Happy Herbivore Blog

March 6, 2014

Herbie of the Week: Holly (She's Lowered Her Cholesterol, Lost Weight & Educating Others!)

Meet our Herbie of the Week: Holly!

A couple months ago, Holly sent me an email about her experience since going plant-based:

"My hubby is a preacher and was out of town this Sunday. We asked our congregation to submit questions they would like for me to answer during the sermon time. I picked the top 20 and nervously stepped up front to give my answers to easy questions like, "How did you and Adam meet," to more difficult questions like, " Do you think you will have another baby." Another question was, "Why did you go vegan and how long have you been doing it?" I explained that we started for cholesterol reasons and continued for many reasons. I mentioned a few other perks-weight loss, clear skin, more energy, more focus, better sleep.... The "perks" list is lengthy!

Since that talk, I have had 2 people contact me with questions about giving up meat and dairy. I directed them to your website, cookbooks and videos they want to start a support group and have me teach them to eat better. Your encouragement continues to be contagious. Thank you HH!"

As soon as I read that I just had to have Holly share her story!

I have been following Lindsay's blog for years and have read every story. I hope my story helps someone as much as all the others Herbies have helped me.

Two years ago my mother-in-law passed away suddenly at the age of 62 from a stroke brought on by years of high blood pressure and high choloesterol. Last December, my husband asked me if we could watch Forks Over Knives again and try a plant-based diet around the house.

I have been an on-again, off-again vegetarian for years and was delighted that he was interested. We both have yo-yo dieted for years. Diet pills, Weight Watchers (I hit my goal weight twice for about a week each time), exercise programs. We just couldn't find anything that worked for longer than a few months.

In addition, our blood work was not good. My cholesterol was creeping up and my husband's was still high, even while on medication. His blood pressure was also starting to creep up. We could see that what we were doing was not working. I would have told you that we were eating a pretty healthy diet... chicken breasts instead of hamburgers, low-fat milk instead of whole, low-fat sour cream. Sound familiar?

So we made the switch January 4, 2013 to a plant-based approach to food. Within a week, we saw changes...better skin, more energy, and no cravings for meat or dairy. It did not seem possible!

Weight started to fall off my husband, and to slowly melt off of me. We had blood work done at the 6 month mark and we both had great numbers in every category. We knew we were on to something!

We just passed the one year mark and I cannot wait to see what our numbers are now. I know that my husband has dropped 50 lbs, has stopped taking his BP and cholesterol meds, and has shocked his doctor. I have lost 15 lbs and feel better than I ever have.

Lindsay asked me, "at what point did you start telling people about your new way of eating?"

That was a little difficult for us. We told a few close friends and family, including my friend Elizabeth who has been plant-based for years. She started sending me recipes and helpful hints that she uses in her kitchen. My husband is a pastor and we were not ready to talk to the entire church about it until we knew for sure that we were ALL IN.

Recently, my husband talked about it in church. He talked about being unhealthy and watching his mom die. He did not want to follow that trajectory. He said that he just could not continue to eat that way anymore. We have seen some react with curiosity, and we have fielded lots of really great questions.

One Sunday my husband was out of town, and for fun I filled in during the teaching time by answering any questions from the congregation. One question was, "Why did you go vegan and how long have you been doing it?"

I explained that we started for the purpose of reducing our cholesterol, but have kept going for a long list of reasons. I hate taking medicine and seem to always forget to take it like I should. It is easier for me to remember to not eat cheese than to take a pill everyday! I also expressed that I would be happy to talk about this to anyone who wanted to know more.

Since that Sunday, I have been asked to start a small group meeting to answer questions, share recipe and tips, and help explore the path of plant-based eating. Folks have been pinning recipes from my Pinterest boards. There is some curiosity brewing, and that makes me excited to see what is next!

I am so happy to be able to help others the way that Lindsay and the Happy Herbivore community have helped me.

I know my favorite part of this series is always the pictures.

Here I am 13 years ago:

And here I am now:

BTW... 2 kids later

Here is my husband Adam 12 years ago:

Here he is now:

When I went looking for pictures, I was a little sad that we let ourselves get so overweight and unhealthy while we were in our late 20's and our early 30's, but I am so grateful that we decided to make the change. 40 is not too late! I feel better now than I did when I was 27. That is a miracle! I am grateful for the change, grateful to be on this journey with my husband and family and can't wait to see how we look at 50 and forward.

Thanks Herbies!

Thank YOU, Holly, for sharing your story and teaching others about being plant-stong!

UPDATE March 2013

The last couple of months have been fantastic! I started a healthy lifestyle class at our church. I have been getting texts and phone call from friends who are meal planning or grocery shopping asking for specific products or help planning for the week. So many success stories- kicking soda addiction, dramatic weight loss, increased exercise, trying new foods and enjoying how you feel after eating real food. I love sharing what I have learned from Lindsay and all the Herbies.

I made dinner for class one night and fed 25 people for $24.87! The menu included "Cheater" Pad Thai (HHC), Black Bean Chili, Buffalo Style Cauliflower, HH Lentil Loaf (HHA), mashed potatoes and banana-oatmeal-peanut butter cookies. That night busted the myth that eating healthy food has to cost a lot of money.

Thank you for sharing my story. I am so glad that I found the Happy Herbivore cookbooks. Watching Forks Over Knives and buying that first Happy Herbivore cookbook changed my life and health forever. That is a gift I can't repay but will do all I can to pay forward.

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