Since it’s the new year and I’ve had many new readers join me here, I thought it would be fun to share more about me and why I started eating a plant-based diet plus I’ll answer a few of the questions I get asked most often.
Before we dive into that, if you missed it last week and are looking to refresh your diet this year, you won’t want to miss what I shared in this post.
All right, now for the Q&A…
How long have you been eating a plant-based diet? Since May 2012
What caused you to make the switch? My dad was diagnosed with extensive heart disease. We were all shocked, although we shouldn’t have been given his family history. He was hoping to avoid surgery by going to an extremely low fat, plant-based diet and I wanted to support him. Also, my own cholesterol numbers weren’t the greatest – a fact I’d chosen to ignore since my 20’s. Although my dad ultimately needed surgery because of the severity of his blockages, I found that I loved eating this way and never looked back!
Why do you love it? I feel so much healthier – less fatigued, lighter (I literally lost weight), natural color came back to my skin and I find I appreciate the taste of food more now that I don’t have animal fats coating my taste buds.
Does your family eat this way? Sort of. They definitely eat a larger percentage of plant-based foods and meals, but also have meat and dairy several times a week. As much as I’d love them to go “all in,” I’ve learned that I can’t force it and try to do my best to make plant-based recipes they enjoy.
Does that mean you’re cooking two meals for every meal? Not at all! That would be exhausting. LOL I may do this occasionally, but most of the time I can cook meals that are easily customized to our tastes (like pizza) or I just “beef up” on the veggies while they have meat.
Why the term plant-based? This can be tricky. While “vegan” is the simpler and more common term, it often implies a lifestyle, not just a diet choice. I made this choice for my health and not as an animal rights activist, although I feel strongly that our food system is incredibly broken, especially in how it treats animals designated for food.
So do you only eat plants 100% of the time? No. I’d be lying if I said 100%. It’s more like 98-99%. Occasionally, I will have a bit of meat, especially if I’m on a mission trip, or can’t resist the goldfish crackers my children love. LOL Since I do this for my health, I’m not opposed to the rare bite of non-vegan foods.
What’s the hardest thing about sticking to a plant-based diet? Social situations. I believe eating is as much a social thing as it is about staying alive, so for anyone who switches to a diet that is largely different than what others are eating, it can feel awkward and frustrating. Thankfully, there are several ways to navigate these social situations (e.g. restaurants, potlucks, friend/family dinners etc.) and it’s even opened up opportunities to share about the benefits of plant-based eating with others.
What’s your number one tip for going plant-based? Stick with it. Making a change in diet is tough and it can take awhile for your taste buds to adjust and to find recipes you genuinely love to eat. For the first three months of going plant-based, I had to re-learn how to cook and was brought to tears many times out of frustration. But I found that because I felt so much better, I was motivated to keep going and finally got my groove back in the kitchen.