By: Deborah Pageau
Whole Food Plant-Based Diet Success Story
I grew up in Canada during the 1950s & 60s. When I was 7, I discovered to my horror that meat came from animals. However, my parents insisted that eating animal products was essential for my good health, so I reluctantly continued.
Processed foods were also becoming popular at that time, so we ate very few whole plant foods.
When I was 12, my dear father died suddenly of a heart attack due to his arteries being plugged with cholesterol from eating meat all his life. I struggled to understand how something supposedly good for us, killed him.
As I grew up, controlling my weight became important to me, so I began to experiment with whole grains and legumes, as well as stints on a high protein, low carb diet.
After graduating university and getting married, I enjoyed exploring back-to-basics style homemaking, baking our own bread, even making our own sausage…all part of my dietary research!
Colic and dairy products
It became very serious for me while nursing our daughter in 1983. Out of desperation to relieve her of “colic”, I gave up dairy products. While it helped, I sabotaged the benefits by continuing to consume sugar, white flour, meat, and processed foods.
By the time our daughter was 2, I was severely depressed and 30 pounds overweight, with chronic bronchitis and pain in my hip joints so severe that I could barely climb a flight of stairs. I had trouble sleeping and was exhausted during the day.
In addition, our daughter was suffering chronic ear infections for which her doctor recommended surgical implantation of drainage tubes. My husband’s chronic stomach issues were worsening.
After several GI investigations, his doctor recommended exploratory surgery. I felt terrified and desperate for a safer, health-promoting approach for us.
I knew that drugs and surgery were at best bandage solutions, so I was receptive when a close friend told me about significant improvements to her health from eliminating all refined, processed foods from her diet. That was 1985 and the beginning of our recovery.
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Relief from chronic stomach issues and better sleep beginning in 1985
Thankfully, my husband’s stomach improved immediately, and I started sleeping. Within 6 weeks, the bronchitis and pain in my hips were gone, enabling me to run upstairs once more. Our daughter’s ears cleared up all by themselves.
I was so inspired by our results that I began reading everything I could about a healthy diet. “Fit for Life” encouraged me to cut down on animal products. By that time we were eating meat only once per week, and “The McDougall Plan” helped me to cut it out altogether.
It was such a relief …emotionally and physically…to finally be eating a fully vegan diet!
The most surprising discovery for me was that I had lived all my life with a low-grade headache; I only found out about it after it stopped! Colors were clearer and brighter. I had a whole new positive attitude and was enjoying keeping up to our busy toddler.
We ate MORE food than we had ever eaten in our lives, yet my husband and I both lost our excess weight. Our daughter’s friends loved coming over to our house, because we fed them the simple plant foods that their alert, youthful instincts recognized as good.
Looking back on it, I can see that I had been struggling towards a whole foods vegan diet most of my life. My initial motivation was love for animals although, ultimately, it was many years of experience and study on nurturing human health that made the difference.
Thirty years of plant-based nutrition and health
Now in 2018, after more than 30 years of eating this way, I am going strong, with the same height and weight I had in my 20s, and even though I’m in my senior years, am medication-free.
My husband’s doctor told him “If all my patients’ health was so excellent, I would be out of a job!” Our now-adult daughter is an amateur athlete and completed the grueling Penticton Ironman triathlon.
Although social isolation was a problem for us initially, thankfully society is increasingly receptive to this way of eating for the health benefits, concerns about climate change and animal welfare. We enjoy sharing information about it with others and seeing them also find relief of illness and suffering.
The bottom line is that whole plant foods are the roots …literally and figuratively…of human health, happiness & prosperity.
Other plant-based diet success stories:
- I Was Going to Die, and I Don’t Know if I Really Cared
- From Diabetes & Stroke to Healthy & Medication-Free
- Living in a Way That Honors My Son’s Memory
- Plant-Based Nanette Rodgers, 81-Years Young and Still Running Races
- From Obese Junk Food Vegetarian to Healthy Fit Vegan