Be Your Own Health Advocate
(spolier alert: no one else has your back)
About two weeks ago a girlfriend of mine reached out to me.
She "confessed" to not eating as many plants as she felt she ought to....
I literally felt like I was in the confessional booth.
She didn't appreciate my laugh.
She then said to me, rather solemnly, "Seriously, I need your help. I know my kids need to eat more vegetables. I know we need to eat less meat and less dairy. I don't think we'll ever give it up but we need to eat less. I'm not accepting that my destiny lies in my genetics. Help me."
Sometimes in our professions, we get so caught up in the idea that everyone knows what we do and if they needed help from us, they'd ask. But this friend felt guilty and she felt stuck. She felt ashamed for not being forthright in her values. She said she knew what she needed to do. She knew the changes she wanted to make but didn't have the energy, patience or know-how to implement them.
Oh my goodness, I have so been there!!!
Well, she and 41 others just completed my Earth Week Eat More Plants Challenge. I provided every participant with a 28-page packet consisting of recipes, a meal plan, and shopping list to kickstart a week of eating more plants. I checked in and offered guidance and accountabilty throughout the week and got such amazing feedback, very funny texts and a slew of cute and delicious pictures. Her whole family got totally into it and she was pleasantly surprised at how easy the recipes were and perhaps even more importantly, how much her kids and husband were actually into the meals.
Want to get on the waiting list for our next Eat More Plants Challenge? Sign up here.
At the end, she reiterated that she's not likely to "give up" eating the odd piece of fish or having the occasional burger or egg here and there but that they really liked how they felt throughout the week, noting it may be the first week she's ever not had dairy. Her husband even made a few meals (as did other spouses and partners!) and they got their kids involved in chopping, shopping, blending, plating, and cleaning!! She's stoked and let out a huge sigh of relief that "this hurdle has officially been crossed"!!
I'm not here trying to convert people or tell people what they should and shouldn't eat. As a health coach, I help my clients zone out the noise and actually listen from within. Did you know that 95% of doctors practicing medicine today have had less than 5 hours of nutritional education throughout their 12+ years of post-high school education? In fact, only 27% of medical schools even offer a nutrition class. I find that shocking, especially considering that most lifestyle-related diseases actually begin in the gut!
The way we're currently eating is making us sick.
Our healthcare system (or as I prefer to call it, our sick care system) is seriously flawed. There is very little attention on prevention nor any attention to nutrition. It seems people are content to be on a laundry list of pills for the rest of their lives and feel that surgeries are less drastic than simply changing the way they eat.
Whether you're intrigued by a Plant-based way of eating for the sake of your own health, for the sake of the environment, for the sake of the animals or a combination of all three; here are a few things I've learned throughout my own personal health journey.
In 98% of the cases, if people switched to a whole food plant based diet there would be no need to be on pills for the rest of their lives. Inflammation, which is the leading trigger of chronic disease, would virtually disappear.
You do not need to eat animals to get protein and you certainly don't need as much protein as some would have you believe. Protein deficiency is very, very rare! In fact, less than 3% of the US population suffers from some sort of protein deficiency. However, 97% of the population suffers from fiber deficiency!!!
You do not need to drink milk or eat cheese to get calcium and too much dairy can actually deplete bone density.
The Elephant, the rhinoceros, the hippopotamus, the bison, the wildebeest, the horse, the manatee, the deer, the gorilla and yes, even the cow we look to for so many of our calcium and protein needs, all survive and thrive on a plant-based diet. Think about that for a moment....these are some of the strongest animals on earth. Does it not seem strange that we eat a cow for protein and we drink its milk for calcium but all the cow eats is grass (and grain). Food for thought...
Though kinder to animals and easier on the planet, a junk food vegan is just as unhealthy as a junk food meat eater.
75% of the world's population is lactose intolerant. We're born with lactase enzymes in order to take and process our mother's milk but after we wean off breast milk, those enzymes trickle away, making it extremely hard to process dairy, which often manifests into longterm illness and/or skin & digestive issues.
With the exception of avocados, olives, coconut, nuts & seeds and some soy products there is virtually no saturated fat in a plant-based diet. These exceptions are not only low in saturated fat, they are also loaded with beneficial monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, amongst many other nutritional powerhouses, which are known to improve heart health, brain health, and lower blood pressure.
A whole food plant based diet can not only prevent many diseases it can actually reverse many diseases.
The Government, the Department of Health & Human Services, the USDA, the FDA, and most other public offices relating to health, do not have your back. There is actually very little money to be made off of healthy people and these agencies are all paid for by Big Pharma, Big Ag or other lobbyist interests. This, in my opinion, is a tremendous conflict of interest. Sure, we need to approve life-saving vaccines and research and test drugs before they enter the marketplace but when you learn that 75% of the FDA's $700 million annual budget is paid for by the pharmaceutical industry, it makes you stop for a minute and ask "is this the best practice for the health of our people?"
Our bodies are amazing. It is a perfectly functioning system until we go and mess it all up with our lifestyle choices! We must find balance in all aspects of our lives to truly thrive.
When I was personally dealing with my own health issues - I went deep, I read books, watched documentaries, listened to / read hours upon hours of medical transcripts, listened to podcasts, took classes, sought out alternative doctors and the conclusion that I came to - is that our current food and medical systems are very flawed and we're being sold a pack of lies. While people are getting fat and sick, others are getting fat and rich. What I have learned, cannot be ignored nor unlearned. I encourage you to become your own health advocate. Become your own doctor and really check in with what feels good, what feels right and listen to yourself.
There is no magical pill, the pills out there only mask the symptoms of our issues.
They do not cure us nor make the core issues go away, they simply allow us to live with the issue with a constant fake smile.
No thank you!
If you want to dive further, here are a few of my favorite books, documentaries, and resources...
How Not to Die - By Dr. Michael Greger
The China Study - By T. Colin Campbell
The Cheese Trap - By Neal Barnard
The Plantpower Way - By Rich Roll & Julie Piatt
No Meat Athlete - By Matt Frazier
Plant-powered Families - By Dreena Burton
Forks Over Knives
What The Health
Eating You Alive
Rich Roll - his story is great and his podcast guests are some of the best out there.
UC Davis Integrative Medicine - preventing chronic disease through education.
Nutrition Facts Dot Org - Dr. Michael Greger's not-for-profit, peer-reviewed, complete nutritional resource.
Most of my clients inherently know what they want. They even know how they'd like to eat, what they'd like to feed their families. Some even know how they could find more time in their day for movement, meditation, family time, friend time, alone time, self-care. In their guts, they know changes they could make to find more reward in their daily existence, BUT most fail to actually see it to fruition because they're unable to find motivation, accountability, support or have convinced themselves that the pushback simply isn't worth it. Hint: it is!!
I am that support, that accountability, that voice of reason and motivation that helps every one of my clients find their inner voice, strength, and conviction from within to manifest their best life. It's not a diet, a quick fix, a supplement or a pill. It's really honing in on what each person wants and needs in their life and then supporting them to make small but significant changes over time to support those wants and needs. It's certainly not rocket science but we all need help and asking for it is often the hardest part of all!
If you're tired of doing the same thing over & over and getting the same results and instead want some accountability to help you achieve your goals, I'm here for you!
Click below to book a Free 30 Minute Consultation today and begin your next chapter with support, tools, accountability, and guidance.