If someone would have told me 10 years ago about a whole food plant-based lifestyle, I would have thought: “well that sounds very extreme, why would you do that? “
I grew up in the Netherlands, and that’s where I also earned my BS in Physical Education. I hoped to change my teaching career to one in the medical field, but when I met my husband shortly after, my life took another direction. We moved abroad and lived in different countries around the world and taught in different international schools while raising our two daughters and son. Our way of eating adjusted to the countries where we lived, and French cheese was of course our most favorite food!
In 2006, we moved to the New York area again and I found my way back into the medical field. I joined the local volunteer ambulance corps and became an EMT.
During my work on the ambulance I saw many people with chronic disease, but never considered disease to be so closely related to what people eat on a daily basis.
That thought changed completely a few years after my own health scare when I learned about the scientific evidence and health benefits of a whole food plant-based lifestyle and decided to try it out for three weeks. Well, that decision changed my life forever! After eating this way for three weeks I felt so good and energetic that I never changed back to my old eating habits and I have enjoyed great health since.
It was hard to seeing other people struggle with their health and feeling confused about what to eat or how to lose weight, and that’s when I decided to reach out to my church community. That resulted in a bi-weekly plant-based dinner potluck group. It’s still going strong after three years and still attracting new people!
Most recently my plant-based ambulance corps friend, Kelly, and I decided to start Plant Yourself Healthy, our whole food plant-based education and coaching program in which we enable even more people in the local community to learn about and to experience the benefits of whole food plant-based nutrition.
I also work for an out of state physician to help clients improve their health with plant-based nutrition.
I now believe a whole foods plant-based lifestyle is what our bodies are designed to thrive on. My paradigm shifted from “extreme” to “default”. It’s a journey but it’s a sustainable, liberating and joyful one!
In the little bit of free time I have left, I love to take walks or hike with my outdoorsy husband and Brittany Spaniel. I like the serenity of my vegetable garden, love to spend time with my adult children and adorable little granddaughter and enjoy hanging out with friends in my wonderful town community!