Power On Plants | Finding Plant-Based Joy

Ep #1-Welcome to Smarter Healthy Living | Getting My Life Back

December 13, 2020 Jarrod & Anita Roussel Episode 1
Power On Plants | Finding Plant-Based Joy
Ep #1-Welcome to Smarter Healthy Living | Getting My Life Back
Show Notes Transcript

Every great movement starts with a back story... a place it began and what inspired it.  This is our back story... our origin.  In this episode, we share how Anita hit rock bottom and what turned it all around for her!  

When you tune in, be sure to follow or subscribe so you don't miss a single episode.  

🌱 Not sure where to start on your Whole Food Plant-Based shopping trip or which meals to even try?  Then head on over to www.SmarterHealthyLiving.com right now to snag our exact  Shopping List!  It's the perfect starting point filled with fresh ideas for this amazing way of living! 😉

We'd love to hear your story! How has this Podcast helped you?  Email us at:  Anita@poweronplants.com. 

https://www.poweronplants.com/membership

Anita:

Hi friends, welcome to Smarter Healthy Living. I'm your host, Anita Roussel.

Jarrod:

And I'm Jarrod Roussel.

Anita:

And we're the founders and creators of Smarter Healthy Living. And this is episode number one. Yeah, you're listening to the smarter Healthy Living podcast where we firmly believe that getting healthy should never feel like torture, where your host, Jarrod and Anita Roussel were college sweethearts, and health professionals who help you redefine what getting healthy looks like using a whole food plant based lifestyle. It's time to hear from the experts and learn the best tips and tricks that helped others get beyond the overwhelm, to create a vibrant life they love. If you're sick and tired of being sick, and tired, you're in the right place. So pull up a virtual chair, grab your matcha latte. And let's get started.

Jarrod:

We are so excited to have you with us here in this episode, episode number one. So you may be thinking to yourself, what exactly is smarter, healthy living? Well, we want to tell you one, we're about healthy plant based living. And we're going to take this podcast to explain what that is. But we want this particular episode to be about where we began our origins who are Jarrod and Roussel? Well, we're going to take you in the Wayback Machine. So just kind of close your eyes and just imagine yourself going back in time a little bit. Yes. Going back to 1990 when Anita and I met back in college.

Anita:

I was eating with a group of friends Jarrod was sitting across from me, and I remember thinking, Wow, he's like a nice gun. He's kind of cute, too. But I didn't know the amazing adventure that was ahead for both of us.

Jarrod:

And for me, I remember seeing her eyes and thinking, Wow, she has beautiful eyes.

Anita:

Awww, one day, we ran into each other. I was coming across campus. And I remember seeing him walking out of chemistry lab out of the chemistry building, right. And we started talking, and we were discussing, somehow the discussion may have to talk about our hopes and our dreams.

Jarrod:

Things we wanted in the future.

Anita:

We both wanted to large family. And I just thought afterwards, I remember walking away and thinking that was interesting. That was really interesting.

Jarrod:

So I guess a couple months later, we just became closer friends, started dating and really just became inseparable. Where you saw one of us, you usually saw the other.

Anita:

That's the truth. Always one was there, the other was there. And then a few years later, we got married. And we were both working really hard just to complete our degrees. I became a registered nurse, and Jarrod became a Physician Assistant. And our dreams is starting a family we're finally getting closer and closer every day.

Jarrod:

Yes, in 2004, we were finally expecting our first child, our daughter. And then when she came and we held her in her arms, and we looked into her eyes. And just it was an incredible moment, as you can imagine.

Anita:

Yeah.

Jarrod:

And we just had tons and dreams for her. And those dreams caused us to really start thinking about our health because we were healthcare professionals and doing doing well we thought, but just like any parent, once you have a child, you really want the best for them. You want to do things right from the very beginning. Yeah, that's where we were.

Anita:

I remember that was when we really started thinking about what we're eating more than what we were thinking about before. So we started buying more things like organic produce, and we started choosing cage free eggs and free range chicken and things like that. Just the more organic dairy.

