantity in my food intake. I eat until I’m full, which is a new sensation for me. In the past, I’ve found eating healthy to seem very restrictive. All this yummy fiber tells my stomach loud and clear when it’s full. I thank God when I get that sensation because I know that there are too many in the world who do not have such an experience each day.
My blood sugar levels have been okay. I don’t always remember to take my Metformin or Glyburide with my dinner and my numbers haven’t been so terrible without. (150’ish in the morning.) I submitted some blood work on Saturday morning. I should be getting those results back this week. I’m anxious to see my cholesterol, liver enzyme and blood sugar levels and if/how they improve over the next 3 months. Eventually, I’d love to be able to get rid of ALL my medicines all together! One step at a time though…
All in all, I give this week two thumbs up, way up! I’ve experienced food in a new way… One that makes my body happy. I’ve eaten a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, to my satisfaction without weighing, measuring or counting a gosh darn thing. Physically, I feel pretty good. I have plenty of energy to do what I need to accomplish and I haven’t noticed any negative side effects. There is one more positive side effect: I lost 11.8 pounds! (I’m doing a little happy dance!) I am very excited about this, but I don’t want to give the numbers on the scale too much emphasis. This isn’t JUST about weight loss for me. It’s a quest for improved health and overall well-being.
I hope you’ll find little (or BIG) ways to make your life better so you can make your own sunshine too!