This “success” interview series is a source of inspiration, motivation and practical “how to” tips for overcoming challenges that come with the health-promoting eating habits of a power plate of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. This evidence-based nutrition has been proven to prevent and reverse heart disease, diabetes and even some forms of cancer in addition to other chronic diseases.
So learn how others, on the whole plant-based path, experience their own ongoing journey of overcoming challenges and benefitting from sustainable achievements . . .
Carol Pierce is a 58- year old mother and grandmother to 3 little boys. She is also a plant-based chef, educator, recipe and product developer, and the woman behind the Intelligently Nourished website: http://intelligentlynourished.ca/ Carol’s reason for eating a plant-based diet is ‘prevention. Her goal is to build healthy habits now in order to reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions or illnesses down the road, that may require long-term prescription medications or even invasive surgeries.
1.Being motivated to make changes to my diet .. .
I have always been motivated to eat well! In 2011, I began a raw food lifestyle, which lasted 2-years. Although I felt fabulous while eating that way, the diet wasn’t so socially-friendly. At around the 2-year mark I found it too difficult to maintain it. At some point within that same timeframe, I stumbled across: The China Study, Dr. McDougall’s work, and documentaries such as “Cowspiracy” and “Forks Over Knives”. All this evidence-based knowledge pointed to the benefits of a plant-based diet in a way that just made so much sense.
2.Getting the support of my family . . .
Fortunately, my wonderful family is extremely supportive and is always impressed with my plant-based creations! Two of my three grown children are omnivores, and one of them has gone vegan. All of them are accepting of the ‘different plate-same table’ concept when we eat together.
3. Overcoming my craving for fat; salt; sugar; fast food . . .
I had essentially weaned myself off meat, dairy, and fast-food, and switched from refined sugar to maple syrup or honey during my raw-food days, so by the time I went plant-based, much of the ‘overcoming cravings’ was done. However, I did eat quite a bit of oil while on the raw food diet. Most of the recipes seemed to call for it. I didn’t actually crave oil but cooking and baking without it did initially present challenges and impact the taste of some foods. There was a definite learning curve when starting to cook and eat without oil, even for me, an experienced chef.
I continue to eat salt. Not a lot, but I don’t follow a strict no-salt diet. According to Dr. McDougall, it isn’t necessary for all people to eat a strict no-salt diet. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cT133MAEjzo).
4. Keeping myself on track is easiest when . . .
…my fridge is full of partially or fully prepped vegetables. I work from home quite a bit and I know that if I have some vegetables already chopped in the fridge, or salads, such as bean salad, a Thai cucumber salad or fattoush, and maybe some precooked pasta, brown rice or sweet potatoes, it is so much easier to stay on track.
5.When eating out . . .
Eating out can be a bit of a challenge. It’s not unusual for me to throw a tiny container of home-made salad dressing in my handbag and order the healthiest plant-filled salad on the menu with dressing on the side when I get to a restaurant. If I had a condition that required me to restrict oil and/or salt, I would employ that tactics of Dr. Essylstyn, such as eating my own food before going out so that I am less hungry at the event or restaurant; I might even call a restaurant ahead to pre-order a specially prepared meal.
6. Recognizing my greatest accomplishmentso far. . .
Hmmm …. this is a hard one for me to quantify since I currently have no conditions that require monitoring. To date, my standard medical markers fall within a healthy normal range.
7. Other benefits of eating whole plant-based for me include . . .
… feeling energetic after eating a balanced, oil-free plant-based meal. I don’t have that heavy feeling I used to get after eating a meal containing meat, heavy cream sauces, cheese or refined breads.
8. Continuing to work on . . .
I have yet to give up chocolate! I might be an addict! I eat much less than I used to, but I still have a small piece of dark chocolate almost everyday.
9. Sharing my favourite recipe with you. . .
Jicama ‘Noodle’ Salad
This is such a refreshing salad! My non-vegan, non-raw friends and family just love it! I use a benriner, one of my favourite kitchen gadgets to slice the jicama and carrots into “noodles”. If you don’t have a benriner, or a gadget that will “noodle-ize” vegetables for you, you can slice or chop the jicama and carrots into any shape you wish.
Photograph taken by Kim Jeffries. Food Stylist, Sasha Seymour.
1 large jicama cut into long noodles with benriner
1 cup mung bean sprouts
1 cup bok choy, roughly chopped, or other green leafy vegetable (chard, spinach)
1 small carrot sliced into very thin julienne strips (benriner optional)
½ bell pepper, red or yellow, sliced into very thin julienne strips
½ cup raw cashews, roughly chopped
1/2 cup sliced scallions, diagonally cut into 1-inch slices
Mix the vegetables and dressing together by hand in large bowl. Garnish with scallions and cashews just before serving.
¼ cup soy sauce substitute, such as Naked Coconuts
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup tahini
3 med-large dates, pre-soaked to soften, pits removed
2 tbsp. minced ginger
1 tbsp raw sesame seeds
Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth and thick and smooth. In a VitaMix the consistency will be similar to sour cream – don’t be alarmed and think that it is too thick. Once all of the salad ingredients are mixed in, the vegetables will release some of their juices, which thins the dressing out slightly and helps to blend the flavours.
Dates need only soak for a few minutes if you put them in a small bowl and pour boiling water over them.
Don’t be afraid to double this recipe, as it lasts well for a few days in the refrigerator, although it is best to add dressing only to the portion you intend to eat right away. Save any extra dressing in a separate container in the refrigerator.
Hope you continue ‘falling’ into healthier habits,
Kate and Andrew