Caroline Trapp wants you to give yourself three weeks -- OK, four counting a week to prepare to do it right -- to become a vegetarian.
Trapp, a nurse practitioner and director of diabetes education and care for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, offered that challenge in a series of talks sponsored by the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford and Vegetarians in Motion last week.
Her main message was that a low-fat, plant-based diet can be just as effective as some medicines in fighting type 2 diabetes. But she didn't discount other possible benefits such as weight control, more energy and better-looking skin.
"You can do anything for three weeks," said Trapp, referring to a kick-start support program the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine will offer at www.pcrm.org/kickstart beginning Jan. 1. "The important thing before starting kick-start is the week of preparation."
She said that week is when "all the troublemaker foods" such as meats, dairy products, eggs and high-fat processed foods get cleaned out of the house and are replaced by fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans.
"I always say to my patients, 'Don't walk out the door of this office visit thinking 'OK, that's it, I'm going vegan,' " said Trapp, who is board certified in adult primary care, diabetes education and advanced diabetes management. "Because when you encounter 'OK, what am I going to make for dinner,' and you don't have the right foods in the house, you throw up your hands and say, 'Oh, I can't do this.'