There are those of us who sometimes complain when we can’t find the exact blend of brown rice. Or a papaya that is just the right degree of ripe.
Guilty – that was me today.
We forget – too easily – that there are people with far greater challenges when it comes to simply getting good food on their plate. People who, for one reason or another, find themselves without team support, or in financial hardship, making it a little less easy to fill the fridge and stock the pantry. It can often be an excuse to just give up on healthy ideals and eat whatever.
Adversity as springboard to success
Yet there are those who, even in the face of adversity, lead by example, showing us a better way. When I got this letter from D’Ann, I knew I had to share it with you. Please observe there isn’t a single sound of complaint to be found in her note.
D’Ann and I met during the recent giveaway contest of a copy of Fit Quickies: 5 Minute Targeted Body-Shaping Workouts that was held the first week in January over at the Plant-based Junkies blog. D’Ann won the drawing, and once I met her I knew the book win couldn’t have gone to a more deserving heart.
When you read her story, you’ll see why.
Your email has left me in puddles! Winning your Fit Quickies book is such a blessing! To get an actual email from you has left me so encouraged!
I’ve been on the “Plant Based Journey” for a few months now, and I must say it has been so HARD! My family acts completely confused by my new eating lifestyle, not knowing what to prepare for family gatherings. My brother, an athlete himself, thinks I’m nuts. My husband breaks into a sweat thinking someday I’m going to take away his beloved meat from him. He’s made it quite clear that this is a path he has no interest in taking, and although my kids have been supportive, they act disgusted by the food I’m trying to introduce.
Just a quick story about how I’ve been encouraged to stay on this path. We are on such a limited budget, that I often go to food pantries and free food giveaways to feed my family. One thing in my area (Binghamton NY) that I have found truly beneficial is through the Food Bank of the Southern Tier and it is called a “Mobile Food Pantry.” It is a huge refrigerated truck, that goes from grocery store, to grocery store and collects all the fresh and frozen food that the stores have to discard.
The food is only on the expired date or sometimes even days before it. I was in line yesterday at one of these mobile food pantries, and I found that the food that others pass, is just what I need! I’ve noticed that despite being in desperate situations financially, most people are so addicted to their SAD diets that they often pass up fresh fruit, veggies and beans.
I actually facilitated a food pantry in Cortland NY for Catholic Charities several years ago before I moved to Binghamton. I saw the same SAD phenomenon. People who were poor and malnourished would pass up the very life-blood of food that would nourish their bodies. I feel no guilt in using these resources now, such as food pantries, because I’ve been on the other side and know how much healthy food gets thrown away at food pantries, just because people want quick, easy, fat and sugar ladened foods.
Thank you Lani for all you do. Your expertise, insight and encouragement have spurred me on. I’ve lost 9 lbs. so far, and am looking to lose about 15 more. More importantly than pounds, I want to lose guilt, lethargy and a poor self-esteem. I want to be the best wife, mom and friend I can be. I think it “Takes a whole village” when it comes to this Plant-Based business, and I’m so grateful to have you and the PB junkies on my side! And I can’t wait for my Fit Quickies book to arrive.
I’m going to get running, not literally this time:), because I just downloaded your Plant-based Blueprint sampler and I want to read it before I have to pick up my kiddos!!
Finding traction to take you forward – my reply to D’Ann:
I think you are amazing! Think about it – you are not alone in this quest of dietary and lifestyle change, but you are unique in your ability to dig in extra deep and instead of complaining about costs and lack of support as getting in your way, you are using them as traction to take you forward.
This is a huge inspiration. I know there is an article in here and unless you are extremely private, this would make an amazing blog post – about just that, traction in the face of challenges.
What a great spirit you have. Your story really struck a chord with me and I am so grateful to you for sharing, and to Lani for publishing it for the benefit of all.
I hope you’ll keep us updated on your journey!
I see this hit you in the heartstrings just as it did me. Thank for your jumping in with your post!
Thank you so much Sophia for your kind words! It’s truly been a blessing reading all the thoughtful and encouraging comments. My cup runneth over with joy:) I certainly plan to keep you all posted on my journey. I’m finding that accountability and support go hand in hand. Thank you so much for being a part of that for me! Finding Lani and now getting my hands on her book has been like winning the lottery!
Bless your heart! Hang in there; you are doing a fantastic job. And yes, places like these are where I turn for support, encouragement, and advice. I hope you can find someone else who eats plant-based who is local to have some “phone support” too. But even if not, I know you won’t give up. Soon, the energy and the further pounds shed will be even more motivation. But I know what it’s like to be the only one in the family. And this extended family ALL love meat, and we get together for a dinner once a week. I supplement with my own food and try to keep a low profile. They are beginning to understand a little bit, some of them, but it’s been nearly a year. And one or two like to joke about it. I know they don’t mean to hurt, but it can get “old,” as I’m sure you know.
