Plant Galley
Lifestyle Change

As the body ages, problems develop that produce progressive
symptoms from years of unhealthy abuse that eventually require
attention. Media outlets bombard us with all kinds of
information about health/disease and their solutions to our
perceived problems. Much of this information is not based on
research but is presented as facts. It is our job as the owner
of this once-in-a-lifetime body to take control of the gift we
have been given. It is important to be an active partner with
your doctor to ensure the best possible outcome. Mass media
makes access to primary research within the reach of anyone who
makes an effort to find it.

To understand a whole food, plant based lifestyle change; it is
necessary to identify the ultimate goal that is desired. The
basic question that must be kept in mind is: Do you want to
treat symptoms with medicine and procedures OR do you want to
prevent and reverse disease?

Most doctors have been educated and trained to identify
symptoms and treat them with medicine and procedures. These
skills are needed when an emergency presents itself. There is a
time for medicine/drugs and procedures/surgery. The individual
should determine if and when it will be used.

On the other hand, peer reviewed research currently shows that
a number of diseases can be prevented and reversed by a whole
food, plant based lifestyle. Health organizations are beginning
to change their guidelines to come closer to this style of
eating. It appears to be an exciting beginning of a food
revolution to put health at the forefront ahead of subsidized
agriculture and factory farms. Some doctors are beginning to
rethink the role food plays in the management of health and
disease. There are doctors who have taken classes in plant-based
nutrition and are beginning to use this information with their
patients. The problem is that there is no money for doctors when
patients are healthy!

Life is best lived with a goal in mind! This is where we go
back to the basic question that determines your road to the
future. Do you want to treat symptoms with medicine and
procedures OR do you want to prevent and reverse disease?
Treating symptoms with medicine and procedures along with side
effects is a never-ending lifetime process that manages the
problem but does not show significant improvement for the
problem. It does nothing for the underlying cause of the
problem. It is an expensive route to follow without significant
progress. Following the route for preventing and reversing
disease is also a never-ending lifetime process but significant
improvement can be seen in a very short period of time. The
money spent on food produces lifetime benefits because it is
changing the underlying cause of the problem. There is a simple
explanation: The food you eat determines the goal you reach!
It is your body and the decision is up to you.

As a result of heart problems, we decided to follow a lifestyle
change promoted by several well-known authorities: Neal D.
Barnard, M.D., T. Colin Campbell, PhD., Caldwell B. Esselstyn,
Jr., M.D., John A. McDougall, M.D., John Robbins, Jeffrey S.
Novick, M.S., R.D., L.D., L.N., among others who have done peer
reviewed research. They don't all agree on every detail, but the
majority of what they promote is the same. There may be a few
minor things that you have to decide which way you feel is best
for you. We do not call it a "diet" because most diets are
temporary solutions of eating sparingly! This lifestyle change
is not temporary and it is not eating sparingly! We plan to
continue this approach to eating for the rest of our lives. When
you lose aches and pains, lose weight, regain energy, etc. there
is no way that you want to go back to your old habits! After
seeing DVDs that explain how meat is processed, what is in many
processed foods, etc., it is easy to see that it is not good for
your body. It is important to realize that the USDA, the dairy
industry, the pharmaceutical industry, etc. are working for
their own benefit -- not your benefit!

Basically our lifestyle is plant-based, low fat eating with
minimal processed foods. No animal products, which means no
dairy, no cheese, no meat, no eggs, etc. No added fats of any
kind, which means no vegetable oil (olive oil, canola oil,
coconut oil, etc.), no butter, no shortening, etc. No refined
white flour, white sugar, white rice because whole grain flours
and brown rice are used in this cooking for their nutrients. No
artificial sweeteners are used. Some of the authorities say that
agave is "nature's high fructose corn syrup!" Dates are
sometimes used in recipes for sweetening because they are a
whole food. We do not eat processed chips, crackers, or other
snacks. In an effort to keep the fat and salt low, we do not eat
nuts, olives, avocados, coconut, pickles or any kind of
purchased pickled vegetables. Sliced cucumber on a sandwich is
better for you than pickles! Hummus or mustard is much better
than mayonnaise! No exceptions should be the rule! Making
exceptions leads to a derailed path. Most people who choose to
eat plant based, whole foods need to supplement it with vitamins
D and B12. We also use a tablespoon of flaxseed meal in our
morning serving of oatmeal. We eat a wide variety of fruits and
vegetables. The taste of fresh fruits and vegetables, even
prepared in a very simple manner, is delicious because
unnecessary additives do not mask the taste.

