The new year gets a lot of people thinking about changes they want to implement into their lives. For our family the changes started last year in March. Now that we have been on this journey for a while I feel confident enough to finally share what our family has been up to.
Our family has gone Vegan, or Plant-Based as Hubby calls it. For all you meat and potatoes people, before you jump ship give me a chance to explain how this change has made a HUGE difference in our lives, for the better. While we as a family could never have imaged going down this road, I am so glad that we did. Maybe, just maybe, you can leave this post with a better understanding. Or, if you have already been down this road you can help cheer us on.
First let’s start with the how this all came about. Several years ago our youngest kiddo, six years old at the time, started asking questions about where the food on his plate came from at each meal. Was it a cow, pig, deer, what was it from? Each time we answered his little face would get sadder and sadder. Finally one day he came up to me and said that he didn’t want to eat animals anymore. I had him explain to me why he had made this decision. Right away he came up with the answer that he loves animals and doesn’t want to hurt them anymore.
Thinking that he didn’t really understand how that decision would change what he could eat, I made him his favorite meal for dinner that night, pancakes and bacon. I wanted to see how serious he really was about this whole no eating meat thing. That night when dinner was just about done he came into the kitchen, saw what I was cooking and ran away screaming. Apparently he was serious.
For the next year or so I worked hard to plan meals with the help of a local children’s nutritionist, where I could keep the meat separated, giving us a family meal with meat and a vegetarian meal for the little man. This went over pretty harsh on our extended families. They all pretty much thought we were nuts for giving in to our kid. Hubby and I had made a decision to honor our kiddo’s wishes and let him go Vegetarian. Since he wasn’t just doing this for attention or reward, that he was doing this with clear explanation for a cause only made us want to help support him.
As time passed by the work that went into planning meals for two different types of diets was draining on me. I started to look for Vegetarian recipes that we could incorporate into our family meals more often so that several days through the week I was only cooking one dish. At the same time all this was going on my Husband’s health was declining.
Hubby’s family history for medical issues is high. Diabetics, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attacks, cancer, Alzheimers, and I’m sure others. He had always been good about keeping up with seeing a doctor but even back in this younger years, serving in the military as a skinny, fit, man he was talked to all the time about his cholesterol being high. So while some may say that families like his should just take better care of themselves, he was doing that, and yet his cholesterol still was high.
Through out our marriage I had worked hard to keep what I honestly believed to be healthy options in our home. Skim milk, whole grain breads, and lots of fresh veggies and fruits. I worked hard to try to make most of our meals from scratch shopping mostly from the outside edges of the grocery store but still his cholesterol was rising.
It was rising so high that the doctors put him on medication to bring it down. However, we quickly found out that he is allergic to the medications used (statins) as his liver was failing. He was taken off the medications right away but that meant that we still had a high cholesterol issue to worry. However that wasn’t our only worry. Hubby had also been diagnosed and dealing with type 2 Diabetics since only a few short years into our marriage.
We meet with a nutritionist who kept suggesting everything we already were doing. Skim milk instead of 2%, whole grain breads instead of white, fish to increase our Omega 3s, etc. After looking at our food logs it really was left at, well keep trying, you are doing everything right. That just did not sit right with me. How was I suppose to just sit by and watch as my Husband drowned in medical issues? If we were doing everything right why was his health getting worse?
I wasn’t going to, as I have always been a fighter. Ask my parents, I got into a lot of trouble as a kid for standing my ground. However, we had already gone to the doctors whose only suggestion was medication that he is allergic to and went to nutritionists who say were doing everything right. So what was the answer? I didn’t know so I started researching natural ways to cure high cholesterol. I watched a lot of documentaries. A LOT!
After watching and reading up on so many natural ways that food can help cure, I started talking to Hubby about all I had been learning. He started watching the documentaries and while he heard everything they were saying and believed that it could work, he wasn’t up for making such a drastic change. I tell you what, it was a struggle to get him anywhere near ready to try going Vegan, or Plant-Based. I finally convinced him, many weeks later to give it a try as an experiment.
So how was this experiment going to work? Hubby, our Middle son (who now also was told by his doctor at his last physical that he was borderline for having high cholesterol) and myself would all get our blood drawn before starting down the Vegan road. Then we would dive head first into all that was Vegan, or Plant-Based as my Husband felt better saying. After 3 months we would get our blood drawn again and see if the changes we were making with our food made any difference in our health.
After 3 months Hubby was the first to get his blood drawn. His very much set against a Vegetarian diet doctor was absolutely shocked when he saw Hubby’s results! His cholesterol had dropped from almost unreadably high to near normal, his blood sugar level went from just about needing to take insulin again full-time to borderline normal! It was such a drastic change that the doctor couldn’t understand how he could get such great results so quickly.
After that we were hooked. Okay so the journey was not easy all the time but it was a journey that we obviously needed to be on. Now that it has been about 10 months I feel confident that it is time to share our story and hopefully be able to help others. I truly do feel like this is a journey our family will be on for the long haul, for the better. That means more posts on this topic are coming! There are so many topics to cover, what documentaries did we watch, how did we start, what can we eat, meal plans, how to shop, how our kids are taking the change and so much more.
Subscribe below for more on our Family Vegan Experiment.