by Nikki Horvath
Growing up with a vegan mother makes for an interesting adolescence in the kitchen, especially when the rest of the family eats the Standard American Diet. I was always open to my mom’s “crazy” ways. I also thought it was cool that she was different from the other moms—despite not understanding all of her lifestyle choices. Then one day the flood gates opened.
I watched some documentary films I found around the house (The Witness and Mad Cowboy). If you’ve seen them you may relate to the overwhelming sense of emotions that followed: grief, confusion, anger, compassion and betrayal. This is where it all started—my inevitable exposure to animal cruelty in the meat and dairy industries. I couldn’t deny what I was seeing. But for me, making what seemed like such a big change from everything I thought I knew seemed like it was going to be an impossible task—even with having my own mother available with knowledge and open arms. Like many who embark on this journey I had a difficult time connecting the suffering of these poor, beautiful creatures from what was on my plate. I needed to cross that bridge at my own pace.
From introduction to intrigue I threw myself into the nutritional aspect of plant-based eating and veganism. While immersed in books, films, published studies, articles, lectures and the like, I came across one stand-out source of information—Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Many of the foremost experts on plant-based nutrition had an impact on me, such as Dr. Colin Campbell, Dr. Michael Gregor, Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Alan Goldhamer, and enthusiasts like cowboy and former cattle rancher, Howard Lyman, and actress Alicia Silverstone.
While most, if not all plant-based doctors, nutritionists and health practitioners agree on 90% of what the others are teaching, there was something about that 10% difference of Dr. Fuhrman’s approach that screamed “YES!” to me. So needless to say when I found out he was coming to Chicago for a one-day health immersion, I jumped at the chance to attend and I was not disappointed.