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From One Happy Body…


It’s been exactly 5 months and 5 days since I decided to try out a new way of nourishing my body on a Plant-Based, Whole Foods Diet (PBWF), and recently I’ve had quite a few friends asking for resources on how to get started. So I thought I’d share them on here, along with my experience so far!

For years I professed to my vegan friends, that despite all my knowledge about the negative health and environmental impacts of a plenty-of-meat-&-dairy-diet, I could NEVER give up those staples. OK, I reasoned, maybe meat, since I mainly only ate chicken and fish anyway, but dairy?? You mean yogurt, ice cream, & cheese?!? What kind of cruel torture would that be!?

But then I watched several films, first the ubiquitous Forks Over Knives followed by The Beautiful Miracle about the phenomenal Gersen Institute (based here in San Diego) and began doing more of my own independent research, guided by advice and input from friends.

Finally I decided, what could I lose by trying it? I could always switch back- no harm, no foul. I decided to go for it.

I am so glad I did!

Here are the biggest changes I’ve noticed since becoming a PBWF-er:

- I’ve lost 20 pounds (went from 145 down to 125), which wasn’t a goal per se, but I am not complaining!

- I have more energy and mental acuity on a daily basis.

- I feel strong and fit.

- I feel more satisfied after meals and don’t crave empty calories & sugary treats (I used to be the Cold Stone’s Gotta Have It, chocolate ice cream, with Oreos, Reeses, and brownies kind a gal)

- I have a clear conscience that I’m no longer unwittingly contributing to animal cruelty and environmental pollution by CAFOS.

- I no longer get acid reflux, which prior to switching my diet, I took 5 or 6 TUMS a day to combat.

- My allergies symptoms have lessened

- I’ve discovered a pantry full of delicious foods I never knew existed- each packing a powerful nutritional-punch that puts your standard chicken breast to shame

- I pay closer attention to what’s in my food (specific ingredients), and consequently, what I put in my body.

Having shared those, I want to clarify a few things.

I think eating some meat is natural, however the huge amounts of meat, and the way the majority of it is raised and slaughtered in modern society is NOT natural nor good for us, the animal, or the planet.

I personally will have a small piece of sustainably caught fish and free-range organic eggs every now and then…by that I mean maybe once a month, for a little B12 Vitamin (which is the only nutrient people can’t get from plants). And if someone offers me elk that they hunted, cleaned, & prepared themselves (which happened while I was on my Curious Traveler Road Trip for National Geographic Traveler Magazine) I’m sure as heck gonna have a bite or two.

So for those of you still reading and thinking…hmmm, maybe I should give PBWF a try too…


* Just because something is “vegan” doesn’t mean it’s healthy

My friends hammered this home for me, and I’m so glad they did. It’s a mistake many people who try to go vegan make, and they don’t end up feeling any better! For example, don’t simply replace all of your meat products with fake-meat soy products. The whole idea is to get away from processed foods and soy is a huge offender!

I try to stick to whole soy beans if I’m going to have them, and a personal favorite, tempeh which are whole, fermented soy beans, and have a great meaty texture great for “burgers” and in sauces.

* Don’t load up on empty carbs

There is plenty of protein to be found in plant-based foods, but you have to take extra care to make a well-balanced meal, including seeds, nuts & legumes in a way that you will feel satisfied. If you don’t do this, you’ll probably find you’re still craving something, and since that chunk of white bread’s vegan, what the heck…nom nom nom. Don’t do it!

*Not all fruits & veggies are created equal

Always be sure to buy LOCAL & ORGANIC. This is so crucial. It spares our streams, rivers and oceans from pesticides and fossil fuels and is so much better for our bodies too. Even if you’re not convinced about going PBWF, adhering to this simple guideline with whatever type of food you consume will drastically reduce your footprint on the earth!


If you’re interested in trying it out for yourself, here are a few of my favorite resources for information and DELICIOUS recipes:

MindBodyGreen: How to Get Started

Forks Over Knives 

The Post Punk Kitchen

Oh She Glows

The Jaladuta Express

The Kind Life

Slow Foods International

Farm to Table

San Diego Farmer’s Markets

Vegan Calisthen-x (for you body builders/fellow-fitness freaks out there)

Now go forth & get ready for some Plant-Based, Whole Food bliss!

Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions (or hurl any insults)…I’m still a relative newbie, but I love sharing this new leaf with others! Also, feel free to add any resources in the comments section that I might have missed. Can never have too many!

Finally– a BIG BIG thanks to my friends who inspired me to head down this path and first shared these resources with me: Tiana Marie, Cassie Lopez, Jenny Nichols, Emily Nuchols, Sarah Kuck, Maria Dixon, and Jiana Ten Brinke just to name a few!

2 Responses to “From One Happy Body…”

  1. Janne Shahan says:

    Hey Shan! Some books that were really helpful in providing resources (consider it the backbone to your food library) was The China Study and Healing Foods. The China Study was mentioned in Forks over Knives. It’s a comprehensive overview of a very well documented study (60-70 years) of the diets in China and how it directly related to the longevity of health and overcoming chronic illness/disease. The Healing Foods book is like an encyclopedia of food and what it can do to sustain our bodies…however, it does mention “milk” as a healing food. We know this to not be true after watching the film and reading about the effects of milk. Hope that helps!!! More information is always a help:) I’m glad you wrote about this and the pics are so fun..definitely add foodie photographer to your belt!!!!

    • Janners- thank you for sharing those resources and your knowledge! Unfortunately, I don’t think I can claim foodie photog yet and have to give credit where credit is due…most of those images came from I’ll work on some of my own though…when I make food I never seem to find time to photograph it before I dig in :)

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