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Research shows that you need to eat 7-9 servings of fruits and vegetables for optimal health and immunity. https://healthy.ucdavis.edu/eating-well/nourish-labels/fruit-veg#:~:text=For%20optimal%20health%20benefits%2C%20adults,cup%20fresh%2C%20frozen%20or%20canned
For veteran Whole Food Plant-Based folks, getting enough veggies is rarely a problem. I know that I have at least 3 servings of fruits, grains, veggies, mushrooms, legumes, nuts, and/or seeds with every meal. If I count snacks, the score is even higher, but I have been at this for a long time. It may be more challenging for some of us to get it all in, however. Last week one of my clients asked me, “How do you fit 7-9 servings of fruits and vegetables in consistently? It feels like a lot!”
I told her, she needed to have a “WHY that could make her cry.” She asked me what I meant. So I told her about a friend of mine, a vibrant example of someone who healed herself using nutrient-dense plant-rich foods.
We’ll call my friend Jane. Jane was addicted to cakes, cookies, and candies, so much so that the folks at the local bakery would call her cell phone when they had a fresh batch of all-butter pound cakes coming out of the oven! Not surprisingly, Jane was also morbidly obese, had chronic joint pain, high blood pressure, diabetes, and early-stage leukemia, and the beginnings of congestive heart failure. Jane was sure she would need a handicapped parking sticker by the time she reached 70, if she lasted that long. You see, at that time, Jane could barely walk 40 feet before she had to stop to catch her breath.
Then one miraculous night, she had a dream that changed everything. She dreamed that she was on vacation at a beautiful beach with her young grandchildren. They were playing happily in the sand at the water’s edge. Suddenly, a tsunami appeared and it was coming straight for them. The water roared, and Jane’s grandchildren ran screaming, but Jane was stuck, unable to move. As the tsunami grew in strength and size, Jane struggled in vain to stand up. She clawed at the sand around her, but it gave way in her grip.
Just when Jane could feel the spray of the tidal wave starting to cash down on her, she woke up in a tearful panic. She sat bolt upright in her bed. Clutching at her chest, and gasping for air, she got her bearings. Jane realized that the tsunami represented all of her health issues. It was as clear to her as the dawn peeking through her window that if she didn’t get unstuck, she would never see her grandchildren grow up. In that moment, she realized that she had to change everything about how she saw herself, her life, and her connection to food.
Jane asked me to teach her about Whole Food Plant Based eating. She was easy to coach because she had an undeniable “WHY.” She switched to a healthy, nutrient-dense plant-rich diet, which not only helped her lose weight but also has the power to reverse diet-related lifestyle diseases. Jane started gradually. First, she stopped the speed dial calls from the bakery. That helped her eliminate the baked goods and candies. Then she added 4 servings of veggies every day. Next, she removed all dairy and red meats. After that, she cut out all fish, poultry, and eggs. Now she is 100% whole food plant-based. AND Jane is a new person.
The power of Jane’s “WHY” was transformative. When she started her health journey about 4 years ago, she literally had to re-create her relationship to herself and to food. Due to her commitment to her “WHY”, her goal to see her grandchildren to adulthood, the changes came easily. Now, at age 70, the leukemia is in remission. The high blood pressure is controlled. Her weight is well within the normal range for her height. The joint pain has vanished. She walks an average of 5-7 miles per day, all in one go! And probably the biggest benefit is that she has endless energy to be with her grandkids, even the toddlers! Jane doesn’t even think about going back to her old ways!
Now that’s a “WHY that could make you CRY!” And have you stay committed!
What’s your “WHY?” Share it with us. We would love to hear what got you started on the journey to WFPB eating and what keeps you moving forward.