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What the health?!

Before we started this way of eating, I did lots of research. I was worried about protein, fat, and if my children would get enough vitamins. Then I thought to myself, these were the same things I was worried about before we went plant based and we were already eating whole foods and loads of veggies!!

There is so much information about the whole foods plant based way of eating, I was getting bamboozled!

It’s not to be confused with veganism, which is a way of life encompassing not only food but animal exploitation in every form. As much as I hate how animals are treated for humans to eat, we can’t afford to replace our leather couch or our shoes and all my handbags. Not that I use a handbag any more; Fiorelli and Guess don’t make handbags big enough for nappies, wipes, snacks and the kitchen sink you need for 2 kids under 3!

So I joined plant based Facebook groups, searched the web and got advice from a good friend who was already doing it. I also watched a few movies again; Forks over Knives, Earthlings and What the Health.

In my humble opinion the film Forks over Knives has the most scientific information about why this way of eating is best for us. I really liked the way Dr Caldwell Esselstyn explained the lifestyle and the health benefits. He talks about the China Study and his own longitudinal studies he had done with his patients. What he says really resonated with me and so I was convinced this was the right way to go.

I’ve ended up taking bits and pieces from different places.

  • Rawtillwhenever (high carb hannah) focuses on a high carb, low fat diet. She has some amazing cookbooks which I’ve purchased and taken lots of inspiration from. I try to eat at least one raw meal a day or at least encompass a raw element.
  • Forks over Knives focuses on prevention/management and reversing chronic diseases such as diabetes, Heart disease and high blood pressure. The diet does not allow oil.
  • Plant powered families with Dreena Burton (on facebook) is all about sharing insights and tips on raising plant based children. They have great resources regarding nutrition for children and good ideas for family meals.

So We’re only 5 weeks in but it feels like we’ve been eating this way forever. I can’t imagine going back to eating animal products and processed food.

I’m so proud of all of us, especially Jamari and Stephen. They’ve both really embraced the food and the reasons we’re doing it. We have given Jamari a choice however. When he’s at school, at a mate’s place or a social function he can make his own choices. In the first few weeks, he had an ice cream, a sausage and a piece of chicken. Afterwards he complained of a stomach ache and commented on how different it tasted. This week he had his first cooking class at school as part of tech. He told his teacher he was vegan so didn’t want to add the cheese or salami to the pizza they were making. I was extremely proud of him. It’s the first time he’s owned plant based eating. Previously he’s told people ‘my mum says we don’t eat animal products’.

We’re not totally perfect though, Stephen and I are still having a beer or wine at the weekends. And we’re still partial to chocolate; Whittakers 70% cocoa dark ghana is the new favourite!

I’m really look forward to the next few months as I learn more recipes and continue to feel so much better. I’ve also got another round of tests coming up in the next few weeks. I’m really interested to find out if eating this way has made any difference to the sarcoidosis.

So watch this space for more updates, tips and recipes.

Thank you for all the kind words and encouragement, it means a lot.


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Our Journey

Hi and welcome! I thought I’d better introduce myself and my family.
I’m Simone and I’m married to Stephen. I’m originally from UK and my husband is from NZ. I’m a qualified Social Worker and trained in UK. I met Stephen in Birmingham in 2004 and we moved to NZ back in 2009 after we had our 1st son in 2006. We then went on to have 2 more children, another boy in 2015 and a daughter in 2017. Yes the last two are close together; 18 months apart in fact! We now live in beautiful New Plymouth, Taranaki. I am fortunate that I am able to stay at home with our children.
We’ve been eating plant-based food for a month now and we’re loving it. Well, the children and I are loving it. My husband misses meat and does eat it when he’s at work. I’m sure he sneaks in a pie once a week. He also still has milk in his coffee and for his weetbix (it is like cardboard!) He can’t stand almond milk, and that’s ok. I’m working on alternatives for him to try; this is a learning curve for all of us after all. Although Stephen isn’t 100% plant-based yet, he does eat all the meals I cook at home and he’s supportive of the change.
We changed to this way of eating for a number of reasons. One is for our health, the second is for the environment and third is the animals. I have a condition called Sarcoidosis and I recently had to have tests as I found a lump in my breast. Turns out the Sarcoidosis has spread throughout my body in my lymph nodes. It’s an auto immune disorder which causes inflammation. After doing lots of research about my condition and finding out that there is no cure; I concluded that I needed to change my and my family’s’ diet and lifestyle.
Now I come from an African background where meat, starch and vegetables are the normal diet. I’ve eaten meat, dairy and animal products all my life, but I’ve known for a long time now that they aren’t that great for our health. I needed a reason to change my diet and my condition was it.  A good friend of mine had embarked on a similar journey, so she suggested some documentaries to watch to get me started. I have to say, these documentaries have changed my life! If you’d like to watch any, they are: What the Health, Forks over Knives, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead and Cowspiracy.
What is the WFPB (whole foods plant-based) diet? Well if the food has a mum and dad don’t eat it! I love that phrase from Forks over knives. Whole foods are foods which haven’t been processed; the whole apple, the bean or grain. Plant based means food which comes from plants and not animals, so no meat, dairy, honey or eggs. Eating WFPB also avoids oils and refined sugars. I love the Forks over knives webpage as it explains it so much more eloquently!
So here on my blog I’ll be sharing our journey, how to start eating a whole foods plant-based diet, recipes, information, places to shop, places to eat, our daily struggles, meal planning, ideas for the kids, lunchbox fillers and anything else fun!
Whether you’re thinking about changing to this way of eating, converted already, want to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet or you just want more information come and join me.