LET FOOD BE THY MEDICINE
I met Justin and Erin Greener last weekend at the Rehoboth VegFest where they told me about their journey to restored health through Plant-Based eating. This Delaware couple is now the picture of vibrant health. But that was not the case just three years ago. Here in their own words and in photos they provided is the inspiring story of their transformation.
In the spring of 2011, we used a beatable cancer diagnosis as our wakeup call to do a course correction from a lifelong self-destructive cycle based on the Standard American Diet (S.A.D). My wife and I were in our mid-30’s and were slowly killing ourselves and damaging our young children with the S.A.D diet. Although it was diagnosed as Papillary Thyroid cancer and was treatable through conventional Western Medicine techniques, cut and poison, we immediately started searching for alternative solutions to avoid any further preventable medical events. After watching the film “Forks Over Knives”, it was evident we needed to make drastic lifestyle change. Overnight we began with a short juice fast to reboot, followed by a Whole Food Plant Based diet (WFPB), all while still going through the recommended Thyroid cancer treatment of the Thyroidectomy and followed by a massive radiation treatment.
Along with the cancer, our family suffered from many other Western diet related illnesses that over the years we slowly accepted as normal: morbid obesity, sleep apnea, gout, eczema, pre diabetes, endometriosis, abdominal cramping, allergies, chronic migraines, heart palpitations, numbness in the extremities, acne, vision blur, chronic nosebleeds, chronic recurring lower back pain and abnormal amounts of flu during the flu season.
After a year of a WFPB diet, nearly all of our symptoms and issues had all but resolved themselves naturally. The last issue, chronic abdominal cramping from endometriosis for my wife was simply resolved after removing all caffeine from her diet. The family lost a combined total of more than 325lbs and now leads a very active lifestyle, along with our WFPB lifestyle.
Every year has been more rewarding than the last, increasing our physical activity, family adventures and improved quality of foods in our diet. As a family we seek the highest nutrient value foods and constantly challenge ourselves to eat as many vegetables and fruits as possible.
To round out our lifestyle change, we began homeschooling our children to ensure the healthiest food choices and environment for learning, to include the Engine 2 College Greens Plant Based syllabus in their learning curriculum.
Along the way, we’ve refined our approach as a result of reading material, experimenting with cooking, Facebook Plant Based group posts and documentaries. Our favorites to date have been the following. Books: My Beef With Meat, Whole, The Pleasure Trap, The China Study and Eat To Live. Documentaries: Forks Over Knives; Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead; Food Inc. and Food Matters. Our two favorite kitchen appliances to help in our journey have been the Vitamix and InstantPot.
While we find there are endless recipes and wonderful plant based foods, we are always vigilant to consume a large amount of leafy greens each week and try to eat from a veggie, fruit, legume, whole grain pallet, in this order, eating nuts and seeds sparingly for healthy fats. This approach relegates the highest nutrient, lowest calorie dense foods to be eaten first, as we move up the list with smaller portions. Based on this approach, we find it much easier to loose and/or maintain weight as necessary and never really worry about counting calories.