For this week’s interview series we have Keary Cheney, a dear friend of mine and a fabulous photographer. Keary and I knew each other for a few years (I think) via the internet (creepy, I know) and we were finally able to meet and hang out last fall and have since remained friends. Deven and I have a lot in common with her and her hubby Justin- a similar photography style, a love for cooking and good food, friends, our faith, our marriage, etc. We’ve so enjoyed getting to know them over the last few months. Keary was also the one that did our annual pictures last year right before Christmas (and a lot of the ones you see on this blog probably!). Keary not only wrote a novel in response to my questions, but she has shared with us some things that are very personal and very dear to her heart. Check it out- and remember to check out her blog too!
1. Describe your old diet.
I like to think that we used to eat somewhat healthy. Justin and I don’t eat out very often, and if we do we go out it’s for Thai food, no questions asked. It’s our favorite (and vegan too) I enjoy my time in the kitchen too much to let someone else cook my food. It’s my creative outlet outside of photography. Although I don’t mind the servers cleaning up the mess for me ;) We loved to bbq (especially a good filet), made lots of homemade pizzas (covered in chicken and mozzarella cheese of course), cereal with whole milk, and lots of pasta with cream sauce. We thought we were eating healthy since it was homemade. We always chose the freshest ingredients and good quality cheese so we thought we were doing pretty good. Healthy to us was not eating frozen meals, fast food, and sugary snacks. Little did I know how bad meat and dairy are for you which basically made up most of out diet. Our meals were normally some type of meat, potatoes, and a few veggies on the side. Heaven forbid we make pasta or pizza without meat. We just always made it that way because that’s how both of us were raised. And society says you need meat to get your protein. We never did the research ourselves to really know if meat was bad for us or not. We just listened to what society said. That’s where we went wrong. We listened to society. Who ever deemed them all knowing anyways? Whenever I would say “well everyone else is doing it” My dad would always say “If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you do that too?” He was right. We had just been doing what society said all along, eating meat to get our protein, and drinking milk because “it does a body good”, right?. We put an end to that and couldn’t be happier with our new way of eating :)
2. Describe your current diet (vegetarian/vegan/plant-based).
Justin and I tell people we’re like 90% vegan. Meaning we don’t eat meat at all, and only have dairy every once in a while (mostly because I’m baking my grandma’s famous cookie recipe). We have made an exception to our vegetarian/vegan diet. If we are invited to a friends house for a meal, we will respectfully eat the food that they have prepared :) We don’t want people to feel like they have to cater to us and try and cook a meal that’s so foreign to them, or that they don’t want to invite us over in the first place because we don’t eat meat. Other than that, our kitchen is full of fruits, veggies, and whole grains.
3. What inspired you to change? (books, films, friends, family, etc.)
4. What one piece of truth impacted you the most?
The most interesting thing I learned was that you can treat and prevent cancer, heart disease, etc with a plant-based diet. This has totally got us on board for eating healthy so that we don’t become one of the statistics that ends up with one of those diseases.
5. What changes, if any, have you noticed physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually?
Juicing every morning is the best start to my day. It wakes me up. I’ve never been a huge breakfast eater. With juicing in the morning I can pack my body full of nutrients drinking a glass (or 3 because I like it so much) of juice since I don’t eat breakfast. Because I’m drinking it in juice form it’s going to my blood stream much faster and my body doesn’t have to digest solid foods. I have so much more energy, I’m not exhausted at the end of the day. And after meals I don’t feel crummy, bloated, and groggy anymore. I fell alert and ready to tackle what’s next. When I used to eat loads of white bread, cheese, and meat I just wanted to sleep the rest of the day. I feel like I have so much more drive behind everything I do now and my days are so much more productive because I think clearer.
6. What’s your favorite part about your new lifestyle?
One of my favorite things is talking with friends about the new lifestyle we’ve adapted, and then seeing them get excited about it and make changes in the way they eat. I also love being in the kitchen. I grew up cooking. So it’s just natural for me. It’s like my safe haven. Now that we’ve changed the way we eat, it’s been a fun challenge to make healthy food that still tastes delicious, which is most definitely possible if you’re wondering. It’s be fun experimenting and coming up with new recipes with vegetables as the main part of the meal versus meat. I was nervous that my husband wouldn’t be a fan of this new diet, but he’s sometimes more fired up about it than I am. He now reads the labels on every box before buying anything. He always tells me, “If I can’t pronounce an ingredient, I don’t buy it” ;)
7. Tell us one of your go-to foods or meals.
One of our favorite meals has been stir fry over brown rice or couscous. You can’t go wrong with this. I sauté some mushrooms, bell peppers, carrots, pineapple, fresh minced garlic, squash, zucchini, broccoli, green beans, or whatever other vegetables you have on hand. We’ve always made pizza, it’s one of our favorites, but now we make it meat and dairy free. And when I’m out running errands during the day I always have cashews in my purse to snack on which provide lots of protein and keep me full till my next meal.
8. What advice would you give to others that are interested in a healthy life?
Just give it a try. If you don’t like it, as least you can say you gave it a shot. But don’t knock it till you try it. More than likely you’ll get hooked, we did and I can honestly say I NEVER thought I would become a vegan. It takes some time adjusting and learning new recipes, but I promise it’s so worth it. After 3-4 weeks I lost my unhealthy cravings and now I crave juice every morning. Try and stick it out for a month and see how you like it. I guarantee you’ll feel a huge difference.