Two months ago I switched to a 100% plant-based diet. I was dabbling in veganism, but I was definitely not a vegan. This transition was brought about by some health concerns. A plant-based diet has been scientifically proven to stave off chronic disease in general. Do you have any history of chronic disease in you family? Are you overweight or struggling with high blood pressure, or high cholesterol? If so, you might want to consider going vegan. That means no fish, meat, poultry, dairy, or eggs. As they say, anything with a face or a mother or came from anything with a face or a mother is off limits.
I have a long family history of heart disease. I have had high cholesterol for as long as I can remember. When I was 18 years old, my cholesterol was over 300. The doctor told me that I’d be lucky to live to be 30. I got the numbers down somewhat, but it was never below 250.
I finally decided to take it seriously when my doctor insisted I start taking a statin drug to lower my cholesterol. I declined, deciding for me, that the side effects and a lifetime of medication was not how I wanted to approach this situation. I wanted to address the root of the problem. I looked into alternatives and found out about Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn’s Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Program.
The program is a vegan diet that excludes nuts, avocados and oils. The foods that you get to eat are legumes, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Our bodies make cholesterol. Most people have lots of enzymes that help to break the cholesterol down so our bodies can use it. Because of genetics, or because I was eating too many nuts and oils perhaps, I was storing mine. If your cholesterol has been very high I recommend that you get a “Heart Healthy CT Scan.” It might be called something different in your area, but it will let you know if you have plaque build-up in your arteries.
I have found that planning is key to maintaining a plant based diet without fats. When I travel, I call ahead to a restaurant to see if they can accommodate my diet. At an Italian restaurant I ask if they have a pasta that does not contain egg and if they can sauté some vegetables and tomato in white wine and throw it over the pasta. If I dine at a steakhouse, I get a baked potato with only scallions and a side of mushrooms sautéed in white wine. I can also get a salad with just vinegar, lemon or lime. If you do not have heart health concerns, a little oil, nuts or avocado are probably fine. Dining out will be considerably easier for you.
Eating at home has been easy and I am enjoying it immensely. My staples are Ezekiel bread, Ezekiel cereal, Ancient Grains pasta, Whole Foods brand low fat humus that does not contain tahini or oil, oat milk (remember, no nuts or nut milk), steel cut oatmeal, brown rice, beans and lentils, organic/non-GMO corn tortillas that do not contain oil that I bake in the oven to make into tortilla chips, and lots of fruits and veggies. You would be surprised at how many things you can make from the items listed above.
I found this whole grain, sprouted delight at HEB, our local grocery store. I topped it with Engine 2 marinara sauce that does not contain oil (or I make my own sauce if time allows), mushrooms, onions, jalapenos, bell pepper, zucchini, and pineapple. I topped that with arugula (not pictured because I was hungry and ready to eat, not have a photo shoot).
I will post more recipes that are plant-based and without fats. Actually, the last couple of posts contain vegan, no oil recipes. Please let me know if you have questions.
Video about a vegan diet versus statins: