Kathy Freston's Dog Inspired her to Go Plant-Based
Growing up in Georgia, Kathy Freston, a well-known health and wellness activist who promotes the benefits of eating a whole-food, plant-based diet, loved eating chicken-fried steak and mashed potatoes smothered with bacon and butter. As a teen and young adult, her acne, low energy level, and 20-pound weight gain led her into trying several types of popular diets, including a low-carb/high-protein diet. Feeling deprived and miserable, she began looking for another answer. At the same time, Freston also began to notice how members of her family were suffering from disabilities associated with chronic illness.
Freston attributes her lean body frame and vibrant health to an "aha" moment she had many years ago when she was playing with her small chihuahua dog named Lotsey. Seeing how many emotions her dog embodied made her realize that ALL animals are sentient beings and capable of the same emotions, not just dogs and cats. Her "aha" moment came when she made the connection between the animals she knew and loved (her dog) and the meat (which came from a lamb, calf, piglet, or chick) that was on her dinner plate. She visualized her beloved dog at a factory farm, knowing how terrified she would be from enduring the horrific living conditions, abusive treatment (warning - graphic images) and slaughter process. After viewing undercover videos on YouTube showing how animals are abused and processed into food, Kathy made the decision to live a non-violent lifestyle — one that not only reflected her Christian beliefs, but also didn't involve harming animals just to satisfy her desire to eat meat. To her surprise, she discovered how eating a diet free from all animal products had numerous other benefits besides just being compassionate. Freston began to educate herself using the work of many of our world-renowned plant-based nutritional experts — Doctors John McDougall, T. Colin Campbell, Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr, and Dean Ornish. Digging through the scientific evidence, she saw how the leading causes of premature death and disability all share the same etiology — the rich Western diet — and how plant foods can be used "as medicine" to prevent, arrest, and even has the potential to reverse disease.
Freston didn't want to feel deprived and that she "was giving anything up," so she "leaned" into a plant-based diet by gradually including more whole plant foods while at the same time, decreasing the amount of foods from animal sources. She attributes her successful transition to taking small baby steps. Once she became comfortable with the small change she made, she took another step, and then another — until she was eating a 100%, nutrient-rich, plant-based diet. She dropped the excess weight effortlessly, her energy levels have soared, her acne cleared up, and she says she's never felt better.
Freston is the author of many New York Times Bestseller books. Additionally, Freston passionately writes blogs/articles for her Healthy Living - Conscious Living website and contributes regularly to The Huffington Post. The interview below was filmed at one of Dr. John McDougall's Advanced Study Weekends.
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