We’ve made some big family decisions, ones that we hope will make us healthier and lead long lives.
To be totally honest, my grandmothers cancer diagnosis has shaken me to my core. I’m scared we’ll lose her. I’m afraid of what the next few months will bring as we fight it. And, I’m terrified what a family history of means to ME and my husband and my son.
Family is the most important thing in my life and I will do anything that means I get more time with my family. Charles’ father died from colon cancer, my grandmother is fighting cancer, I have aunts that have passed away from it, and the stories go on. What does that mean for me? What does that mean for him? And what does it mean for Dash?
It simply means that while we can’t live in fear, we must be proactive. We must do everything in our power to reduce or eliminate cancer causing agents from our life. Furthermore, it’s reminded me of the importance of our overall health.
In doing some research I was directed again and again to the documentary Forks Over Knives. Now,I know this movie usually splits the room. People seem to love it or laugh at it. I’ve watched it three times this weekend, and I have to say-it spoke to me. When you move past all the buzz words and the “meat causes cancer” scare tactics, the heart of the show is eating a whole foods,plant based diet leads to better health. They show story after story of people whose lives have dramatically improved when changing their intake to a plant based one.
Anecdotally I visited with a great aunt on my fathers side recently. She is 87 years old and was driving around the state of Texas alone visiting various relatives. Looking at her you’d guess she was 20 yrs younger. She lives alone, takes zero medications and heck she even mows her sons yard for him each week. In talking to her she mentioned a few things, clues to her fountain of youth. She believes in daily exercise, walks in her case. She also says no to second helpings. And this really sticks with me, her diet mainly consists of plants.
And here’s something I haven’t mentioned about my great aunt-she has had two cancer diagnosis, one in her twenties and was told she wouldn’t live throughout the year. Sixty years later she is thriving. More recently she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and has kicked its butt as well. I believe whole heartedly that her lifestyle has a lot to do with why she is still with us today.
That brings us back to me. While I like to think I’m healthy, the truth of the matter is I had let a lot of processed stuff slide back into my life. Not surprisingly, I have gained weight and both Charles and I have been feeling weighed down and sluggish.
Personally I gave up meat in 1999. I’d like to say that made me eat healthy, but the truth of the matter is it simply made me eat more bread and cheese. When I got pregnant with Dash I added fish back in to my diet. It took me YEARS to be comfortable eating it, I forced myself because I thought that was what was best for my son. Charles eats meat, Dash occasionally does but often turns it down. We all ate dairy.
In watching Forks Over Knives and reading up on the Engine 2 Diet (a “plant based diet” book) I realized we had a long way to go in improving our diet. We were not eating mainly plants. While I myself was only occasionally eating fish and didn’t eat meat or eggs, I let cheese and carbs be center stage. Sure we eat fresh veggies at every meal, but as a side not as the main course.
The movie talks about the link between cancer and animal products. It talks about its effects on our body in relation to other chronic diseases as well and while I haven’t educated myself enough on the subject to swear that all those claims are true-they make sense to me. They feel right to me.
We have decided to give up all animal products-no meat,no dairy, no eggs, no animal products.
We’ve also given up processed junk. We looked through our cabinets and got rid of anything with those descriptions. Guess what we came up with? A 35 gallon storage container full of possibly cancer causing agents, at the very least obesity causing ones. Goodbye junk and animal products. This is pretty embarrassing,but I’m going to share these anyway.
Sure, it sucked to give away all those groceries. And, it’s going to be a huge adjustment for us, but the long term benefits will be worth it. I’m looking forward to this journey.
Have you seen Forks Over Knives? What did you think?
Do you eat plant strong?
For the record: We are not eating “vegan”. I believe the term holds more than just a food intake description, it describes someone that has given up animal products for moral reasons. While I’m not knocking that, I haven’t given it up because of animal cruelty, its simply a health decision. And no preaching here, do what works for you.