Jarrod:

Dairy without added hormones.

Anita:

Not realizing that dairy was already by nature just filled with hormones. And then by 2012, we ended up having three children by that point. They were seven and five and three at the time, right?

Jarrod:

Yes. And our youngest is adopted. So during that time, as you can imagine a mom of three she was staying home, homeschooling them. We had at one point two infants taking naps. I mean, just a lot of

Anita:

Busy.

Jarrod:

Just It was very busy. And during that time, she started getting tired, noticing she just didn't have the energy reserve that she used to. And I think like most people, you go into survival mode and you just think, well, it's because I'm busy. I'm not sleeping, well. Maybe I'm not eating right, maybe not getting enough for this or that. And you kind of make excuses and things continue on. And I think now looking back, it had gotten worse than what we realized until this point in 2012 when a lot of things had happened.

Anita:

Because I feel like a lot of times you think you get in this cycle and you think well, I have all these children. I have all these responsibilities and I'm tired and you just start thinking that's just because I have all these things on my to do but really it was more than that I was getting much more tired more easily as time went on, and it just kept getting worse and worse. And the rest of that year brought a lot of changes for us. Jarrod came home one day, I was over at my mom's and the children were inside with him with her. And he said, You need to come outside and talk with you. And he broke this horrible news to me that he had been unexpectedly laid off from his job. And you remember, I mean, it was just such a crazy, crazy time. We weren't expecting it at all. And all of a sudden, something had happened in his office, that was not a good thing. And it caused them to have to lay off.

Jarrod:

Yes, it was at an administrative level. And it just, it just resulted in the layoffs. So

Anita:

Yeah, we were in shock.

Jarrod:

From from that point, then we're looking for another job, which ended up transferring out of state. So we had to sell a home, buy a home, move everything. And then at that point, right after we had gotten moved in, we were getting settled. And his mom got an unexpected diagnosis of a brain tumor.

Anita:

Yeah, it was really, that was just one of the worst times for me. And then mother passed away not long after that. And it was really hard because she'd been my best friend ever since I was a child. I mean, apart from Jarrod, she was the person I had been closest to my entire life. And that's that was just such a difficult thing to go through. And I still miss her today. But not long after that God began to show us something pretty exciting. He wanted us to begin the adoption process of our fourth child. And he showed us that we were to go to China to bring her home. And with all that had happened recently, we were really surprised that he would call us to do that right at that specific time. But we had tons of confirmation after praying about it. We knew it was exactly yeah, we knew exactly what we were supposed to do. So we went ahead and started the process.

Jarrod:

But around that time too, you know, speaking to before that, where she started getting more and more tired. During that 2012 period of time, we noticed that there was a more rapid decline that it was more than just a well, I didn't sleep well last night, or Oh, I'm not getting enough of this or that, that it was really a just Well, I mean, she was bedridden. I mean, she'd gotten to the point where it was so significant, that on a good day, she would make her make her way to the couch to homeschool.

Anita:

Yeah, after we started the adoption process, it was a while after that, it just hit a point where it just got so bad. I was exhausted every single day, I was just barely surviving. I mean, maybe you know what that's like, just barely surviving each day, you wake up, and you live for the time and you can just drop back into bed. And that was my wife. And the children were having to bring me more and more things and help me and take on more and more the responsibilities in the home that were really beyond what they should have been doing at that time. Of course, we wanted to train, and we did train our children to help out and to learn things. But it's just it was different.

Jarrod:

It felt like you had to rely upon them. And there were some days where they would make breakfast and lunch. And sometimes, sometimes those lunches can were made a peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Anita:

Yeah.

Jarrod:

But they were still having to do that for themselves.

Anita:

Yeah, the fatigue was chest and bearable. And, we had so many hopes and dreams, so many things we wanted to do. And just felt like we were sitting on the sidelines. And on top of all that on top of the fatigue. I was aching so badly. I mean, my joint pain became so severe. And we tried to keep the seriousness of it from the children. But it was hard because I spent so many days in bed again, my better days were on the couch, and they were just having to take on more that responsibility. So Jarrod would come home after a long day work. And I'd say look, you know, I hate to do this. I love you. I'd love to be doing more. But you know, things are really hard for me right now. And I need you to just take the children if you want any hope of having dinner tonight.

