Rachel's Table

A Deep, Dark Secret

Anne has a secret.

I’ve known Anne for a long time. We go to the same church, but we never really KNEW each other. It wasn’t until I started this blog that we began having longer and longer conversations. Anne has always supported the blog. Whenever a post hits Facebook, she’s one of the first to “like” it or leave a comment. At church, she’s always giving me magazine clippings related to food or coupons to a restaurant I mentioned on the blog. We exchange emails at least three times a week on a food, blog, or church-related topic.

Anne is simply a lovely person. She thinks of others, cares for her family, and excels at her very important job.

But like I said, Anne has a secret.

Slowly over time and several emails, she insinuated what this deep and hidden secret entailed. I was intrigued. We set a lunch date to discuss the details.

When I arrived at our local lunch spot, Anne was sitting at a table with a menu, looking fresh and summer-y in her white pants and blue-green top. She was the picture of transparency. One would never guess that she held a secret close to her heart.

After ordering, we chatted. I can’t say this is our word for word conversation, but you get the idea…

Anne: I haven’t told anyone this, except my husband.

Me: Why not?

Anne: Everyone will think I’m crazy. My husband thinks I’ve gone insane.

Me: {Eyebrow raises} Oh really?

Anne: Well…because…I…I…

Me: {Drumroll plays in my head and I take a breath of anticipation}

Anne: …I mean, I’ve gone vegan. Well, mostly vegan. I eat a vegan diet 95% of the time.

Me: Wow, Anne! You look different. Your skin is glowing.

Anne: I feel better. I have more energy. AND I’ve lost 22 pounds.

Me: {Beaming}

Anne began to tell me about her journey to vegan. I’m happy to report that my blog helped her along the way. She said in an email later that week, “Your blog led me down a path of education. I remember seeing your post about your consideration [to go] vegan…I remember thinking you were crazy; I could never do that. But the documentaries you mentioned watching peaked my interest. I also did like the idea of supporting local farmers from a community perspective and started to be aware of signs that said grass-fed or free range.”

The documentary she watched was Forks Over Knives, and it changed everything.

Anne knew she wanted to be around to see her son graduate from high school and to hold her grandchildren. In order to do that, her food lifestyle had to change. Anne remembers standing at her kitchen sink and breaking down. I can’t do this; I just can’t; it’s too overwhelming, she cried. Anne says that’s when God stepped in and assured her everything was going to be okay. An unexplainable peace spread over her. In hindsight, Anne says this process has been a gradual “God-thing.” She gave up cheese a while back and doesn’t even have cheese cravings (gasp!). And sugar? She doesn’t even put it in her coffee (double gasp!).

The hardest part of the change is grocery shopping. She has to read every label, which took too much time at first. To add to the stress, her first trips to the grocery store were frustrating because she couldn’t find anything. “All the healthy options are not placed at eye level,” Anne noted. “They are either on the bottom shelf or way up high.” (Interesting, and just another reason I don’t like the grocery store.)

Anne admits she has to cook one meal for her family and one meal for herself. But right now that’s easy, because she’s more than happy with a big salad full of summer produce and topped with Delaware’s own “Freakin’ Fresh Salsa”. She also eats lots of beans, whole grains and can’t get enough of steel-cut oats and almond milk for breakfast.

Anne consumes no dairy, no oil and no alcohol. I was shocked by this (no wine? eek!). But Anne’s also realistic. If she’s out, she may indulge in salad with chicken, or if it’s a special occasion, she’ll have a glass of wine. That’s why right now, she’s 95% vegan. Anne’s smart to give herself the 5% leeway. An all-or-nothing attitude is difficult to maintain. Even so, Anne’s realizing her tastes have changed–she doesn’t even want to eat red meat anymore.

But what’s the best part of Anne’s big vegan secret? Healthy changes making a physical difference! I mentioned earlier that Anne has dropped over 22 pounds. She feels better; she sleeps better; and she has more energy. Not only that, but only two weeks after starting her vegan lifestyle, Anne’s bad cholesterol dropped from 168 to 59! All I can say is, what the WHAT? And GOOD JOB, Anne!

I am beyond thrilled that the thoughts I randomly place on Rachel’s Table helped Anne make this decision, even in a small way. But I can’t take any of the credit. Anne has tenacity! I’ve never seen anyone more committed or disciplined in her pursuit of healthy.

Thanks for sharing your “secret” with me, Anne! You are an inspiration, and like I always say, I’m your biggest cheerleader!

 

{This post part of Fight Back Fridays on Food Renegade}

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43 comments

      • She/he can have my portion too. And not just for health reasons. One person going vegan has a huge impact on our drinking water, our land uses, our food costs. Humanity at its best.

      • Here, here, Shannon! I feel like we’re from the 1940s today with all our “Hip Hip Hoorays” and “Three Cheers.” I feel like I should say something like, “Red meats bad for ya, see…” with a cigar dangling out of my mouth. Wow. It’s been a long day and it’s only 3:30.

      • You have no idea. I just finished shopping with four kids. LOUD kids.

        But there are benefits to no meats: My veggies are (mostly) local. I splurged for avacado and tomato (from CA). My burritos aren’t the same without ‘em.

        Another good thing (for my wallet): my week’s worth of groceries were $100, while the lady across from me (same amount of “stuff”) was $250. Wanna know why? VEGGIES!! And my family of six (I don’t know how many she feeds) eats pretty dadgum good. HA. I was $25 under budget, so with that, I bought the kids some sushi, sprouts, and frozen fruit bars for a snack.

        The third good thing, and then I’ll shut it. I got complimented. Not too many 45-yr-olds still have a 20-something bod. With four kids.

