I'm 61 my husband is 70. We are vegan whole food plant based lifestyle people. We live in the midwest US, garden extensively, canning/dehydrating/freezing/fermenting, for food. I looked over the forum and didn't see a gardening section and I was a little surprised.
Here is my recent history.
In 2018 I was approaching 59 and I noticed no matter what I did I gained 5 lbs a year and I couldn't get a handle on it. I know, this happens to everyone but why couldn't I get a handle on it? So I just started by giving up meat in the middle of that year, June. Low and behold, my weight gain stopped for a full six months.
To be on the safe side I decided to investigate what was healthy, was it healthy to give up meat? Would I get enough protein? I found out vegetables/grain/fruit, would give me more than enough. Actually eating meat was overkill when it comes to protein.
I read the China Study, the book. More protein is not very healthy at all. It promotes disease, so not eating meat isn't going to do me harm, it's going to help me. All the excess protein has to be filtered out by the kidneys anyways, so eating meat will be a negative, for my health.
I again, went to the doctor and she said, lose a little weight and I agreed with her. I asked her, why is my blood pressure high? I'd asked this question for 30 years. Whether I was thin or heavy whether I exercised or not, walking sometimes 8 miles in a day, for a whole season, my blood pressure was high. She didn't really answer that question. She said, "are you eating healthy?" I said "yes", by all measures in the media, by family tradition, by every measure of any diet known to man, (I thought) I was eating healthy. She never said what the measure of a diet is that can be defined by the word, "healthy".
Why is the word "healthy" such a secret?
In January 2019, my weight gain was stopped because I didn't eat meat anymore. I was going to tackle the next step which was my blood pressure issue. Lots of research on my part. Take oil/fat out of my diet and blood pressure will go down. I was doing damage with eating fat/oil. I also add in hibiscus tea and to fill the gap in hunger fill up on veg/fruit/grain/legume/seeds/nuts. That is McDougall. Have some potatoes, lots of them.
Use rice/potatoes/complex carbs for being 'full' with lots of veg/fruit for the nutrition it provides. Anti-oxidants, polyphenols, flavinols. Add spices and herbs for more. Spices and herbs are chalked full of all the good nutrients. They are almost magical but more than that, studies show they are beneficial to bodies. Use nuts and seeds to get a small amount of fat/oil in a more natural source, nothing refined. Get rid of anything left that is industrial food because it has oil/fat, sugar, and salt.
Salt was another culprit for reasons of blood pressure and the damage it does to produce disease. Just stop the salt, stop being assaulted.
My taste buds changed. Found out later, our taste buds regenerate within about 11 days, so once I stopped the salt/sugar/oil, food started tasting good again. Was it easy, HECK NO, but something had to change.
I started doing research in January 19, about an hour or 3 per day, to start to understand how to live more healthily by eating more healthy. And how exercise speeds up the regenerative process in our bodies so that when we do eat healthy it regenerates even faster.
I ran across McDougall, then Esselstyn, then Gregor, then Popper, then Barnard, and these doctors were all in agreement and had evidence in studies to prove that eating plants, whole food plant based, let's our bodies take care of themselves in a healthy way.
March 19, my husband said, what do you think I'll die from (knowing we'll all die someday)? I said, probably that pizza and hamburgers, cardiac disease. He wasn't going to join me in getting better health because well, he really enjoyed the taste of pizza and hamburgers. I asked him if he was willing to die over it? Are you willing to die with a lb of cheese in one hand and salami in the other hand, go to your grave that way? He said, yes.
April 19 middle of the month. He has a mild heart attack. (It was very painful, he was very scared, we were both scared.) Two days later, he subscribed to McDougall strict, or Esselstyn for his eating habits from then forward. During the next 12 weeks doctor's appointments, lab tests, hospital tests. At first a blockage that could be dealt with by bypass or stent. By 12 weeks, no blockage could be found by the cardiologist and he couldn't sell a stent or bypass operation.
We found out later with research into it, studies and evidence, stents and bypasses are great in an emergency situation but they don't help long term life. In the people that had stents and bypass operations, they lived through the moment, but their life was not made longer by getting them compared to people that didn't get them. (here's your bill $30,000 or $100,000 for that, and try to have a happy retirement if you have any money left)
That's kind of a shocking secret. Stents and Bypass operations are like bandaids for the moment, not a new lease on life.
If the body is not fed healthy plant food, it can't get better, so WE got better. It has been a joy to eat more healthy with my husband. I really like doing it together WITH him. And now it's 2021 and we both eat whole food plant based, strict McDougall or Esselstyn for heart disease.
What are the essential end products? Joint pain and aches and pains, gone. Weight loss, 55 and 45 lbs for us, good BMI's, general anxiety is gone, blood pressure normal, heart disease process, most likely reversed. Husband's total cholesterol level from 200's to 146 in 12 weeks and it's stayed there. LDL at 76. We still monitor cholesterol and ldl every 6 months. Months of digestive issues gone, skin problems gone.
I hope no one puts themselves through what we went through with the heart attack. It was a very tough time.
We enjoy our vegan wfpb'ed food now. We are both thankful for how it has helped us in our lives.
Well, that's the story. It wasn't easy at first but it got easier as time went on. I'm hoping to pick up a few good recipes here and make friends and learn things. I wish you all well, have a great day!