I asked my parents to reflect on their first year being plant-based.
Here's what my Dad had to say:
Where did a year go? It has been one year since my wife and I became plant-based. Ironically, the last piece of meat I had was in the hospital after having a mild heart attack and it was a dried-up piece of "Turkey Bacon." (Not my choice for a last omnivore supper.)
It's been an interesting journey. We both have done this together, although I know it was centered around my health condition. But there are no regrets. The sacrifices were actually a lot easier than I thought they would be. I was the meat eater, probably three-to-one over my wife.
Throughout this year, I can honestly say, without an occasional urge for a big burger, I have not missed meat and have sat right next to platters of turkey, ham, meatballs, etc. Actually the most craved things by far I miss are tuna salad and egg salad. I have tweaked Lindsay's tuna recipe in HHC to a close second, but not the egg salad. [Editorial note: I keep insisting he try adding black salt to get that eggy taste.]
One of the surprising things from this year is when you tell people you are plant-based, they say, "that it is so hard to do," not, "it's great that you are eating healthy." Also when we are invited to someone's home, they are concerned about what we are going to eat. Our answer, thanks to our daughter's quote is: "We didn't come for the food, but the company."
Being educated on the benefits of eating a healthy diet, many people we have come across can't comprehend just eating plant-based. It is a mindset; you have to want to do it for yourself and the results speak for themselves. We feel better, have more energy, and we know you can eat and still enjoy it.
Another surprise is how we now use so many different spices that we never would have thought to use before cooking plant-based. The combination of some of these spices and the flavors they bring out are amazing (thanks to Lindsay's wonderful recipes). One being curry — which we now love, Indian food, and let us not forget Thai food, and many recipes using Cayenne pepper. [Editorial note: my parents would never have eaten these cuisines or flavors in the past. They have become foodies!]
One aspect of this journey that has made it fun has been the cooking part. We both help each other to make Lindsay's and other recipes. I am primarily the sous chef. I am trying to do more and hopefully someday will be the primary chef. But thank goodness for our daughter's easy and delicious recipes.
We have learned through the first year to stay away from most vegan processed foods. We have tried most of the "fake" meats and do not care for any of them except Boca crumbles and spicy chik'n patties. Other than that, we try to stay fresh and eat whole foods as much as we can and as Lindsay has guided us.
I started this journey primarily with the hope and possibility of reversing my heart disease. Only time will tell if that is happening. But other positives happened, which weren't necessarily expected. We each have lost 20+ lbs, feel so much better, have reduced our cholesterol #s down to the mid 120s, and have improved on other health stats also. What more could one ask for?
From my Mom:
Our loving thanks and gratitude to our daughter Lindsay for her support, caring, and guidance. Being Lindsay's Mom, I personally wish that as a daughter I could have passed on to my parents some of what my daughter has taught me on eating healthier. Lindsay's grandparents would be so very proud of her today.
And finally, our special acknowledgement to all of Lindsay's fans who have supported us and prayed for us, and particularly the Herbies of the week, whose stories are so much more inspiring than our own.
Onward to year #2, a lot smarter, wiser, healthier and hopefully a Happy New Year.