Before I dive in, let me say that I am a southern woman who loves soul food just as much as the next… but we had to break up.
I’ve been diagnosed with asthma since I was a young child after my grandmother frantically found me struggling to breathe. There’s a misfortunate misconception that asthma is simply ‘wheezing while you run.’ While that is a symptom, it’s riddles your life far more than simple wheezing after a jog.
Since being diagnosed with asthma, my doctors told me to stay away from dairy. I didn’t listen for 20 years.
Last November, I found myself having yet another flare up where I struggle to sleep through the night because I can’t breathe. One night, I turned to Ike and said “Wow.. I think it might be the way I am eating.” He didn’t seem to think it was an aha moment like I did but of course that only made me frustrated. “No more dairy. No more processed foods. Are you good with that?”
He was game. What a blessing! I can’t imagine there are many men who are fully onboard for adjusting their diet for invisible health benefits. “As long as it tastes good.” That was the only criteria for both turning my diet around and making meals we can both enjoy together. In hindsight, Ike has always eaten far better than I have. After countless hours watching Vegan YouTube (fave!), I decided to also remove red meat from my diet with a goal to move away from animal products completely which I did in 2017 but that’s a story for another day.
It has been an adjustment but I love learning to cook with foods I simply would pass by at the store because I didn’t know how to cook them. As I’ve learned to cook with more, I feel less like I am having the same foods over and over again.
- Alfalfa Sprouts
- Tofu – Ike LOVES this when made well
As for my body and asthma, it has been a remarkable 180. The eczema on my eyes and face have gone away and with the help of my doctor, I’ve decreased my medications down to one prescription at half the original dosage. I know everyone’s case is different but it doesn’t cost anything to at least remove dairy from your diet. Buy an unsweetened soy milk and boot the cheese then see how you feel. I personally feel like a million bucks!
- Mic the Vegan – He has been instrumental in helping me move beyond following trendy advice and into evaluating the impact of my dietary decisions from a researched-based perspective. Not only is he knowledgeable, he engaged with his community and will answer questions (with research) from his audience. Thanks for helping me avoid the keto craze!
- Sweet Potato Soul – This vegan beauty is perfect for anyone who may be leaving a soul food diet and is afraid of losing the flavor you’ve grown to love. Her black eyed pea gumbo is a must!
- Tess Begg – She really inspires me to take care of myself far beyond my plate. You’ll find her eating a nutritious breakfast, jumping in the ocean and then going for a brutal workout. Super inspiring for anyone who is looking for a full lifestyle switch, not just a diet switch.
As much as I’ve learned over the last year, I still burn produce and occasionally make bland food I haven’t properly learned to season but Ike is gracious and tells me to take it for my own lunch the next day while he whips up something without a single complaint. Clever.
What about you? Have you been thinking about making a diet change lately?