Herbie of the Week: Nancy

Posted by:Lindsay S. Nixon Category: Herbies

Last week we met Lisa, who lost 65 lbs and no longer has any food addictions! Today we're taking a different approach with Nancy, with her telling her story in her own words.

My name is Nancy and I am 71 years old. I have been married to the same man since 1963. We have three married children and seven grandchildren. We live in a nice home on a small lake where we grow lots of roses as well as vegetables, raspberries and blackberries. I also have a lot of flowering plants inside including over a hundred African Violets and many other plants which I have had for years, like the Christmas cactus that my grandmother gave us when we were first married.

I grew up on a small farm, which my dad and we farmed during the summer. My dad was a school teacher the rest of the year. It was living on a farm that I acquired my love of fresh vegetables and fruits. We had some of the oddest meals, like fresh sweet corn and tomatoes for a meal and another favorite, strawberry shortcake. Yes, that was the main meal! My mom canned and froze lots of vegetables that we ate all winter. We did eat meat though, and I never thought much about what we ate. My mom is still alive today and she will be 98 years old this July. She lives in an assisted living place now, and doesn't eat particularly well there.

I got serious about what my family and I ate around 35 years ago or so. At first I became a vegetarian and bought every cookbook I could find with vegetarian recipes. Laurel's Kitchen was one of my favorites. I ate vegetarian myself, but didn't impose it on the family. I cooked meat for them too. 

I kept trying new things and buying books about different diets. At one point, I found out about Anne Wigmore. She was convinced that eating raw food was the way to go. She emphasized growing wheat grass and juicing it and also growing little oat plants. I had a big lighted planter made for me and grew those plants. We juiced the grass. I couldn't stand the stuff but my husband loved it.

For 2 years, I ate nothing but raw food. The idea was to ferment some foods so that they would be more easily digested. It was quite hopeless for me. I couldn't digest anything, felt miserable and lost about 30 pounds. I was so weak. One day, I just fell right down when the dog bumped me. My daughter's friend said to her, "Your mother is dying." One morning, feeling sick, and lying in bed, I asked my son for some rice cakes. That was the end of my raw food experiment. It was amazing how fast I started gaining weight. But it took a long time before I could really digest food properly again. I had terrible gas pains in my belly until I got used to food again.

I understand that people are talking about raw food diets again. Maybe it is only a partially raw food diet. I hope so. It certainly did not work out for me to eat only raw foods and I would not recommend it. It really makes no sense. Why would someone eat only raw food?

After that experiment, I ate a pretty much American diet, but never a lot of meat. Last summer, my granddaughter came to visit us along with her family. She was adamantly vegan. So, to accommodate her, we all ate vegan while they visited. That rekindled my interest in eating vegetarian and vegan. Somehow I was led to some great books: “Eat to Live” by Joel Fuhrman,  "The China Study" by Dr. Campbell, "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease" by Dr. Esselstyn, "The Engine 2 Diet" by Rip Esselstyn as well as the video "Forks Over Knives". My husband got interested too. He watched the video and read Rip's book. He was convinced this was the way to go and I was too.

So, here we are today. I found Lindsay's books, Happy Herbivore Cookbook and Everyday Happy Herbivore through Amazon and her blog too. I bought both books and they are a great inspiration with such a great variety of recipes.

This winter, I am cooking great chili, lentil soup and pea soup. We eat a nice big salad every day. We don't do everything perfectly, but we keep improving. With my husband on board, this makes the plant-based diet so easy to follow. There is this huge variety out there of grains and beans just waiting to be discovered. I wish more people would get interested. Imagine the savings for this country if more people ate this way and many of our health problems were eliminated! Everyone talks about the huge costs for health care but few seem to connect it to the terrible diets most people eat.  

This is the best diet I have found. I can't imagine going back to eating meat and dairy products. Why would I? With the huge variety available of plant based foods and cookbooks like the ones Lindsay has written for us, we will never get bored with our new diet.

I am not on a campaign. I don't try to convince others to eat the way we do. If they are interested, I will gladly share. Example is always the best way. I do hope the word spreads though, and more people jump on the plant diet band wagon. That is pretty much my story.

Thank you so much Nancy for sharing your amazing story!

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