Veghead Speaks began out of my passion for nutrition or more specifically, my passion to help myself and others learn how to make healthier choices that can positively impact overall health. My focus is on plant-based nutrition which focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and avoids added oils and processed foods.
Much is written about diet (foods consumed), diets (restrictions to foods consumed), and various individual nutrients that purportedly result in good health that at times it is overwhelming to keep up with it all. I study nutrition and as a second-year Nutritional Science graduate student I have examined some of the latest research on various nutrition topics. I say some because there are lots of studies and some are executed better than others, meaning the method by which the study was carried out had fewer flaws. It should be noted that most studies have limitations and nutrition studies, which often rely on self-reporting of food intake, are difficult to conduct due to the human component. That said, researchers do the best they can, but often true cause and effect cannot be proven and correlation is not determined by one study. However, over time and many studies, researchers may be able to see trends and outcomes (e.g., cardiovascular disease, cancer, etc.) that they can attribute to certain foods and lifestyle habits.
My paradigm regarding health and diet shifted after I read The China Study by T. Colin Campbell. After reading this book, I couldn’t ignore the research about animal protein’s effect on health. I immediately cleaned out my pantry and freezer of all foods with animal protein and began on the plant-based path. My father-in-law had suffered from heart disease resulting in two bypass surgeries and my husband didn’t want to go down that road, so it was not hard to get him on board with the change. Our four children took the change in stride and aside from commenting I was cooking too much kale (“mom what is this green stuff you put in everything?”), would eat whatever I put on the table and in their lunches. For me, the food procurer and preparer, the learning curve was a little steep at first. I had to start reading labels, finding new recipes and learn new ways to prepare old favorites. For example, my family really enjoyed a Chicken potpie which I had to revamp to leave out the chicken and milk. This dish is often their “special” meal request so I changed the recipe to include lentils, plant-based milk and added more vegetables.
The change to plant-based eating occurred for us eight years ago and we have learned to navigate through the challenges of eating this way through eating out, travel to foreign countries and during holidays as well as how to respond to questions from family and friends. The challenges are not insurmountable and the benefits of omitting animal protein from our diet far outweigh any inconvenience that may arise. I encourage you to begin the plant-based lifestyle. Start small or jump in with both feet – find what works for YOU. It is YOUR journey to becoming a healthier version of you. Every meal is a new opportunity to make better choices. I encourage you to embrace the opportunity.
Thanks for joining me!
VegheadSpeaks podcast can be found at https://anchor.fm/veghead-speaks/episodes/Introduction-to-VegHead-Speaks-e1jbk6/a-a3raj6
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