My Life As A Healthy Vegan
Stuffed Head To Toe With Plants – The Way To Health & Longevity
We all have difficulties in our lives. Sometimes our problems may seem small in comparison to others but ultimately, they are a large part of what defines us. Our personal story has great potential value to us if we can learn and grow from it. Sometimes it can be of value to others as well. I hope that my story can be of value to you. I am telling it to you as a way of explaining why the issue of health has always been important to me and why I moved to living life as a healthy vegan. My love of our environment from the health of humans to speaking for our animals and helping preserve nature is at the heart of everything I do.
A day in the life of you and your fork
Like many people, my early experience of sickness drew me to discovering all I could about health. From a very young age I struggled with so many ailments tonsillitis, adenoids inflammation, chronic constipation, hives, gallstones, and later in life, PMS and infertility, I say this not out of any wish for sympathy or feelings of self-pity but as a framework for what I have discovered and what I hold to be of value. Compared with many I have had a very blessed life.
My greatest gift in life has been my family. I grew up in Glasgow, Scotland. My mum and dad had the challenge of raising seven children on a meagre budget. What we lacked in money was made up for in love. We walked everywhere, which I’m sure served me well later in life. We never had a lunch at school. Every day we came home for a hot lunch prepared by my mum. Mum and Dad were even our main source of entertainment. Our house was filled with song, dance, games, and with nine mouths to feed there was always lots of cooking.
I was a dairy food addict
As a youngster I didn’t like meat but ate lots of dairy foods, milk, butter, cheese, yogurts, and eggs. I loved helping mum in the kitchen and really became interested in food.
I even pleaded with the local fruit, vegetable and grain shop to let me work there. He didn’t hire me until I was twelve years old because I wasn’t tall enough to reach all the shelves. I loved to work there among the grains, beans and vegetables. I guess fifty years ago my future was already making itself known to me.
In search of the ideal diet
My interest in health definitely started early, at school I adored biology and chemistry much to the disdain of my friends. Mum always said I would make a great doctor but that never appealed to me. As a youngster, my friends would tease me about my ‘quirkiness’ given the fact I would rather drink water than fizzy drinks, didn’t like meat, loved sports and always had my head in a book in the library. As the years passed, I continued to suffer with health setbacks. In my early teens the constipation I had suffered with for years worsened, and my doctor diagnosed me as having a lazy bowel. He prescribed laxatives and said I would need to take them to assist with this chronic condition. I didn’t take the medication and sometimes it would be five days before I had a bowel movement. Appendicitis can occur when the appendix becomes blocked, often by a stool and consequently, my appendix burst, and I nearly died with peritonitis.
As I continued to suffer with other health setbacks in my teens, I eventually had my tonsils and adenoids removed, and years later the pain with gallstones lead to the removal of my gallbladder. Those experiences inspired me to find out on my own about being healthy. I was the lone teenager joining Glasgow’s first health club, ‘The Olympic’, at the age of fifteen, and discovered kelp seaweed as a dietary supplement.
Developing nutritional knowledge and power
My studies on anatomy and nutrition began in that first health club, and I became a part-time personal trainer (alongside my day job in marketing). Years later I commenced studying yoga, t’ai chi and traditional Chinese medicine. When you understand that nothing works in isolation that the body is like a finely tuned orchestra, it makes it easier to learn, apply and move forward in a positive direction. All my studies pointed to the fact that food was the key to health
Food brings people together.
Food should taste great, provide us with optimal health and satisfy our appetite. I do believe that food can be our best medicine, hence my unfailing desire to teach everyone who crosses my path that health and healing truly start in your own kitchen. I often make my students laugh when I tell them that most people think they have a kitchen because it came with the house. However, it’s no joke and we can all certainly see just exactly what has happened as the food industry took over from us cooking our own food.
