Well, hi there. It’s been awhile since I’ve written a blog post that’s not for my Fall Readers-Along. How’s it going? Everybody enjoying October? What a great month (my birthday’s on Halloween).
But enough about me. Let’s talk about what I’m eating these days. What my family is eating these days.
Or maybe what we’re NOT eating: i.e., meat, eggs, or dairy (basically anything that comes from an animal). Anything artificial. And we’re limiting oils/sugars (even the good kinds).
Why, you ask? Or maybe WHY!?!?!?!?!?!? (?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!) you ask?
Well. I’ll tell you. Because I’m getting looooooots of questions that I don’t have time to answer, because, HELLO!, I’m cutting up a zillion vegetables and blending smoothies and cooking beans and running around to a million grocery stores.
Here’s the deal. (my mom loves it when I say that)
Gabe had a heart attack in October 2011. In January 2012, he started dealing with anxiety/panic attacks. In March 2012, he had to quit his job. We wracked up a lot of medical bills (mostly ER visits). In October 2012, we hated each other a lot of the time and went to a lot of counseling. And while we hadn’t been to the ER since June 30, 2012, Gabe was still dealing with anxiety on a regular basis. This mostly starts with unexplained chest pains that lead him to think he’s going to have a heart attack. He’s learned to live with it, but it’s zero, zero fun.
On August 26, 2013, Gabe went back to work (a new job). He was also coaching soccer and doing side jobs and weaning off his anxiety meds (that had never really helped him like we’d hoped).
This was a hard transition. For the first few weeks, he would have bad bouts of anxiety roughly every Monday/Thursday. One Thursday was flat-out awful.
Then came Wednesday (two weeks ago today). Bad, bad day. Long story short, we ended up in the ER at 12:30 that night. He ended up waiting in the waiting room for 2 hours, then coming home.
Then Saturday. I spoke at a marriage event. We met a guy. He told us about a doctor who has helped tons of people reverse their heart damage.
Sunday night, we watched a CNN documentary (on YouTube) with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. We heard more about this doctor who developed this plant-based/whole foods diet to help heal people’s hearts. It’s working.
Gabe turned to me and said, “Let’s do this.”
Now. I’ve left out a lot of stuff (and plenty of gory details), but the bottom line is this: our family has been praying our brains out for two years for healing for Gabe, both physical and mental healing. God has been preparing us for something like this (without us even knowing). It’s an answer to prayer. The girls are 100% on board. It’s insane.
And when people say to us, “Oh, I could NEVER do that.” I ask God to help me love them, and I say as kindly as I can, “Well, if you’d been through the hell we’ve been through the past two years, you could. You could do anything, would do anything, ANYTHING, to make it better. ANYTHING.”
If this kind of diet gives Gabe peace of mind that his heart is healthy and he’s in zero danger of another heart attack, then it will all be worth it. A million times over.
So there’s that.
Practically speaking, what does this look like?
I don’t really even know. But I’m giving it my best shot. And praying a lot.
We gave away all the food we aren’t eating any more: sugar & flour (we’re going to do oat/almond/rice flour and organic sugars), anything with high fructose corn syrup, milk, eggs, butter, cheese, milk-based dressings, frozen chicken, boxed mac & cheese, unhealthy snacks, etc.
We buy a lot of fresh vegetables: spinach, dark green lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, onions, mushrooms, potatoes, yams, tomatoes, avocados, peppers, asparagus. We eat them with hummus, we make guac and salsa, we roast them, we put them in pasta.
We buy a lot of fresh fruit: apples, bananas, peaches, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, pineapple, starfruit, clementines.
We eat (drink) smoothies every morning for breakfast: We used our crappy blender for the first week, then bought a NutriBullet. We always put spinach in first, then add mostly frozen fruit, sometimes fresh (mangoes, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, pineapple, cherries, apples, bananas), and some combination of coconut milk, juice, and water. Yum.
I cook large quantities of beans (slow cooker) and rice (rice cooker): We eat beans & rice, we put them in corn tortillas w/guac and salsa, Nina’s favorite food is black beans.
I make brown rice pasta w/spicy pasta sauce from a jar: It’s one of our faves right now and easiest for me. Last time we had it, I added mushrooms, zucchini, and onions to it. Yum.
We’re also limiting our gluten (wheat) just for fun: Gabe had a visit with his cardiologist about a week before this all went down, and he made a flippant suggestion that he try a gluten-free diet. So we did it for four days before this new thing. I know a lot of people who don’t do well with gluten, so I figure it can’t hurt to keep it out of our diets.
We’re treating ourselves once a week to a meal in a favorite restaurant: But we’re still sticking to the script. On our very first day, Gabe already had a meeting scheduled with someone: at BD’s Mongolian BBQ. He got “meatless chicken,” lots of veggies, and a salad. We’ve eaten at Pei Wei and got 2 favorite dishes (that don’t have milk/egg in them) but with tofu, an Asian salad without chicken, and 2 orders of vegetable spring rolls. And we ate at Mezze, our favorite Middle Eastern/Greek place. We got falafel instead of meat and picked a new dressing. Still delicious.
I’m scouring vegan cookbooks: Got tons at the library, found a great one at the thrift store for $1.99, a friend is sending me some, and lots and lots of wonderful friends have shared recipes. So so thankful. The girls love researching them, and we’re gearing up to try some new fun things.
I’m collecting supplies: It’s going to take awhile to store up enough rice, beans, lentils, pasta, vinegar, tahini, spices, chickpeas–and a slew of things I’ve never even heard of–to keep me from having to go to the store every day. I want to buy fresh whenever I can, so I’ll still make frequent trips. So far, I’ve been to Aldi, Trader Joe’s, Raisin Rack, Kroger, Earth Fare (too expensive), and I think that’s it.
I’m so thankful for Gabe’s job which enables us to afford this right now: Two months ago, I don’t know that we could have done this. Healthy stuff comes with a price tag, BUT we’re saving money by not buying meat. AND we’re good at finding/buying what’s on sale. AND it’s just worth it. We really truly don’t buy much of anything else, and all our clothes come from the thrift store, so it’s all good.
The girls spend their babysitting money on healthy snacks and fair trade organic chocolate: They absolutely love going to the store and heading to the organic/healthy section to see what they can find. They’ve gotten black bean tortilla chips, organic fruit leather stuff, Clif bars, gluten-free pretzels, and lots of other tasty stuff.
Speaking of our girls, they are freaking amazing. They help me shop and plan and research recipes and chop vegetables and stir things and make fruit salads and set the table and do the dishes, and they love it. What a priceless gift.
I think that’s all for now. It’s tiring but invigorating, and God has got his hands all over it, and I just can’t thank him enough. We went to counseling this morning for the first time in a year, and it was beautiful and wonderful and gave me warm fuzzies.
God is up to some big things (above and beyond us eating plants), and we’ll tell you about it soon.
Also, while I’ve got you here (if you made it this far in the post), I’m hosting a Freedom Party here on the blog the last week of October (my birthday week), and you’re invited! We’ll be giving away TONS of stuff (something for everyone!) and sharing some cool things God is doing and ways we can get involved. Woot!
If you have any questions about our new “lifestyle,” feel free to ask. I’ll answer as I can.