In 2016 I woke up. I was tired, stressed out and unhappy with my health and energy level. The previous ten years of a busy but sedentary life were taking their toll. As a medical doctor, I assumed I had the tools to change my life. Begin exercising. Eat a more healthful diet. Get eight hours of sleep. This was step one. I began running (again) and embraced a vegetarian diet and cut out desserts.
That first year had it’s ups and downs. I lost 35 pounds and completed two marathons. But inevitably, I ran out of will power and a chronic injury flared up which sidelined my running. My diet fell apart and my weight crept back up by 15 pounds.
For inspiration, I listened to two books “Eat and Run” by Scott Jurek, and “Finding Ultra” by Rich Roll. Both of these extreme endurance athletes embraced a vegan diet and wrote passionately about how their diet has fueled their success as endurance athletes. Intriguing, but … my family eats meat and dairy. I love cheese, and yogurt, and ice cream. It’s just a little too extreme. And then I remembered another book, The China Study by T. Colin Campbell. I will be eternally thankful to a good friend who recommended this book to me, three years before I actually listened to it. As I listened, I was aghast at the information presented. As an ophthalmologist, I was well aware of the links between a poor diet and eye diseases. Little did I know that when I smilingly earned my medical degree from the University of Minnesota in 2000, my understanding of nutrition and disease was frankly fairly rudimentary. Dr. Campbell presents a synopsis of decades of research that are a compelling case that all of us should be on a whole foods plant based diet. Not just to control obesity, but as an effective treatment for diabetes, heart disease, cancer prevention and much more.
I am now three weeks into a whole foods, plant-based diet. My energy level is back up, I am running better than ever, and along with the help of my physical therapist my chronic injury is under control.
This is a long introduction to what Doc’s Kitchen is all about. But here’s the deal. I want to invite you along on a journey, and there are going to be some challenges.
- My supportive husband is also wonderfully skeptical. Is a whole foods, plant-based (WFPB) diet really the cure for what ails our patients?
- My three children are like many kids: picky eaters. Most nights it is easier to put chicken nuggets or corn dogs on the table then try for the 300th time to get them to eat something healthier.
- Just like everyone else, we are a busy family. It just isn’t likely that I’m going to grow my own organic vegetables in the back yard and then spend 90 minutes preparing a meal from scratch.
So I’m inviting you into our kitchen. Pull up a chair and let’s chat about what’s for dinner tonight, how I’m doing with getting moving the kids towards a WFPB diet, and consider available research.
Disclaimer: I am not a nutrition specialist, and the information I present on this blog is not intended to substitute for medical advice. What I am is an informed friend, who would like to help you benefit from what I am learning on this journey.