A different way of eating. Get healthy on a Whole Food Plant Based Diet.
How I got into it and why I am so passionate about it.
I’ve experienced being fully figured or obese for most of my life. I was also diagnosed in my early 40s with hypothyroidism, which didn’t help my weight. I have had a complicated relationship with food. Despite having always cooked healthily – a day without veggies or fruit made me feel sluggish – I also craved yogurts, cheeses, and sugars. I haven’t tried that many diets as I’ve instinctively known that diets don’t work.
Over the past five years I’ve been searching for a lifestyle solution. I tried Paleo, but it completely blocked my metabolism, I had to take medicines to even go to the toilet. It definitely wasn’t great for my ‘inner beauty’ either, and toilet sprays were a must. A positive side effect of eating vegan is that you won’t smell badly anymore. So even if your body, whilst getting used to the beans and lentils, is producing a lot of wind, you can happily let them go without a worry (apart from perhaps the first few days as your system has to get rid of your meat and dairy waste still in your intestines). This excessive production of wind will change as the body will get used to this way of eating.
Yes I did lose some weight on the Paleo diet and I loved the nut-cheese crackers I made, but eating lots of meat has never been my thing, and after three months or so I fell back into my old habits. The weight came back on and more. Needless to say I felt frustrated and unhealthy.
Last year, I stumbled upon the iThrive series by Jon McMahon.
He was a big man on a journey to health. He was diabetic, which I’m not, but I still emerged myself in his journey. It was fascinating and I learned so much. After this I started watching lots of documentaries such as ‘Forks over Knives’, ‘H.O.P.E’, the ‘Transcendence series’ by ‘Food Matters TV’, ‘May I be Frank’, and many more. I also watched the TED talk ‘Carnism’ (don’t watch this if you like your piece of meat, but do watch it if you seriously wonder why we are happy to eat pigs, cows, chickens etc., and not dogs or cats, and still consider ourselves animal lovers. Yes, there is an explanation).
It took me a few months to stop eating cheese. I’m married to a Spanish man, an avocado farmer, who was already used to eating the vegetarian meals I prepared for lunch, but every morning and evening he ate an entire package of chorizo or salami in his ‘boccadillo’. I was worried for him as I don’t believe that is healthy at all. I was watching all the documentaries on my computer and often showed him pictures of super fit people like Rick Roll, Venus and Serena Williams, and many more who have adopted a vegan lifestyle. He wasn’t interested, until I came across an interview with Novak Djokovic and I showed my husband. He said “I want to do what he is doing”. And we haven’t looked back since.
I went on a journey of discovery about whole-food-plant based eating. I started following Forks Over Knives on Facebook, bought their cookbook and subscribed to their newsletter. I also signed up for FMTV which is showing more sides of the story (not just whole-food plant based) with lots of documentaries, as I do like to keep an open mind. I felt inspired to follow a 80%-90% whole-food-plant based lifestyle.
I love cooking so this is not a problem, but I had to bring in more variety. The first months I spent many hours searching for recipes and trying them out. My husbands comment: “I’ve never eaten so delicious in my entire life, and not one restaurant has satisfied me better than eating this type of food!”
Without even noticing it much I started loosing weight. My clothes became looser. Also my husband, who was a slim and fit man to start with, started losing weight- he now has a lean, mean machine of a body and looks amazing with his 53 years. This already after three months of eating this way. I’m still a fully figured woman in the process of losing weight and becoming more healthy. The weight comes off slowly but surely and I believe in a more healthy way.
What doctors say and what it can do for our health
Some of the claims from doctors, who support a whole-food-plant based lifestyle, are that it can reverse diabetes (which it did for Jon McMahan of the iThrive series), heart disease, strokes, and many inflammation-related illnesses, and it can prevent, or hugely postpone Alzheimers).
My husband had a tattoo made on his arm three years ago. Unfortunately, he turned out to be allergic, (probably to the colour red) and developed a severe inflammation that did not go away, despite using steroid creams, and lots of other creams suggested by doctors and dermatologists, for over 2.5 years. After only one or two months of eating 80% whole-food plant based there was a huge difference in the inflammation, it had completely calmed down, no more red skin. Although he now has scar tissue and every now and then (I believe mostly due to sometimes eating unhealthily during the weekend) it becomes slightly itchy, overall there is a remarkable improvement. Also, after many years of very high cholesterol, his values have now dropped to extremely healthy.
My hypothyroidism is slightly more complicated and there are those who say that I should eat Paleo, but I cannot go back to that. Loosing the weight already makes a big difference to my overall health and now, with the help of a naturopathic health practitioner, and my whole-food plant-based lifestyle, I am well on my way to live a happy, healthy life with natural medicines and mostly organic food. In the weekends we sometimes indulge in some goat cheese, salmon or organic eggs, no meat. However, we notice that we find them less delicious every time we eat them, so perhaps we will become 100% whole-food plant-based in the foreseeable future. We are not giving ourselves a hard time though, but our palate is changing in favour of ‘clean’ food.
What you can and cannot eat
I’m passionate and I want to share my story and show people how they too can become more healthy and enjoy amazing food. All this whilst not being on a diet and certainly not feeling hungry, as you can literally eat as much as you like of these delicious foods.
From what I’ve learned from this journey so far is that these are the foods (preferably organic) that will make all the difference in a healthy body. Not eating animal foods and consuming everything as close to nature as it can get is important. For example: preferably olives instead of olive oil!
- Greens (broccoli, kale, spinach, green beans, etc.)
- Grains (brown rice, quinoa, whole-meal pasta, etc. whole-meal bread)
- Legumes (chickpeas, lentils, white beans, etc.)
- Nuts and seeds
The only supplement that some suggest is that you take B12. You can get this from food, but it is more difficult and you do need it.
According to doctors who advocate a whole-food plant based lifestyle you should definitively not eat the following foods:
- All animal products, so meat, eggs, fish and dairy
- Processed foods (also vegan processed foods)
- Oils (all oils, yes also olive oil and coconut oil), I personally do use some olive oil, but not a lot.
- Processed sugars
- They also recommend to not eat salt, but I cook with some salt, such as Himalayan pink salts and herbal salts.
I will soon include my favourite whole-food plant-based recipes for you to enjoy on this website.
Lunch and talk in La Herradura.