Once upon a time, there was a girl named Addison(me!) from Denver, CO and a boy named Jeremy who lived 10,000 miles away in South Africa. They met, fell in love, got engaged, and Addison moved to South Africa because she decided that living halfway around the world from her fiance was not her jam.
Everything was great, with one major exception. I started to notice that I was feeling sluggish, my skin and hair were dull and lifeless, and most horrifying…I could barely squeeze into my favorite pair of skinny jeans! I was absolutely shocked. Why was my body revolting against me like this?! All I was doing was stuffing my face with my new favorite South African treats like Malva Pudding and boerewors rolls, and washing my nutrient deficient meals down with strawberry milkshakes. One of my favorite parts of traveling is fully immersing myself in a new culture. For me, immersion meant treating my body like a human disposal for all things meat, dairy, gluten, and sugar.
This change in my body might have been better received if my wedding wasn’t coming up in a few months. As someone who had the metabolism of a hummingbird growing up, I did not want the takeaway from my wedding to be commentary on how I let myself go in Africa.
I knew I had to do something drastic, and decided to implement a plant based diet for the 3 months leading up to the wedding. Surprisingly, my husband said he would join me. He was accustomed to eating an entire chicken a DAY with whey protein shakes…and that’s about it. It was a drastic change for both of us to say the least.
I always thought that delicious food and healthy food were mutually exclusive. If I was offered an ultimatum of eating exclusively plant based for the rest of my life or gauging my eyes out with a fork, it would have been a difficult decision. I absolutely LOVE food – especially anything covered in cheese. However, after eating a strict plant based diet for a couple months, both of our taste buds actually changed and we don’t have the same cravings for unhealthy and processed food anymore. As someone who literally traveled to Naples, Italy for the day, JUST TO EAT PIZZA (I didn’t see any sites, I literally just ate 3 pizzas from 3 different restaurants in one day), I honestly didn’t think this was possible for me.
Eating plant based not only helped me lose 20 pounds for my wedding, but also helped me realize that you CAN eat healthy, wholesome meals that actually taste great. I came for the weight loss, and stayed for the overall health benefits. We now eat plant based about 80% of the time, but I am probably not going to pass up a slice of chocolate cake. Now, I consciously think about what is going in my body, and unhealthy foods are much less appealing but not totally off limits.
I also found that eating consciously helps healthy behavior permeate the rest of my life. I completely nerd out over self help books, and know that health and happiness is about your whole self, not just the amount of kale you can inhale in a single sitting. It is just as important to focus on healthy relationships, regular physical activity, engaging in a meaningful spiritual practice, and a fulfilling career.
Having this life changing experience has motivated me to enroll in the Institute of Integrative Nutrition to become a certified Holistic Health Coach, so I can help others maximize their health and happiness. I will be working with amazing professors such as Dr. David Katz, Dr. Oz, Deepak Chopra, and Dr. Mark Hyman and will learn over 100 dietary theories as well as holistic personal development philosophy.
If you are looking for a blog with a domestic goddess who thinks eating raw asparagus is delicious and spends her time bouncing from yoga class to meditation in her Lululemons, than LUCKY YOU! There are so many wellness blogs you can check out!
However, if you want my real deal, no bullshit view, backed by research on all things health and wellness…welcome. I promise that I won’t tell you that rubbing coconut oil on my head made my IQ go up 50 points or meditation has completely cured my desire to personally waterboard Donald Trump.
I believe there is no one right diet, and it is important to look at all facets of your life to create an individualized, holistic health plan. I will be blogging and vlogging my journey as I become a certified health coach, and I hope that you’ll join me! 🙂