As far as “traction” goes, there have been many times in the last year that I simply turned to the computer and started searching. Or went through the wonderful list of doctors/researchers who fought for years for this healthy way of life without support from their colleagues. I subscribed to their blogs or websites if I could. I read comments on plant-based blogs. You’re right–it takes a village.
I’m thrilled that you’ve found an economical source for your veggies, etc! What a blessing! And I sure agree that you truly deserved to get Lani’s book!! I am thrilled for you! You go, girl!
Thank you for coming in with such encouraging words fo D’Ann – and a story of your own to tell! I’m sure you’ll love every word and will tell you so when she has a chance to come by.
Cheers to you!
My goodness Lois! You start coming at Lani with all that enthusiasm and optimism and she’ll have you featured next! Thank you, thank you for not only your kind words, but for all the great advice! Your comment is downright juicy with ideas, tips and encouragement for me, as well as others! I know what you mean about some of the comments from friends and family members getting “old.” You give me hope that they will either mellow out or for Pete’s sake get on board! I am really hoping to find someone local to connect with. Until then, I will continue on as you, scouring the internet for the support and guidance we need. Blessings to you Lois:)
D’Ann – I wanted to come on here and thank you for allowing Lani to share your story. It was incredibly inspiring to me. My husband also has no interest in pursuing a plant based diet and, while he is very very supportive of me, I wish so much that he could share in the benefits of this way of eating. Perhaps both of our spouses will surprise us some day and end up “converted” – wouldn’t that be wonderful? Apparently it has happened in quite a few households. 🙂 Anyway, I applaud you for your determination to continue on this path and especially for your desire to be “the best wife, mom and friend I can be.” I loved that.
And I LOVED your response. What wonderful support and there’s nothing like knowing you are NOT alone!
I loved your comment Teresa! It gave me just the chuckle that I needed! Girl, I truly do believe there is hope for our hubbies! A good friend of mine read this article, and responded back to me on FBthat is was her influence in her home that changed her husband! She said he is now eating veggies burger and the kids love veggie nuggets! She admitted herself that she is struggling with dairy, but I know she’ll get there! My hubby works for the railroad, and they eat at whatever diner they find closest to the tracks, no joke. Thankfully he often packs his lunch, but when he doesn’t, look out greasy spoons! I think we have our jobs cut out, but just always know you’ll have a partner in crime named D’Ann working undercover with you trying to make over our hubby’s eating habits:)
I watched a very sad program on tv last week of how many people in the US go to bed hungry at night. I did notice a large percentage of them were quite heavy and I think D’Ann’s letter may explain way. I have participated in local food give always and found the same thing – the vegs mainly stayed on the truck.
What do you think the reasons are for the veggies left on the truck – are they still seen as more cost for not as many calories? I’m interested in your observations.
Hi Sandy! It’s interesting that you noticed the same phenomenon that I did at the food giveaways. When I ran a food pantry myself, the largest in Cortland County NY, I had food items that I simply could not even give away, even after pleading! Healthy cereals like oatmeal would rot on my shelf while the sugary cereals would be cleaned out in a day. Canned and fresh veggies were often found in the alley way next to our pantry as people who were on foot, would just dump them out to lighten their loads. What I found to be true is that the problem is generational, and gets worse with each generation. Convenience and food addictions to meat, sugar and fat are more than dangerous, they are toxic. Let’s keep spreading the word:)
In this circumstance the food was free so cost wouldn’t have been a factor. My guess would be because we’ve become addicted to flesh products plus foods high in fats, salts, sugar etc. that can become addictive and especially to young children that haven’t had the opportunity to experience much else.
Oh! I thought maybe it was deeply slashed prices. Thanks for the updated info.
D’Ann, what an amazing journey you are on, I am sooooo proud of you! You are such an inspiration for us all. I am so glad I could be a part of it. Thank you again Lani, for your generosity with our two giveaways at plantbasedjunkies.com! You both are amazing women, and I am honored to know both of you.
I knew you would love D’Ann’s story. Thanks for being the medium through which we met!
Laura, it is I that am honored to know you! Your site was one of the very first I came across after starting this journey a few months ago. I soaked up your story and could relate on so many levels! I loved your post the other day where you tooted your own horn about your blood levels. AMAZING! Who wouldn’t toot who all those good numbers! I’ve tried lots of diets and plans in the past, but never have I known, like I know now, down deep in my heart, that I am finally on the right path. I know that this is the rest of my life. It doesn’t scare me, but actually gives me peace to know that it’s just a matter of making the right decisions. My children are young, and although changing habits is hard work, I’m forever grateful that they will learn this wonderful good news now, rather than later as in my case. You look amazing by the way, and you have every right in the world to be proud! Rock on girl!
