For years Alisia’s idea of a gourmet meal with her husband was a cheese charcuterie board with cheesecake afterwards. She thought nothing of eating cheese quesadillas every day for lunch. Every night during some of her pregnancies she would reach for the freezer and grab a spoonful (or two or three or four) of cookie dough ice cream. Everytime she went to Costco she made sure to buy the biggest bag of sharp cheddar cheese. And Alisia wasn’t the only one in her family that loved cheese, her husband was obsessed with it too. The secret to making a delicious lasagne for him was to pile on the cheese!
Then tragedy hit. Alisia and her husband found themselves sitting in the ER waiting to be seen by a doctor. Alisia looked at her young 37 year old husband slumped over in a wheelchair and her heart sank. He looked like he had aged 50 years. He was suffering from a stroke.
They spent 3 days in the hospital doing multiple tests that came back negative, no genetic condition, heart arrhythmia, or family history caused this heart-wrenching episode.The severity of the stroke affected his vision, which took five months to recover fully. The only direction they were given by his doctors was that from now on, he had to follow a heart healthy diet. He was given a piece of paper that said he had to avoid trans fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, alcohol, and to eat more fiber.
When Alisia started doing the research to understand exactly how to avoid trans fat and saturated fat, she made a shocking discovery–Cheese is the number one source of saturated fat in the American diet! Cheese… Her and her husband’s beloved cheese!
But it came to a point that even though they all loved the taste of cheese, they loved living more. Alisia was willing to do anything to keep her husband around for as long as possible on this earth. So when their last bag of Costco cheese ran out, they stopped buying more. But it wasn’t just about the cheese. There were many more layers that brought Alisia to do whatever it took to steer towards health and longevity.
Alisia was raised in a household that consumed the standard American diet. It contributed to her parents and herself being overweight. But in 7th grade she learned more about healthy foods and was able to lose that extra weight by eating more vegetables. However, Alisia’s struggles continued as she implored her parents, especially her father, to make better food choices.
On March 30, 2012, Alisia’s greatest fear came to fruition. She answered a call from her mom and was informed of her father’s passing. Alisia lost her father to what she feared the most: a heart attack. He was just 55 years old.
Alisia had wished that her father was given a warning heart attack, so that he could have a chance to change. But truthfully, she knows that he probably wouldn’t have changed much. After all, years of begging him to eat better didn’t work.
In the book CHANGE OR DIE, Alan Deutschman concludes that although we all have the ability to change our behavior, we rarely even do. In fact, the odds are nine to one that when faced with the dire need to change our diet, habits or lifestyle, we won’t. From patients suffering from heart disease to repeat offenders in the criminal justice system, many of us could prevent ominous outcomes by simply changing our mindset and habits. Could you change when change mattered most?
Alisa and her husband decided that they would fight against the odds so that her husband could be the one out of nine individuals, and actually make the changes needed to live. They not only gave up cheese, but also started eating meat sparingly, and eating more whole plant foods. They realized that a plant-based diet is a heart healthy diet, and it is the best diet to not only feel better now, but live longer later.
After following a plant-based diet Alisia’s husband’s numbers all improved. His blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol all went down. He lost weight without even exercising. And he has been able to keep it off without trying. They saw so much success that Alisia decided to become a nutritionist and start her own business so that she could help others do the same.
With her business PlantWhys Alisia shares her knowledge on how to eat for longevity with the world. She helps people who have gone through their own health scares or are working through health struggles. She understands that most people need help to change their mindset and habits. She gives them the support, education and accountability they need to eat a heart healthy diet. With her program, when others are given a piece of paper to follow a heart healthy diet and are basically told, “change or die” they will be able to receive the help, support, accountability, and guidance they need to change.
She promises that a life without cheese is still a life worth living! In fact, without cheese masking and numbing your taste buds, you will be surprised how many tastes and flavors you will begin to discover as you broaden your variety of delicious foods!
You can follow Alisia on Instagram or check out her blog for free tips and tricks in trying to eat more whole plant foods so that you too can unlock the secrets to longevity. Check out her free guide, “18 Easy Ways to Add More Plants to Your Diet.”