A friend pressed a hard copy book by Kathy Freston into my hand. It was from her library of books that helped her on her path to plant based eating. She hoped it would impart its knowledge to me, an aspiring (mostly) vegetarian. She’d chosen to ignore the havoc that disc #5 and #6 of the Veganist, a book on audio by this same writer, had created in my dietary choices when it detailed the tragic treatment of animals in our food system.
Surprisingly, she handed it to me in a plastic Safeway bag. My petite and slim friend is known to mostly forage at Whole Foods for her infrequent and small meals, often cruising their elaborate salad bar or ‘to go’ counter.
She just doesn’t eat much. She has not seen a doctor for a decade. Her animal flesh free food has kept her healthy and strong. I’ve seen her heave logs at firewood stacking time and carry heavy parcels on the many miles she walks daily. Equally mystifying to me is how she does this in both sharp fashion and hair style.
It’s likely that my most physically capable years are behind me. Like most of my generation, I am not ready for a rocking chair and plaid blanket on the porch. There are days of super sprint activity and some that simply hobble me with pains and mishaps. Yet, collectively, we need a reliably consistent internal energy supply. We need to be productive for longer periods of time. To enjoy our longevity we need to keep our health going in our more complex environments.
Towards my own success I’ve kept to the plan I made to find a liveable balance of celebrating health with more veggies and fruits and slowly modifying or eliminating what I, you and all of America had been raised to have, enjoy and crave as being the good food diet.
The China Study was the book that really helped encourage me with not only my choices but the confidence to move ahead. It had been repeatedly promoted to me by the creators of this very blog, American Appetite. I hesitated to take on more information about my dietary distress. When I finally succumbed, and bought it, I found it was very rational and really easy to read. More importantly, it had answers to all my actual questions as well as internal doubts about all the trends that held such promise and were even promoted by doctors in my younger adult ‘diet days’.
Now, I eat normally again, without guilt, without measuring things. I’m eating more veggies, raw or cooked, and enjoying fruit when I have it in moderation relative to my wide variety of vegetable choices. My portion sizes reveal new confidence that I will get enough nutrition to keep me going and enough to fill me up to satisfaction. My weight is not dropping off yet but it feels different when I walk around in my body these days, and it’s that constant energy and healing power of my food intake I am after now.
I’m up against genetic inheritance and decades of damage eating a diet of choices we all accepted as OK. There are also the pollutants in our food supply and my own patterns of eating excess to deal with modern day stresses.
I read The China Study in segments I am interested in. There’s no rush to finish and shelve it in my library because the book and its contents are my new regular references for how to take a healthy bite out of life, every day.
Next time, I’m going to tell you about how much fun I am having with my food.
Back to my American Appetite companion.
Helena Kaufman is a writer and communications trainer.
In 1982, success at promoting, marketing and writing about 200 artisans launched Helena as an event publicist.
The designers who sold at the Annual Manitoba Christmas Craft Sale exhibited original functional and decorative pieces in fibre, pottery, metal, oil, paper, wood, distinctive wearable art and more.
Helena worked to raise their profile, bring media attention and increase their sales.
She now shares some of that savvy here at Lanterloon as one of our writers.
Helena’s writing and communications site can be found here.