Hey there D’Ann,
First of all, congratulations to you for taking this courageous step in your journey. May it bring you health and happiness! I could relate to your story in that my family is not 100% on-board with my eating style, but I have found that pushing too hard is not the answer. Rather, just try to live by example and find ways to gently increase the nutrient content (and decrease the SAD content 🙂 of their food. If you explain to the kids how important it is to maintain a healthy body, and how the foods packaged by nature are our best medicine, eventually, it will soak in. Just be patient. As for your husband, he is an adult and can make his own decisions, but hopefully will come around at least to some extent. In the meantime, you will just have to eat together but on different meal plans. I find this is not that hard, because there is always some overlap in the veggies, fruits, starches, etc.
As for your financial concerns, here are a couple of suggestions: Have you tried growing your own greens? I can’t say that I have actually done this myself, but it’s definitely on my to-do list! Apparently, kale and other leafy greens can easily be grown in a pot, even, and do not require a whole lot of effort. You could also set up a window garden of herbs, and sprout your own grains and beans to add to salads.
A good resource may be PCRM’s suggestions for the SNAP program (you can search for it at PCRM.org). They have written up a petition to revamp the SNAP program to include only healthy foods, and I think it is published on their website.
Bulk beans, rice and other grains are relatively inexpensive, highly nutritious, and filling! And if you have a farmer’s market in your area, try that out. Some are quite pricey, but depending on your area, you might be able to get inexpensive things in season. Or there may even be a CSA that is affordable. And if you are a green thumb (more power to you if you are!) how about a small plot in a local community garden? I saw one advertised in my area for a few dollars a week, including the use of water and gardening tools. That would be a great way to get your kids involved in growing their own food and excited about tasting and preparing it!
In addition, I have found that even my “normal” grocery chains are now carrying a larger selection of what used to be “exotic” things like quinoa, nutritional yeast and new types of produce. So more choice theoretically means more competition and lower prices. Check to see when they get their new shipments in each week and go in the day before that to see if anything has been marked down for quick sale. I recently scored some organic spinach and mixed greens for less than half the regular price. You might even tell the produce manager your situation, and they may be able to cull out some things for you to pick up. I’m sure they’d rather make a buck than toss it!
Another tip: There is a book out there called “Vegan on $4 a day” that you may find useful. And I’m sure there are a bunch of resources on the internet. Just google “vegan on a budget” or “frugal vegan” or any combination of key words like that.
Best of luck to you, D’Ann. Keep up the great work!
Julianne, thank you for leaving such an amazing and thorough tutorial! You rock grrrl!
You are a true inspiration! My husband will eat some of the “plant-based” foods I prepare. Mostly, the soups. He’s all ready to support me, then drops the ball soon after. So, like you I feel like I’m on this journey alone, and feel like the “foreigner” with my family. He has high cholesterol and is a cancer survivor & really needs to be eating a PB diet. You can’t make anyone change over, they have to come to that place on their own. Being the “example” to them, just like what you are doing speaks “volumes!” Kids are easier, especially if you start involving them in helping with preparation.
I’ve gone back & forth with this program over the years, but know now at age 60 I have to get serious.(the good news is that most people don’t think I’m that age, and I want to keep it that way!) Recently went through several tests etc., and my doctor feels I’m in early stages of Celiac (gluten/wheat) disease. So, yet another challenge. I stuck to a PB diet faithfully, after attending a program several years back, but ended up caving in due family issues etc. Putting others before myself once again, and I’m not willing to do that anymore! I have regretted it ever since and ended up with health issues I know I would not have had if I’d stayed on the PB diet.
D’Ann,we are cheering you on, and admire your stamina! Keep on keeping on! Thanks for sharing your story. Can’t wait until my book arrives!
Great post, great responses ….I really like your site Lani, it’s fantastic.
So often in my coaching, mums (or moms depending on where you come from) are the ones doing it all for everyone else, and feel a sense of guilt if they take time to look after themselves. They are so admirable but I see it comes at a cost. Being ‘selfless’ is not good for you or your family, because it translates you think less of your self, and that’s shouldn’t be the case, and not the example you’d like to give to your kids. Focusing on nourishing your body with beautiful food your body understands, provides you with a vitality you can share with your family, and gives you the opportunity to change your and their lives through example. Best to you all from here in Australia.
Thank you Brian! You have a way with words and thanks for sharing them here today!