The Accidental Vegan

When Brennis got home from the hospital a friend of mine gave me the book “Prevent And Reverse Heart Disease” by Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. M.D. Dr. Esselstyn’s approach to using diet to combat and reverse the effects of heart disease on the body is somewhat radical from a Western point of view and when I first read the book I thought it was a nice approach for people who had no other choice but I could never do it. Esselstyn believes that most heart disease in The United States is caused by a diet hight in fat…we kind of all already know this but Esselstyn believes that you can prevent and reverse heart disease by adopting a diet that is largely plant based….no meat, no dairy and most surprisingly NO OIL of any kind. It’s a very well written and thoroughly researched book and I really fell in love with it right away.

I had lost about 100 pounds through diet and exersise the year before Brennis had had his heart attack so I was already eating pretty healthily but as I tried to adapt recipes to Brennis’ new dietary requirements I found myself turning time and again to Dr. Esselstyn’s ideas and recipes. It really just made sense to me.

Slowly over the last year I have done a lot of experimenting. I have slowly cut things out of my diet that either didn’t make me feel good or just made me feel bad. As I removed things from my diet I began to feel better and stopped craving them. Soon I was so in-tune with my body that I knew exactly what I could eat for energy, to feel full, to get me through a long evening. I began using food for fuel….not just eating because I was hungry or because it was in front of me. I was really thinking about what I was eating.

Today I am about 95% vegan. I’m not sure I’ll ever lose the other 5%…but I probably will. I do eat olive oil and I do eat nuts (which are not on the Esselstyn diet). I eat mostly whole foods: fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains. I try to eat as little processed food as possible. I have also removed most sugar from my diet because it was a trigger for me to over eat. I am not successful doing this every day. Sometimes I see a box of donuts and they speak to me like only donuts can. 100% of he time I feel almost immediately miserable afterward because my body is no longer used to eating high fat, high sugar foods….so I don’t do that again for a while. I also find it very limiting to add the word “never” to my food vocabulary. I don’t think I’ll “never” eat meat again. I still like the taste of it and if there is something that someone has made that I just have to try I will. I just don’t choose to do it very often.

Once again, these are my choices based on my life. I am only sharing them with you because it might be something you are interested in. I didn’t take very good care of my body the first 43 years of my life and I am thankful that my health is good despite that. I don’t want to live forever….I don’t even necessarily want to live longer. I really just want to feel good and doing this makes me feel good.

So I’ll be sharing some recipes on these pages and some things I’ve learned after losing 100 pounds and being able to keep it off for over a year. I hope you will try some of the recipes and I hope that if you struggle with weight like I have all my life that you will find something to help you.

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