Elaine Dodson Beauty & Wellness

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My Vegetarian Experience - The Early Years

I am a vegetarian and have been for 40 years, but that is not how I was raised. My childhood was spent on a 300-acre farm in East Texas. Among my fondest memories is picking fresh food that went straight to the table. Although we ate from our garden, there was no true health consciousness in our house. Our diet consisted of many overcooked, fat-laden fried foods. The main course was always steak, chicken or fish.

Because my father had acres of livestock, we ate fried steak sometimes three times a day. Yes, I said fried and three times a day! Even though my parents were teachers, I learned nothing about health and cooking, but I did learn to love nature and the many animals we had.

Of course, this diet seemed completely normal to me, and I continued to eat this way after I left home, except I added fast foods to my diet. As an East Texas farm girl, I couldn’t imagine not eating meat. I thought vegetarians were radical weirdoes.

Then, at 28, I had a life changing experience that started me on my journey to becoming a vegetarian. Described as “mind development,” the class had nothing to do with health, or so I thought! We saw shocking films of our food supply. I will never forget one that showed tiny parasitic worms coming out of hamburger meat. From then on, my son, who was eight at the time, and I never ate another hamburger. That was our first thing to give up.

I read books and took more classes. I started visiting “health food” stores. I became aware that most of us born in the US have a diet I call SAD, the Standard American Diet. The sad truth about this diet of processed, frozen and convenience foods is that almost none of it has any real nutritional value. It is just empty calories.

As a child and young adult, I had many health problems. I had chronic bladder problems that a doctor told me would last forever. I was plagued by colds and infections that landed me in the hospital more than once. I had severe allergies. Soon after I changed to a vegetarian diet, I became healthy. I have not had a cold in over 25 years, never had another bladder infection, and all my allergies disappeared. Once you take the poisons from your body you become well.

My beautiful daughter, who is now in her 30s, has never had a hamburger or hotdog. My live-in and I cooked all of her food at home, made sure it was organic and gave her fresh juices and vitamins. We never fed her the bottled baby foods, and we continued to give her healthy food as she was growing up. She never got sick as a child, teenager or young adult, and has never taken medicines. This proved to me that toxins are the cause of our illnesses.

My husband Michael was very ill when I married him. He actually was pronounced dead in a hospital in New York on our second date. He had chronic asthma that led to many other problems. After some time on a vegetarian diet and alternative medical treatment, he has been healthy for nearly 15 years.

Ayurvedic Cooking Series

Elaine Dodson Beauty & Wellness

Ayurvedic Cooking Series