        The lady with the “meat” bill, not so much.

      • I love this! I completely agree. I just added up my grocery bills from last week and it was a whopping $87, which included a five chicken sausages and the rest veggies and fruit and some good, local bread.

        You go with your 20-something bod!! :) I’m trying to keep mine too. haha.

  1. Wow, what a great story and so cool to know you helped inspire such a life-changing, er, change! <—Maybe them thar words would come to me real good if I wasn't so hungover.

    I am going back to read your vegan post now. I've always been tempted, but a life without dairy is completely unrealistic for me. I do enjoy making vegan meals, though.

    • *in ominous croaky voice* Come to the dark side, Jules.

      We’ve been in the process (very recently) of sealing the vegan deal by ditching dairy and eggs. It wasn’t as hard as I thought and our taste buds haven’t missed a thing.

      • I DID just enjoy some hummus and crackers as a snack, but cheese and eggs are two of my favorite foods. I just…can’t….DO IT! Oh and then also there’s meat. I like it. *in ominous drunk voice* Baconnnnnn

      • I haven’t been able to give up dairy or eggs and I do eat chicken about once a week. I’m slowly giving up meat altogether though. Anne doesn’t even use oil! She cooks with a lot of vinegar.

        Jules, bacon is hard to give up, especially when it’s double smoked bacon from the Amish. I eat it only on occasion now. Like on Saturday mornings.

      • There are so many great substitutions to dairy and eggs, I wonder why it is it’s taken me so long to just switch!

        BTW, dairy is just liquid flesh – same lack of nutrition. The process that creates them both (and no, it is not a nice process, however “nice” the packaging make may make it seem) is just as perpetuated by even small purchases – solely driven by seconds on our taste bud.

      • Baking is the easy part. There are several egg replacer products out there, Ener-G being one. It’s a dry product that mimics what egg would do. There’s no noticable difference in the final product.

        For my kids the “Holes-in-One” are the most missed. I would use a cookie-cutter to cut a hole (heart-shape is favorite!) in a piece of bread, put on griddle (lightly sprayed with olive oil) and crack an egg in the middle. It’s a fried egg with bread (we’d drizzle raw honey on the toast part. Can’t do that with an egg replacer.

        One day, we’ll have our own chickens. When we do, we’ll eat eggs again – the way nature intended!

      • Believe me, I’m restraining myself. Don’t want to do a comment hijack!!

        I will never look at bacon the same way again. Or milk. Or eggs. In some ways, I feel liberated by knowing the truth, but disappointed when people continue to close their eyes. Willful ignorance is, I believe, the worst trait of the human race.

    • I really can’t take any of the credit, but I’m glad my blog got Anne thinking. At least SOMEONE is paying attention. haha.

      Life without dairy seems so…well…not like life.

  2. Andrea Taylor

    Go Anne! So excited and proud of you! Very impressive work! And Rachel, great job with your blog! You’re inspiring so many of us!

  3. Anne Pedrick

    Thanks everyone. Never in a million years would I thought this would be me. Thanks Rachel for your blog and I am now down 25 lbs.

  4. jzent0410

    Wow Aunt Loy!! You should be so proud of yourself! You are amazing! And thank you Rachel for inspiring so many people! I haven’t gone vegan yet, but I’ve started working out at least 4 times a week, started watching my portions, and have begun grabbing fruits and veggies instead of cookies or chips for a snack! People like you and Anne have inspired me!

    • I’m not as close as Anne, but I’m getting there. Still can’t seem to give up cheese and eggs. I’m also addicted to these chicken sausages I get at the Amish farmers market. But today I’m making vegetarian chili, so that’s a start! (You know I’m ready for fall when the chili pot comes out.)

  5. That’s fantastic! How wonderful to have inspired somebody :) Good for you.
    I’ve been vegan for 20 years and haven’t tried to “switch” anybody. It was pretty awesome when my in-laws became vegan after reading The China Study, all on their very own! They’re in their 70s!

    • I applaud your vegan-ness! I haven’t made it there yet. I still eat meat a few times a week. It’s such a big lifestyle change that I haven’t made the switch yet, but I’m cooking more and more vegetarian meals.

      Ah, The China Study is so compelling! I’m off to do more research. Look for a “Rachel Turns Vegan” post soon. ;)

      • You’ll love it!
        People always seem to think being vegan is restrictive, a la, “What do you eat?”
        But it has opened up my palate to so many delicious foods from around the world that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise tried.
        Vegan cuisine has really taken off since I first made the switch. It’s stunning how many blogs and cookbooks there are now. Do you have the “Veganomicon” cookbook? Must have!!

  6. Hey, Rache! Fun to come back to old posts. I came back here from Sean’s, following on one of his posts. Such a great look-back to have. I agree with Angie — I can’t believe I limited myself to so few comments.

    So. How’s she doing? How are YOU doing? What were the trials of switching? Since you’re still eating meat, how difficult has it been finding “versions” of meat that meet your criteria? Has either of your criteria had to be modified any? In what way? Ugh…the questions are endless. Shoot me an email. :)

    • So many questions! haha. Anne is doing great – she’s lost a bit more weight and is maintaining what she lost. More importantly, she feels better!

      I just signed up for a winter CSA, which is an inspiration and a godsend in the winter months up here in the Northish East. I usually buy my meat at the farmers market (Amish) or from Whole Foods–they have local, organic brands that are FANTASTIC. I have added sustainable products like fish (also from Whole Foods) but overall I choose local whenever I can and if I can’t (for example, romaine for a special salad I make) I buy it anyway on occasion. But once the CSA starts, it’ll be MOSTLY local and LOTS of veggies. :)

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