Tell us a little bit about you?

Hello! My name is Lesli P Baker. I am a Certified Nutritional Therapist Specializing in Plant-Based Nutrition and Vegan Lifestyle Transition Coaching, and I am also a Yoga and Movement therapist specializing in Trauma-Informed Yoga Practices. I can be found on Facebook by Searching Lesli P Baker, CNTP Whole Body Wellness. I can be found on Instagram at @lpbwholebodywellness and contacted via email at olyvegan@gmail.com

What was your diagnosis or which health problems did you face?

I did not personally have a specific diagnosis – it was parents who did! Both of my parents passed away young, my mother of liver cancer and my father of heart disease, arteriosclerosis, and leukemia. I’m from the American South, and my parent’s diet definitely reflected that. My father ate a lot of fried foods, both of my parents did, really. Neither one of them ate a very green diet and relied on old fashioned “diet” ideas for weight loss. Both of my parents smoked. My mother was addicted to several over-the-counter drugs, mainly a nasal spray called Afrin. It has always been my opinion that clearly, among their many other habits, the diet was a major factor in their illnesses, respectively. It has been my effort for many years now since their deaths, to never suffer the same fate!

How did you come to know about the plant-based diet?

You know, when my father passed away in 2003 I started doing a lot of research on diet and nutrition. Although the internet at that time did not contain as much information as it does now, it was clear that a great number of the published research at the time pointed towards a transition to a whole-food, plant-based diet, leaving off of the plate not just some but ALL animal products. While at the same time, advocating for whole, dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables. Even in the late 1990s, there was enough research out there to encourage a person to at least consider the thought that not only should we all be eating more fruits and vegetables- BUT that also too much animal-based protein might very well be the cause of a lot of dis-ease. At the time, I wondered out loud, WHY were there so many supposed “fix-all” health food books and diets out there, when it seemed to be clear that the best way to eat is by going back to basics: fruits and vegetables! So simple.

What were the benefits of adopting a plant-based lifestyle for you?

Although my own personal transition back then was a rough start (I had no idea what to eat, or how to cook!) I began to get the hang of things and found some really helpful information and cookbooks. I have suffered my whole life from skin issues such as severe seborrheic dermatitis – and this was the most obvious sign that going plant-based was a good idea, as it retreated right away! Additionally, I found it easier to maintain my weight. I slept noticeably better and had more regular, daily bowel movements. I found that on a plant-based diet, I also had more stamina for not just exercise – but my whole day – I no longer felt tired at 3 pm or after lunch.

What do you like the most about the plant-based diet?

Eating plant-based is so easy! With so many delicious options and so many creative ways to recreate old favorite recipes with plant-based ingredients, there is really no other way to eat for me. I love the way that I feel when I eat plant-based. I can not even imagine eating any other way. Additionally, I know that by adopting a fully plant-based diet that I am doing what I can to mitigate climate change and I am advocating for animal lives.

What would you say to people that are facing similar health problems as you have?

There are so many wonderful things to eat while leaving animals off your plate. Folks often ask “well WHAT do you eat?” Which I think is so funny- when I leave off animal products, I am not limiting my food options. On the contrary! There is an incredible rainbow of food in your local store’s produce aisle – and today so many other plant-based meal options. It is a very good time to go plant-based! I try to eat as healthy as I can. Plant-based foods are higher in fiber. They are often comprised of known cancer fighters such as spinach and broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables. They are high in vitamins and minerals and help keep the body functioning at its best and have ZERO cholesterol ( a side effect of ONLY animal-based foods!)

Are there any web resources you would suggest, that helped you the most when transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle?

Websites:
https://www.happycow.net/ (use to help you find great places to eat out! )
https://nutritionfacts.org/
http://www.pcrm.org/
https://www.vegan.com/nutrition/
https://plantricianproject.org/

Books:
How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Greger
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
Vegan For Life by Jack Norris RD and Virginia Messina MPH, RD


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