My name is Debra Harley and I welcome you to my retirement project, this website. Over the course of a life many lessons are learned, altering deeply-rooted ideas and creating new passions. My “eureka moment” occurred when I realized the power of the foods that we put into our mouths every day. I discovered the magic of whole-food plant-based eating, jumped whole-heartedly into the lifestyle myself and was humbled by how a simple diet change could have such life-altering effects on my own personal health and life enjoyment. My goal is to share the science behind our food choices that has made such a drastic difference in the lives of myself and my family in the hopes that others can benefit.
I started life in typical Canadian fashion, eating the conventional mix of animal and plant foods that were eaten by most Canadians of the 50s and 60s. After we married, my husband and I took up dairy farming and the raising of mixed livestock. We enjoyed the bounty of such a life, revelling in our home-produced chicken, pork and beef; collecting, eating and selling eggs from our free-range hens and producing and drinking milk, the preferred drink for both children and champions for its promise of health throughout life.
At this same time, my work time was being spent in the medical field as a pharmacist. In the beginning I believed with starry-eyed enthusiasm that the myriad of new medications being released almost daily onto the pharmaceutical market would work miracles for the patients I worked with. Of course the new antibiotics were very effective in combating bacterial infections and were almost miraculous in their curative effects on many people. However, it was obvious that there was an increasing menace to our health that was not being touched by any of the emerging drugs in spite of their claims of disease eradication. These non-communicable diseases, now known as “lifestyle diseases” or “diseases of affluence”, include coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, peripheral vascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, certain cancers, gout, asthma, allergies and depression. Fortunately scientific research was not standing still and study after study confirmed the already considerable data in our files from decades of previous exploration - the foods we eat have a much greater effect on our health than we had previously believed. It was this turning point in my thinking that eventually lead to this website.
Along the way I aspire to share a couple of other passions also. Although we still live on our farm, we ceased farming about twenty five years ago. With this new free time we returned to our previous love of cycling and have since spent many years planning and guiding bicycle trips in many parts of the world. We have also discovered Newfoundland, one of the last relatively untouched places on this earth. This website will allow me to share some of our travels and discoveries.
You can contact me at cyclingplantbasedgranny@gmail.