Throughout my 30’s and 40’s, I tried almost every different type of diet out there. Short-term weight loss was achieved, but the sustainability of these ‘fad’ diets wasn’t there. I spent several years on a roller coaster of weight loss and gain, never feeling great. The only thing that got lighter was my wallet, as I shelled out too much money paying for silly supplements, protein powders and other ‘snake oil’ products. I’m now in my late 50’s.
After spending almost 28 years as Human Resources Director, early retirement in 2011 was a plan my husband I made together. I loved helping to build a successful group of privately owned health and fitness clubs in metro Chicago; and had the pleasure of working for one boss during my entire career. The experience I received and friendships I made during my employment is priceless.
However, it wasn’t an easy transition. I found myself aimlessly wandering around our city condo with nothing to do, in the middle of winter, in my pajamas. I finally wandered back into the kitchen; quickly realizing how much I enjoyed creating and cooking delicious and healthy meals (or so I thought).
In the colder months, I used my slow cooker for chili recipes that included mostly turkey or chicken; occasionally ‘lean’ beef. We used our outdoor grill in the summertime to grill chicken and salmon. There was always some type of vegetable coated in oil, or a potato side dish with butter and cheese. We really thought we were eating ‘healthy’.
Unfortunately, I remained bloated most of the time, and we both felt sluggish after our meals. We each had 8-15 uncomfortable pounds on our respective bodies. My husband’s cholesterol and blood pressure also remained too high, and he was on meds. The good news is that we maintained our daily exercise routine, but something still wasn’t right, and I couldn’t figure it out.
During the summer of 2012, a friend told us about the Engine 2 Diet, the Esselstyn family behind this amazing, life changing program, and T. Colin Campbell’s China Study. This led us to watch Forks Over Knives, and ba-bam!
The very next day, I threw out all processed and junk food in our kitchen, replacing it with whole, real and plant-based foods such as beans, whole grain pastas, quinoa and different rice. I also loaded the refrigerator with fruits and vegetables from every color of the rainbow. Now, the real cooking began!
This way of nourishing our bodies has changed our lives dramatically. Not only have we both lost weight, we have more energy than we did in our 30’s! My skin, hair and nails are so much healthier, shinier and stronger than ever, and my husband is off all his meds! Another healthy side effect of our plant-based diet provides us a ‘regular’ system. If you experience any type of constipation, you’ll benefit greatly from this way of eating.
I began to write a plant-based recipe blog called Edible Musings with the mission of inspiring others to adopt a healthier way to live and eat. That’s why I recently completed the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies Plant Based Nutrition Course through Cornell University.
I’m a couple years away from 60, and I feel invincible, proud and wanting very much to pay forward all that I’ve learned.