We have found that we prefer to eat at home most of the time.
It is hard to find restaurants that support this type of eating.
High fructose corn syrup is put in a lot of breads and rolls.
Most prepared foods have a high amount of sodium. Food coloring
and preservatives add chemicals to the food. Why would you want
to eat something that you can't pronounce when you see it listed
in the ingredients? The consumer cannot control what is put
before him in a restaurant. It is a surprise that is usually not
worth risking your health. There are a lot of plant-based
recipes available and with some practice it doesn't take very
long to prepare nutritious food! Extra food can be frozen for
quick meals in the future.

This is a good quote by Ann Wigmore: "The food you eat can be
either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the
slowest form of poison." The grocery store is full of healthy
and unhealthy choices. You get to decide whether your money goes
to food that can prevent and reverse disease or junk food,
doctor visits and medications. The cost of this eating plan is
not a factor. You have to buy food to live. The decision should
be based on the quality of life factor.

Fresh fruits and vegetables and frozen fruits and vegetables
are much more healthy than canned. They also do not have the
sodium and preservatives that are found in the canned varieties.
It's fun to visit the farmers market and enjoy produce that is
grown locally. Although there are differences of opinion about
the health benefits of organic produce, it probably is better
for certain produce. Pesticides do not contribute to healthy
food. Check the country of origin that is posted in the grocery
store or on the label. Food coming from outside the USA is more
likely to have dangerous pesticides since some countries do not
have very good regulations on pesticides. Produce in season is
more likely to come from the USA while produce out of season is
coming from other countries. Check the Internet to learn the
seasons for different produce. Cheaper prices and better quality
are usually found when produce is in season. Also look for food
that is "non GMO" for health benefits. We always purchase "no
salt added" beans and tomato products in cans with "BPA" free

Since some non-stick cookware as well as some parchment paper
has been criticized for being unhealthy, we use silicone baking
cups, a silicone loaf pan, a silicone baking mat and unbleached
parchment paper. A stainless steel large skillet and several
sizes of saucepans (which are not non-stick) can be used for
most recipes since sauteing vegetables is done with a little
cooking liquid (broth or water) instead of oil. A hot air
popcorn popper is good for a snack without oil! A blender or
food processor is good for some soup recipes. A small 2-cup
mini-prep food processor is good for making hummus recipes. A
slow cooker (Crockpot) is good to start in the morning and have
a hot meal ready when you come home at night!

As we travel this new food journey, our pantry has changed.
There are whole areas in the grocery store that we never peruse
any more! It is possible to cook healthy food with common
products found in most grocery stores. Look for the word "whole"
with the word "grain." A "wheat tortilla" could have white flour
in it! Learn to read labels to see exactly what is in the item.
For example, raisins are sometimes packed with oil.

Remove immediately any food item in your home that is not on
your food plan! This prevents temptation that results in guilt!
It is important to settle on a food plan and stick with it.
Jumping around does not promote progress! Learning a new style
of eating is fun! Although most other people are not going to
understand why you would do such a thing, you will be the
healthy one down the road when you are giving up medications,
eliminating pain, losing weight, and gaining energy that you
thought would never be possible.

There are pros and cons to all of life's decisions. It is more
difficult to eat out or to eat at a public function. However,
there are usually green salads without dressing, dry baked
potatoes or fresh vegetable and fruit trays without dips. We
feel that the benefits of this lifestyle change far outweigh the
problems. It does take a little while to get used to this way of
eating. Anything worthwhile takes time! It takes a little change
in your thoughts. When I see certain foods now, my mind thinks
about the bad qualities of the food and I don't feel bad about
not eating it. I actually feel sorry for the people who for
whatever reason are choosing to eat it!!! When you are eating a
variety of things you will not be hungry. Calories still count
and serving size is important but fresh fruits and vegetables
are nutrient dense, usually not calorie dense. You would have to
eat a whole lot to overeat. They usually say that you don't see
overweight whole foods, plant based eaters. They are satisfied
without overeating. People overeat because their body is seeking
something that it has not gotten. Artificial vitamins and
minerals do not satisfy like the real thing from vegetables and
fruits. I am surprised that I don't get very hungry following
this plan. You do not feel deprived. Tastes will change over
time as your body adjusts to whole unprocessed foods without
preservatives and additives.

