We all have difficulties in our lives. Sometimes our problems may seem small in comparison to others but ultimately, they are a large part of what defines us. Our personal story has great potential value to us if we can learn and grow from it. Sometimes it can be of value to others as well. I hope that my story can be of value to you. In my latest book, Go Vegan, I am telling my story as a way of explaining why the issue of health has always been important to me and why I moved to a whole food plant-based diet and vegan life.
A Day in the Life of You and Your Fork with my Whole Food Vegan Diet
Like many people, my early experience of sickness drew me to discover all I could about health. From a very young age, I struggled with so many ailments: tonsillitis, adenoid inflammation, chronic constipation, hives, gallstones, and later in life, PMS and infertility. I say this not out of any wish for sympathy or feelings of self-pity, but as a framework for what I have discovered and what I hold to be of value. Compared with many, I have had a very blessed life.
I was a Dairy-Food Addict
As a youngster, I didn’t like meat but ate lots of dairy foods: milk, butter, cheese, yogurts, and eggs. I loved helping mum in the kitchen and really became interested in food.
I even pleaded with the local fruit, vegetable and grain shop to let me work there. He didn’t hire me until I was twelve years old because I wasn’t tall enough to reach all the shelves. I loved to work there among the grains, beans and vegetables. I guess fifty years ago my future was already making itself known to me.
In Search of The Ideal Diet
My interest in health definitely started early. At school, I adored biology and chemistry, much to the disdain of my friends. Mum always said I would make a great doctor but that never appealed to me. As a youngster, my friends would tease me about my ‘quirkiness’ given the fact I would rather drink water than fizzy drinks, didn’t like meat, loved sports and always had my head in a book in the library.
As the years passed, I continued to suffer with health setbacks. In my early teens, the constipation I had suffered with for years worsened, and my doctor diagnosed me as having a lazy bowel. He prescribed laxatives and said I would need to take them to assist with this chronic condition. I didn’t take the medication and sometimes it would be five days before I had a bowel movement. Appendicitis can occur when the appendix becomes blocked, often by a stool, and consequently, my appendix burst, and I nearly died with peritonitis.
As I continued to suffer with other health setbacks in my teens, I eventually had my tonsils and adenoids removed, and years later, the pain with gallstones lead to the removal of my gallbladder. Those experiences inspired me to find out on my own about being healthy. I was the lone teenager joining Glasgow’s first health club, ‘The Olympic’, at the age of fifteen, and discovered kelp seaweed as a dietary supplement.
Developing Nutritional Knowledge and Power
My studies on anatomy and nutrition began in that first health club, and I became a part-time personal trainer (alongside my day job in marketing). Years later I commenced studying yoga, t’ai chi and Traditional Chinese Medicine. When you understand that nothing works in isolation, that the body is like a finely tuned orchestra, it makes it easier to learn, apply and move forward in a positive direction. All my studies pointed to the fact that food was the key to health, and removing all animal foods from my diet was the way forward.
Food Brings People Together
Food should taste great, provide us with optimal health and satisfy our appetite. I do believe that food can be our best medicine, hence my unfailing desire to teach everyone who crosses my path that health and healing truly start in your own kitchen. I often make my students laugh when I tell them that most people think they have a kitchen because it came with the house. However, it’s no joke, and we can all certainly see just exactly what has happened to human health as the food industry took over from us cooking our own food.
My passion to demonstrate that making delicious and nourishing healthy food is achievable has been my life’s work over these past decades. I find it exciting to create new recipes and train chefs and home cooks utilising my seasonal menus and cooking skills, incorporating the five tastes and my understanding and teaching of macrobiotics and plant-based nutrition.
Sharing this information is my passion.
I know that sometimes I might be preachy, but I think it is important for us all to reclaim our health and our true potential. I have made my work user-friendly and simple because I like simple things. This is not a complicated issue, what I have to say either makes sense to you or it doesn’t. The diet of my childhood and teens, heavy in dairy foods, were the cause of all my allergies, illness, PMS and infertility.
I know that we all want to be happy and enjoy the wonderful world we live in. When we are drowned in emotional or physical pain, we lose our compass. I have designed many courses and written books to share what I have learned and continue to learn about the energy of life and how the mind and body are connected. As far as I can tell, life is more about learning than anything else and I continue to learn every day. I wish I had known what I know now when I was that 12-year-old working in the fruit, veg and grain store.
One thing I have learned through my study and experience is this: The principles of health are not complicated.
The shops are full of books that break things down scientifically and tell you details that are impressive, but the conclusions are pretty much the same. The problem is that it all gets taken apart. Health is not one thing, but everything. It has to do with everything from what we have for breakfast to how we think about life.
My guarantee to you is that if you follow the simple advice in my book, Go Vegan, you will improve your health. Inside, you will find 85 easy recipes each with a stunning photograph. I have simplified the process of choosing what to have at any given time by indexing my recipes as follows:
- What’s For Breakfast
- Sumptuous Soups
- Quick Bites
- Big Bowls
- Global-Fusion Main Events
- Lip-Smacking Sides & Salads
- Delish and Divine Sauces, Dressings and Dips
- Sweet Nosh
- Teas & Macrobiotic Home Remedies
There are many sidebars in the book that talk about ancient wisdom, the environment and the science. The causes of the epidemic of degenerative disease in the world are well known, the solutions are at hand. Just imagine the benefit to everyone if heart disease, cancer and diabetes were wiped out. Think of the grief spared, the lives saved, and the money used for more pressing matters. It is possible to do it with committed health workers, and most importantly, a critical mass of the population who are willing to take action. The catalyst for all this is having the message communicated in a way that hits home with the general public. Go Vegan is my solution to world-health, ending the suffering of our animal kingdom and saving our planet.
There is energy, a life force that runs through us all.
When we are healthy, that force bubbles up in us and connects us. We have all experienced that feeling of deep connection with people we love, with nature, with animals. That’s what health is really about. My vegan advocacy work along with our environmental education programmes that Bill and I teach through our human ecology project brings me the greatest joy. To see a vegan world is my greatest wish.
You will enjoy the huge benefits of living a life stuffed from head to toes with plants. The information is simple, direct and effective for body, mind and soul. If you follow my advice you will be better for it. After all, that’s what I guarantee.
My favourite saying:
If you don’t take care of your body, where are you going to live?
A long-time vegan, lover of animals, nature and life and passionate about human ecology. As an eternal optimist, increasing the number of people worldwide to switch to a wholefood, plant-based diet and vegan lifestyle is her mission. Together with her husband Bill Tara, they have created The Human Ecology Project.