If you read my column regularly, you already know that in 2012 I turned into “one of those.” One of those healthy eaters who used to annoy the pants off me. They’re too chipper. And skinny. And fit. And sometimes, preachy. I would never become one of them.
I wondered, on occasion, what it might be like to be a big celebrity like Oprah with my own personal chef. I thought if I had someone else to do all the figuring out, the shopping, and the cooking so I only had to eat whatever was placed in front of me, I wouldn’t mind eating healthier for a while. Just to see.
But the chances of my doing all the grunt work were about as great as my chances of becoming a big celebrity. It would never happen.
Then a nasty illness struck and I had three choices: do nothing and keep getting worse; take their scary drug cocktail for 18 months that may or may not help; or, try naturopathic care and see if my body could learn to fight back. I decided I had little to lose and everything to gain by trying the latter, even at the risk of turning into one of those annoying chipper, skinny, fit, preachers.
After six months, I admit the jury is still out on the lung disease. I’ll see my specialist soon to find out what recent tests show. However, the treatments and the new way of eating have made an enormous difference overall. I cough less, I have more energy, and I haven’t needed a Tylenol, a Tums, or any other kind of medication for six months. The differences became especially obvious as we prepared for Christmas. Where last year I possessed little strength for anything, this year I entered into the season with joy and energy.
People say to me, “I could never do it.” They believe they could never give up meat, dairy, bread, sugar, coffee, or fill-in-the-blank even for a short time.
Years ago, I heard a speaker who was told his options were to die or learn to push a rubber tube down his own throat every day and pull it back up again, to keep his esophagus from closing. He thought he’d never be able to do it. His doctor gave him the tube and sent him home to spend the weekend practicing. After telling the story, he showed us how quick and easy the task had become. Somehow, I never forgot his demonstration and it has served me well.
I’ve learned a lot this past year, but the most significant is this: NEVER SAY NEVER.
So, after all the holiday indulging, did you by any chance resolve to improve your eating habits in 2013? Let me be the first to cheer you on! To start, here’s a vegan chili recipe chock-full of nutrition and tasty comfort on a January night.
- 1 Tbsp oil
- 1-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bell peppers, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 8-10 mushrooms, sliced
- 2 ribs celery, sliced
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- pinch cayenne
- 1 can each: black beans, white kidney beans, red kidney beans (drained & rinsed)
- 1 lg. can diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 lg. can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 Tbsp Chia seeds
Directions: In a large pot, saute garlic, peppers, onion, carrots, mushrooms and celery until everything is soft, approximately 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, cover, and cook for about 30-40 minutes on low to medium heat. Add water if you like a soupier chili. Note: the optional chia seeds are one of those super foods that increase the nutritional value. They thicken up the chili, too.