From Hefty to HEALTHY: How Our Seven Year Old Went Veggie and Changed Our Lives!
BY WENDY BERGSTROM
Our family’s journey started about eight years ago, when my youngest daughter asked me at age seven if she could be a vegetarian. Growing up in cattle country where a meal just wasn’t square unless it had a big portion of meat in it, I was certain it was a phase. My next thought, as taught by the mainstream, was “No way! She’s only seven and needs to get her protein!” Request denied!
My husband pointed out that we’ve pretty much always had to insist she take at least two bites of meat before being excused from the table, as her veggies, taters, and grains were always first gone. We decided to just keep quiet and hope this phase would pass, but two years later she came back to us with the same request. We realized that two years is not a phase, and it was time for us to really look into how to get full nutrients, and of course protein, into this young lady!
Our meals started out pretty weak. We would make a big basket of two or three kinds of fresh steamed veggies with our meat and potatoes, so our little one would have more options … pretty boring in comparison to how we cook with veggies now!
Soon our whole family was eating more veggies. We even had an all-veggie night once a week, which my eldest, a carnivore, dreaded. The more we learned and prepared meals, the tastier our cooking got. We weren’t learning just to be vegetarians; we were learning how to be healthy! We started to learn how food affected our bodies on a cellular level. Before you knew it we couldn’t get enough information on healthy food and the health benefits it brought.
Then we started watching documentaries. The most influential for us was (and still is) the Forks Over Knives documentary. It just made sense and offered proof of the amazing power of plant foods to nourish and heal us. I’ve watched it several times, and I’ve purchased The China Study and two Forks Over Knives books. We recommend the film to everyone we can.
My eldest daughter recently moved back home during winter break, and I heard her saying to my youngest, “Mom and Dad cook totally different now, as opposed to the junk they used to force feed me!” Then she continued to gripe that she can’t ever find anything ready to eat in the house (because there’s no packaged food) ⎯ that it all has to be prepared! I felt a tinge of guilt that she was raised with packaged snacks and less-healthy eating habits, but she now cleans her plate every night at supper, and she even goes back for seconds of our plant-based cooking.
It’s never too late to pick up new and good habits! Thank you for presenting your knowledge so clearly that it inspired a total health transformation in our family! A bonus for us was automatic weight loss, which inspired us to keep being as healthy as we could be! I personally lost 123 lbs., all of which I attribute to plant-based healthful eating and exercise!