Happy Herbivore Blog

Herbies of the Week: Where Are They Now? Andrea W, Margret, Kelsey, Ami, & Ruth H - A Year (or Two!) Later

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Herbies

I think my crowning achievement on this blog has been the Herbies of the Week series, which I look forward to every Monday!

This series started three years ago (back in 2011) and I'm always in awe, inspired, and touched, when I think about all the different people and their amazing stories, that have been shared here every week.

I've decided to start reaching out to our past Herbies of the Week to see where they are today, a year (or two) later.

What's new? Are they still rockin' and rollin'?

I hate to spoil the surprise, but the short answer: YES.

Former Herbie of the Week: Andrea W (Nov. 2012)

After discovering her husband-to-be's right coronary artery was 80% blocked and a second on a vessel was 100% blocked (which resulted in 2 stents), Andrea knew something had to change. Once they switched to a plant-based diet, she lost 20lbs, lowered her cholesterol and blood pressure, while her husband lost 15lbs and now feels great living his life. "I can pass up all the drive-throughs knowing I am going to have something much better, both health-wise and taste-wise ,when I get home." (Read Andrea's full story)

Update: "In June, my husband and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary of being plant-based. That also marked Cary’s (my husband) two year anniversary since he had an angioplasty and two stents. While we aren’t always perfect in terms of no oil when eating out, we typically cook at home and have not gone back to eating animal products. We are both happy, healthy, still slim and Cary has had no further heart issues! Honestly, I don’t believe we could have maintained this lifestyle change without Lindsay’s books. We probably use a recipe from one of her books daily. My husband and I recommend them to everybody who asks us how we changed to and have maintained our WFPB life." - Andrea W

Former Herbie of the Week: Margret (Feb. 2013)

Margret was one of the first Herbies of the Week to share her plant-based pregnancy experience! The mama-to-be made the switch (along with the rest of her family) during her first trimester and it didn't take long for her to see the difference: her weight remained balanced, stretch marks were non-existent, and she was able to experience true sleep. "You CAN be pregnant, healthy, and plant-based and raise beautiful, smart, healthy kids!" (Read Margret's full story)

Update: "We have been eating a plant-based diet for nearly three years now. Everyone is doing amazing. Our kitchen & pantry have never been more streamlined and easy to maintain – we’ve minimalized our lives in so many ways, but I do believe starting with where our meals were created was the catalyst for a more minimalist lifestyle everywhere else. The kiddos are doing so well, they’re strong and thriving! Our oldest Audrey (7 years old), has gained tremendous height, and is gaining solid weight appropriate for her age, her pediatric check-ups are always 100% wonderful. The little one Darby (2 years old), unlike anyone else in our little family, was born plant-based and vegan. Her nickname is (and has been for quite some time) “Bruiser” and truly defines this fierce tank of a child! She is so adventurous, fearless, daring, and strong! Momma’s doing well too. I’ve completed more half marathons and full marathons. Biggest difference I’ve noticed is that I don’t have to be training all of the time to keep my waistline in check. My jean size doesn’t seem to change if I’m not purposely burning thousands of extra calories a week. I have 2 kiddos so I stay active that’s for sure. But it’s what’s on my plate that keeps my weight balanced, I’m not trying to “erase” things I’ve eaten. If you eat the right things, you don’t need to erase anything :)" - Margret

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Former Herbie of the Week: Kelsey (Feb. 2013)

When Kelsey found out she had high cholesterol at the age of 23, she dove head first into a plant-based lifestyle. In only 8 months, she dropped 27lbs., her total cholesterol dropped nearly 80 points and her ALT Liver function was normal once again. "I'm now much happier mentally, emotionally, and physically and although the transition to this lifestyle was challenging, it has been rewarding." (Read Kelsey's full story)

Update: "It's been nearly 2.5 years since I've gone plant-based, and there's been many changes in our lives since then. In January of this year, we moved from Austin to the Houston area. While there are some great options for plant-based foods here in Houston, I do miss some of my favorite meals from the heart of Texas. My health is great, and my husband and I recently learned that we're expecting our first little herbivore due in late February 2015! We're beyond ecstatic and I'm enjoying the first trimester of my vegan pregnancy with the tremendous support of friends and family." - Kelsey

Former Herbie of the Week: Ami (Feb. 2013)

