Giving Thanks

2014 has been an incredible year for me so far. After losing 110 pounds over the last 12 months, coming off of all prescription medicines, curing myself of likely Parkinson's and major prostate issues and having another grandchild on the way, I have a lot to be thankful for. And although I lost my mother in 2014, I still have many, many years of wonderful memories with her. And I still have a wonderful family, one that I can honestly say couldn't be better. I have both a wonderful daughter and a wonderful son-in-law and the two greatest grandchildren in the world. I'm even looking forward to this year's Thanksgiving with my son-in-law's family. How many people can say they are looking forward to spending the holidays with their in-laws?

This being a food site, and specifically a site dedicated to eating a whole foods, plant-based diet, I want to focus specifically on my thanks there. There are several people who got me started down this path, starting with Mark Bittman at the New York Times who wrote a book titled VB6. That book is what got me started thinking more seriously about how I was eating. Mark made a modest proposal that the reader eat vegan for all but one meal each day. And he made the case for doing so from both a health perspective and from an environmental perspective. That book got me thinking about it. And by not suggesting that a person go fully vegan all at once, I was able to look at that and say, "Yes, I can do that." And so, I got started. Thank you Mark Bittman.

But even more thanks go to the Eat Smart, Live Longer Club and my friend, Ellie who convinced me to join and to the president, Karen who convinced me to become immersed in the club by joining its Board. That club, based on the documentary Forks Over Knives, taught me the importance of going plant-based and of eliminating animal products, processed foods and oils from my diet. I know that to some it sounds extreme, but to me, I've come to realize that having open heart surgery or killing my body with chemotherapy and radiation sounds even more extreme. Through the ESLL club, I have learned a lot.

And so I give thanks for the Eat Smart, Live Longer Club and the three sisters (Karen, Leslie and Mary Lou) who had the foresight and the wherewithal to start a club like that. If that hadn't happened, I'd be nowhere today, at least as far as my health is concerned. I also give thanks this holiday for all the friends who I have made through that club. There's way too many good friends I've made over the last year to list here, but there are a few who I have perhaps spent more time with and who have really helped me. So, thank you especially to Leslie, Karen, Bobbie, Judy, Sharon and Jean. And I do hope that all the friends I've made over the past year know how much I appreciate and value their friendship. Everyone has each made a big difference in my life.

I want to thank my family for supporting me. Whenever I visit my daughter's house, she always plans a meal for the family that is whole foods, plant-based even though they as a family don't always eat that way. Visiting my son-in-law's family this Thanksgiving, I've been told that they are planning plant-based, whole food meals for me the entire time I am there. My grandchildren have adapted to the idea that I no longer serve them bacon and special eggs (with lots of heavy cream and cheese) like I used to do for breakfast, and instead they've investigated and found recipes for things like vegan pancakes that I can make for them instead.

Thank you to the whole foods, plant-based lifestyle itself for taking me off of all prescription medicines (a real money saver) and for saving my health. And of course there's the weight loss. A big thank you is in order for that.

I'm also thankful to the doctors and the health professionals who I have learned so much from over the past year. That's not my personal doctor I'm talking about (who I can't remember the last time I needed to see), but rather prominent doctors like Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. John McDougall and more.

Also, I'm thankful for my readers. One reader, Lynne, who edits a local newspaper, liked my blog so much she picked me up as a twice-a-month columnist for her newspapers. Thank you Lynne. But I'm also thankful for all those who read me and who put into practice what they learn from me. That's what makes doing this blog so worthwhile. I now have readers from all around the world. I hear constantly how my blog has helped them. So, a big thank you goes to all of my readers.

There's just so much to be thankful for this year. And there's so much to be thankful for because of the whole foods, plant-based way of eating. Here's to all the turkeys not eaten by those of us on the whole foods, plant-based diet this Thanksgiving. And to the many more turkeys saved in the coming years.

The turkeys say "Thank you" too.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.