Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tessa's Story

I’m a 44-year-old married Mom of three teenagers and I love to do two things:  travel and learn about nutrition. 

First, the travel increased when I bought an old Lazy Daze motorhome, sight unseen, in 2007 and flew to Minneapolis to drive it home to Texas.  While I did not have a clue how to drive a 26’ long rig, particularly in 30 mph wind gusts, it was the start of a great adventure. 

By 2008, I’d taken my kids out of school for a year to travel via RV to the Wild West and Alaska, Mexico and Central America, Disney to D.C., and then an RV exchange with an Irish family in Europe.  We explored 31 countries and had a trip of a lifetime.  Blogs I-IV here detail our trip.  Motorhome travel is incredibly fun and opens so many doors to adventure!  I meet great people along the way, like Evelyn and Lynne!

How did I get interested in Nutrition?  I learned that people with cancer often drastically alter their diets *after* being diagnosed with cancer.  Why after?  If such a diet is healthiest as determined by science, then what if we eat that diet *before* getting cancer?  Yes, that actually is a really good idea and greatly reduces our chances of getting certain types of cancer.

So I researched diets for cancer treatment and learned about Raw Foods, juicing, and read the books Eat to Live by Dr. Fuhrman and The China Study by Dr. Campbell.  Our family then made an overnight switch to a Raw Food diet for three months, beginning August 6, 2011, when we ate raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

I’ll admit that it was a little rough at first since we did not know what a dehydrator was, had never bought organic food, had never ordered a vegetarian meal in a restaurant, didn't personally know a single vegan, and actually pronounced "vegan" incorrectly!  We were complete newbies at this.  Plus, I cannot say all my teenagers were enthusiastic with this plan.  But we did it and found all sorts of good things started to happen to our bodies.

After three months of Raw Vegan, we added to our diet cooked beans, whole grain breads and pastas, and some cooked veggies. While a 100% Raw Food diet is the healthiest, I do not believe it is necessary in order to have exceptional health.  Currently, we eat about 75% raw foods, with fruits and salads.  It is not as weird as it sounds!

At 5'6", I was not considered by most Americans to be overweight at 140 lbs, but I sure didn't feel good about myself nor physically.  My family's vegan start date was August 6, 2011 and as of May 2012, I am at 122 lbs and am slowly dropping fat toward my ideal weight.  122 lbs is less than I've weighed in decades.  I still have fat to lose (which is a risk factor for many diseases) but now instead of feeling as if nothing I did helped regarding weight, I am confident this simple vegan solution leads directly to optimal health.

Plus, I feel so much better energy-wise without the afternoon slumps, and I sleep better, and I'm not allergic to strawberries anymore, and I heal faster, and my headaches are gone, and I psychologically feel more positive (and not just because I'm happy I'm eating healthier- there is something chemical that seems to happen probably due to detox).

Fortunately, anyone who has become vegan can tell you that these wonderful changes are predictable and expected, for you as well as for everyone enjoying a nutritious, plant-based diet.  Try it for four weeks and you'll never go back to old ways of unhealthy eating!

Prior to reading the nutritional books, I did not know that animal protein is so bad for humans.  And the pounds were packing on yearly while I felt somewhat starved.  But after changing our diets and losing some weight while eating all we wanted, I needed to share this knowledge.  I did not want MY friends and family to be ignorant about what causes nearly all the major diseases in America:  Animal Protein.  Cancer, heart-disease, diabetes, kidney stones, Alzheimer's are all greatly, greatly affected by what you eat!  And it is so simple to lose weight on a plant-based diet!

So I now share this information with people everywhere I go.  Some people do not want to hear about a diet change, but some people become inspired to try better eating.  It makes my heart sing to hear of their successes!

Why, if it is true that animal protein is bad for us, do we not hear it?  I believe it is because the clear scientific research conflicts with our government’s subsidizing of the meat and dairy industries.  It is also because “food disparagement laws” muffle intelligent discourse.

But the numbers do not lie!  Show me any other diet that lowers weight and eliminates fat, which causes terrible health issues. Show me a diet that lowers cholesterol, reverses heart disease, eliminates diabetes, lowers blood pressure, and helps people achieve their ideal weight with no hunger.  What other diet makes you feel happier, lighter, cleaner, and have more energy?  This is a lifestyle for taking care of your precious body. You will feel like a teenager again!

I want to share the nutritional truth so that others make the connection between what they eat and their health.  I want to encourage people who are willing to TRY, who want to feel good and have better health.  There are SO MANY people in America who need to hear the truth in order to get healthy and I want to be a part of the solution.  A tremendous diet overhaul is needed in our country, one by one.

That’s why I’m here.  I hope you are inspired to put your health first.  I will help along the way and cheer you on!  Take the first step by learning the truth about good nutrition and then just start.  You will never look back once you begin reaping the rewards.  Here’s to your exceptional health!


  1. Yes, I was skeptical at first, but within a week my husband & I were losing weight and never hungry. At 70 we're on no medications, are active and energetic. Sadly, we are already losing long time friends to "old age" diseases. What is so hard about a plant-based diet compared to heart problems, cancer, dementia etc?! Love your blog - keep preaching!

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  2. thing I don't like about the new Blogger is the commenting system!

    It's great the vegan diet is working for you. You make a compelling case and have an interesting story.

    I think the year RVing sounds fantastic. What an interesting year out - and some very cool locations visited.

    Looking forward to hearing more about your exploits...

  3. Thanks, Tony! I added a link to our travel blog up above. Appreciate your enthusiasm!
    :) Tessa

  4. I'm also a Lazydazer. I appreciated and admired your computer skills and the organizing you did with the Yahoo files. I thought you were a genius! I was disappointed when you left for your "sabbatical" and delighted now that I know why.

    My wife, Nancy, and I went vegan 3 years ago. We are Esselstyn (SOS)vegan. Like you, originally we switched for health reasons. Me for hypertension, cholesterol, asthma and Nancy for bone loss. All of those issues and medications are now a thing of the past. We are completely healthy and happy. My vegan thoughts are now going in the "Ethical Vegan" direction, which is a real switch after having been a State Fish and Game Warden for 30 years, advocating hunting and fishing as "management" and humane.

    I could go on and on, I won't. Thank you so much for your willingness to coach and even preach a little. We would love to get together with other vegan RV'ers, any visiting or living in the California Coastal (Mendocino) area.

  5. Thanks for your nice response, Tom. It's great to have you on here and thrilling to hear of the health improvements from your plant-based diet! I too have found it much easier to care about the ethics of eating animals now that I no longer eat them. If you'd like to write a guest blog on the health changes and process of going vegan, we'd love to feature you!

    1. Thank you for the invite, Tessa. I would like to tell more about our positive health changes, and they all were positive, and that would give me that chance to "go on and on". Sometimes, I find it hard to say exactly what I want, all while keeping it in the "comment" format. Will try to write soon.

    2. Tessa,

      I have written a couple of pages (Word doc.) regarding the changes we have experienced. I'm not sure that I can attach a Word document here or if I could "copy and paste"? It may be best to attach it to a private email to you??? Can you advise please?


  6. Just a quick note to say how thrilled I am to have found your blog(s) and that I am going to read everything. My husband and I are vegan and are fortunate to be able to quit working in our mid-50s, and we're total RV novices but want to learn more and travel like you did. And I am a nutrition educator, helping people learn to eat the Esselstyn / Fuhrman/ McDougall / Barnard etc way. Thank you for being here! You're like a lighthouse to those of us on the sea!