This interview series is a source for inspiration, motivation and practical “how to” tips for overcoming common challenges while receiving the many benefits that come with a health-promoting power plate of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. This evidence-based nutrition includes such benefits as new found energy, sustainable weight loss, improved complexion as well as preventing and reversing heart disease, diabetes and even some forms of cancer, in addition, to other chronic degenerative diseases.
Meet Michael Hart, owner/operator of a video production company and 60-year-old Dad to 12-year-old James. Mike needed to find a way “to stick around” for all those important events in James’ life like high school and post-secondary graduations; first dates; marriage and hopefully grandchildren to name just a few. Mike shares his whole plant-based journey regarding . . .
Being motivated to change your diet . .
For me it was 2 things. I have a 12 year old son and if I want to see him get married and even see grandchildren I need a healthy body. The second thing was Kate’s story (https://forksmart.org/my-story/) of getting well from terminal illness…
I weighed 230 pounds and was fat. My diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure were out of control. I’m 180 pounds now. A 50 pound weight loss!
Getting support from my family . . .
The only support from family was from my 12-year-old son James. He jumped into the whole food plant-based world with me because James learned the same things I did, not because I made him do it. The rest of my family including 2 very ill sisters (Cancer,Diabetes and M.S.) were indifferent, unwilling to listen about diet and their health issues
Overcoming my craving for fat, sugar, crap food, etc. . .
For me it wasn’t hard because I had been flirting with the vegetable world for about 2 years previously, but was still eating crappy. Potato chips, cookies and many crap foods were still part of my diet. I simply decided to go ‘cold turkey’ and dove into the whole food diet. I was actually amazed at how great it can be, and very frankly, not difficult to cook. I especially do not miss fat, oil and meat.
Keeping myself on track…
Well, I discovered my 2 new best friends. My scale and a mirror. If you don’t convince yourself that cheating is okay, then its full steam ahead. If you’re obese (like me) you’ll drop a lot of pounds in the first couple of months. You are literally cleaning all the crap out of your body. I pooped a lot (no other way to say it)! I weighed myself weekly and liked what the scale told me. It made me more determined! I dropped more than 20 pounds in the first couple of months. My reward to myself every 10 pounds lost was a photo of me and a 10 pound bag of potatoes. Next time you shop, pick up a 10 pound bag of potatoes and imagine it on your body.
When eating out. . .
No lie, that’s difficult. The entire food industry is addicted to fat, sugar, salt and meat. I simply go to places with a good salad bar (and sneak in my own dressing) or don’t go out. My wallet is the only thing getting fatter as the whole food diet saves you a lot of money.
Recognizing my greatest accomplishment so far. . .
Today is my 60th birthday. A few years ago I would have liked to live long enough to ‘collect a few CPP cheques’ … I’m aiming for anywhere between 90 and 100 now. I feel better now than I ever have in the past 25 years. I hope I can teach others that its not hard at all… My son will grow up healthy and happy. He is fit and doing well in school.
Other benefits of eating whole food plant based for me include . . .
I feel good about myself now. Since I’m being completely honest, my wife left me a couple of years back. I’m sure the inability to ‘raise the flag’ had much to do with it. I’m 50 pounds lighter, all chronic illness is GONE and I feel great! What’s not to like?!?Oh, and I really like the food. I had steamed Kale, spinach, broccoli and brown rice for breakfast. Love it!
Continuing to work on . . .
The gym bores me…. So I walk a lot and work in the garden. It feels good getting fit! I’ve recently defeated my last nemesis: cookies. I love cookies. It’s been a few weeks since I sneaked one. I also like Miss Vickies potato chips. Both are in my rear view mirror now. I still need to eat more raw foods and greens. I am working on that…
Sharing my favourite recipe . . .
Honestly, I don’t have one. We like curried chick peas with brown rice a lot. Tons of recipes online, go explore!
Here is a recipe, I think Mike and James would like:
Vegetable Medley with Smashed Black Beans by Kate McGoey-Smith, DipNrsg, MSW, RSW, FM
This quick and easy meal can be made in under 30 minutes. It is great with rice or served over a baked sweet potato. It will fill you up and leave you very satisfied!
Gather and Prep: In a large non-stick frying pan, cook in this order on medium heat:
- 2 bunches of green spring onion, wash, trim root and slice from bulb to stem
- 5 portobello mushrooms- wash, remove stems and cube
- 2 red bell peppers – wash and dice
- When veggies are soft, add I – 796 ml can of no salt dice tomatoes (drained)
- Add 1 – 540 ml can of no salt black beans – drain, rinse and smash with fork or potato masher until chunky
Then add seasonings: taste to check and adjust seasoning to your preference (start with minimum and add according to preference)
- 3-4 tSp of chili powder
- 1-2 tSp of smoked paprika
- ½ cup of nutritional yeast
- 3-4 tBsp lime juice
Serve over a bed of kale and steamed brown rice for a delicious and filling meal.
Want to make steamed brown rice in the Instant Pot? It is so easy . . .
- 3 cups California brown rice – rinsed
- 4 cups of water
Put on “sealed” vent and press Manual button for 15 mins. Let it de-pressurize on its own before opening lid. Then use fork to “fluff” rice to prevent clumping. Brown rice freezes well and when defrosted tastes like fresh!
Mike Before: Mike Now (50 lb. less): On WPB journey