While grocery shopping recently, I ran into my friend Lee. “Are you still sticking to your diet?” she wanted to know, glancing into my cart. “And is it working for you?”
She’s not the only one asking lately.
“But what on earth do you EAT?” is a common question.
“Share more recipes,” readers have requested.
“How are you REALLY feeling?” my friend Vicki asked.
“Have you lost weight?” Peggy, who hadn’t seen me in months, said.
“Sucks to be you,” another friend responded when I mentioned I basically drink only water and herbal tea. Seems almost everything else contains sugar, caffeine, or chemicals.
I suppose all these honest questions mean it’s time for an update. If you are new to my blog, you might not know that last summer I embarked on a journey with local naturopath Dr. Lisa Graham in hopes of fighting a lung disease and obtaining better overall health. That I had contracted MAC Disease at all spoke of a weakened immune system, making me vulnerable to other issues as well. One of the first things she did was put me on a vegan and gluten-free diet.
And yes, I am still on it. But after nearly a year, I no longer think of it as a “diet.” It’s become normal--until I’m eating somewhere outside my own home. Then I usually eat whatever’s offered and sometimes pay for it later, in ways unrelated to my lungs.
And yes, it’s working for me. Last month, I joyfully participated in the annual ACT Festival. Two years ago, I coughed and slept my way through that event and last year I missed it entirely due to fatigue. Though no one’s declaring me cured, my coughing is all but gone, my energy up. They’ll take more scans soon, giving a clearer picture of what’s what.
And yes, I initially lost weight but have held steady for eight months or more. I’m convinced anybody, no matter what body type, could eat truckloads of what I eat and still maintain their ideal body weight. Prove me wrong if you dare.
And what is left, you ask, after eliminating meat, eggs, dairy, bread, sugar, and caffeine? Plenty! Vegetables, fruits, rice, oatmeal, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds—all in unlimited quantities and infinite, mouthwatering combinations. You don’t need special shakes, pre-measured dinners, or point systems. I challenge anyone to eat this way for two weeks just as an experiment. You can do anything for two weeks. Let me know if you don’t start feeling better in some way.
As for recipes, you can find some great ones in the Forks Over Knives cookbook or on their website Here’s one I’ve adapted that has become a staple at our house and everyone can enjoy:
1 tbsp. olive oil
1-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bell peppers, chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
8-10 mushrooms, sliced
2 ribs celery, sliced
1 Tbsp. cumin
½ - 1 Tbsp. chili powder
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 (optional, but jam-packed with nutrition!)
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.
Overall, I’m learning to see food differently. It has power to heal or to destroy. Nothing that goes into my mouth is powerless, but only I possess the power to decide what goes in. Why would I choose things my body has to fight against?
Why would you?