I never once considered being vegan. It actually fell upon me. I’m typically so intentional, so it feels weird to say that, but it really did happen to me.
One of the things I’m intentional about is choosing foods for my children. When I interviewed Sofia, my au pair, the fact that she is a vegan nutritionist popped. A plate of cauliflower or tomatoes for my toddler’s dinner is customary, and if I could find someone who could help me instill good diet habits in my kids, I was sold.
We got to know Sofia over the phone for a few months and when she joined our family, it was fluid. She immediately understood my values on nutrition and taught me a ton. We started making family vegan dinners we all could enjoy, and they were delicious. It was not even a sacrifice.
At the same time, I began seeing success with patients by providing lifestyle counseling. My hectic work schedule was not working out with my kids’ needs, and other physicians pointed out that I needed to change my career.
Based on my interests and passion for preventative health, multiple people started referring me to plant-based nutrition and lifestyle medicine resources.
Then a couple of documentaries rocked my world (Forks Over Knives and Plant Pure Nation). We decided we would give the whole foods plant-based diet a try as a family once I was done nursing my son, but knowing what I knew, I could not wait. I also noticed when I ate meat, dairy and processed foods, I immediately felt worse.
So my change was pretty much immediate, and the results were immediate.
My husband is an ICU doctor and works nights. He had swings in weight and had reached his max weight ever. I was not trying to lose weight necessarily, but with two little kids, I was running ragged and really wanted to feel better.
Within a week of changing our diet, we all were feeling so much better. In six weeks, my husband dropped nearly 20 pounds, started having better work outs and started losing what he called his “Indian uncle paunch.” I started feeling more energetic, was better able to cope with stress and my kids started feeling less like work and more like the joyful tiny people they are. I also reached my lowest weight in 20 years without counting a single calorie.
My husband says I’ve got my groove back in the kitchen. It’s because I found meaning in what I’m doing there.
Lifestyle change improved my life when I did not even realize I was missing anything.
The joy I have in my new knowledge and experience cannot be contained and am exploding with excitement on the opportunity to bring it to my family, friends, patients and community.