Rosanna Davison, CNM final year student
Growing up, my mum’s interest in health and alternative therapies was always a big inspiration for me. She grew her own fruit and vegetables, and taught me the importance of basing my diet on wholefoods. I gave up eating red meat at age 14 for ethical reasons, and then poultry a few years later. The transition to vegetarianism was a learning process as very few of my friends were doing the same. But I really enjoyed the boost in my energy levels, immunity and sense of wellbeing that incorporating more plant foods and good sources of vegetarian protein brought.
In September 2011, inspired by my first year nutrition studies at CNM and much of the literature I was reading on the impact of diet on physical and mental health, I decided to adopt a completely vegan diet overnight and to really start paying attention to how food affects my mood and overall wellbeing. I was my own experiment! I focused on eating generous amounts of fresh, whole fruit and vegetables. I based my meals on huge plates of greens, a rainbow of vegetables, seeds and soaked nuts, pulses and gluten-free grains like quinoa. Coconut and almond milk also replaced soya or cow’s milk, and I began taking a daily vitamin B12 supplement as well as my vitamin D3 and a probiotic. Within a fortnight of eating this way, I really began to feel amazing! My energy levels skyrocketed, I woke up every morning bursting with energy, my skin began looking smoother, my fitness and muscle tone improved, and during the notorious flu and cold season, I escaped all symptoms of infection. Highly inspired by this, I have continued to eat this way. Just over a year on, I have reached new levels of health, both physically and mentally. Most interestingly, I have really noticed a change in my mental wellbeing.
I feel so lucky to have experienced some of the extraordinary benefits of the impact of nutrition on my overall health, and hope to inspire others to adopt better habits and a diet based, to a large extent, on whole plant foods. For most people, it is a matter of rethinking their deeply ingrained attitudes to food and nutrition, and to realise that a plant-based diet holds the power to literally change their lives.
Fiona Moloney, CNM Graduate 2012
I have more energy now than when I was 25. Actually, I’ve more than I’ve had in my life! I’m 44 and training to run the Dublin City Marathon this year. I’m never sick. I bounce out of bed, sleep through the night and have a constant energy supply throughout the day. My moods are balanced. I feel alive. I am in tune with my body. I can now think clearly.
In my mid 30’s, I was exhausted, drained, flat, lethargic and wondered where it was all going to go, so I began to change my diet and lifestyle slowly, and noticed big changes very quickly. No more midday slumps. My energy began to return. I wanted more, made bigger changes and I have never looked back.
My 3 tips for making the shift to a future filled with energy:
(1) Take one step at a time, and once you take that first step, remember to keep on walking.
(2) Drink more water and filter it. Add herbal teas, there are many delicious ones to choose from.
(3) “Green Leafy Vegetables,” that’s my mantra. Green for Go. Go Green for Life! They’re packed full of nutrients, versatile, low in fat, very low in calories, and delicious.
Lorraine Whelan, CNM Graduate 2012
I grew up with a younger brother with Down syndrome and autism, whose health would demand numerous visits to the hospital. Because he was unable to verbally communicate to us about how and what he was feeling, I learned how to look deeper – to understand and observe energy, which spoke more to me than any words could. My brother would sleep many hours during the day because his body was constantly fighting for health. When I started learning about food and the amazing vitamins, minerals and healing properties it could have, I was only dying to put it to the test. We started with smoothies and soups full of raw and cooked fruit and veggies, especially green veggies – they are like the powerhouse of vegetables. Green veggies are easy to absorb, support the liver and help the body to detox. They also provide so many vitamins and minerals like B vitamins for energy, calcium and magnesium which work together in muscles and bones and can help relax stressed systems in the body such as the digestive system. The impact of these on my brother’s health was phenomenal.
It takes time to change, that’s why I am so thankful for my brother’s patience – where most of us tend to give up when the going gets tough or we are not seeing the immediate result we expect, my brother’s spirit never broke and his body is now thanking him for this. Nowadays he doesn’t even take a nap!
If you are in balance with yourself and with your energy through food, then you can be in balance with everything in your life. The simplest changes can have the biggest impact. I think people underestimate the power of fruit and vegetables and even when they do eat them, they have boiled the poor things to death! If I could recommend one thing, it would be to include a variety of the green leafy vegetables in your diet – kale, chard, spinach, rocket, watercress, cabbage and to use them creatively, in bread, stir-fries, smoothies, soups, sauces, etc. Your body will thank you for it.
Article originally published in print issue of Positive Life magazine in 2012. Subscribe here to get 4 issues in print per year.