Ami was a former low-carber turned dairy-loving vegetarian before she and her husband ditched dairy cold turkey. As a result, Ami lost over 40lbs and her cholesterol dropped 90 points while her husband lost more than 70lbs! She even went on to be certified in Plant-Based Nutrition through the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies! (Read Ami's full story)

Update: "Since becoming plant-strong, my husband and I have continued to share our passion for healthy food with young athletes in the USA Boxing program. This spring, we opened our own nonprofit youth boxing program in St Louis, MO where we learn about fitness, boxing and plant-based nutrition. We also provide healthy snacks to the kids each day. Teaching the kids to seek out better choices for snacks and meals is the foundation to a healthy and strong body. We also have plans for a series of budget minded plant-based cooking classes so the kids can learn how easy it is to make plant-based meals at home on a budget. This is our team of athletes, coaches and volunteers (Bill and I are on the left near the back)." - Ami

Former Herbie of the Week: Ruth H (Mar. 2013)

Refusing to be dependent on medication, Ruth was determined to live a healthier life after visiting her doctor in 2009. Once she hit a weight-loss plateau (after losing 85lbs!), a friend told her about Forks Over Knives and she immediately adopted a plant-based diet. In less than a year, Ruth lost an additional 70 pounds and reversed and eliminated all medical issues including Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. "I’m truly blessed to have the opportunity to live a healthier lifestyle and will maintain a low-fat, whole-food plant-based diet the rest of my life." (Read Ruth H's full story)

Update: "I am proud to say that not only have I continued to keep the weight off (first time in my life that I’ve been successful long term), but I still feel absolutely fantastic. I am amazed at the high levels of energy I continue to have (such a fantastic bonus to weight loss and regular exercise). I also just celebrated my two year herbieversary last month! I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching and researching a lot of different career paths since completing my Master’s Degree and really feel compelled to pursue a career in the health and fitness industry. And after much exploration I am moving forward towards funding and obtaining my Personal Trainer and Health Coach Certification and will be specializing in Fitness Nutrition and Weight Management. I will also be completing the online plant based nutrition certificate program offered by eCornell/T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies as well. My journey has led to so much self-discovery along the way and it really is an honor to be able to share my story and my passion for living a whole-food plant-based lifestyle. I’m so excited for this next chapter in my life and for the opportunity to encourage and support others in their fitness, nutrition, and weight loss journeys." - Ruth H

Big hugs and thanks to all of our Herbies of the Week! We are so happy to see you're still chopping carrots and taking names a year (or two!) later!

Your lives are a testament to the power of plants and an inspiration to us all!

Catch up on Pragati, Lisa P, Aaron, Jeannine, & Jenn E -- Where are they now?

Sensational Summer Salads! Grilled Vegetable & Soba Noodle Salad, Tomato & Basil Chickpea Salad, Asian Pasta Salad & More!

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: MealPlan

This week's meal plan is exploding with our best summer salads -- and we're not just talking about leafy greens!

Fill up your bowl with new dishes like the Tomato & Basil Chickpea Salad (NEW!), Grilled Vegetable & Soba Noodle Salad (NEW!), Asian Pasta Salad (NEW!), Black Bean & Lentil Salad (NEW!) plus MANY more!

Asian Pasta Salad

Individual Highlights

  • Tomato & Basil Chickpea Salad (NEW!)
  • Lentil & Pear Salad
  • Carrot Cake Overnight Oats (NEW!)
  • Grilled Vegetable & Soba Noodle Salad (NEW!)
  • Peach Basil Quinoa Salad
  • Asian Pasta Salad (NEW!)
  • Black Bean & Lentil Salad (NEW!)

Get this meal plan now.

Tomato & Basil Chickpea Salad

Family Highlights

  • Grilled Vegetable & Soba Noodle Salad (NEW!)
  • Asian Pasta Salad (NEW!)
  • Pepper & "Steak" Fajitas
  • Black Bean & Lentil Salad (NEW!)
  • Refried Bean Burritos
  • Tomato & Basil Chickpea Salad Wraps (NEW!)
  • Balsamic Sweet Potato & Spinach Salad

Get this meal plan now.

Grilled Vegetable & Soba Noodle Salad

Testimonials

"You will be surprised - I actually think it is impossible to follow these plans strictly without losing weight. They are brilliant!" - Clare B

"I just went vegan and was thrilled to find a soy free meal plan. I've tried other meal plans, but didn't enjoy the food. Each meal has been very satisfying and delicious." -Tifani P

Get the current meal plan now.