Jarrod:

And oh, yes, very well. Yeah, walk in the door. If you have any hope of a dinner, I need you to take the kids and then many nights I would have to take a stool and push it up to the stove. I mean, if it was something where she could go to stir the pot, she might go sit down, but if it was anything that was more than just a quick, take care of something on the stove. Yeah, I would have to pull a stool up for her to be able to sit.

Anita:

There was no standing to cook dinner. I mean, that's how little energy I had. It was horrible. And when bedtime came it was heartbreaking for us. Because I couldn't go up a flight of stairs. The kids would look at me with their sweet smiles and they'd say, oh Mommy, can you took us in tonight and I'd have to look at them and say, mommy just can't go up the stairs tonight. Honey, I'm so sorry. I mean, that is heartbreaking to have to say that to your child because they want you to tuck them in. And you don't even have the energy to walk up one flight of stairs. That's just not right. And the task of daily living got so much more difficult as time went on and our members standing in the shower, you know in the evenings in the warm water would be falling on my head head and I'd had tears running down my face, just praying for the energy and ability to be able to wash my hair or my arms hurt so badly. And I just didn't have enough energy to even put pressure on my scalp. And that's how bad it was.

Jarrod:

And also to during that time, I had started getting some aches and pains. Like I noticed my shoulders would ache and some of that would go on for a couple of years. And so my shoulders, my hips, sometimes my knees just depending on the month or season of the year.

Anita:

Yeah, and we just had so many hopes and dreams. I mean, we we had thought about this for years and years while we were waiting for kids. And now we already had our family there. And we wanted to play with the kids. We want to chase the children around the park and build sandcastles together and make memories with them doing all these things traveling and we even went to build a business. We've always had a dream of doing that. And it just wasn't supposed to be like this. Have you ever had the feeling of just isn't supposed to be like this. And they were growing up right before our eyes. And we felt like we were just sitting on the sidelines watching life passes by because we didn't physically feel like living it particularly me. And I wasn't depressed. I mean, it seemed like when I would go to find help, someone would assume I will you're just I wasn't depressed, I was hurting. I had no energy. I needed answers. That's what I needed.

Jarrod:

And we were praying so diligently for answers. Friends were praying for us for answers.

Anita:

Yeah, and we just got so tired of the missed opportunities, we want to go out with friends and, and build relationships and be able to just think clearly, I mean, the brain fog was bad. And we're just missing out on life in general. And we kept praying for those answers to come in.

Jarrod:

And all that came to a point where we were now had our The, the, the referral for our daughter, so it was time to travel to go get her. And I know that was a heartbreaking time for her because she thought when I get there, I'm not gonna even be able to lift her and be able to pick her up.

Anita:

She was two years old at the time, and I just was thinking about how she'd never had a mom hold her. And I could not wait to get there to hold her bid on new in the state I was in, there's no way I was going to be able to pick her up and hold her in my arms. For the first time when we met. It was heartbreaking. It was absolutely heartbreaking. I was just praying, just begging people pray over me pray for me, this is just terrible. So it was really one of the hardest times

Jarrod:

So during that time, too, she would go and see of our lives. different providers just to see if there was some type of answer some type of diagnosis, just something to say this is what it is, whether it be a medication or some other type of treatment just to have a direction. I think really the not knowing can be way worse than the situation you're going to because you have no hope. Is this going to end at a certain time versus my life? Is this the way it's going to be forever.

Anita:

Right. And then one day, thankfully, when the mail arrived, Jarrod went, he walked to the mailbox, he pulled out in the mail, and inside of it...

Jarrod:

I actually beat my kids to the mailbox.

Anita:

And inside it was a medical journal and with an article in it about inflammation. And, he opened it, and he found this article and after reading it, he said hey, I think there's something in here we need to try.

