Growing Up Southern
I was raised in central Louisiana. My diet growing up reflected my Southern roots. It revolved around meat, potatoes, fried, and processed foods. If there was a vegetable on my plate, it was so smothered in butter or cheese, it was no longer recognizable. As I got older, the home cooked meals became fewer, and fast food started taking over the menu. I was active through my childhood and teenage years, which helped me keep the weight off until I got away from high intensity cardio sports late in my high school career. It was then I noticed the slight weight gain. I did what any sensible young girl would do, I started eating "healthy". I ate turkey and cheese sandwiches, yogurts, apples, and cheese sticks like they were going out of style. I took the skin off of my fried chicken and ate a little less mac and cheese. It was during this time that my cousin died from Type I diabetes. I did not question how it happened at the time. I mourned her loss and did not contemplate the reasons behind it. When I graduated high school and had to start providing for myself I could only cook pasta and eggs and smother everything in butter and cheese. l ended up putting on a lot of weight in a very short time and was clueless as to how to stop it. After researching weight loss, trying fad diets, and failed workout regiments, I decided to enroll in dietetics. I was convinced there was a perfect equation to solve every weight loss issue. I believed my cousins death was a manifestation of poor diabetic education. It was purely a miscalculation in insulin that resulted in her death. If she had only known the perfect equation, she would not have died. Thus my foray into the realm of Registered Dietitians began. I was going to change the world one yogurt cup at a time!
To get licensed as a Registered Dietitian, you must have a four year dietetic degree and pay thousands of dollars to work as a dietetic intern for a year, then pass a national exam. I spent the four years of my undergrad absorbing information and regurgitating it, like a good little college student. It was only during my dietetic internship that I began to pick my up and look around. Every day, I would recite the same literature to sick people. Literally the same information, over and over. The patients would stare at you with glassy eyes, then be released to go home and continue to eat the same foods that led them to the hospital bed in the first place. Not only had the job I had idolized turned out to be disappointing, my own attempts at finding the perfect formula for weight maintenance was failing as well. It was supposed to be a simple formula. Every text book I read in college stated the formula for weight maintenance was as simple as this; If you expend the same amount of energy you take in, you will not gain weight. With real life rearing its ugly head, work outs petered off, quicker calorie dense meals increased and work became all consuming. To realize this equation, I took my calorie counting seriously. Right out of my internship I got a good job as a food service manager at a hospital and proceeded to I spent the majority of my first year as a graduated and licensed Registered Dietitian starving. Not literally starving. I worked in a kitchen, there was food everywhere, but I refused to compromise on my equation. This meant that if I met my caloric goal for the day, then I would eat no more. After a year of this with nothing to show for it but a 10 pound weight gain, I turned to research. My own research for once. I was not relying on approved text books and government pamphlets. I began looking at scientific studies, which lead me to The China Study. I was blown away. My entire childhood was a lie! Dairy was not the gift of God and the cure to our health crisis, but the exact opposite? Osteoporosis wasn't cured by milk, but caused by it? Meat was linked to cancer growth? The deeper I delved the more shocked I became. What was most unsettling was that this was not new information. There was an abundance of scientific evidenced supporting the exclusion of animal products to be the miracles we are all looking for and I had no clue! Where was this wealth of knowledge in college? What had I been teaching those sick patients? I immediately began to tell my family, friends, and dietetic community... and was immediately shut down.
Science has a plethora of evidence proving a whole food plant based diet can reverse heart disease, diabetes, and stop cancer in its tracks. The reality of the situation is that food is an extremely emotional experience. It does not matter how much evidence you lay out, for most people, it isn't worth the emotional loss. Be that as it may, I feel everyone should have the evidence that is out there so they may make their own educated decisions. The food industry today is reminiscent of the tobacco industry. The evidence that tobacco products caused caner was there long before it was made public knowledge. How many people unknowingly partook of their products without having all of the information to make an educated decision? How many people would still be alive today if they had known? The same is true of the food industry today. The information is there, but not common knowledge...yet. My goal is to share my knowledge, recipes, and resources to help educate those who are interested.
About the Puppy
Keira, our 110 pound three year old Akbash mix, spends most of her days training to be a door mat. She is multi talented and proficient in the following: sleeping, sitting, being in the way, laying in doorways, stepping on feet, sleeping, panting, knocking children over with her tail, sleeping, and being an attention whore. In her spare time she works as a Therapy dog, visiting nursing homes, hospitals, hospice facilities, and other places where she can use best utilize her skills. My husband is also helping her realize her dream of becoming a model by using her as a prop in pictures of our vehicles.