Linda Middlesworth, B.A., Certified Plant Nutrition, Cornell, Cancer Project/Nutrition and Cooking Instructor, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Certified Personal Trainer/Aerobic Instructor, AFAA, Organizer: Sacramento Vegan Society and Savvy Vegan Fitness Mentor
About 22 years ago, I moved to Sacramento. Being married with three children and a career as a graphic designer was the good part. I was not doing very well physically as I had heart disease with a total
cholesterol of 358. I was 30 lbs. overweight and had fibroid tumors. I had been a vegetarian for 10 years and cheese was my addiction. Even though I exercised by running and/or doing step, hi lo, kickboxing and weight training, I could not lose the extra weight. I had thyroid cancer so had it medically stopped completely. I feared for my life. I had a large, benign breast tumor removed but the doctor told me it was not caused by diet…and I tried hard to believe him. Even then, his words did not “sit” right with me and I doubted him even though he was wearing his white, doctor coat. Correctly thinking that my health was compromised, I had stopped smoking cigarettes shortly after moving to Sacramento!
My new neighbor told me about Dr. John McDougall’s work in Santa Rosa and said that I could rid myself of my health issues if I just did his program. I went down that very day, bought his book called: “The 12 Day Program”, read it from cover to cover, followed it and never went back. At first I was not a true “McDougaller” though. I was so enamored with mock veggie-meats; I ate veggie hot dogs, burgers, bologna, ham, etc. so as not to miss my old eating habits. And, I did not skip the oils completely either. I did lose 15 lbs. but was still not totally healthy.
After one week of being vegan, my neighbor told me to read, “Animal Liberation” by Peter Singer. I read it, cried and then became vegan for “animal protection” reasons as well. I had always been a lover of all animals and when I read about the suffering we caused animals just so we could selfishly dine on their carcasses and eat their mammary secretions, I could no longer be a part of such cruel eating habits. When I “woke up” to the truth that is so carefully hidden by our culture, I decided to dedicate my life to expose this cruelty being committed on other beings. I participate in vegan outreach and education every chance possible. Non human animals deserve to live without pain, mate, have and keep their own children and just be here on earth for their own reasons and with their own consciousness.
For the last 10 years, I have made a big effort to become a “healthy” vegan. I became a Certified Aerobic Instructor and Personal Trainer and began eating whole foods minus the added oils unless I was at someone’s home or out to eat. I lost 15 more lbs. I stepped it up the last few years and have really tried to avoid added oils even when going out. It is not always easy but I do my best. I do not have any added oils at home and now use dates or date paste as my ”whole food” sugars instead of raw sugar or agave nectar.
I feel better now than when I was in my early forties and I will be 68 very soon. Now, with optimal health myself, I have the courage to coach others how to eat foods to help them live with vibrant health and at their ideal body weight. I became Certified in Plant Nutrition, Cornell University, and then became Certified as a Cancer Project: Food for Life Instructor, Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine. With my VeganMentor business, I have watched people make enormous changes with weight loss and discover prevention and reversal from heart disease, diabetes and many cancers. From my studies, I know that our food choices are largely based on cultural myths. Added oils, i.e. olive oil, are processed foods and can not only make us obese, but can promote heart disease, some cancers, diabetes, digestive disorders, etc. I always help my clients avoid oils now. I help my clients learn that eating whole foods, plant based (vegan) from the four food groups (legumes, grains, veggies and fruits) is the key to vibrant, disease free human health. Besides the health changes people make under my mentoring, the most rewarding experience of my career is the “aha” moment from my clients when they make the connection with non human animals. When people “see” the cruelty involved with their food choices for the first time, they often cry or become very saddened. But shortly thereafter, I have new allies on board that want to help the voiceless and they, for the first time, want to truly live compassionately. Not one person, who still eats the bodies of others or their products, can be compassionate. As Colleen Patrick Goudreau says. “Most people want to live according to their humane, core values.” It is so nice when my clients, friends and family actually realize how to do this.
I hope my story will inspire you. I am here to help and become your VeganMentor. Please join me on Facebook VeganMentor: http://www.facebook.com/VeganMentor
Cancer Project: Food for Life Instructor, PCRM
Certified Personal Trainer/Aerobic Instructor, AFAA
Certified Plant Nutrition, Cornell University
Organizer, Sacramento Vegan Society: www.sacramentovegansociety.com
VeganMentor Health Coach: www.veganmentor.com