Part 1: Why we switched to Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet

 This is the story of why we switched to a Whole-Foods, Plant-Based (WFPB) Lifestyle. 

  1. Dusty has been allergic to the sun the last few years and thought it couldn’t hurt to detox his body and hope that the allergy goes away. 
  2. By chance, I happened to see that my sister liked a group on Facebook called Engine 2 Seven- Day Rescue Reboot Challenge Group .

For whatever reason, I clicked into the Facebook Group, read what the 7- Day Challenge would entail and that’s where our journey really started. Whatever you want to call it: Divine Intervention, right place/right time or the stars were aligned…. the short version of why we went Whole-Foods, Plant-Based (and liked it) boils down to those 2 reasons.

How sun exposure affects Dusty

Dusty has an overnight job and for the last five years he breaks out in a hive/rash on any area of skin that is directly exposed to sunlight. He’s fine in the shade. We always joked that maybe his night job turned him into a vampire. Except, it’s not really funny because the rash keeps him from being able to enjoy a normal, outdoor lifestyle that includes direct sunlight. Such as:

  • Walking from the vehicle to a store
  • mowing the lawn
  • weeding the garden
  • shoveling snow from the sidewalk (we live in MN)
  • standing in the sun talking to friends in the backyard

It happens quickly for him. Within minutes he’s covered in a rash of tiny hives that itch and are so red & irritated that it makes my eyes water. These pictures were taken after applying sunscreen and taking an antihistamine.

√ Uticaria

Solar Uticaria Solar Uticaria

Dusty finally came to a realization that this isn’t going to go away on its own so he made an appointment with his primary physician which led to a dermatology specialist and ended with a referral to experts at the Mayo Clinic,  Solar Urticaria was the diagnosis.

A few things about Solar Urticaria

  •  It’s very, very specific in a realm of different forms of Urticaria. His body hit the bullseye of something so specific and rare, affecting only 3 in 100,000 people.
  • It’s totally benign. Solar Urticaria is not a result of something more serious that is going on inside the body.
  • There is no known cure,  you can only manage the symptoms.
  • It develops in your late 30’s to early 40’s and can either get better or worse with time. It could even go away. Only time will tell. 
  • When asked about how a WFPB diet might affect Solar Urticaria, the Mayo specialist said that it certainly couldn’t hurt and they would always suggest a diet full of fruits and vegetables.



So why Whole-Foods, Plant-Based (WFPB)?

As I mentioned, I saw that my sister, Stacy, liked a Facebook group and I decided to click into it. It was a seven-day challenge in which you avoid eating meat, dairy, salt, oil and sugar, also known as the SAD Diet, the Standard American Diet. Trust me, we’ve excelled on the SAD Diet. We grew up eating dairy, meat and processed foods (and lots of it). Quite frankly, we loved eating that way. Obviously we knew we should be eating better. As I like to say, we’ve never denied ourselves a calorie.

I told Dusty about the challenge and we both agreed that we’d like to give it a try.  That was that. We’ve never yo-yo dieted but for some reason, we took this challenge seriously.  Our start date would be Thursday, January 6th.  Thursday is an odd start date but that is when we could commit to the 7 day challenge. So, commit we did.

We ordered the book on Amazon, figuratively signed the challenge and joined the Facebook group for support.  We found the movie version of the book (LOL) on Netflix- search: Forks Over Knives Presents: The Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue. When Dusty watched Rip make the Engine 2 Raise the Roof Lasagna  he said, ” I can eat this way”. 

We meal planned, read the book and then started educating ourselves on the benefits of eating WFPB . We found an endless source of documentaries on You Tube. Oh my stars!!!

Our eyes opened to the reality of how meat impacts our health & environment. To be blunt, this wasn't about the animals or the environment when we started. We had purely selfish motives- to improve our health. However, once we… Click To Tweet

The seven days came and went and we quickly noticed physical changes. More importantly, we educated ourselves about the effects of the SAD diet. Now that we know, we KNOW! We can’t ignore the facts about how eating a diet that excludes meat, dairy, salt, oil and sugar not only prevents but also reverses food-related disease (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, blockage, etc.). Food can be either poison or medicine since you put it in your body everyday.  Again, once you know, you KNOW! The blinders were removed and for us, there is no going back.

If you’re still reading our story, thank you! This now concludes Part 1 of why we decided to adopt a WFPB diet.

Part 2 includes immediate changes we saw to our health and what it means for Dining Duster.



  1. A vegan eating Guide for Duluth & The North Shore

    June 8, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    […] always enjoyed eating out in Duluth, MN. Switching to a WFPB way of eating has certainly not changed being able to find delicious dining out experiences in […]

  2. Jenn

    May 15, 2017 at 8:25 am

    I’ve never heard of Solar Urticaria. It’s got to be debilitating. I’m excited to see what results you saw with the plant based diet.

    1. Duster

      May 16, 2017 at 12:39 pm

      It’s not fun for him. We are enjoying plant based more than we ever thought we would!

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