Jarrod:

Yeah, it was interesting because it talked about how foods and certain things could either contribute to inflammation or may help to heal it, maybe help to reverse it. So one of the things is it talked about oils and omega sixes and omega three oil. So we we did a little research and looked and there was one particular oil we had settled on we thought grapeseed oil, thought, "Oh, this is great." So we at our local Costco, we actually found some that was already a big bottle, it was super cheap. And we felt like we hit the lottery with this one. And so we started using it. But then over the next few months of it, she still declined. And I think at that point, we really didn't make a connection with it just because it was still a decline. And I think and I can only say it was divine inspiration, I thought let me look at this again. I started looking at what the omega threes and the Omega sixes were. And it turned out that the grapeseed oil was the exact opposite of what we should have been doing. I had a lot more of the bad oil and a lot less of the good oil. I thought oh my goodness. You know, here I thought we were doing what should have been the best oil for us and actually turned out that was probably one of the worst. So we quickly made a change. And then it was a light.

Anita:

Yeah. And so then one day Do you remember the day you came home and you notice there was something that was different after we changed back and we got rid of the grapeseed oil and...

Jarrod:

Well I remember walking in the house and smell dinner. A lot of times, dinner wasn't started yet before I got home. I remember dinner and family coming in and I remember very vividly I remember standing in the kitchen back against the wall. There's a little built in desk to my side. And I think I'd set my keys down. And I was looking in the kitchen, I saw Anita moving. And it was just she was moving a little more freely than what she normally did. And she didn't really say much or call attention to it. But I said, Are you feeling better? Because you seem like you're moving better. And she would take her arms and she was moving her elbows, and she had a little bit better range of motion. And so I said, "Are you feeling better?"

Anita:

Yeah. And I told him, I said, Actually, I started moving my arms. And I said, I think I'm about 25% better. I mean, this is I hadn't thought about it that way before. But I knew I was moving more, and I wasn't getting quite as tired as quickly. But that's when it hit us. I mean, could the answer possibly be as simple as something in our food? Could it be the food we were eating? I mean, with just one nutritional change to get 25% better that shocked us.

Jarrod:

And that was probably over the course of a couple weeks. I mean, it wasn't immediately, but it was fairly quick too.

Anita:

Yeah, and the thing is, we thought we were doing the healthy thing. Before that we thought we were doing what was helping. I mean, remember, we were eating the organic things, the grass fed meats, the hormone free dairy, right. And we thought we were eating healthy. But clearly, with just this one change, and getting that big of a benefit from it, there had to be something to us, we were on to something. And so I just remember being in tears thinking, this is the first sign of hope we've had.

Jarrod:

Exactly hope. And it gave us a glimpse into, there's something that we can do, we may actually have control over this.

Anita:

And so that started both of us digging were researchers anyway, by nature, Jarrod has a degree another degree in cellular molecular biology. And so he just was like, I'm gonna start digging this out. And I just I love to research anyway. And so we're both just pulling in the research and picking one thing. And another thing to try and along the way, we were finding a lot of it was a this thing for this nutrient and that thing for that nutrient. And over time, we were figuring out how to balance our plate how to get things, right, but then we saw other things like okay, it's not just the food, okay, stress obviously had gone through a lot of stress with my with what had gone on with my mother and with Jade's job. And so stress plays a part, right. And movement can play a part in your just your daily activities, getting some exercise, right, the Big E word. Now, I'm not talking about going to the gym, I never had a dream of being an Olympic athlete or anything, I just wanted to be healthy, I just wanted to be able to be an active part in life. Yeah, and I felt like I was just missing it. So as digging into the different research, and looking at that, and we spent years just piecing together all these things we were learning and piece by piece. And bit by bit, we were slowly figuring it out, making the changes, creating new habits, and we were starting to feel really good.

Jarrod:

And the momentum was slow in the beginning, because you don't know what you don't know. So we're finding little bits here, little bits there. Making a change, give a little time see how we felt. And maybe this made a change, maybe this one didn't. But then as time went, we felt better. We noticed some some huge changes, started finding more and more research and then just just took off from there.

