May 9, 2012
Herbie of the Week: Ryan
Last week we met Julie, who has lost 60lbs since going plant-based a year ago! This week we meet Ryan, who resolved all her stomach issues, and more, after going plant-based.
HH: What made you decide to try a plant-based (vegan) diet?
I decided to try a plant based diet after watching Forks Over Knives. My gastroenterologist previously recommended giving up dairy and artificial sweeteners and I did fine on that. However, as soon as I saw FOK, from that moment forward, I cut out all meat, seafood and eggs as well. I knew the benefits were high and would help with the stomach problems which have plagued me for years. I have literally spent thousands on doctors in the past few years.
HH: Have you experienced any benefits since making the switch?
All stomach issues are gone now! No cramping, throwing up, or having to spend the night in the bathroom after a large meal. I no longer get afternoon headaches. I have lost 38 pounds so far, and am still losing. My skin and hair are in better shape. I don't have bouts of shakiness due to low blood sugar anymore.
HH: You live in the deep south. Have you found it challenging to be plant-based there?
It's not that hard to find plant based food and ingredients here. However, we only have one farmers market and one health food cooperative here, both of which I frequent weekly. There are also only 2 vegan restaurants in my town, so I cook most all of my meals at home. I bring lunch to work every single day without fail. Planning is key for me. I do not leave the house without something to eat, period.
HH: And socially? Are your friends and family supportive?
My family and friends have been very supportive so far. My mom has been adapting recipes so I can eat them. They sometimes forget that I have to read labels constantly and they actually apologize when I say no thank you to something that has eggs in it, for instance. But its ok to me. MY DESIRE TO BE HEALTHY IS STRONGER THAN MY DESIRE TO EAT ANIMAL PRODUCTS. The hardest thing is convincing people I am doing this for my health. I guess people think I'm turning into a hippie or something, I don't know.
HH: Like many women, you struggled with the cycle of losing and gaining weight, but not this time. What's changed?
This time HAS been easier for me. Something finally clicked with me. This is a true lifestyle. Not a diet. I know I will eat like this for the rest of my life. Eating animal based foods are simply not an option for me anymore, and the truth is, I don't miss it one bit! I am having so much fun with the Happy Herbivore Cookbook, Everyday Happy Herbivore, experimenting on my own, and trying new vegetables. My food is NOT boring by any means!
HH: Any advice or closing thoughts for those looking to make the leap to a plant-based diet?
Educate yourself and find like minded people, in real life or online. I do not know a single vegan person in real life! I scour the net for recipes, ideas, etc. That's how I found out about Happy Herbivore! Shop the perimeter of the grocery store and be willing to try new things. Spaghetti squash is a new fave!
Lastly, I would just like to share that I think this is the single best health decision I have ever made in my 31 years of life!! I simply do not understand how people can knowingly continue to consume garbage!!! If I can do this lifestyle, anyone can! I used to eat fast food about 10 times a week!!!
Thanks so much for sharing Ryan!