This blog chronicles my adventures creating and eating a plant-based diet with no added oil.
My husband and I began this journey after reading Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr. who advocates for a strictly low fat, plant based diet. It works out to vegan eating with no added oil. Within just a few months of embracing this lifestyle, I learned that it's absolutely delicious and liberating. I love to cook - and to eat - and this has posed new challenges and exciting discoveries. I've been plant-strong for over two years now, and have never felt better.
Dr. Esselsyn's recommendations are based on his 20-year study and collaboration with other doctors that showed that a plant-based diet of unprocessed foods can reverse and prevent heart disease and numerous other ailments (cancer, type 2 diabetes, etc.). The statistics about heart disease in the United States and other western countries are staggering. I'll save all of that for a future post, but it really was a wake up call for my husband - who has high cholesterol - and for me as well.
It sums it up to say I was stuck in a rut. Even after my second daughter was almost two, I was still WAY over my pre-pregnancy weight, and on a never-ending roller coaster of losing and gaining but never really getting anywhere. I'd do great by eating "healthy" foods in moderation, counting calories, and exercising, but if I had just one slip up, I'd fall off the wagon completely. I felt tired and lousy a lot of the time, due in part to the fact that I felt out of control in regard to food, as well as to the fact that I was not eating the right foods for my body.
I needed a change.
My husband felt the same way: he wanted to be healthy - and to ensure that he'd stay that way - and also to drop a few pounds.
We took the plunge and never looked back. Disclaimer: I am not eating 100% vegan all the time. I'm not sure who gets credit for this quote, but I like it quite a bit (if you know who said it originally, please let me know!): "I am 100% vegan, 95% of the time." I do have cream in my coffee occasionally went a plant-based milk is not available. I do cheat and have one or two butter cookies on special occasions. But for the majority of my days, I am eating plants and whole grains and loving every bite. The old cravings are gone. I feel in control. I've stopped counting calories. The pounds are dropping off, albeit slowly, but I trust that I'll reach my goal. But more importantly, I feel great. My energy is high, and I am rarely sick.
If you're interested in learning more about the science behind Esselstyn's recommendations, I highly recommend reading his book. It's a quick read - half of the pages are devoted to easy-to-prepare, low fat vegan recipes. I also recommend watching Forks Over Knives, an incredibly informative and inspiring documentary that examines the science used in Esselystyn's research and that of his colleagues.