Our family has been eating WFPBNO at home since our son Jenison was 6 years old. This past August our family decided to do the 12-Day McDougall Program as a refresher. Jenison and his older sister participated some, while we, his parents (and even grandparents a couple months later) enjoyed the course in its entirety. During the 12-day, we were reminded about calorie density. We opted to cut out extra fat (all the whole plant fats we loved and ate quite a bit of – nuts, nut butters, avocado and seeds). Since Covid had somewhat eased up (at the time) we’d also returned to some outdoor dining which was always vegan, but usually had oil. In addition, we had been enjoying homemade cashew cheese almost weekly, and had built up some ‘insulation’.
Jenison, who was 17 at the time and just starting his senior year of high school, decided when he was out with friends to not eat high fat vegan foods – he’d usually have ‘vegan’ fast food, or food with oil and an occasional soda. Instead he decided to stick to veggie sushi or a bean burrito with just beans, rice and pico de gallo. Within 3 weeks he lost 15 pounds, and by around 5 weeks he’d lost 20 pounds. He was eating to satiety but enjoying much less calorically dense foods. His dad and I lost 15 and 12 pounds respectively, as well.
It was such a fun transformation to watch – Jenison really got it seeing the effects so quickly. He asked for articles to give to his friends when they would say they needed their protein shakes after a mountain bike ride or body surfing session together. He daily grabs a few pieces of fruit to have on hand to snack on at school. We’ve found eating out to be the slipperiest slope – there are more vegan options with vegan cheese or fake meats on pizzas or burgers, but less whole food plant-based options, plus all the oil. It’s much easier to eliminate unwanted fat eating at home. We knew this before, we just didn’t realize what a big impact it was having on us.
Now 18 and heading to college in the fall, Jenison has a much more personal understanding about what eating whole, plant-based foods with no oil can do for your body.
It hasn’t always been an easy journey being the kid whose mom made smoothies and WFPBNO cookies for their friends, but for me to see them as adults choose to take good care of their bodies and the planet while spreading the word themselves is a true blessing.
Thanks for everything!
Rachael (Jenison’s mom)
For more on how Jenison and his family made the transition, look for Rachael’s book For Fork’s Sake: A Quick Guide to Healing Yourself and the Planet Through a Plant-Based Diet coming out in September 2022 www.forforkssakebook.com.