Interview with Terri of EatPlant-Based

terri eat plant based

The following is an interview with Terri Edwards, a Food for Life instructor with PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) and creator of EatPlant-Based.

What initially led you to the plant-based lifestyle?

My personal experience is that in 2012, at 45 years-old, I was suffering with increasingly painful and swollen joints, as well as other health issues that had started around age 35 and were progressively worsening. My mother has debilitating rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, vasculitis, neuropathy, and other health issues, and has been disabled since her 50’s.  I was terrified I was heading down that same path.
After numerous doctors’ visits and blood tests with no answers, I decided to investigate nutritional options. My daughter recommended the Forks Over Knives documentary, which my husband and I watched on February 15, 2013 and became instant plant-based, whole food consumers.

How long have you been plant-based? And was there anything you found to be the biggest obstacle to making the transition?

I have been plant-based for a little over 5 years. The biggest obstacle for me was the mindset of thinking food had to be made with certain ingredients like meat, eggs, and dairy. At first, I couldn’t figure out what my dinner needed to look like, because I was so used to having everything centered around a large piece of meat in the middle of my plate.

eat plant based chili

Photo: Yes You Can Chili from EatPlant-Based

Could you share a bit about what you currently do and how you got started?

Currently, in addition to running my website/blog,  I teach Food for Life nutrition education and cooking classes at medical facilities and other venues in Western NC and Upstate SC, as well as doing public speaking events. I also do some article writing for T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.

After regaining my health, I became obsessed with learning how and why my body was responding to food the way it was. That led me to taking the Plant-Based Certification program through Center for Nutrition Studies. Then, I applied to Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine to teach their Food for Life program. It’s been non-stop since then!

What advice do you have for someone just going plant-based?

I would say not to think long term at first, because that can be overwhelming. Just commit to trying the plant-based lifestyle for 4 weeks, like I did. I knew I could do anything for a short amount of time, and that seemed less daunting. Do it for 4 weeks, then make a decision about the long term. You will be feeling so much better that the decision will be an easy one.

What benefits have you experienced and/or how has being plant-based changed your life? Is there anything in particular that you found made the most difference?

Since becoming plant-based, I’ve resolved my inflamed and painful joints, lowered my cholesterol from  220 to 141, dropped over 50 lbs., resolved adult acne that previously required prescription medication, and recovered from sleeping issues. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe this is the same body I had just a few short years ago. Honestly feels like I traded the old one in for this newer model. It really IS the FOOD!

Related: Top 30 Oil-Free Plant-Based Recipe Websites of 2017

oil free banana oat pancakes plant based

Do you have a preferred breakfast? And what is/are your favourite go-to meal/s on busy nights? 

My favorite breakfast is probably a Breakfast English Muffin with smoked tempeh. My husband’s favorite is Banana Oat Pancakes.

On busy nights, our favorite go-to meal is Barbecue Sandwiches, because we keep everything on-hand and can have dinner whipped up in about 5-10 minutes.

Do you have any tips for getting more comfortable preparing plant-based food?

Definitely learn to plan ahead, because it’s always easy to make bad choices when you are tired, hungry, and don’t have all the ingredients needed on-hand. Planning in the beginning is a big deal, and it gets so much easier with time and practice.

Are there any tips, tools, or resources that you recommend or that you have found really help you or your students with this lifestyle? Do you have a favourite plant-based cookbook?

Most of us have about nine meals that we make over and over, because we like them and they are familiar to us. We keep the ingredients on-hand and can whip them up in no time. I call those the 9 meals in our ‘Wheelhouse.’ The key to being successful with plant-based nutrition is changing out those old Wheelhouse meals to healthier ones. This article, Plant-Based Meal Planning 101, should be very helpful.
My favorite plant-based cookbook is Kim Campbell’s, PlantPure Kitchen Cookbook (#1 on the list).

Beyond just food, what other aspects do you find essential for healthful living?

For me, walking every day with my dog and doing yoga for 30 minutes three times a week has been essential for my overall health. Not only is it great exercise, but also stress management. In addition, I am a woman of Christian faith, so my spiritual life is the greatest factor in keeping me balanced overall.

Is there anything else you would like to share for someone still getting used to this lifestyle?

It is important to keep learning all the time. Read books and articles on plant-based nutrition. Watch videos by Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Colin Campbell, Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, and others. Keep trying new recipes. It will keep you motivated and moving forward.

Where can people find you online (or in person)?

I’m all over the place online, and here is where you can find me:

My website:
Facebook: EatPlant-Based
Local Food for Life classes: Upcoming Plant-Based Workshops & Classes

Taking a cooking workshop is a great way to get familiar with preparing plant-based meals. And having dedicated plant-based enthusiasts like Terri leading the way can help provide you with the confidence you need to make this lifestyle work.

Especially at first, transitioning to plant-based eating can seem like a tall order, but it’s not impossible. Learning from those who have gone before you will help make it feel like something you can do to.

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