Do you still juice?
No. We put the juicer away after that week-long fast and haven’t used it since. It’s expensive, and messy and didn’t offer any advantage that we couldn’t achieve by just eating whole food. However, it was part of how we got to where we are, and it was helpful in adjusting our taste buds to plant-based, low-fat food. A week or two of eating plant-based would have adjusted our palates as well.
So, you think you can “beat” aging, do you?
Of course not! The idea of living forever is not even appealing. However, it seems that folks in our culture – if not falling early to disease – are living long lives during which the last half, maybe even more, is in diminished capacity. That’s frightening to me. Diminished capacity means dependence, the need for money, insurance, and lessened ability to work or take care of one’s self. There are many cultures in which the elders’ minds are sharp and their bodies able up until their time is up. You bet I want that, and it drives my curiosity about what’s possible, my actions, and interest in helping others.
Instead of “slow and steady decline,” I’m all about “squaring the curve” … living a long, able life for most of my years.
Does your family eat whole foods plant-based?
Yes and no. When we started eating WFPB, we had just one of our five collective kids at home and he split his time between our home and his dad’s. He was not so excited about it all, but did come to enjoy evaluating various burger patty blends, making fresh corn tortillas, and many taco recipes. One of our daughters, away from home in her early 20s, went WFPB a month after we started and still does. She had been dealing with lumpy breast tissue since adolescence, and during each of the prior three years she’d have a huge lump removed surgically, each operation ending with “there’s another mass that we’ll need to remove soon.” That note was made shortly before she went WFPB, and any developing lumps are now gone; her most recent checkup shows she’s still all clear.
Now, most of our collective five grown kids are plant-based or leaning that way or with partners who are veggie-strong. We’re getting there!
(A few years prior to our shift to WFPB, our other daughter – still at home – had announced she was going to be a vegetarian. We told her “Good luck with that, do what you must but we’re cooking what we’re cooking. And where will you get your protein?” Wow! I didn’t know at the time that there’s plenty of protein in plant food, and that the standard American diet delivers too much protein to unhealthful effect. Geez, we could have gotten a head start on all this had we gotten curious, done some research, and joined her, but we didn’t. We weren’t ready.)
If I had it to do over again, I would raise my children on a WFPB diet.
Are you strict whole-foods plant-based or do you “cheat”?
When Erin and I started eating this way, we decided that we’d go plant-based at home but could go off plan and eat animal foods when eating out. Our thinking was that we’d keep animal protein below 5% of our diet, which was the threshold below which T. Colin Campbell did not see aggressive cancer activity in his studies.
Erin will sometimes eat meat away from home, and I will occasionally have something with a baked item with butter and eggs, but increasingly we do less of that. In our experience, eating animal-based food results in feeling unwell (heavy-bellied, diarrhea, stomachache, pimples). Prior to eating WFPB, we’d feel this way but accepted it as normal. Now normal feels so much better! Also, the more I’m learning about animal-based food and food safety practices in our country, the more often I’m just unwilling to chance eating it. For most of my life I assumed that if an item was sold in the grocery, it would be safe to eat. Government agencies in the civilized United States would see to that, right? I don’t assume that any longer. And no matter how well meaning the cook, he or she cannot “cook out” all the risks.