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 how food is an essential part of their journey.
This week, we talked with Diane Smith, who tells us about how her health was spiraling out of control. With high blood pressure and weight gain, she felt lost until she discovered the teachings of Dr. Furhman and gave a plant-based diet a try. Today, she is 69 and off all of her medication.
What prompted your interest in a plant-based diet?
I became interested in how natural remedies and food could heal the body when my kids were little and bringing home infections that I would inevitably catch. Antibiotics were a quick fix but not long-lasting. But when I strengthened my system and ate the right foods, I recovered faster and stayed well longer.
Unfortunately, I lost control of my weight. I gained 30 pounds, and with that came high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and even arthritis pain. I also had scary heart palpitations. I was eating too many fat-laden, high-calorie processed foods and craving sweets. This is just not a good way to maintain health, and I was losing mine.
I knew that whole natural foods were good, but I really connected with what Dr. Joel Fuhrman said about diet — that eating plant foods with the most nutrition would support a healthy lifestyle. That made the most sense of anything I’d read. I realized I was on a destructive path that could lead to terrible consequences.
And, if I didn’t do something, my health would continue to decline, so I decided to become a nutritarian. I read Dr. Fuhrman’s books and followed his suggestions, slowly at first but gradually removing animal products and then processed and junk food from my diet.
How were you able to stick with such a dramatic diet change?
I was able to stick with this way of eating by making a commitment to share with others through my website. As the old saying goes, “If you want to master a topic, then teach it.” I’ve been creating recipes and writing articles that support a plant-based lifestyle for ten years now.
The evolution of it started when I was in a “gourmet” group. It’s been 25 years now since my friends and I started our group. Each month we’d gather for a meal together.
The host would supply the menu, and each of us would contribute a recipe. I enjoyed gathering recipes and testing them. So much so that I decided to start my website, at first, as a way to keep track of my recipes. Then, as a way to share my plant-based recipes with the world.
Making this commitment, plus the dramatic changes I saw in my health, made me realize that eating a whole food, plant-based diet was a life-long change.
I also feel committed because of the positive impact eating a plant-based diet has on the environment and the well-being of animals.
What is your life like now?
Eating a whole food, plant-based diet blossomed into more amazing changes for my health. I not only lost weight but also lowered my blood pressure and my cholesterol by 40 points. My arthritis pain vanished, and my heart palpitations are gone, too.
At 69 years old, I take no medications. I’d say that’s a rather successful way of eating.
Discovering a whole food, plant-based diet has been such a life-change experience, and I encourage anyone worried about their health to make the choice to change today.
I continue to create new recipes for plantbasedcooking.com and released a cookbook with 200 oil-free plant-based recipes last November (2020). I’m also working on a course about plant-based meal planning and prep.
What is your favorite MamaSezz food/dish?
Right now, my favorite is the Breakfast Sausage, but there are so many delicious meals to choose from.
If you could meet and have lunch with one person (alive or dead) who would it be?
I’d love to have a one-on-one lunch with Jane Goodall. She is such an inspiration and has done so much for the planet and animals (especially chimpanzees) that it would be lovely to share a meal and hear where she is in her life now. Actually, I have met Jane Goodall at a dinner party, but a one-on-one would be amazing.
Check out Diane Smith's Website: Plant-Based Cooking
Have Your Own Plant-Based Transformation?!
Tell us all about it! We'd love to know how a plant-based diet changed your life and health. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story.