It is good to have as many colors as possible on your plate
because that means that you are getting a variety of nutrients.
It is like eating the rainbow! A meal should include fruits,
vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. There is no need for meat
as a protein source. Legumes provide excellent plant protein. We
do not buy edamame beans or tofu since there has been concerns
about the high fat in these soy items. Americans eat more
protein than their bodies can handle. An easy meal that meets
this guideline would be a soup that includes vegetables,
tomatoes (which are technically fruit), beans, and whole-wheat
pasta. You could add other fruit for dessert. There is no law
that says that you can only have three meals a day! Have a
mid-morning snack and a mid-afternoon snack. Fruit makes a good
quick snack. It just takes a little while to think about foods
to come up with good healthy choices. It is possible to make
choices that will have lasting benefits for your quality of life
down the road.

It is also good to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
This keeps you hydrated. Sometimes people think that they are
hungry when they really need some water. We also drink iced tea
and hot tea and occasionally coffee. It is probably good to
limit caffeine. No sugar drinks or diet sodas are included.
Carbonated water with some fresh lemon, lime or orange juice
makes a great soda occasionally.

Exercise is not strongly promoted in the basic program since
they want you to not feel overwhelmed with details. However,
exercise of any kind is good for a person. We walk four to six
times a week at a local mall. Our route gets a little over 2.5
miles in just under an hour each time. Start with a shorter walk
and build up the length. It needs to be something that you enjoy
and will continue to do -- not a chore that you dread. You can
never get aerobic steps from daily household and job walking! It
takes long continuous walking to get the heart rate up for
aerobic steps. This mall is small and quiet with a smooth
walking surface unlike some outdoor sidewalks that are uneven
and present walking hazards.

To be motivated when you start this eating plan, you might want
to put a star sticker on the calendar each day you follow the
plan. It is exciting to see a calendar page full of stars! You
could also put a symbol on the calendar for each day that you
exercise. It is good to keep track of your blood pressure. There
are blood pressure machines at WalMart and CVS pharmacy that you
can use. Putting your numbers on the calendar will also give you
a record of your blood pressure. Checking your weight once a
week the first thing in the morning before eating or drinking
anything may be useful. This number could also be recorded on
the calendar. A good calendar with big blocks for record keeping
is available for purchase at:
When you go to the doctor, you can take your calendar with your
record of food, exercise, blood pressure, and weight. This gives
a more accurate picture of your progress than one weight and
blood pressure reading in the doctor's office. This is part of
being a partner with your doctor for your health care.

We feel that we have undertaken an exciting journey on the road
to a good quality of life! No one (not even a doctor) can make a
person understand this. It has to come from within. I am not
able to completely express the difference I feel in my body
since starting this method of eating. I know that I will never
want to go back to my old habits! Speaking of the basic
question: Do you want to treat symptoms with medicine and
procedures OR do you want to prevent and reverse disease? I
am reminded of one of my favorite poems. Robert Frost gave the
perfect answer to the question when he said,
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I --
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."

This is a lifestyle change, not a diet. The goal is optimum
health -- not weight loss! The weight loss is a natural outcome
of the lifestyle change. You are in it for life's journey. Your
health did not get in this shape overnight and it will not be
corrected overnight. All things worthwhile take time! Remember
the fable of the tortoise and the hare! Quality of life is more
important than length of life. Most people would not choose
drugs and machines to give them a long life. You are never too
old to learn something new and improve yourself. There is a
difference in treating symptoms and preventing or reversing a
disease. Unfortunately, most doctors are trained in treating
symptoms. Use the Internet and check out what some of the
well-known authorities listed above say about preventing and
reversing certain diseases. Eating the Standard American Diet
(SAD) in moderation does not work over the long haul. Doing the
same old thing gets the same old results. Avoiding extremes just
prolongs the problems. Quality of life comes from changing the
underlying cause of the problem. We have to learn to live with
change on a daily basis. Conclusions of scientific research
conducted by professionals change over time as new discoveries
and information become available. What was believed to be true
in regard to health and nutrition 50 years ago is not
necessarily believed to be true today. There is a lot of
scientific research published within the last 10 years that goes
against what people have been told growing up. It is important
for an individual to be aware of what current scientific
research is saying about health and nutrition and then make an
informed decision about individual health care. There is no
one-size-fits-all decision. The human body is unique and health
and nutrition must be managed individually. Choices are a part
of life. Informed decisions are better than random decisions. It
is an exciting journey to manage your health as an informed
partner with your doctor! It takes a strong person to make a
lifestyle change because well-meaning uninformed people think
that you are making a mistake. Stay positive -- help could be
only a plate of food away!
The food you eat determines the goal you reach!

Updated 12-MAY-2017 10:56:27