My passion to demonstrate that making delicious and nourishing healthy food is achievable has been my life’s work over these past decades. I find it exciting to create new recipes and train chefs and home cooks utilising my seasonal menus and cooking skills, incorporating the five tastes and my understanding and teaching of macrobiotics. This led me to write my latest book Go Vegan
When I stopped the dairy food and moved to a wholefood plant based-diet I had no more hives, no more constipation and no more allergies. I truly believe that the body is a self-healing organism and that what we eat creates our blood that makes our cells that create our tissue that makes our organs. As I learned more and more about plant-based nutrition and the power of grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds I wanted to focus on my mineral rich diet that would help strengthen my blood. To teach others about the disease caused by animal products, and in my case, dairy food was my mission. I also understood way back that sugar had a huge negative nutritional impact on health. The reason being that the body uses stored minerals to metabolise the sugars so I avoided any foods that would deplete my mineral consumption.
The path to longevity
Sharing this information is my passion. I know that sometimes I might be preachy, but I think it is important for us all to reclaim our health and our true potential. I have made my work user friendly and simple because I like simple things. This is not a complicated issue, what I have to say either makes sense to you or it doesn’t. The diet of my childhood and teens heavy in dairy foods were the cause of all my allergies, illness, PMS and infertility.
I know that we all want to be happy and enjoy the wonderful world we live in. When we are drowned in emotional or physical pain, we lose our compass. I have designed many courses and written books to share what I have learned and continue to learn about the energy of life and how the mind and body are connected. As far as I can tell, life is more about learning than anything else and I continue to learn every day. I wish I had known what I know now when I was that 12-year-old working in the fruit, veg and grain store.
One thing I have learned through my study and experience is this. The principles of health are not complicated. The shops are full of books that break things down scientifically and tell you details that are impressive, but the conclusions are pretty much the same. The problem is that it all gets taken apart. Health is not one thing, but everything. It has to do with everything from what we have for breakfast to how we think about life.
My guarantee to you is that if you follow the simple advice of eating a wholefood plant -based diet, you will improve your health. I truly believe that every day should be lived as if it were the last because it just might be; there are no guarantees.
There is energy, a life force that runs through us all. When we are healthy, that force bubbles up in us and connects us with each other. We have all experienced that feeling of deep connection with people we love, with nature. That’s what health is really about.
Health equates to freedom
Beyond the theories and the science and the surveys and studies, it all boils down to that. Health gives us the freedom to be who we really are. Life has a rhythm. There are times in our lives when we feel uplifted and times when we feel down. There comes a time when we must make a decision to make less of our life or more. Since removing animal food and living a fully wholefood plant based vegan life these past decades, I have better health and more vitality at 62 years of age than I had in my 20’s. My greatest joy is to experience more vitality daily, and my second greatest joy is to share it with you. I need to know that it works, not only for me but also for others. I live what I teach, and I teach what I live.
What I have come to believe is that the problems of creating a healthy society do not hinge on some new scientific discovery. The causes of the epidemic of degenerative disease in the world are well known – the solutions are at hand. Just imagine what a benefit to everyone if heart disease, cancer and diabetes were wiped out. Think of the grief spared, the lives saved, and the money used for more pressing matters. It is possible to do it with committed health workers and most importantly a critical mass of the population who are willing to take action. The catalyst for all this is having the message communicated in a way that hits home with the general public.
Humans have no need to consume animal products to be healthy
Over the past 40-50 years, with all the developments and improvement in the treatment of disease there has been little movement toward prevention. Dedicated professionals in the wholefood plant based/vegan movement have generated the greatest strides toward a healthy society. Grassroots movements have promoted the push toward better nutrition, the importance of exercise, the mind/body connection and low impact alternative treatment and the anti-smoking movement. Thank goodness no one is giving up and the movement grows daily.
I have experienced sickness and come out the other side with a huge gratitude for life still intact. I am not bogged down with some overriding “theory” to prove. For me there is no dogma. I teach what I do and have an open mind. When I teach, the most common sound in the room is laughter, from myself and my students. My desire to help others is as genuine as my no-nonsense approach to what works and the ingredients used are easily accessible.
