Let's start by recapping Part One of Getting Started: The stress of 2012 left me sick as a dog and feeling like I needed to hold myself to higher standards when it came to my diet. Lucky for me, there were resources aplenty, not only to motivate but to educate me as well.
One of my all-time favorite books that I would recommend to anyone who wants to kick-start a healthy lifestyle is Skinny Bitch written by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. Don't be turned off by the title, it's not about being skinny, or about acting bitchy, and it's not just for women... I kind of wish they'd picked a different title but, oh well. I actually read the book back in 2005 when it first came out but I don't think I was mature enough to accept it's message. Eight years later, I was ready to be enlightened. I read the book cover-to-cover in one night and then handed it off to Jordan who did the same thing the next day. It didn't hurt that one of our favorite college professors, Dr. Amy Lanou (you'll find one of her books listed in this post!), consulted the authors on their chapter on dairy. We knew and respected that Freedman and Barnouin were citing valid research studies as the basis for their arguments to back away from: meat and dairy, soda and sugar, cigarettes and fad diets. We also knew that we needed some major motivation to jump on the vegan bandwagon and this no-holds-barred book did the trick.
Kathy Freston's book, Veganist, motivated me not only to start eating a plant-based diet for my own health but for the health of the environment as well. The more reasons you have to be motivated the better and for me, finding out that not eating beef is the single best thing a person can do to reduce their carbon footprint, made it seem like a real no-brainer. In both Veganist and Skinny Bitch, you'll learn a lot about factory farming and animal abuse. These chapters may be hard to read, they are brutal and sad but most importantly, they are TRUE. Even if you aren't looking to cut meat out of your meals, you'll probably end up inspired to skip the grocery store and head to your local farmer's market or butcher shop the next time you need something. If you really want to get philosophical about food, Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer discusses society, culture, politics, economics, and morals. It's the kind of book you wont be able to put down, I remember reading parts of it out loud to Jordan, I also remember crying...Basically, it's a must-read.
If you are anything like my husband Jordan, a book full of facts and figures and statistics, written by people with doctoral degrees, is what it takes to get you onboard. Well, today is your lucky day! Building Bone Vitality and The China Study both use clinical studies and up-to-date medical information to explain the relationship between diet and disease. Building Bone Vitality, written by Dr. Amy Lanou and Michael Castleman, holds a special place in my heart, not only because Dr. Lanou was one of my favorite college professors but because osteoporosis runs in my family. In BBV, Lanou and Castleman give you an in-depth look at osteoporosis and explain that the best way to prevent bone loss is a low-acid diet - less yogurt, more kale. The China Study, written by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, should be required reading for everyone. Dr. Campbell did a twenty year study of nutrition and health in over 100 villages all across China. This guy truly has the data to back up the diet. Another one of Jordan's favorites is The Food Revolution, which delves into the politics of modern food and is written by John Robbins, former heir to the Baskin-Robbins empire! Spoiler alert: he gave up his ice-cream throne because it didn't sit right with his value system.
Crazy Sexy Cancer, a documentary film written and directed by Kris Carr, was a game changer for me. Super brief synopsis: Kris gets diagnosed with epithelioid hemangioendotheliom, a rare form of cancer, and she decides to dive deep into finding a way to boost her immune system and her overall quality of life. The way she approached her diagnosis really resonated with me, she wasn't going to sit still and follow doctor's orders, she demanded to take an active role in her treatment. Thirteen years later, she's a shining star example of the balance between Western medical practices and alternative treatments; she's also a champion for integrative care. Kris has a really wonderful website with loads of great resources. Two other great documentaries we watched during this time period were Vegucated and Forks Over Knives - you can stream both of these on Netflix Instant . Trust me, they're way better than Making A Murderer.
Long before I started my plant-based journey I was reading the blog Going Home To Roost on a daily basis. While she doesn't blog about health and food as much as she used to, her archives are a great place for recipes. Some of my favorite posts are: Why Becoming A Vegan Was The Best Thing I Ever Did, Why Being Vegan Is Easy, My Vegan Pregnancy, and Raising A Plant Based Family. Check out my RESOURCES page for a list of more of my favorite blogs.
Getting Started: Part Three is up next; we'll discuss how to handle the fact that your mother never quite remembers what it is you do and don't eat, and how not to take it personally. I'll also share with you the number one recipe to serve to plant-based naysayers that will leave them begging for a second helping.