Anita:

Yeah, and a huge body of the research was all about the food. And little knownst to us even having gone through medical school and nursing school and those kinds of trainings, we didn't have the kind of nutritional background that we needed. And that's very typical within the medical and nursing professions. Hopefully, that's changing and will continue to change. But we just we didn't know. And so when we were researching, we would find that a lot of it had to do with it went back to whole fruits, whole grains, whole vegetables, things like that. But we didn't know which ones were the best. And how did we get them that was just so huge. How do you get them in a way that you'll love them for life? Because let's be honest, I mean, most everybody knows I need more greens, I need more grains, I need more beans, I need more and less of the other stuff. But it's hard to recognize what's in that other stuff. That's not good. And for us. It was just hard to know how, like, how do you get those things? I know I need them, but how can I get them in a way that tastes good? That's easy enough that it's going to work with my busy lifestyle. So they'll do it forever so that I enjoy it so that it tastes good because a lot of the recipes that we tried along the way, you know, they would look healthy and you try them and they tasted bad. I mean, where was the flavor land? Yeah, nobody wants to eat that way. We didn't want to eat that way. We love food. So thankfully, along the way we were able to piece these things together but a huge portion of it came back to food for us.

Jarrod:

Now along the way there as well, we finally found some documentaries. A popular one Forks Over Knives and there were some other ones. And that really awakened our awareness of not just doing better, because we cut back on some things like we cut back on meats and cut back on dairy and increased the plants. But at that point, we realized, listen, the answers in the plants. It's just there. And seeing that that's when we went all in. However, just like you were saying, it didn't really address the question of how to do this. Now you how to do in a way that tastes delicious, the way that I will enjoy because our diets prior to that, prior to all of this happening, we're very heavy in meat and dairy. That's what we were used to, and that's what we enjoyed

Anita:

The Dairy Queen, that's what I lovingly call myself. And it was so true. I mean all the time, dairy, dairy, dairy, or, or meat. I mean, it had to be at least daily. Meat in something, meat on something, oil in something and then I was raised Southern girl and my parents under restaurant when I was growing up, and we just sat down home country cooking. So I had to figure out how do you how do you upgrade your recipes? How do you do it in a way that it tastes really great. And we knew we didn't want to go on a diet. I mean, we've seen people just go through misery with that we were carrying extra pounds to both of us living this way, we ended up losing over 55 pounds together. And we weren't even trying to lose weight. So that was just, it was such an amazing thing. We knew we didn't want to count calories, we didn't want to count points, we did not want to deprive ourselves of the amount of food we wanted to eat. So small portions were not going to work for us. We didn't want to deprive ourselves of food that tasted good, because we knew that wasn't ever going to work for us in the long run. So over the years, we just spent a lot of time figuring out how, how do you live a simple plant based life that tastes really great and will work long term for busy family, or just in general, too. I mean, we knew we were gonna get busier because we wanted to start our business and we started getting our energy back. And we started seeing those dreams come back into focus again.

Jarrod:

And it was exciting because at that point, we knew that we were stumbling on a winning formula.

Anita:

Mm hmm.

Jarrod:

So also, with these changes, we started having friends noticing, Hey, you, you're doing better. And maybe if we're being honest, there was probably we weren't complaining as much either or the it was less of the "Hey, would you pray for me?" I mean, they noticed a change. Yeah. And they started asking, Hey, what are you doing? And we started sharing. This, especially early on, started sharing just little bits and pieces. And they started trying the same things and they started getting improvement.

