People often ask me- why plant based diet? Why not “vegan” or “vegetarian” and to be honest, for a while I was putting myself into those categories. For the majority of my life I was a “vegetarian” which to me literally meant I ate no meat, no eggs and just some select dairy (mostly cheese- oh how I love cheese). I was happy with my diet and definitely felt decent and was pretty healthy. Of course I would be questioned about where I get my protein from… and of course I would state the obvious choices- chickpeas, tofu, edamame soybeans, and cheese. If I had lived my entire life that way I probably would have been happy content and generally healthy.
Six months ago my husband did some research on the importance of your diet and how it can impact health both negatively and positively. This would be the catalyst that forever changed the way I looked at food. This stirred up something in me so big I couldn’t push it away, there’s no way I could even begin to ignore it. … So I didn’t. What happened next really has changed and shaped my current life and my future way beyond optimum health. I made the decision to align our diets- Kevin (my husband) decided he was going full plant based- from meat and potatoes and everything covered in cheese to basically vegan. I wasn’t going to let him do it alone… I was ecstatic at the opportunity to cook one-two meals a night, instead of the usual three I was cooking (one for our picky kids, one for him and something with vegetables for me).
When we started researching all the benefits of plants and the consequences of meat, dairy, eggs and processed foods it became clear to me that I needed to contribute somehow. I was addicted to learning about this stuff and the more I found the more fascinated I was by what I was reading and hearing. This all became inspiration for me- I started getting more and more creative in the kitchen and was excited to feed my family after a long day at work. Food- more so nutrition is my passion. Nothing has been clearer to me than how this lit something up inside of me. Of course- I couldn’t just leave it at that, I did my research on holistic nutrition courses and picked the one with AFPA as it seemed to cover everything I wanted to know. I started studying and fast forward to today I have opened my business and grown my Instagram presence. All of that has been great but that still doesn’t answer- Why plant based?
Classifying yourself as vegan or vegetarian is great- but it puts you in a box- it gives you boundaries and guidelines- ones that really are all about moderation and balance. There are a number of reasons that people follow those diets- mine is for optimum health and because it tastes and feels great. I realize that this is unique and I have no issue or negative opinion on those who follow and call themselves vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian or any other title. I need balance- I need moderation, and as a social person sometimes I do just have to flex my diet when we are out at a track meet- or out to dinner with friends. I prefer to be able to flex and honestly sometimes I enjoy a slice of pizza and I am not a fan of daiya cheese. (although it should be said that the more I learn about cheese the less I miss or crave it.) Being plant based is about adding to your diet- enriching your diet by eating the rainbow… it isn’t about limiting yourself it is about trying new things and doing it because it makes sense.
Why does it make sense- because plants are truly nutritious, protein filled (when eaten in the right combination) and the fuel your life. They do this by working on the back end- allowing organs to function at their highest capacity- and on the front end- they make you feel great they give you energy and truly fuel you. The great thing about the plant based diet is that it is not just fruits and vegetables, there are nuts, seeds, legumes, lentils, whole grains and so much more- the more you eat of these the less likely you are to fill up on processed foods- the ones that literally contain chemicals and carcinogens (cancer causing).
It is very simple in my mind- moderation is key, balance is great, eat plants and you WILL feel WELL.