So, what's for dinner?
It's a question that comes up most days in most families.
Personally, I love good food and I have always eaten plenty of it. As a kid growing up, my mother didn't let my sister or me leave the family dinner table until our plate was cleared. It's a habit I still have to this day. In fact, I have been known to help other people finish their plate too!
Over the years, I have developed a taste for all kinds of food and, after marrying Nicole over 30 years ago, my appreciation for different types of cuisine has only expanded. We love Italian, Indian, Japanese, Moroccan, Thai, Mexican, you name it.
In recent years, I have struggled with keeping my weight to a desirable level (see my Weight Loss Musings). Also, my family has a history of heart disease and high cholesterol. As a result, I have become more conscious of the kinds of food I eat, as well as the quantities.
Over the last 3 months, Nicole and I have moved to a more "whole-food, plant-based" diet which is now becoming a new lifestyle for us. We are both feeling better, I have lost more weight, we have more energy, and our cholesterol levels are down. The trigger for me was becoming more aware of some of the latest research on diet and how it affects our health and well-being. Two resources were particularly helpful:
Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health
The Forks over Knives documentary produced in 2011 brings together the latest research in health and science, exposing many of the myths we have grown up believing, particularly about meat ("You need your protein!") and dairy ("Drink your milk for your daily intake of calcium"). It's worth watching and discussing with your family. There is also a New York Times best-selling book by the same title, a cookbook with over 300 recipes of delicious meals, an APP with heaps of recipes, and lots of other helpful resources on the related web site.
How Not To Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease
This book is a real eye opener. Here is the description:
Why rely on drugs and surgery to cure you of life-threatening disease when the right decisions can prevent you from falling ill to begin with? "How Not To Die" gives effective, scientifically-proven nutritional advice to prevent our biggest killers – heart disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes – revealing the astounding health benefits that simple dietary choices can provide. Based on the very latest scientific research, "How Not To Die" examines each of the most common diseases, chapter by chapter, to reveal what, how and why different foods affect us and how increasing our consumption of certain foods and avoiding others can dramatically reduce our risk of falling sick and even reverse the effects of disease.
Most people I know want to live a long life but what about quality of life? Health is energy and energy is essential for living the life we desire. Therefore, it is worth investing the time and effort to learn about health in our increasingly obese and addictive culture.
Here is my challenge to you:
1. Watch the documentary Forks Over Knives and/or read one or both of the above books. Reflect on what you learn. I guarantee you will be motivated to make some positive changes in your life.
2. Eat out less, then cook more at home by adding a dozen new healthy recipes to your cooking repertoire for your family (do an internet search for the ‘best vegetarian or vegan recipes’ or pick up a new cookbook from your local bookstore or download an APP such as ‘Deliciously Ella’). Food doesn't have to be full of sugar and artificial ingredients to be delicious.
3. Next time you do go out to eat, choose a vegan option. You'll be surprised at how delicious it is.
As a result of taking these three simple steps, I believe that you will experience better health, longer life … and you will be kinder to the planet and to all creatures great and small.
So, what's for dinner?