We buried my mom on Mother's Day weekend of 2008. At the time, my son was two weeks old and my daughter was 14 months old. It was a confluence of miracle and loss. We thought we were eating right and living a healthy lifestyle. I had to remain strong and centered, if not for myself, then for my own children, and I needed answers. I was brought up in my mother's Mediterranean-inspired kitchen. We ate three meals a day, cooked at home, and rarely went out to eat at restaurants. I can count on one hand how many times we visited a fast food restaurant when I was growing up. Sounds reasonable right? We thought so too.
I believe there are certain things a person has to live through in order to gain a real appreciation for life. One of them is watching someone die. Whether it's witnessing a terrifying car accident firsthand, seeing a runner collapse at mile 18, or acting as a caregiver for someone with a debilitating or terminal illness, the intense emotion evoked by that experience will change a person forever.
When it happened to me, my outlook changed. My approach changed. I suddenly became hypersensitive about everything from preserving pictures, video, and family traditions to cursing anyone who drove diagonally through painted parking spaces. It occurred to me that this life we have is precious, and if there's something we can do to protect ourselves from illness, why isn't everyone doing it?
As a society, we know that healthful eating is best achieved by consuming a diet of mostly whole, plant-based foods and avoiding meat, dairy products and eggs, plus refined and processed foods.
So why do we still eat those foods? Why does our own government still refuse to provide transparency to regular Americans about our industrialized food system and the harm it is causing?
The answer is this: unless you've been personally touched by disease, you may not believe that healthcare really begins in your own kitchen, not in Washington, DC. How many more lives need to be cut short by society's ignorance about the incredible relationship that exists between nutrition and disease, information that mainstream America still takes for granted? It's nice to see that the move toward a healthier generation is finally taking shape. The Permanente Journal of Kaiser Permanente published an article this week suggesting that even physicians recommend a plant-based diet to their patients. Change happens slowly, and while it may take a generation or more to encourage our entire society to stop eating meat and move toward eating plant-based foods, the power lies in educating one person …one family at a time.
Find out more about my family's transition to eating only whole, plant-based foods, and discover why and how you can do it too in my book, A Silent Cure in my Back Yard. You'll see for yourself how having real knowledge about proper nutrition fosters meaningful relationships in your life and sustains your soul. Within each of us lies the power to change our circumstances, whatever they may be. Remember, it's your choice. Be inspired.