SOS Free Cooking with Janet Pearson

SOS (Sugar Oil Salt) Free Cooking with Janet

Last week, we were joined by Janet Pearson to discuss her plant-based journey. Janet was a Founding Board Member to Plant Based Nutrition Movement with the goal of bringing her experience to the southwest suburbs of Chicago where she resides and raised a family.

This year she has been excited to be involved with the first pilot summer enrichment program for 6 Million SEEDS. Janet worked with the director of curriculum for a local elementary school district. Together they were able to partner, get others involved, and bring a plant-based nutrition program to 180 children ranging from K through 7th grade.

Janet is currently part of the Terra Health Coaching team. She specializes in culinary nutrition. She is available to mentor clients or mentees specifically with recipes and prep ideas to make plant based doable in daily life. Personally, she is following a Whole Plant Food Diet that is also SOS Free (minimal salt, no added Oil or added Sugar or chemical sweeteners).

What Was Your Diet Like Growing Up?

I grew up in an Italian family. My mom is the youngest of nine, so that meant all of her siblings were older and had kids by the time I was born. The family were mainly farmers and loved to cook. The dinner plate usually had meat, a potato, and a vegetable. We all almost always had a small salad to start the meal or to finish the meal. On the weekends, we would have a dessert. For special occasions, we would have a buffet of several of each of those, and everybody would bring something since we’re a big family.

What Was Your ‘Lightbulb Moment’?

My dad and all of his siblings had diagnoses of various kinds of cancer. I was in grade school when I had to go to my first funeral. Unfortunately one of his youngest sisters died of lung cancer in her mid-40s. That was shocking!

My dad was diagnosed in his early 50s, and he passed away at 56 of bladder cancer when he was at the University of Chicago. I was in my late 20s during this period, and I didn’t know that diet could have maybe helped him in some way extend his life. I wanted to do anything I could to prevent it in me; I never smoked, didn’t drink a whole lot – I tried to keep my environment healthy. But the nutrition part of it was always confusing.

During the 80s, my mom started with a Prevention Magazine subscription, then she bought a Dr. John McDougall book. She would read through it, and she would say, “hey, we’re not supposed to eat bacon. We need to have tomatoes with it because the vitamin C counteracts the bacon.” I don’t know where she was getting this information, but that was a start for us.

How Have Potatoes Helped You Go Plant-Based?

It can be overwhelming for people who don’t have that much exposure to fruits and vegetables, so it’s useful to start with something familiar. For me, that was potatoes. You can make them many different ways – that’s what I recommend to people. Just try one new thing at a time.

You can eat potatoes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can eat them for a side, or as a meal. You can eat them as a soup, you can eat them as a stew, you can eat them as a snack. They’re so versatile. 

Enjoy our complete interview by CLICKING HERE!!

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