So normally I really despise Valentine’s Day. Mostly because it reminds me that the day following this “celebrated holiday of love” is the day that my mom passed away at age 47 of a heart attack.
Ironic if you think about it actually. She died because her heart was weak and blocked and restricting blood flow – she died the day after we were inundated with heart shaped everything (that looks nothing like the real heart mind you) AND even more ironic because February is Heart Attack Awareness month – the leading killer of women in America.
So needless to say, I don’t “love” the holiday of love quite as much as most. Vans has always understood this and honored this part about me.
This year however, I learned that Dr. Michael Greger, author of the book How Not to Die and founder of www.nutritionfacts.org was speaking at Kaiser in Sacramento … FOR FREE. You had to reserve tickets in advance, which I did … for both Vans and I.
I later told Vans what I did and he was open minded albeit a bit sarcastic (when isn’t he) about going to hear Dr. Greger talk.
I am currently reading his book How Not to Die and have been to a few talks given by Plant-Based doctors before. Vans however has not. I don’t think he was sure what to expect. I know he thought we’d be the youngest couple there (we weren’t) and that it would not be a large crowd (it was more or less).
This talk was very inspiring and very eye opening. Since I am reading his book and have followed him and his research for a while, most of what he shared was not “news” to me but it was to Vans and even more amazing was the way in which Dr. Greger presented the information.
He is full of humor and sarcasm but yet full of knowledge, science based knowledge that is presented so matter of fact you can’t help but go, “He is so right!”
He is also great at explaining what and why certain industries are not sharing a lot of this information with the public. He drew the connection from smoking in the early 1940’s and 50’s to eating meat in modern day.
There was a time (not too long ago sadly) where DOCTORS prescribed smoking to patients and/or smoked themselves because they didn’t know any better. They were not taught in medical school that smoking was bad and studies (when they were finally conducted) were hidden from them. Not to mention the fact that the smoking industry paid pretty darn well on the side … fast forward, and the same is happening with the meat and dairy industry.
In Dr. Greger’s talk, he discussed the top 15 causes of death in America and how most can easily be prevented and/or reversed by choosing a plant-based diet alone.
Needless to say, all of this was right up my ally. I love this stuff. I thought for a minute that I would turn to Vans in the middle of the talk to see him bored or uninterested but I have to say, it had the opposite affect on him. He was listening. Intently.
Vans has always known I am very passionate about nutrition and specifically a plant-based diet but I think now, he understands even more so. I don’t just pull all the things I share with him out of the blue … I research. I read. I study it and love it. I want my family to live it and see the rewards that I see from eating this way.
So for the first time in 22 years, I have truly loved Valentine’s Day. On Valentine’s Day I honored my body by sweating, I honored my brain by filling it with plant-based knowledge and I honored my LOVES, Vans and my girls, by sharing this experience with them.
So as I write this, the day that my mom passed 22 years ago to the day, I am smiling. Of course I miss her terribly but I know she would be proud that I am using her passing, as a motivator to instill healthy habits within my own family and my own life. Would I love to have her here with me and meet my girls, of course. But I know, deep down, that she IS here and she IS with me. Smiling just as much as I am.
Happy Trails (Happy Heart),
PS: If you want to hear the same talk that we heard, click HERE – All of the proceeds from Dr. Greger’s books go charity as well as any money he makes from any speaking engagements! Pretty cool Doc. Pretty cool.