As we at MamaSezz well know, changing to a plant-based diet can change your life in ways you never expected. In this series, we talk with some of the world’s most soulful, dedicated (and often funny) individuals. We get to hear their stories of suffering, transformation, and service — and we learn about the plant based diet benefits they experience.
When we think of doctors and nurses, we often assume they have all the tools they need to stay healthy at their fingertips, which isn't always true. This week, we're looking back at three life-changing stories of nurses who realized that the healthcare world had failed them. They were struggling to maintain a healthy weight, they were sick, and they were constantly in pain. Only when they decided to do their own research did they realize that lifestyle and diet were playing a huge role in their declining health, so they decided to make a change for good. Here are their stories:
Deitra didn't compromise her cultural values by changing her diet: The plant based diet benefits were astounding
Deitra grew up on typical southern cuisine: collard greens, cornbread, fried chicken, mac and cheese, and sweetened ice tea. Some recipes had been passed down through generations, so they were a part of her history. Mealtime was always a family event where traditions, recipes, and flavors were a reflection of Deitra's culture. She could never imagine giving that up, as her African heritage was a guiding force in her life and family, so she found a route that didn't require that loss.
Deitra started to notice that more than just recipes were passed down through bloodlines. Her whole family seemed sick, whether from blindness, diabetes, heart disease, amputations, or other chronic conditions. Deitra dedicated her life to healthcare and became a nurse, so that's what she did.
Deitra was teetering close to obesity herself and knew if she wanted to help people treat their health, she needed to start with the woman in the mirror. She attended a workshop called "Food is Medicine" and from there she went plant-based.
Deitra lost 60 pounds and has continued losing weight since. She has also created a MamaSezz bundle aligned with her "Back to the Root" program that helps black men and women retain their culture while eating healthier. She puts a healthy twist on old favorites and has even contributed a few of her family recipes (veganzied) like Aunt Mary's Chick'n Salad, Mama Nellie's Rice Pudding, and Jerk Spiced Lentils.
Debbie was never given the tools to understand plant based diet benefits
Debbie had been yo-yo dieting her whole life and was sick of it. Any diet you've heard of, she'd tried and failed. Little did she know, these diets weren't sustainable, so it wasn't her fault. Instead, she felt guilt, stress, failure, and above all else... she just felt sick.
Living with obesity and diabetes was an everyday struggle, so Debbie decided it was time to do some research. After reading Dr. Esselstyn's book Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease (the same book that saved Millie's life and inspired MamaSezz) she was shocked. Why had she not learned that diabetes and heart disease were reversible in her nursing programs?
She had been a nurse for 38 years and was angry that she had never been told this vital information. Debbie decided that she needed to start by applying this newfound information to her own health so she and her husband adopted a WFPB diet and immediately started to see results.
"I’m no longer diabetic!!! I don’t take any pills or injections for blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, or diabetes. More energy than when I was young and raising little kiddos more than 30 years ago. I actually enjoy exercising. Imagine that! I am happier. I just plain feel great!"
Debbie enjoyed watching the surprise in her doctor's eyes as they saw her need for medication, her fat, and her diseases just melt away. She was proud of her accomplishments, so she had no more room for shame.
Kristy learned to embrace herself, and practice lifestyle medicine: She found many plant based diet benefits along the way
"I was initially intrigued about a plant-based diet back in 2011 after going through a health scare that had me functioning at a fraction of my former self (I am talking incapable of getting up the stairs independently versus conquering fourteeners like I had previously been doing "on the reg"). That scare was enough for me to "double down" and re-evaluate what I was doing with my life."
As a nurse, Kristy was great at looking out for others but struggled to look out for herself and her own health, so Kristy slowly learned to prioritize her health, both physical and mental. She realized that health is holistic, not just a checklist of "dos" and "don'ts" so it was time to change her approach.
She started eating plant-based, which she found was the best fuel for her body, as well as addressing other healthy lifestyle approaches, like yoga, creating healthy relationships, setting boundaries, full sleep, practicing stress management, and beyond all else, listening to her body. Kristy began embracing herself.
"I eat slowly, sing loudly, hug tightly, and breathe deeply.
I rock messy buns, hats, scarves, layers, and the quasi-frequent F-bomb."
"I celebrate the “wins” — big ones, small ones, and everything in-between.
I embrace my old soul, waking before the sun peeks its head out, and often going to bed soon after it sets."
Need help kickstarting your own plant-based transformation?
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