Debbie lost 50 pounds; no longer has PMS, constipation, or migraines; feels more positive about life; discontinued taking medication; her rosacea, oily skin, and dandruff has all but disappeared
I discovered Eat To Live in August, 2004. At the time, I had grown (literally) sick of the Atkins/Sugarbusters type diets, now known as the South Beach diet. I initially lost weight on them, but quickly gained it all back after returning to a "normal" (standard American) diet. I was back to being fifty pounds overweight, bordering on obese for the first time ever. I just couldn't stand the constipation, bad body odor, sluggishness, and skin problems I had developed while on high protein diets. I felt awful and was ready to do something truly different.
After reading Eat to Live and a couple of other books, I decided to eliminate all animal products from my diet, cold turkey, that September. I had never even heard the word "vegan" before. I looked upon it as an experiment, fully expecting not to be able to stand giving up my cheese, cream sauces, milk, ice cream, steak, chicken, pork, fish, lobster, etc. I decided to give it a chance for the recommended six weeks. Just a personal challenge, nothing more. Maybe I would lose a few pounds in the process before going to the next fad diet.
Within six weeks I had lost my taste for dairy and meat. I could get a little ice cream on my fingers while preparing someone else's cone, and not even want to lick it off. I could stand in front of a plate of cheese and crackers at a party and have no desire to put the yellow greasy stuff in my mouth. Cravings and desires for meat and cheese were simply gone. I could not find them anywhere in my mind or taste buds. I was astounded, and still doubtful.
I had no more constipation; in fact I think I started having normal elimination for the first time in my life at age 35. My period that month had no PMS and no pain, something I thought was just a normal scourge of all but the luckiest women. I was sleeping better, and feeling refreshed and energetic all day. I found I did not need a pick-me-up of coffee or candy at 2:30 like always. Miraculously, I had not had a single headache after the first couple weeks of "detox," despite at least biweekly migraines or headaches for the past ten years. Oh, and I had lost ten pounds. Enough to buy new clothes.
Based on how I felt, I decided to continue on the vegan version of Eat to Live for just another month or so. Then just another month turned into a year. By that time I had los 50 pounds, and kept it off for several months without cravings, hunger, or much effort. I did not experience PMS, constipation, or a migraine for months. I felt more positive about life and myself. I discontinued talking Celexa. I took on more work and recreational activities. My rosacea, oily skin, and dandruff had all but disappeared.
I ended the vegan experiment around that time, but in the four years since, animal products are more of a condiment in my diet than a main focus. About 75 percent of my meals are vegan. And I still avoid dairy, since I found it brings back PMS, constipation, and skin breakouts in a hurry. Who needs those?
I don't find it difficult to eat what I want, emotionally, or any other way. Kale has become my favorite vegetable. I find salty, sugary, and greasy foods unpalatable most of the time. Such a change, for just six weeks of experimentation. I'm still astounded that it could be this easy.
Dr. Fuhrman would look at my diet and call it a less than an ideal, but better than most, version of nutritarianism. I call it feeling, looking, and eating the way I want, preventing disease, and being forever freed from worrying about my weight.
Updated Information as of Jan 16, 2013:
Update January, 2013. I am still following the principles from Eat To Live that I started using eight and a half years ago. My weight has been stable all this time. Most of my meals are whole foods vegan, although when I am out somewhere or a guest at someone's home, I don't fret about eating what is served (focusing on the veggies). I know that I will never go back to eating a meat heavy, disease-causing, processed food diet, and that's a great feeling.
If there's any change in my diet from a few years ago, it's probably an increase in seeds, beans, and tea. I use more balsamic glaze lately and less creamy sauces. More whole fruits and fewer smoothies. Along the way, I think I have influenced a few people to at least think about their diet choices. So many people don't understand the direct relationship between their health and their diet. I try to be a source of information, but I think example speaks the loudest.
I still live in a household that's staunchly SAD. Unfortunately some people change their understanding, habits, and views only very slowly, and some, not much at all.