Jan. 11, 2012
Herbie of the Week: Teresa
Hi Herbies! Last week we met Lisa, who after yo-yo dieting found her way to a plant-based diet and lost 20 lbs! This week we meet Teresa, who after 25 years of trying, has found a plant-based diet she can stick with.
HH: You've dabbled in and out of the plant-based lifestyle for years -- what struggles did you have before? What inhibited your ability to stick with it?
I've tried to follow a plant-based diet several times over the last 25 years or so with no real support from my spouse at every phase. When the kids were younger (they are now 28 and 25) it just overwhelmed me (I also work outside the home full-time). Each time I tried, I would last for a few days or less, then give up.
HH: What motivated you to try a plant-based diet one more time and what made it finally stick?
For the health of it! I was diagnosed with Lupus when I was 26, but my diagnosis was changed to Sjogrens Syndrome about 15 years ago. With my health condition and after seeing my father die of lung cancer and what my mother also went through the last several years with her PAD (clogged arteries in the legs) I decided I had to do something so I wouldn't follow in their steps. The single most important thing I could do was follow a plant-based diet so on August 28, 2011, after I found Happy Herbivore, I plunged into this new way of eating with a determination I didn't have before.
HH: How did Happy Herbivore help?
Happy Herbivore just clicked with me. The recipe book (and now books) are simple to follow. Use things I can buy at the Commissary or at Whole Foods (the 2 stores I shop at already). And I think it helps that there are lots of pictures of the recipes. I'm a visual person and like to see what it's supposed to look like. And it helps that every recipe I've tried so far has tasted great.
HH: You mentioned before your spouse was not supportive. Has that changed? Are your kids supportive? Coworkers?
My son actually took on a plant-based diet for about a month but he and his girlfriend went back to a SAD diet because of pooling resources for food with roommates and the roommates weren't eating plant-based.
My husband is supportive in that he doesn't give me a hard time (too much) about changing my diet but he wants his meat and dairy. So on some nights I'm making totally different meals. Makes it more complicated, but this time I have the mental resolve to stick with this NO MATTER WHAT.
My coworkers are curious. I brought in a rice/lentil blend to work, put HH's brown gravy over it, and my boss walked through and said "What smells so good? Is that Vegan? How do you do that?" so hopefully I'm leading by example.
HH: Any advice for those who are struggling?
Read blogs, HH, John McDougall's board, Engine 2, etc. "Friend" or "like" plant-based pages on Facebook. Get both HH cookbooks (HHC and EHH). I have probably 10 or more plant-based cookbooks but I use my HH by far the most (99.9% of the time).
Stick with it. You may not be perfect every day but as long as you keep trying and learning from the situation (how could I have done that differently?) you will keep getting better at this lifestyle.
Plan head! Also, if going totally plant-based is too hard, do it a meal at a time!