Happy Herbivore Blog

April 18, 2013

Herbie of the Week: Diana (and mom Lucy too!)

Back in October (2012), Diana left this comment on Happy Herbivore's Facebook page.

"My mother and I started plant-based diet and lost a total of 30 lbs. without much exercising. She also ditched 2 meds and her doctor is thrilled. We visited Mont Tremblant which is beautiful in the fall season. My sister is becoming more of a vegetarian. My cousin got baptized. My other cousin is getting married and so is my step-niece."

I contacted Diana to offer my congrats, and through emailing, I learned there was even more inspiration behind Diana and Lucy's story. 

Diana's caption: "My mom, Lucy in wheelchair, just baptized still over-weight and on 4 meds daily, picture with Pastor's wife, Anita (standing)." 

HH: Tell us a little bit about your family history and your mom's condition.

Every year on New Year's Eve, like most families, we watched the celebration of the coming New Year. On that eve in 2004, my mother suffered a stroke due to her high blood pressure. We were fortunate enough that she didn't die from it; however, the right side of her body is never the same. She can never write again, walk the same way again, nor be able to dress herself. [Editorial note: Diana is Lucy's full-time caregiver].

So I became her caregiver almost 24/7. Her doctor's prescribed meds were increasing because we didn't want her to suffer another stroke.

My sister and I didn't believe that food would help her condition, with little thought on our own health even though we weren't young anymore. My sister, Carole, is 53 years old and I'm the baby of the family at 50.

As an avid watcher of the Dr. Oz Show, following some advice, I lost 20 lbs. — but my mother's weight and blood pressure were still unchanged. My sister's diets, with the many other diet programs she had taken up with over the years, made her weight like a roller-coaster. I didn't want that for either my mother or myself because that was not the solution.

HH: How did you find your way to a plant-based diet?

Dr. Joel Fuhrman came on the Dr. Oz show and I realized that was the way to go. I read up on Eat To Live, and started the meal plan immediately even before I finished reading the book. I was also searching for more recipes to help me continue this journey, that's when I found The Happy Herbivore Cookbook online. 

Diana's caption: "My mom, Lucy, and I with some people from church, on both sides of us and in front at Mont Tremblant. We both lost weight of 30 lbs., plant-based and happy because she's only on one med pill daily."


HH: Did you experience any benefits?

For the first three months, both my mother and I had to decrease our pant sizes. We lost a total of 30 lbs. together without almost any exercising. We were so happy. Of course, I was gloating. I know it will take a lot of vegetables to even out the number of calories to what I used to eat in one sitting, which will be impossible with our new plant-based diet.

HH: You mentioned your mom lost weight. Did she experience any other benefits?

Upon my mother's physician's visit, he saw my recordings of her blood pressure, from 4 pills a day down to one. At times, I was afraid it may be too much for my mother's normal blood pressure. Her doctor was thrilled but informed me that anyone who had suffered a stroke will tend to have a higher percentage of suffering another stroke, especially when someone happens to be wheelchair bound like my mother. So, unfortunately, my mother could not be off her meds permanently but she did tell me she felt more energy and lighter.

I noticed her skin complexion is smoother, and so is mine. I used to have scars from acne over the years. In addition to that was my rosacea problem which also disappeared.

HH: What about your sister, Carole? Is she on board?

My sister didn't join us on this plant-based journey from the beginning but when she saw the results after three months, she's becoming more of a vegetarian and joined us for dinner from time to time, losing some weight herself. Her dietitian was happy. 

Diana's caption: "Recent photo of me and my mom, Lucy, still in process of losing weight, 7 months plant-based. Jan 2013"

HH: You'd mentioned a trip earlier — can you talk more about that?

From the start of this year in June going plant-based, we went with my mother's church fellowship group to visit Mont Tremblant and also drove all the way to Toronto, Ontario for my cousin's wedding. Maintaining plant-based was a challenge for us there at the reception dinner, but we made it through. Thank you, Lindsay, for The Happy Herbivore Cookbook. It has become one of my favorites. My mother loves that African Kale & Yam Soup and of course, your famous Black Bean Brownies!

HH: Anything else you'd like to add?

Thanks, Lindsay, for posting my story. Hope this helps show that being plant-based means life with my mom's life testimony.


UPDATE: "My mom and I are still losing weight, but more slowly now. These winter months kept us indoors most of the time, so going out is very limited, especially because my mom is mostly wheelchair-bound."

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