How I Started a Plant-Based Diet
Before answering this question, let me start by saying that never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be eating a plant-based diet, or more precisely a near-vegan diet. I’ll explain what I mean by that a little later.
Let me share with you two pivotal events that put me on this path today.
The first event, in my life, occurred in 2006 when I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, which is the hyperactivity of the thyroid glands. "How could this happen to me?" I asked myself.
Shocked by this news, I investigated the possible causes of this disease. In short, I understood and was convinced that stress was the culprit. See, I was going through some difficult moments at the time.
I was angry with myself for not having accomplished anything or succeeded in my life in terms of my social status, compared to others.
I believed I was a failure.
I was in a temporary position as an administrative assistant in a hospital for more than five years, which I hated. I pursed many undergraduate studies but I had no valid diploma in hand. I tried all kinds of activities in the beauty and arts and entertainment industries but to no avail (modeling, songwriting, aesthetics…).
Also, my three-year romantic relationship had just ended. And the worst part, in my opinion, I was close to being 30.
But that was nothing compared to what my doctor told me.
The Fourth Choice that Changed the Course of My Life
Following this diagnosis, my doctor gave me three choices:
1) Take antithyroid drugs to prevent the production of new aggressive thyroid hormones;
2) Follow a radioactive iodine treatment to permanently destroy part of the thyroid cells, which would surely cause a state of hypothyroidism;
3) Undergo complete or partial removal of the thyroid glands.
He told me that only 3% of people affected could be in remission. Refusing this diagnosis, I began to search the Internet for a fourth choice.
And that was: natural remedies to defeat my disease.
Meanwhile, my brother introduced me to interesting documentaries about consciousness, which led me on a spiritual quest. I began to learn about the law of attraction and quantum physics to change my reality through my state of mind. Determined to overcome this disease, I went to a meditation center to intensely practice a breathing technique for ten hours a day.
This breathing technique was called Vipassana. That's where and when I was introduced to vegetarianism.
I ate this way during the ten days I stayed there. After this experience, I came out completely transformed. I had adopted a new perspective on life as well as vegetarianism gradually. Several months later, when I went back to take new blood tests, my treating physician gave me an update on my condition.
According to the results, there was no sign of the disease. Everything had returned to normal. Whoa! I succeeded.
Little did I know that something else was about to happen.
An Unexpected Turn
Let's quickly fast-forward to three years later.
In 2009, while I was finishing my studies in Translation, in Paris (I confess that I am an eternal student), my dear brother showed me another revealing documentary entitled The Beautiful Truth. The movie was about a German physician called Max Gerson who cured people of serious illnesses, including cancers. How? Simply with extracted juices from whole and natural foods and with solid raw foods.
This resonated so much with me that I immediately believed that eating a raw vegan diet would be the key to achieving optimal health. This generated a lot of new ideas that I wanted to pursue upon my return to Montreal, Canada.
But before I left Paris, I heard the surprising news: I was pregnant. At that moment, I decided I was going to feed my baby as holistically as possible and have a carefree pregnancy and childbirth.
So I became a raw vegan and aimed to live a holistic life. Throughout my pregnancy, I learned basic raw food cuisine and practiced visualization and meditation.
I think this was very helpful. In the end, I had an easy-peasy and pleasant pregnancy and delivery (I gave birth in less than 1 hour, contractions and childbirth included). After the birth, I had so much energy that my recovery was done at a lightning speed! (Don’t hate me.)
In my mind, raw vegan foods were the secret to my vitality, and I had to scream and shout, and let it all out!
That’s when I became a raw vegan fanatic.
How My Passion Grew Tenfold
My passion for raw foods sparked the idea of creating my first food blog in my native language, French, called de Bon Cru. (It doesn’t exist anymore; I forgot to renew the payment of my domain name and some sexy Indonesian girls moved in.)
I couldn't help thinking that I needed to pursue another degree to solidify my knowledge (yes, yes!). So a year later, as passionate as ever, I went to California and got certified as a Raw Food Chef & Instructor at the Living Light Culinary Arts Institute.
There, I learned how to create delicious meals and teach raw food enthusiasts how to uncook — that’s actually a term. This later led me to prepare ready-to-eat meals for busy people and people who wanted to lose their stubborn pounds. I also hosted corporate conferences.
In the process, I learned that people needed a lot of support and I made it my mission to help others learn to make the transition and maintain the lifestyle.
But I slowly started to change my position.
A New Outlook
Later I realized that eating this way wasn’t simple, easy, and accessible to everyone. It wasn't manageable and sustainable for most.
With time and my constant thirst for knowledge, I became more open to researching scientific evidence on nutrition. I wanted to have a more balanced view of the topic. I slowly started to turn away from the movement.
Today, I don’t practice raw veganism anymore (except in the morning where I essentially feed on smoothies) and I adopted a new philosophy. I follow my own 80/20 rule.
Eat 80% of whole plant-based foods (by weight) and 20% of whatever—even if maybe 18% still mainly consists of vegan food.
Eating a vegan diet started as an activist, political thing for me. But my health was my true motivation. Today, you could call me a dietary vegan, I guess. Or near vegan, or… a semi-vegetarian (I include honey in my diet and don’t boycott food if there are small amounts of eggs in it and I have nothing else to eat). Or… who cares! Why am I explaining myself? I don't have to fit in a box.
Through it all, I also had to acknowledge that a strict raw/vegan diet alone is not always the panacea of optimal health.
How Overall Health Can Help You
Optimal health requires that you’re healthy all-around: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Not just physically through eating.
I believe that if you live your life in a strict, annihilating, and stressful way, you remove all the pleasures and the beauty that life has to offer.
For the militants who are fighting for the cause, I salute and respect them. But for me, having superior health wins over any cause.
A fight can't be won without the strength to fight.
Today, I want to help you enjoy all the delicacies that life has to offer. That’s why I created Biting into Life. I want to show you everything that I know, from raw food cuisine to vegan cuisine, to help you prepare the tastiest meals. I also want to share kitchen hacks with you to simplify your life.
How much do you know about plant-based eating? Click on the link below to test your knowledge.