1. How Long have you been eating plant-based? Since September 11, 2013.
2. What made you decide to go plant-based? My mother had a brain tumor that had grown through her frontal bone. She had resection of the tumor twice and then radiation and it was back for the third time. Most of her doctors told her there was nothing they could do. Her surgeon said he couldn’t do anymore surgery on her brain, her radiation doctor said she had the maximum she could have of radiation on her brain and her oncologist said there was no treatment available for her. That day on September 11, 2013 my mother’s surgeon said to “try” eating only plant foods to try to halt the growth of her brain tumor. Eat a whole food plant-based diet. She had been fighting this tumor since 2007 and it was aggressive and was back for the third time after having two brain resections and radiation. There was no other treatment for her except to go home and wait for the tumor to take over her brain but this one doctor said eat plants. I decided to go plant-based to help her try to get control of this tumor and prevent it from growing more. Mom and I took the CHIP program designed by Dr. Hans Diehl, The Complete Health Improvement Program. I started this journey because I loved my mother and wanted to do anyting I could to help her. Now I do it for myself, for my health, for the health of the planet and for the animals because when you start this process and watch documentaries you learn this is the best diet for all these reasons. I also continue to eat a whole food plant-based diet to honor my mother and hopefully help someone else live a long and healthy life.
3. What are the benefits eating plant-based have done for you? For my mother it halted her aggressive tumor for 14 months while she was on the diet. She was followed with MRIs every 2-3 months and they showed no change in her tumor growth. Sadly, she went off the diet in November, 2015 and started to have growth again by March of 2016 and she did not want to go back on the diet due to radiation kicking in and forgetting how to cook. Cooking for other members of the family that wanted to eat animal products also made it hard for her. We lost her in July of 2016. She is a perfect example of Dr. Colin T Campbell’s finding in the China Study that you can turn the growth of tumor cells on and off by how much animal protein you eat in your diet.
For myself, I lost weight, lowered my cholesterol and had more energy and less afternoon fatigue. I kept going with the diet and feel this is my way of life now.
4. What did you find to be the biggest challenge of eating plant-based? For me it was harder to speak up and ask for vegan options at restaurants. Also there were not alot of choices when we did go out to dinner but that is changing. I prefer cooking at home because I know what is in my food but I am getting more bold with asking for vegan meals when I go out or I call ahead to ask what is available. I live in a small town so it is hard sometimes finding a vegan alternative for what I want but that too is changing. There is more and more vegan options are showing up in our grocery stores but honestly I eat alot of fruits, veggies, beans and grains and those things you can find anywhere.
5. What are your go to foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Breakfast: I am a creature of habit so during the week in the winter I eat cooked oatmeal or oat bran with flax seed, berries, cinnamon and a little maple syrup. In the summer when it is hot I like eating cold oatmeal in a bowl with orange juice with dried cranberries and a banana. Also I love getting my greens in with a green smoothie bowl made with kale, strawberries and O.J. then I add sliced banana and berries. I will make pancakes or tofu egg breakfast sandwiches but only on the weekends. Lunch is salad (I try to have at least one a day), a veggies sandwich, or a hot soup in the winter. For dinner I make lots of veggies, steamed kale, spinach or swiss chard with flavored vinegars (I love those) and then with a sweet potato, or lasanga or bean meatloaf.
6. Do you have a favorite cookbook, tip or recipe to share? I have soooo many cookbooks so I can’t pick a favorite but my favorite recipes I go to on our website are the lentil sloppy joes, hummus recipe, tofu scramble and the chocolate chip energy balls. If you are just starting out don’t beat yourself up if you slip up. We are human and this is a big change from the SAD diet (Standard American Diet) Keep working at it. Don’t give up. Your taste buds will change, you feel better and you will be healthier. It’s a process. I had to do it cold turkey in order to help my mother as quickly as possible but if it is better for you to do baby steps than do baby steps.