What benefits have you found in a vegan diet? (Reduced pain, higher energy levels, weight loss, etc.)
I have experienced so many good benefits from the low fat vegan lifestyle. For most of my life, I have been 95 lbs more than I am now and had a love affair with sugar since I was 8 years old. I have been on and off diets my entire life but always gained what I had lost plus some. In July 2007, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes with my blood sugar 441. The doctors kept throwing more and more medication at me, resulting in 2 shots of Byetta plus 5 pills a day to try to control my diabetes. They told me to limit my carbs and follow the Mediterranean diet.
In February 2008, I started having shortness of breath and angina pain in my jaw and left arm. An angiogram revealed I needed 5 bypasses since 3 of my arteries were 100 percent blocked, one was 90 pct and the last was 80 pct blocked. I started having angina again within 3 months of my operation, They prescribed more meds to control the daily angina resulting in me taking 13 pills a day and 2 shots a day for many years.
In 2010, I found Dr. Barnard's book on reversing diabetes and within a few months came off the shots and reduced my other diabetes medication by half. However, I had not learned my lesson regarding sugar yet. After being on this lifestyle for 18 months, I fell off the wagon during the holidays and started eating the Standard American Diet again and back into the sugar addiction again. I also developed severe arthritis all over my body that same year due to all the inflammation.
In 2014, I ended up in the Cleveland Clinic with severe angina. The end result was 8 stents and being told upon discharge that I would be back in the hospital within 6 months with yet another cardiac event. I turned low fat vegan over night once again after reading about heart disease and Dr. Esselstyn's program which is basically the same as PRCM that I was very familiar with.
It has been two years now that I received those stents and I have continued to thrive with this lifestyle. Remember those 13 pills and 2 shots a day....GONE!!! I take one half pill a day now. Gone are the diabetes, angina, weight issues, sugar carvings, low energy and arthritis. I love this way of life and the power that I have when I finally took control of my body!
How did you learn about a plant-based diet, and what motivated you to change your diet?
A friend of mine from a weight lost support group shared Dr. Barnard's book on reversing diabetes originally in 2010. Fear motivated me to change because I was feeling tired all the time and my blood sugar was always out of control. Unfortunately, I didn't realized how much power sugar had over my life and I fell back into the same trap 18 months after having success with the program. I had a hard lesson to learn about myself!
How did the Physicians Committee influence your success? (21-Day Kickstart, Kickstart Plus, Food for Life class, lecture, etc)
After initially reading Reversing Diabetes book, I thought well nothing else I have ever tried to help control my blood sugar had worked before and his concept was completely different. I also had a fear of the carbs because as a diabetic we are told to limit your carbs and never knowing the difference between simple and complex carbs. Now I get it, and you just can't unknow the science now. Whole foods plant-based (WFPB) has forever changed my life. I have totally embraced this lifestyle and reaping all the beautiful benefits of feeling healthy.
What are your new favorite meals?
Oh gosh so many great recipes out there. I love trying new WFPB recipes. One of my favorite simple dinners is a baked Japanese sweet potatoe piled high with steamed kale, pinto beans, chopped red pepper, scallions and mango with salsa. Delicious. We also love stir fry vegetables over brown rice and pasta primavera! We never miss the meat!