As I sat in the waiting room of the cardiac unit at the hospital, I looked at the others waiting with us in the lobby and wondered what brought them there. Were they the patient or were they accompanying the patient? I was there that day to be with my mother as she had her pacemaker battery replaced; with us waiting were my father, and some family friends.
My observation and interest on this day was heightened because I’ve been gradually changing the way my family eats over to a Whole Food Plant Based diet based upon such books as Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease; The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., M.D., The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Thomas M. Campbell II, MD as well as Forks Over Knives; The Plant-Based Way to Health edited by Gene Stone. After having read these books and learned so much about how to not only prevent heart disease but to reverse it – I was excited to spend a day in this ward of the hospital and see first-hand what I’d been reading about.
I ran across a quote last year that has stuck with me, and that was this: Dr. Caldwell B. Esselsytn, the author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease; The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure has said “If the truth be known, coronary artery disease is a toothless paper tiger that need never, ever exist and if it does exist it need never, ever progress.”
In 1978, my beloved Grandma Miller (my mother’s mother) died of a heart attack at age 78. My mother had her first pacemaker put in 1997 at age 73. She had the first battery changed in 2007 when she was 83, and this second battery change came at age 90. It was evident to me that if I didn't do something to revolutionize my eating habits and way of life, I could be facing these same problems.
After my mother returned from her procedure, lightly sedated, the physician came out to share with us her progress. He was very positive that she would have a good recovery with little discomfort. I decided that this would be a good time to let him know we had been encouraging a Whole Food Plant Based diet. I expected for him to be excited about our revelation, but sadly, he just smiled and continued on with what he needed to share with us. I wasn't sure if he understood the magnitude of what this way of eating can do for heart patients.
What I did learn that day is that while I can’t change the world, I can change my personal future, and affect those around me as well. I will do my best to spread the message, one person at a time; the message that you CAN change your health - not by a pill, but by what you eat.
Who are You – Really? Many people struggle with the concept of personal identity. When we were children, most of us grew up confident in who we were – until we reached our teen years. At that point in life, we are bombarded with big issues of identity – body image; perfect hair, skin, and teeth; as well as the bigger picture things – career, further education, relationships, marriage, etc.
As we move through our life, many things continue to shape our identity. For me, when I was young, I was a very self-confident child; outgoing, outspoken, friendly to a fault. When I entered my teens, I experienced a brief but profound time of anorexia that has continued to shape my personal viewpoint of my body image ever since. In my teens, I was challenged to choose college or marriage – I chose to marry. In my twenties, I gave birth to my son, enjoyed numerous volunteer leadership positions and experienced the pain of my marriage ending. In my thirties, I attended college, worked at a number of jobs, and married again – to a wonderful man that I still enjoy sharing my life with today. In my forties, I worked solely in the financial industry, and held several community leadership positions. As I begin my 5th decade, I found myself once again struggling with my personal identity – in similar but different ways that I did as a teen.
For one thing, I found that I couldn't base my personal identity on my “work personality”. The “me” that managed banks and created client opportunities was a very time-crunched person, with little time for family, friends, or volunteering. As I visited with many wonderful people, they echoed the same thing – the “person” that they were in their former career bears little resemblance to the “person” they are here and now.
Secondly, I have found that I couldn't base my personal identity on my “family”. Families are fluid – meaning they flow and change. The “me” that devoted hours to raising my family is different than the “me” that enjoys the empty-nest with my husband; and is different than the “me” that cared for my elderly parents in our home. The only constant “family” identity word that I can use to describe myself is patient. I was patient raising my children, I have been patient living as an empty-nester, I was patient as a in-home caregiver to both of my elderly parents and I am patient with my father who now lives in an assisted living home.
Thirdly, I couldn't base my personal identity on my location. The “me” that lives in north Idaho is a different “me” that lived in St. George. I enjoy different pursuits, hobbies, restaurant choices, shopping habits – you name it – it’s different. While there are some similarities - I still love going to coffee shops, fro-yo stores, and out to dinner on Friday nights with a walk around town afterward - the "me" who lives in north Idaho now is a version of the "me" who lived in St. George, but just a slightly different package.
The conclusion that I have come to is that in order to know who I really am – I need to understand why I’m here, what I was created for, and my purpose in life. The answer to that – I have found – is through God’s word. “For in Him we live, move and have our being…” Acts 17:28.
I help Baby Boomers by sharing my personal stories of encouragement, sharing important information relating to health, increasing financial stability, and living a full and vibrant life while weaving Biblical Principles through these stories.