Making the shift from vegetarian to 100% plant-based – an interview with Caitriona Reed

Serving on the expert panel at the Canberra premiere of the enlightening new documentary, What the Health, gave me more than the opportunity to answer questions and witness the powerful effect that the film had on persuading many in the audience to try out a plant-based diet. (If you haven’t already, you can listen to the recording of the panel discussion and audience Q&A here.)

It also helped me make a new friend. Panel moderator, Caitriona Reed – a ‘brain wizard’ whose clients include entrepreneurs, environmental activists, artists, iconic names in the entertainment industry, and even a former Obama administration staffer – and I hit it off immediately, and as we got talking, she shared that after watching What the Health a couple of weeks ago, she was inspired to go 100% plant-based. What happened next was so unexpected to her, and so inspiring, that I was moved to invite her to share it with you.

In this interview, Caitriona shares that she had been vegetarian from her teenage years, and had become increasingly health-conscious over the years, eliminating refined sugar and carbohydrates, and caffeine from her diet. Having already made these changes, and perceiving that her state of health was already good, she was not expecting the improvements in her health that she experienced after cutting dairy products and eggs out of her diet:

  • An upsurge in her energy level
  • Greater mental clarity
  • Resolution of swelling in her ankles – “I got my feet back!”
  • Disappearance of her food cravings and desire to snack between meals
  • Losing 15 lb (almost 7 kg) in 4 weeks

Like many vegetarians, Caitriona had assumed that cutting flesh foods out of her diet was all that she needed to do to safeguard her health, and was shocked to learn that eggs and dairy products were endangering her as much as the meat, chicken and fish that she had long since put aside.

Caitriona also discusses the hazards of the ‘fake news’ about nutrition and health that circulates widely in the popular media and online, and how people can apply some simple criteria to what they’re reading and viewing in order to discern genuine, independent research from industry PR.

We also dig into how to navigate the social challenges that adopting a plant-based diet almost invariably provokes, and the value of ‘drawing a line in the sand’ in regard to your dietary choices, as opposed to ‘going with the flow’.

I hugely enjoyed my conversation with Caitriona, and hope you will too!

You can learn more about Caitriona and her life-transforming work at her website, Five Changes.As a result of her own dietary change, Caitriona and her partner Michele Benzamin-Miki – who made the shift along with her – have now adopted a 100% plant-based menu for their retreat centre, Manzanita Village in southern California.

If you need support for transitioning to a wholefood plant-based diet, check out my EmpowerEd health and nutrition education program. It’s packed with resources on how to implement this way of eating, including video recordings of my full-day Empowered Eating seminar and Plant-Powered Oil-Free Cooking workshop; Healthy Eating 101 which covers kitchen set-up, meal planning and batch cooking; and 2 live webinars per month – an open Q&A session and an in-depth exploration of an important health topic. Your first month of membership is 100% free. Register here and get EmpowerEd to live your best life!

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