Rosanne Calabrese is a Nationally Board Certified and Florida State Licensed Acupuncture Physician and Practioner of Oriental medicine since 2002. In this interview we learn more about her vegan journey. 

Sean Russell: First I want to thank you for taking the time to speak with us. I’ve heard your name come up a few times by members of our community and it’s great to be able to finally pick your brain for SoFlo Vegans. How did you first decide to adopt a plant-based vegan lifestyle?

Rosanne Calabrese: You are very welcome. And I want to thank you for the work you do spreading the word about veganism!

In 1992 my brother-in-law had been suffering from severe ulcerative colitis for many years. He was at the point where the doctors were going to remove a large part of his colon when he decided to follow Dr. Fred Bisci PhD. Fred is a well-known raw foodist in New York and has helped thousands of people. My brother-in-law was under his care and fasting for nearly 30 days. As he went through the whole process he completely healed his ulcerative colitis. Through this process he shared the information with my husband and I and we decided to give it a try though we had no health issues at the time. I had never been a big meat eater and really did not even prepare animal protein in my home. As a matter of fact as a child I used to feed it to the dog under the table! LOL.

I was anemic at the time we started and within just two months my anemia resolved completely.

I would also like to add that I was a firefighter at the time. I was hired in 1990 by Deerfield Beach and in 1991 by Miami-Dade county!

Sean Russell: So what changes did you make to your diet once you received this information? It sounds like your lifestyle was pretty clean at the time all of this happened.

Rosanne Calabrese: I was raised with a high fruit and vegetable diet, but of course there were the things in my diet that were processed. And although I wasn’t a huge cheese eater, I did eat some as well as occasional ice cream etc. When I became vegan I made sure that I ate nothing with dairy whatsoever. I began to investigate soy milk (which I don’t do these days). And at the time I did some alternative meat products. I also went gluten-free. So at first I feel like I focused more on not eating animal than on eating extremely healthy.

Overtime my diet got much better, but it wasn’t until nearly 10 years ago when I had Graves Disease, Hashimoto’s and a thyroid issue that I went to strictly fruits and vegetables and nearly 100% raw diet.

Sean Russell: I know one of the biggest concerns when switching to a plant-based lifestyle is nutrients. What should someone know before deciding to eat this way?

Rosanne Calabrese: I think the most important thing to know is that it is actually not very complicated to acquire all of the nutrients you need in a plant based diet. The goal is to eat a species specific diet. For humans that is basically being a frugivore consuming a variety of fruit and vegetables of all different colors along with a small amount of nuts and seeds. I also feel that it is a myth that obtaining an optimal level of nutrients in a plant-based diet is in any way a problem. Unless of course you are eating processed vegan foods. Otherwise it is nearly impossible to not get enough macronutrients, micronutrients, hydration and energy from this type of diet.

A paleo diet or keto diet or diet according to your blood type never takes into consideration the vast amount of nutrients that they are missing. Not to mention that these diets are mostly dead, nutrient depleted and destroyed food. They focus on macronutrients such as protein, fats and carbohydrates and never truly understand micronutrients, fiber or the energetic aspect of food. My diet is 60 to 75% fruit and the rest vegetables. There’s a smattering of nuts and seeds in my diet but definitely not on a daily basis and sometimes I can go weeks without any nuts at all.

I rarely eat anything processed. I have been on a vegan diet for 28 years and for the last 9 years I have consumed the diet I mentioned above as has my husband who is a 57 year old computer software engineer and incredible athlete. The night before a high-energy endurance event he consumes a great deal of fruit which includes between a quarter and a half of a watermelon. He is unstoppable!!!

So to answer your question in one line eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, enough to fulfill your caloric needs throwing a little bit of nuts and seeds. If you absolutely positively have to have grains or beans keep them to a minimum.

Sean Russell: Are there any instances where eating too much fruit or having a combination of different types of foods in combination with a lot of fruit could prove harmful?

Rosanne Calabrese: I have not yet found in all these years in practice an instance where you can eat too much fruit. However I will say for the long term you must also have vegetables especially leafy greens in the diet because vegetables bring a level a minerals that fruit does not. And ounce for ounce vegetables will provide more protein. Though again there is not an issue of a lack of protein in this diet. I have heard people speak of combining things like avocado and fruit, meaning fat and fruit can cause issues. Well I have seen it possibly affect digestion and that’s why in my book I do include a food combining chart, I personally have not seen it cause an issue in any of my patients.

Rosanne Calabrese

The first picture is me at age 46 following a thyroid storm and a diagnosis of Graves Disease and Hashimoto’s. The picture next to it is me at age 54.

This is my husband, his diet is 60 to 75% fruit, the rest mostly vegetables and then some nuts and seeds mostly hemp seeds

Rosanne Calabrese

The picture was taken at a tough mudder competition 13 miles and 20-something obstacles he was 50 years old at the time and had already started the fruit and vegetable diet some months before. He was vegan 18 years at that point. Today he is 57 years old will be 58 in May and is in even better shape then at age 50!

Sean Russell: I see that you wrote a book about healing on a plant-based diet. Can you tell us more about it?

Rosanne Calabrese: Yes I’d love to tell you about the book! I wrote the book as a result of going through my own illnesses and recovery. I never really meant to write a book. I just journaled after I healed about what I had gone through. It was very cathartic for me and one day my husband happened to read it. He told me I should put it on a blog and I actually asked what a blog is! Once I understood I put it up on the blog and soon I was getting tons of people from around the world writing to me. As I had started to do detox with my acupuncture patients once I learned about the process for myself, I would give them little handouts to help them through their detox. And then one day while on vacation with my husband, as he was writing a software book, I decided I wanted to write one.

So I started with my blog and then wrote out the table of contents. It is now one of the most important tools we give our patients who are following detox. We also have a webinar series as well as a private detox forum on our website to support them fully. You can learn more about me and Partners in Healing.

I have been in practice for 18 years as a licensed acupuncture physician. I have always used nutrition in my practice along with Chinese herbs Western herbs and homeopathic remedies. I work on both acute and chronic issues meaning anything from a back injury or a flu, two chronic debilitating diseases like high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases and diabetes.

I have an incredible staff of practitioners many of which are vegan. We cover everything from acupuncture detoxification nutrition, Iridology homeopathy chiropractic lymphatic drainage massage bamboo fusion deep tissue massage reflexology.

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