My journey toward better health; why I started a plant-based vegan type diet

I’m a 45 year old wife and mother. I work full time in a family practice medical clinic in rural West Virginia. I have recently decided to convert to a plant-based diet. My decision to change my diet came after a recent health scare. Deciding what type of diet to transition to has proven to be difficult due to all of the conflicting information that is at our disposal. There are never ending websites that to tell us what we should be eating for optimal health. Even more confusing, they all seem to have pretty convincing data to justify why their diet is the best. There are so many choices and so many contradictory opinions. I decided to start watching some documentaries on nutrition and how certain foods can either positively or negatively affect our health. As I was doing my personal research, I started to see one consistent pattern ….even when largely differing on some aspects of their diet, all of the nutritionists, dietitians and doctors agreed on one thing, that vegetables and fruits had proven to be beneficial and were the central component of every single diet I researched. After reviewing all of the information, I decided that for me and what I wanted to accomplish (optimal health and disease prevention), a plant-based diet that excluded animal protein and processed food was the way to go. One study that I found particularly interesting was the “The China Study” which was carried out by T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Thomas M. Campbell, MD. Their research convinced me that there was a proven association between animal protein and higher rates of illness, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer. It was at that point, in early September, that I began a diet which primarily consisted of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes. Four weeks into the process and I have never felt better! There have been some challenges. For example, living in a rural area there are a lot of these type of foods which simply aren’t available. There’s also the issue of time. I work full time and when you make a drastic change like moving to a plant-based diet, there is a significant amount of time involved in planning and preparing those types of meals. Then, there’s the cost. Cost is the single most frequent excuse on eating healthy that I hear, the second excuse being time. In addition, most people around here just think it’s plain weird. They just can’t wrap their head around not eating meat. Despite all of this, I am determined to continue along this path. I may fail, I may get off track. I’m hoping that putting it all out there will help me hold myself to more accountablility. It’s not going to be easy, I have spent 45 years eating the typical Western diet. Old habits are hard to break, especially old eating habits. I invite you to follow along as I make every attempt to be successful at eating myself into good health. I will share with you my failures and successes along the way!

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