May 12, 2014 Newsletter
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Health Matter Northwest LLC
Constance Coquillette
Lisa Fishman
Amanda Nelson
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Health Matters Northwest:  How I Became a Vegan
Hi Everyone.  This month's newsletter is written by Connie.  Health Matters Northwest is now officially and LLC.  I have gone into partnership with my friend Lisa Fishman and my daughter Amanda Nelson.  Amanda and I have worked hard over the past year to research, create and test (as in eat), a huge variety of recipes and are about to publish our cookbook, Vegan Granny Cooks Up a Storm.  Amanda was there with me every step of the way.  She is currently enrolled in the Cornell Online course in Plant-Based Nutrition and will be certified as a Health Coach.  Lisa is a Holistic Health Coach, certified through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and has been a counselor in private practice in both the Bay Area and Seattle.  I am certified by both programs and have had a career as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker for most of my adult life.  All of our services are available and all of you are invited to visit our visit our website were you can sign up for a free consultation, sign up for or read previous newsletters, enjoy the free recipes and find links to interesting articles and resources.

As many of you know, I am fascinated by the relationship between food and health.  I began reading books on nutrition in my early twenties and continue to read voraciously on the subject.  My first nutrition book was Let's Eat Right to Keep Fit by Adele Davis.  She was my idol when I was pregnant with my children, and my former husband used to say, "Connie is going to have the healthiest baby ever!  She eats like Adele Davis."  She recommended lots of animal foods "for the protein" and lots of dairy products "for strong bones".  Unfortunately, Adele Davis died in her early 70s after a painful battle with bone cancer.  I, along with her other fans, was dismayed and shocked.  We believed with such great nutrition she would live to be 100.

I continued to have keen interest in health and nutrition, but I was completely unaware of any alternatives to the Standard American Diet (SAD).  I believed, as I had been taught from birth, that we needed meat and dairy to be healthy.  I believed protein was the most important nutrient and that milk was "nature's perfect food".

One day I was at the library in the health and nutrition section looking for dieting books. It is hard to stay slender on the SAD without periodic calorie restriction and strict monitoring of food intake.  I stumbled upon a book by Dr. John McDogall called 12 Steps to Dynamic Health.  I checked it out and considered trying a more plant based diet, but I didn't take any action immediately.  I was still working long hours, my kids were still home, and I have a tendency to procrastinate.  In addition there was no social support at the time for making this change.  We ate the same way a everyone else in our family and social circles.  After a few more years of yoyo dieting and a long bout with chronic back pain, I was reaching the critical point of needing to make a major change in my diet and lifestyle.

One day an amazing thing happened!  I went to the garage where we kept a large freezer full of meat and quick prepared foods.  It was completely empty!  I couldn't believe my eyes.  I had just made a Costco run and the freezer had been loaded with small packages of chicken breasts, fish, hamburger and flank steak.  I had no desire to replace all of that expensive food.

I reported the bad news to my husband and he said, "Let's become vegetarians."  He must have been thinking about it too, but I was still surprised.  It seemed like a great new adventure was awaiting us.  He had been actively questioning the attitude that leads humans to think it's okay to eat animals.  He was looking at all of the "isms" from racisms to sexism and even speciesism, and this event fit in perfectly with the changes he had been contemplating.  What a joy it is to have your life's partner completely on board with your own goals and desires!

I shopped for vegetarian cookbooks and began to discover delicious and satisfying recipes. My husband's only complaint was that when we had something particularly sumptuous, we never had it again.  I was so intent on trying new things that every day was an adventure for me.  I had never enjoyed cooking before, but I have loved it ever since that day in 2000 when we were robbed.  I never found out who stole the meat, but I wish I could thank them personally.  By the way my back feels great, I weigh 15 pounds less than I did on that day, and I've never counted a single calorie since.

Here are a few of the authors who have inspired me over the last 14 years.  If you are curious about the benefits of this lifestyle, I highly recommend them.  Dr. Neil Barnard is president of PCRM (Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine).  His organization does research and political action.  He has written many books, some on specific health issues such as diabetes and pain control with diet.  You can check him out on You Tube where some of his entertaining presentations are available.  I continue to follow Dr. John McDougall.  He can also be found on You Tube.  His latest book The Starch Solution is full of great information.  One of my favorite books is The World Peace Diet by Will Tuttle.  He ties together the spiritual, physical, cultural and environmental aspects of our food choices.  I recently read Whole by T. Colin Campbell, a nutritional biochemist and professor at Cornell University.  It is an amazing book.

We'll be sending out newsletters regularly to friends, family and persons with an interest in health and lifestyle choices.  If you wish to be removed from our list at any time, please type "Opt Out" in the subject line and hit reply, and we will remove you from the contact list.  Please feel free to share our newletters with you friends and family. 
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