Is Food the Answer?

I think it really depends on the question. A lot of people turn to food to meet their emotional needs but does it really help? When I’m having a challenging day I often think a quick trip to Starbucks or a chocolate treat will make everything better but it won’t. I look to coffee, chocolate, soda or fast food to feel better. Doesn’t that sound ridiculous?

I’m not saying I’ll never eat those things but I should think about my motivation. I’ve said to myself, “I know this ________ will not change my situation but I’m choosing to eat it anyway.” I’m not sure if that is any better, I hope the fact that I’m not completely deluding myself makes it at least slightly more favorable.

If the question is “how can I get healthy/lose weight/reverse a medical condition?” then I believe food is the answer. We have been poisoning ourselves for generations and seeing disease overcome us. Many individuals think changing their diet is far too drastic but view heart bypass surgery as a regular or unavoidable part of life. There is a problem here. Surgeries like getting tubes in children’s ears could be completely unneccessary with a simple diet change. Asthma suffers find relief and give up their inhalers; diabetics are able to eliminate the need for medication.

I think back to 1 year ago when I was still transitioning to a plant-based diet. I was still having some bladder problems and getting frustrated that I wasn’t symptom free. It’s been one year since I last had a urinary tract infection; in 2011 I had 7 UTI’s. You can read more about my story here. My husband will be sharing more of his story soon as well.

I think most of us have a really messed up view of food. We don’t look at it as a way to nourish and fuel our bodies but as entertainment. I’m guilty of this as well. I’m much more objective when it comes to my kids. My 3 year old will say he is hungry, I’ll offer him an apple but he isn’t hungry for an apple, he “want’s something kind of new and different.” I am rarely “hungry” for a salad but if I was truly hungry I’d eat one. Instead I’ll grab something else, usually something less healthy.

So back to the question, “is food the answer?” No, food will not meet an emotional need in a healthy way. Yes, the food you eat may be killing you. Yes, eating a whole food, plant-based diet can help you overcome your health issues and live a fulfilling (and delicious) life.

Just so we are clear, I do love Starbucks, chocolate, and other goodies. I enjoy them occasionally and I don’t feel guilty. Yes, sometimes I want to turn to them to make me feel better but I know those things won’t bring me life or health. When I have a desperate longing and start looking for a fix I’m better off praying and asking God to meet that need than drowning it in sugar.

My Weight Loss Story: A Health Revival

I’ve never been overweight, I’m closer to average. I know I weighed more than I needed to but I felt pretty comfortable with the way I looked. I wasn’t planning on strutting my stuff in a bikini anytime soon but whatever. My normal was about 150 lbs and I was (mostly) OK with that. 

Pre-Plant-Based Diet with my amazing Husband

I had a baby in 2009 and lost all of the baby weight within 6 months. In 2010 I decided to work out, get in shape and lose a little weight. I worked out hard for a few months and only gained weight. I started trying to eat “healthy” along with working out and finally lost a few pounds just in time for vacation. Two months later I found out I was 10 weeks pregnant. I should have known. I lost weight when I got pregnant with my first son too. I gained about 25 to 30 pounds with this pregnancy and delivered a healthy baby boy in January.

I was plagued with bladder problems throughout the year; repeated UTI’s and bladder spasms were making leaving the house next to impossible. After a ton of doctors appointments, invasive testing, and mucho frustration I’d had enough. In an act of desperation I sent an email out to about a dozen of my friends telling them about my symptoms, a possible interstitial cystitis diagnosis, and all of the fear and isolation I was feeling. I pleaded for any help anyone could give me and for all of the prayer they could muster.

One friend put me in touch with a family member who had similar symptoms. My long conversations with her gave me hope and pointed me in the direction of Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy.

Another friend introduced me to her mother, Eileen, who is a Whole Food Educator. We communicated primarily through email with a few phone calls. I had to fill out a ton of paperwork and a food diary so she could get a full picture of my health and life style. Eileen started me on a path of Dietary Excellence™ in October of 2011. She also recommended some products to help resolve the chronic infections and improve my digestion. She had faith that I would be symptom free by Christmas. I prayed, I hoped, I made the change.

I watched Forks Over Knives and was encouraged that this would not only help my bladder problems but prevent diseases for the rest of my life. My husband got on board almost immediately and experienced great health benefits as well. He has also lost quite a bit of weight, but I’ll share about that another time.

As I followed this new path I noticed changes right away. Aches and pains that had become an everyday occurrence were gone. I felt more clarity, kind of like the Claritn commercials. Also, weight was almost falling off. I lost 16 pounds in the first 6 weeks. Most of that was in the first two weeks. Even after I stopped losing pounds my shape was definitely improving. 

I had some bladder flare up’s during the first few months and some infections that just didn’t want to clear up. I got discouraged on more than a few occasions but Eileen was there to encourage me. I was a believer in the plant-based diet. By Christmas I was symptom free. Praise the Lord!!!

We had family visiting during Christmas 2011 so we got a little off track, but not much. We decided to participate in the Physicians  Committee for Responsible Medicine‘s 21 Day Vegan Kickstart. This was the first time we were eating completely vegan as a household. I loved it and I felt great. I was creating delicious recipes every week, with a few duds now and then. I lost another 3.5 pounds bringing the total to 19.5 pounds, I started in a size 14 and now I’m in a size 6!!!

Christmas 2011 with my oldest son 

Suddenly all I could talk about was our plant-based diet. A lot of people were interested. I decided to blog about this journey, what works for us and what doesn’t. I found myself helping friends and encouraging them. 

Eileen has given me permission to share her email address. If you are interested in contacting Eileen she can be reached at ek@havelifelongwellbeing.com. You can also check out her website for more information.

Do you have an encouraging story you’d like to share? Leave a comment with your story or a link to your blog, let us encourage one another.