The first pic is Deborah holding a cake on her 40th birthday, the last pic was taken a couple of weeks ago after a 4 mile hike with a 50 pound pack of sand strapped to her back (she’s training for a ruck march in March!)
“I started my plant based life in March of 2012. I went to the doctor because I was having chest pains when I ate, and I was diagnosed with acid reflux. He talked to me about dietary changes and prescribed Nexium. I walked out of his office, and for some reason it struck me that at 42 years old and 338 pounds, it was only a matter of time before I had other health problems, and the medication would be for diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. I knew that it was time to change. I started trying to eat healthier, and then I happened upon some Netflix documentaries, including Forks Over Knives. On March 12th, I switched to a plant based diet. Since then I have lost 116 pounds, and feel like I have gotten my life back. I went to my doctor in November of 2012 for a physical and he was thrilled with my results. My blood pressure and cholesterol are great, and my energy level is through the roof. I still have some weight to lose, but I know that if I continue what I am doing, I will get there. And the best part is I LOVE the food that I am eating. I no longer crave sugar or any of the bad things that I used to eat.
I am a lifelong Texan, and was raised on traditional southern comfort food. So deciding to become plant based was a big decision for me, and one that required me to relearn everything I knew about eating and cooking. It did take a little extra time and effort to begin with, but it was really much easier to make the transition than I expected. Now it is pretty much second nature to choose and cook the best, healthy foods. Most days I eat oatmeal for breakfast with almond milk, walnuts, and chia seeds. Sometimes on weekends I will make tofu scramble or some other healthy plant based breakfast. During the work week, I take my lunch from home about 90% if the time. I sometimes take giant salads, or a baked potate with some yummy toppings, veggie fajitas, or leftovers from dinner the night before. I have 4 children and a husband who are not plant based eaters, so I do stlil cook some dishes for them with meat. But more and more often, we are eating plant based meals at home. I have found a TON of really good recipes for plant based foods, everything from ‘meat’ loafs to homemade burgers, to fantastic stews and soups. It has been trial an error, because just like with traditional food, there are recipes I have tried and not liked. But almost every one of the traditional comfort foods that I grew up with I can now recreate in a much healthier version. They have definitely all begun to eat a LOT more fruits and veggies than they did before. My children snack on fruit, or carrot sticks now instead of the processed junk that we all ate before. That is one of the things that I feel the best about, knowing that I am teaching my children a better way, and giving them a good shot at being healthy for life. I cannot claim to be 100% vegan, because every great once in a while I might be out somewhere and eat something that has cheese in it, becuase choices are limited, etc. But this happens less and less often, because I just don’t think it is good for my body. But I can say that I do not cook with any animal products for myself, and I also avoid cooking with oil. There is no longer any oil, butter, or many of the things that most people consider staples in my house.
I have struggled with food addiction my entire life, and I feel like that is over now. I eat when I am hungry, and I enjoy my food. But I no longer crave junk food, sugary stuff, etc. I am not starving myself, in fact my employees are shocked at how much I eat! If I am hungry, I eat. But I make sure that what I eat is as much whole, plant based food as possible. On the rare occasions that someone brings cookies or some other treat and I decide to try one, they don’t even taste good to me anymore, and leave me wondering why I even wanted it!
I love the fact that when I cook, clean up is super easy! There is no greasy, gooey mess to clean up. My pans can literally be rinsed clean just by putting them under running water. When I do this, I always think that this must be how my arteries are now, nice and clean. They are not covered in the gunk that I used to put in my body! And when I am making homemade veggie burgers, or loaf of some kind, I can taste it while I am making it to see if it is right. No worries about E. Coli, etc. My food is as safe to eat raw as it is cooked!
For anyone considering plant based, I urge you to TRY IT! You have nothing to lose, and a lot to gain. It took only about 2 weeks for me to see a HUGE difference in the way I felt. I was still severly overweight, but I suddenly felt like a new person. I woke up every morning with a ton of energy, and I felt that way all day. No more afternoon slump. I used to be so tired by the time I got home at night that I felt like it was all I could do to manage my end of the day chores and drag myself into bed. But now I literally have energy right up until I lay down to sleep. I also used to snore really badly, and my husband would tell me that he thought I had apnea because I would seem to stop breathing. I never had a sleep study done, because I was afraid. But about a month ago, I asked him if I still snored, and he said nope, that I am so quiet when I sleep now he can’t tell I am breathing! I sleep so much better than I used to, and feel refreshed every morning.
I also have struggled with IBS my whole life, and now I am completely symptom free. I am very passionate about my new lifestyle changes. I have done a lot of reading, and I believe that what I am doing is the best thing for my body. And the most convinving thing for me is the way I feel. My body tells me every day that I am doing the right thing.”
Let’s give Deborah a huge congratulations on her
life change! Your story is such an inspiration to all of us!