My latest assignment for my certificate course in Plant based nutrition from ECornell was to share one of Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s principles of nutritional health that we found particularly interesting, important, compelling, or controversial with a family member, friend, client, or patient.
Principle #6 states that “The same nutrition that prevents disease in its early stages–that is, before diagnosis–can also halt or reverse disease in it’s later stages, after diagnosis”
After 21 months of eating a plant based diet and meeting so many people who have lived out this principle, I never cease to be amazed and excited about it!
Here is how I shared this wonderful principle for my class:
As a nurse, one of the most exciting things that I have learned about my new way of eating is that a whole foods plant based diet can not only prevent many diseases, but can even stop chronic illness in its tracks, and even more amazing, can reverse some illnesses even in the late stages! I watched a documentary back in 2012 called “Forks over Knives” and was in awe of the information that chronic illness is reversible as presented by researchers like Dr. T. Colin Campbell who has been working in the field of nutrition for decades. I had always known that chronic illness like type 2 diabetes could be prevented by healthy eating, exercise, and weight control, but when I heard the news that diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other illnesses could actually be reversed, I could hardly believe it. This was a revolutionary idea to me. I care for many people with chronic illness, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and congestive heart failure and current thinking by most of us in the medical community is that these diseases are so chronic that they can never be cured or reversed and at best we can try to help people manage their symptoms with medications. I was not only amazed but saddened that I did not know this information earlier in my career.
I was excited to learn more about these revolutionary ideas, so I started to read more. The first books I read were Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn’s, “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease,” and Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s, “The China Study.” The more I learned, the more excited I became about how I could improve my health and that of those around me by sharing what I learned. My husband and daughter joined me in my journey and we have all had wonderful health benefits. We have all experienced weight loss, have eliminated many prescription medications, have improved our relationships with one another, feel and look better, and our doctors have approved our lifestyle changes and applaud our successes. My husband is diabetic and has greatly reduced his insulin needs, is off of medications for depression, high blood pressure, and cholesterol and cannot imagine going back to his old pastrami eating ways.
As I learned more about the health benefits of plant based eating, I also sought out the company and support of others who eat this way. I knew no one in my local area who eats a plant based diet, so I found a wonderful online community at engine2extra.com where I could chat with others who shared my passion for improving their health with plant based nutrition. We share recipes and practical tips for staying on track with plant based eating and even receive food coaching from people who have received specialized training in plant based eating, which includes taking a course I am taking right now from ECornell to receive a certificate in plant based nutrition. As I met new friends online, I heard so many testimonials about how plant based eating reversed arthritis, type 2 diabetes, improved type 1 diabetes, and reversed high blood pressure and heart disease. I never tire of hearing these stories.
I still was yearning for the company of people in my area outside of my family, which now included my sister, to meet with in person and share plant based meals. The food coaches on engine2extra encouraged me to host a gathering at my home. I planned a meet up and expected no one would come, but to my surprise we had 10 or 12 in our first group in February. Some of the folks in our first group decided after the first week of changing their diet that they would keep eating this way forever because the food was so delicious and more importantly, they felt so much better. We are now having our third 28 day meet up group and have had new folks join us each time. If you would like to learn more, you are welcome to join us! We meet once a week for 4 weeks and have a lot of fun eating wonderful nutritious foods and learning how plant based eating can prevent and reverse disease. There is no pressure to change if you decide it’s not for you. You are also welcome to borrow my dvd of “Forks over Knives” or any of my books if you want to learn more.