I became a die-hard plant-based eater in July of 2017 after my otherwise healthy, non-smoking 75 year-old mom was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. After getting this shocking news, I immediately consulted with my good friend, Jane Esselstyn and her father and plant-based guru, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. I dove head first into all the documentaries, books and research I could find and eventually convinced my mom to join me in adopting a plant-based diet. Eating this way gave us both hope, which was a wonderful and welcoming feeling to have amid all the uncertainty.
Throughout our journey, we’ve had both struggles and successes in the kitchen, frustration while dining out, and difficulty explaining our beliefs to friends, family and even our doctors. We stuck with it and have ultimately succeeded, but the transition was not easy and I can’t imagine how much more difficult it would be for someone who is dealing with a new, life-threatening diagnosis.
I’m happy to report that after my mom’s last chemo treatment and scan, her doctor saw no evidence of disease. He was noticeably perplexed, because people with stage four lung cancer generally don’t ever get to stop chemo and they hardly ever get to hear the words “no evidence of disease.” I immediately blurted out, “You should tell all your patients to eat a plant-based diet.” He shook his head slightly, but seemed to consider my request, which I count as a win!
Three years later, my mom just turned 79, is still taking a break from chemo and enjoying every moment of her busy, fulfilling plant-based life.
She is my “Why”.