A Guest Post By Maureen McCartan (Sarah’s mom)
In September of 2013, my daughter Sarah asked if she could move back into her old room for awhile, during a transition time in her life, and of course I was happy to have an adult roommate. Also, being the excellent vegan cook that she is, she offered to prepare most meals, and I jumped at the chance to sample whatever she created and even to clean up after. I have been a vegetarian/pescatarian for many years, but decided that eating whatever vegan concoctions she made was fine, and I could always throw some cheese on it. I told her repeatedly that cheese was the one thing I didn’t think I could give up. When she explained to me about casein, the stuff in cheese that sits like glue in your tummy, my feelings began to change.
January 1, 2014 she challenged me to be totally vegan for one month. I figured I could handle anything for a month, so why not? Interestingly enough, it was well into February when I realized that way over a month had passed and I was not craving cheese or other dairy at all. In February when I went for my annual visit to my family practice doctor, and we sat down to review blood work and general health, things just got even better. My blood pressure was 110/74, and my cholesterol had dropped over 40 points over the past year. He asked me if I was on any medication, and I quickly replied, “Just my daily calcium and multivitamin, but I now have a totally vegan diet.” He basically said, “Keep doing what you are doing because it works.” Talk about motivation. Then March 1, Sarah launched this blog, and I was so excited to be a part of it and continued to be her helper in the kitchen, her “sous chef,” becoming more and more interested in not only the vegan diet, but the total lifestyle.
Note from Sarah: Not only does my mom go with me on foodie field trips to the market and help me pick out fresh local eats to cook up together, she is the best sous chef I could ask for. For more about her vegan switch, check out this piece featured in Live Vegan’s newsletter.
I have been an exercise nut for many years, and more specifically, a former marathon runner back in my early 30s. Running has been an integral part of my life for over 35 years and I ran competitively up until my 50s. Throughout Sarah’s childhood I coached an elementary running school program she participated in.
Note from Sarah: I know it looks a bit suspicious, but I swear we were drinking post-race water in those beer cups.
I continued to coach running and run for my own personal fitness throughout Sarah’s teenage and college years. She convinced me to do a few 5K races last year, so I picked up my running a bit and completed those and enjoyed them very much. But last summer and most of the summers over the past few years, I have done very little running, citing the heat as not worth the effort, and resorted to walking.
Not this year. In April, I had the privilege of cheering Sarah through her very first marathon in Nashville, and wow, did that bring back the memories for me. I completed eight marathons, way back when, including Boston in 1982. I was living vicariously through her excitement and sense of exhilaration. I came away from that determined to get back into a regular running routine, even if it was only a few days a week and not very fast.
Note from Sarah: Can we just acknowledge how insanely impressive my mom’s time was at Boston?! Thank you. That is all.
Who knew that a little Nike running app on your phone could push you to try so hard? I ran in the 80s with no headphones, no fancy phone, and very minimal shoes. Using an app has encouraged me to monitor my running and be accountable to myself. And Sarah’s own Base Training Plan has encouraged me to keep a simple plan for myself and stick to it. I have been involved in yoga for several years, so keeping that going two days a week along with running at least three times, and walking my dog every day of the week, has motivated me to keep on pushing to be better and better.
And I feel great. I turned 65 in March. Yesterday, Sarah and I went for a four mile run together, in the Florida heat and humidity and we sweated until we were dripping, but we were so proud of each other, and were just thankful we were alive and healthy and able to run together.
We hear stories every day of how parents inspire their children. How about how my child inspires me, again and again, to be the best I can be at 65!
Note from Sarah: My mom is the best friend I could ever ask for. Without her, I wouldn’t be half the health-enthused vegan, animal lover, avid runner, or determined woman I am today. I am going to miss having her right by my side this fall as I embark upon a new adventure in St. Augustine. That said, I am beyond excited to have her join me in November for the St. Augustine Half Marathon Family Weekend.
Anyone else have a mutually inspirational mother-daughter relationship?