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Last week we met Angie, who lowered her cholesterol and lost 70lbs after going to a plant-based diet! Today we meet my friend Pam, who has lost 67 lbs and was able to raise her iron level and is no longer anemic!
HH: What brought you to a plant-based diet?
Two years ago, I was desperate to do something about my gradual weight gain. I tried to "watch what I ate" one final time, ending up losing a few pounds and gaining them back plus one extra pound that qualified me for gastric bypass surgery. I wasn't THAT desperate.
I found a weight-loss group (Biggest Loser-style) with an amazing weight-loss coach. She was wonderful at being up on the latest research and inspired us to do the same. Although she isn't vegan, I found and devoured delicious vegan books.
HH: Did you make a gradual switch to plant-based or pull a 180?
I gradually cleaned my diet up more and more, giving up animals and animal products. A year and a half later and many more books read, I was down 67 pounds and felt as energetic as I did in my twenties! I can't believe how fantastic I feel!
HH: Is your family supportive?
My biggest challenge has been that my husband and children are not converts. Living with carnivores and being the main cook is TOUGH! I'm still struggling with this but found a few things that help. For example, I try to balance cooking for them and cooking for me and cooking for us all. I also respectfully ask my husband grill his own carcass.
HH: Did you experience any other benefits in addition to weight-loss?
My annual blood work showed nothing but improvements across the board. My iron skyrocketed (from 19 to 85), my thyroid, cholesterol and liver levels rocked. My anemia and "female issues" disappeared. I found the whole iron/anemia thing amusing - I gave up red meat and cured my anemia.
Turns out my type A blood does not assimilate iron from red meat but welcomes iron from leafy greens with open arms. Same with calcium. Gave up dairy and my calcium levels improved because of the leafy greens. Why hadn't anyone told me of this before???
Overall, being vegan brings a wonderful sense of calm and I feel so incredibly in-tuned with my body and I know exactly what the issue is. All I have to do is ask.
HH: What does your coach think of your improvements?
My coach asked me to return to her group as a speaker on the benefits of a plant-based diet. I loved doing that and want to spread the word as much as I possibly can. I aspire to maybe take this message to the local elementary schools so we can start the healthy habits early.
HH: What advice do you give to those considering this lifestyle but are on the fence?
I want to encourage any future Herbies that might be reading this: *Don't get stuck on "giving something up". You'll gain something wonderful! Sure, I've given up some things, but I've gained my life back. No price tag on that one! *Keep an open heart and an open mind about trying new things. No excuses. Try it before you feed yourself "I can'ts". Read 'em up yum and find what works for YOU!
UPDATE: Two years later Pam checked in with an update. Read her progress here.