Making The Change
Most major supermarket chains have everything you require. From a selection of grains, beans, pulses, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds the choices are endless. Depending on where you are in the world, many superstores carry a full complement of sea vegetables, miso and a few of the condiments that are synonymous with our human ecology diet. The gifts from the orient are a small part of our overall diet. Ninety-five percent of what we eat are simply pantry staples. However, you can start right now by simply removing the animal products and replacing with delicious healthy tasting plant based foods.
You will enjoy the huge benefits of living a life stuffed from head to toe with plants. The information is simple, direct and effective. If you follow my advice you will be better for it. After all, that’s what I guarantee. Living a vegan life is a great joy. It's a win-win situation for our animal kingdom, our environment and a world filled with healthy humans. You will find my book Go Vegan available around the globe on amazon. Please share this important work with friends, family and colleagues.
My favourite saying: If you don’t take care of your body, where are you going to live?
In good health
International Recipes For Your Health
Included in my international recipes for your health are the Rice and Vegetable Wakame Salad that uses wakame flakes for nutrition, as well as my Steamed Kale recipe. With these two dishes in your cooking repertoire, your body is sure to feel good and your palate will be pleased.
RICE AND VEGETABLE WAKAME SALAD
For delicious wakame in a second, try Clearspring Instant Wakame Flakes. This is a convenient way to add the delicious taste and nutrition of wakame sea vegetable to your food.
These Wakame Flakes are delicious in miso and clear soups. You can add them at the end of cooking time to help retain their delicate flavour and appearance. They are also a great addition to stir-fries and salads, in which case they should be soaked in lukewarm water for 2-3 minutes before using.
Rice and Wakame Vegetable Salad Ingredients
- ½ cup organic basmati rice
- 2 tbsp. wakame flakes
- 1 small pack sugar snap peas
- 1 pack mixed salad greens
- 2 avocados, peeled and cut into large cubes
- 1 small bunch spring onions, thinly sliced
- 1 small cucumber, peeled and diced
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- ½ cup fresh sprouts
- Ume plum vinegar
Prepare the Rice
Rinse the rice well until running water is clear. Soak the rice in a small bowl for one hour. Transfer the rice to a heavy based pan and bring to a boil uncovered. Cover and simmer for 12 minutes, remove from the heat and leave covered for 15 minutes. Remove from the pan and fluff with a fork.
Soak the wakame flakes in water in lukewarm water for five minutes, drain and squeeze out any excess liquid. Blanch the sugar snap peas in boiling water for 30 seconds then rinse under cold water. Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Sprinkle with ume plum vinegar and serve.
STEAMED KALE WITH CHICKPEAS AND CREAMY ALMOND DRESSING
Leafy green kale has definitely earned its status as an incredible food– it’s delicious, versatile, and nutritious. I use it in soups, pasta, stews, and salads.
- 1 x bunch fresh kale
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- Balsamic glaze
Creamy almond dressing:
- ½ cup water
- 3 tbsp. white almond butter
- 1 tsp. tamari
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2 tsp. rice syrup
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. ground flaxseeds
Greens, rich in chlorophyll and minerals like calcium, strengthen the bones, help the blood to absorb oxygen, and bring energy upward in the body, leaving you feeling light and refreshed. Because greens have absorbed so much light, they are like “eating sunshine.”
Wash the greens, separate the green leaf from the tough stem by slicing carefully along each side of the stem. Slice or tear the leaves into 1-inch strips.
Using a stovetop steamer pot, bring a small amount of water to a boil. Add the steamer basket with the greens, cover, and steam for 4-5 minutes.
The greens will go from their raw colour to a very brilliant green, then a deeper green. Serve as a side dish mixed with chickpeas or with a medley of vegetables.
Make the dressing. Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until creamy, adding more water if required to reach desired consistency. Mix with some cooked chickpeas and fold into the cooked kale. Dress with reduced balsamic glaze.
Note: Unlike almond oil which is 100% fat, almond butter provides all of the fibre, vitamins and minerals of whole almonds, which are one of the only alkaline nuts.
In good health,