Anita:

Well, I remember when they came to us. They'd say things like, I don't know what to do. I'm in a similar situation you're in and I can see how your life's changed. And, you know, I keep getting told where you're just Well, you're just getting older. Or I had one friend that went to the doctor, and she just took herself there and walked up the stairs and sat down to wait and use every ounce of energy. She had to get there. And she's just waiting for this answer. And and at the end of the, at the end of the visit, the provider turned to walk out of the room and she said, Well, what am I supposed to do? And the provider said to her, well, what's your favorite food? And she said pasta, and the provider turned to her? And she said, You can never have pasta again. I mean, how is that gonna work? Tell me how that's gonna work for somebody who likes pasta? How are you going to be able to not eat it? No, what you what she needed was an answer. She needed to know how to have it in a way that was would provide her body with what it needed. But she wasn't getting that. And so these people started coming at us. I had another friend call me and say, Look, I'm aching, my joints are aching. I'm paying for this gold standard plan. And I'm going to see my provider and

Jarrod:

It's at a very well known institution.

Anita:

Yeah, I mean, and to have extra access and going in with arthritis and hurting all over my joints are hurting. I just need answers. You know, and just being told you have arthritis, this is just how it's going to be you're just going to have to deal with it. And we just weren't okay with people hearing that because we knew we knew where we were and we knew that we hadn't gotten the answer

Jarrod:

The transformation we had experienced.

Anita:

Somebody had just told us these things if somebody just shown us how, how do you do it? So that's where we were and then we started working with different people with... with different friends or clients that would just come to us one on one and want to know what to do and we started sharing with them about our journey and what we had found in the research and we started getting text and and daily messages. Just look I've gone from a size 14 and now I'm a size four and I wasn't even trying or this pain in my neck that was excruciating. That was a nine out of 10, it's a zero. And then we get things like, Well, every day, I need less insulin. And that just was, it was just joy to us. I mean, it just, there's no way to describe the blessing of getting those texts of all the success stories,

Jarrod:

In one of those individuals even had had shared with us that they felt like they had gotten food freedom. Now, yeah, that they felt like the standard diet that there was almost this, this addictive hold that it had in that by going whole food plant based that they were free from that the food was fueling their bodies. But it wasn't it didn't have a hole where they were thinking of their next meal. Right as they were finishing their current meal.

Anita:

Yeah, because when you get freed from that, all of a sudden, you're no longer planning the next meal and the next meal. It's amazing how much time you have to focus on what really matters, which is relationships, or building that business that you dream of building or whatever that is for you. But the more important things in life, spending time with your children instead of worrying about what you're going to eat. I mean, there's so much freedom when you can understand these things. And really, that's how we discovered our true passion. And we are passionate for helping people to successfully adopt healthy plant based like we've been able to do. So they think they can get their lives back. Not just so you can get more fruits and vegetables and just so you can be healthy. Why? Why do you want to be healthy? Why did we want to be healthy? We had dreams, we had aspirations, we had goals, we had things we look forward to. And we wanted to create and help them create in their life. unlimited possibilities, because that's what this is all about. It's not about, oh, I'm gonna eat healthy I'm gonna get why why do you need that for yourself? What is your possibility that you want to see become reality that you feel like you've been missing out on because you're on this, you feel like you're sitting on the sidelines, just watching life happen around you.

Jarrod:

And this is our mission, because we know what it's like to feel like our dreams are being stolen?

Anita:

Absolutely.

Jarrod:

By health issues. Just it's almost like it just disappears right before you. To be exhausted, hurting, overweight. And we actually had some other health health issues as well that have cleared up, so we know what it's like.

Anita:

Yeah, but thanks to this amazing lifestyle, we know it's possible to get back to living a life you've always dreamed of. And today, we enjoy traveling together. We enjoy building castles in the sand with our babies. We enjoy playing Chase, and spending our time serving others together. Well, now you know the story behind why we've made it our mission

Jarrod:

You know the nitty gritty.

Anita:

Yeah, the lowdown on why we made it our mission to help others like you to get possibilities back to and that's what it's all about. That's what this podcast is all about. So if you find yourself in a situation like the one we were in, and you're feeling so discouraged with your help right now, and all of the daily missed opportunities, Jarrod and I want you to know that there is hope for you and that things can get better and you do not need to give up. Thank you for joining us today. We have a loved having you here. Oh, and we have some exciting episodes coming up. So be sure to subscribe right now hit that follow button so you don't miss a single episode. And, we'll see you again next time on Smarter Healthy Living.