A major turning point for my family was the recognition that the word “healthy” had become a joke to us. I bought Splenda in bulk and kept a measuring cup in the bag so that we could easily dump a half cup into my coffee and oats in the morning. I was aware that this wasn’t healthy, and my common retort was “I’d rather have cancer than diabetes…” Not cool. But there were many other examples like this one—to us, food was for muscle building and fat control, and as long as we could manipulate our macros as we pleased, we gave little thought to the consequences.
…Then there were the anxiety attacks. Apparently, juggling school, family, and sports were tremendously taxing on my nervous system and emotional well-being. My anxiety attacks were compounded by alternating mood swings, depression, and
lethargy. I started reading into chronic fatigue syndrome and realized that between my workouts, stress, caffeine, and unhealthy eating, my body was pissed at me…and showing it. I wasn’t the only one exhibiting signs of stress and frustration–tension and stress in my household had begun to build as well.
From there, I started running and pursuing athletic outlets that made me feel good.
Running is my meditation time. I also started cooking more, and my family really enjoyed this. But one night, my daughter said “Mommy, you’re such a good cook. I bet you could make broccoli!” She sincerely did not know that I could not create broccoli in my kitchen. At the same time, she had begun to show some signs of entitlement, materialism, and other selfish qualities typical of many Americans. I realized that, in my attempt to give my daughter the best, I had failed to truly teach my daughter the values that are most important to me.
At this point, Mike and I decided to do a massive overhaul of our way of life. We probably could have chosen many other starting points, but we both felt that we needed to really get back in touch with nature. We had discussed on many occasions
the ethical problems behind our consumption of slaughtered animals, and we had already eliminated canned items from our diet. We began to question our protein shakes, dairy, and many products that contained ingredients that we couldn’t even pronounce. We quickly decided to move toward eating a plant-based diet.
We knew better than to get too extreme to quickly, and quite frankly we weren’t sure how far we could push things. We also didn’t want to fall into a trap of subscribing to a
pre-packaged diet trend. Why subscribe to someone else’s ethics, or someone else’s science, or someone else’s argument? We wanted the chance to form our own. This blog is not to lead you to our way of life: it is to show you what a journey looks like so that you can take your own.
So we set a simple goal: one week, no meat. Instead, we decided on a “plant-based, whole foods diet” (Term borrowed from Forks Over Knives) for the week. We had already taken quinoa, whole oats, dried beans, and lentils as staple foods, so we really only needed to replace our huge consumption of unethical meat with a variety of fruits and vegetables. We started on a Tuesday. The next day, I went to the grocery store and bought all kinds of fruits and vegetables. These lasted us for about two days before we started questioning where they had come from. By Saturday, we had already decided on a new goal: sustain our family for one week on only those fruits and vegetables we could buy at the Saturday farmers’ market.
We decided to treat ourselves to sushi at the end of the week to discuss how the week had gone and to set new goals. However, by the time we were ready to go out, neither of us really cared to go out; we did anyway, and really couldn’t enjoy it. We took this as a sign that the week had gone well.
I will stop here for now. Sorry for all of the catching up, because I know many of you are reading for the details of our journey rather than the philosophical processes behind it. But the story would not be complete without the background, and the journey won’t make sense out of context. Many of you have no idea how crazy it is that we, of all people, have come to this; others of you know exactly how uncharacteristic of us this really is. We are not “hippy-dippy,” “tree-hugging,” or “save the whales” kind of people. I think that is ultimately what makes the journey worth reading. They won’t all be this long. 🙂
Recipe: Crackers! Mike made these last night. Great with hummus, avocado, or peanut butter.
1.5 Cup whole wheat flour
1.5cup white flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1t sea salt
1/3cup olive oil
1cup warm water
Mix, knead for 4-5 minutes. Form into balls, coat with oil; let rest for 30 minutes. Roll out balls into desired shape, bake at 450 for six minutes or until golden brown.
He just used whatever flours we had laying around–next time he plans to add flax seeds and sunflower seeds.