Herbies of the Week: Schari & Ryan (They've Lost Over 120lbs Together & Lowered Their Cholesterol!)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Herbies

Meet our Herbies of the Week: Schari and her husband Ryan!

A couple months ago, I saw this comment from Schari on Facebook:

I was crazy impressed by her post, but there was something she didn't mention -- her results! Like her husband, Schari lost 60lbs, lowered her cholesterol and was able to reduce her blood pressure medication!

Continue reading for Schari and Ryan's incredible transformation!

My husband, Ryan, and I have been making this life journey together for 37 years. I was 18 years old when we married and he was 22. On our wedding day, I weighed in at 135 pounds and my groom weighed a whopping 165. Over the years our little family grew to three children and four grandchildren. Unfortunately, that wasn't the only thing that was growing!

In April of 2013, I weighed 236 pounds and Ryan weighed 275 pounds. Not only were we morbidly obese, our health was deteriorating. My blood pressure was high and I took high doses of two medications to control it. Diabetes was knocking on my door with "pre-diabetic" blood sugar levels. The doctor was threatening me with statins because my total cholesterol was 246. My knees hurt all the time and my feet were killing me with plantar fasciitis. When I rose from the couch I looked like a stooped old woman, barely able to walk. Ryan still had decent blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, but he had a fatty liver, an enlarged prostate and problematic halitosis. Neither one of us were exercising because we had no energy. It was hard to believe we had allowed ourselves to be in this condition. However, there was no mystery as to how we got there.

Our diet consisted of fast food burgers, fries and tacos several times a week. I cooked cheesy casseroles full of meat, cream and butter. We ate meat at every meal with scant vegetables. I was famous for my homemade pies full of shortening, real butter and topped with heavy whipped cream. Every single lunch or dinner was capped off with a decadent dessert. We drank sodas and snacked on chips and candy.

We had both lost weight before. Once I used diet pills to lose from 175 to 124, but of course, I had learned nothing about proper diet and nutrition, so it immediately hopped back on and brought friends with it! Another low fat diet helped me lose 65 pounds, but I went back to my wicked ways after a few months and the weight immediately came back. Ryan had lost weight with exercise, but got off track when he had to have brain surgery. So, I would say we had just given up.

The amount of weight we needed to lose was overwhelming and it seemed there was no hope. Until one Sunday afternoon, when we were scanning Netflix for something to watch. Don't ask me why, but the documentary, Forks Over Knives, caught our attention. As we watched it, both of us were shocked by the decreases in cholesterol, blood sugar and weight. I had no idea that cholesterol could drop so drastically in such a short time. We found the presentation very compelling. So much that we decided to start immediately!

Over the next month we phased out the meat, cheese, dairy, processed food and oils. I began to pour over the internet and YouTube for information and recipes. It was exciting to think I might come off of my blood pressure meds, lower my sugar and cholesterol. My doctor was excited too and very supportive. The weight started to drop for both of us. By June, my blood pressure had become low enough to come off my meds. Unfortunately, in October, due to some unknown cause my pressure spiked and my body did not regulate it to come back down. I ended up in the hospital with a condition called PRES (Posterior Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome) which had caused speech slurring and blindness. I recovered quickly and had a complete reversal of all symptoms. My doctor told me I had dodged a bullet and probably would not have been so fortunate without my plant strong diet. So, back on the blood pressure meds, which was pretty disappointing for me.

By this time though, we had come too far to turn back. We had both lost around 40 pounds and were seeing some great physical results. My skin was glowing with health and all the perpetual pesky blackheads that covered my nose were gone! Ryan's blotchy brown spots on his face improved. Our breath became sweet, my aching knees and feet felt great, our moods improved, my anxiety issues resolved and we had new energy. Ryan began to walk/run and I began to walk.

Finally, in April 2014, Ryan had his physical. He had gone from 275 to 211 pounds! His total cholesterol had dropped to 148 and his blood pressure has been running around 105/65. Not only that, but his fatty liver and enlarged prostate had reversed. All of his labs were beautiful. The doctor told him to keep up the great work.

I went for my physical at the end of May 2014. My weight had gone from 236 to 176 pounds. I also received my lab results recently. My cholesterol has gone from 246 in August of 2013 to 195. My A1C had come down from above normal at 5.7 to normal at 4.1. Additionally, my blood pressure had been running around 110/70 or lower, so the doctor cut my blood pressure medicine in half. Everything was perfectly normal and my doctor was ecstatic. She told me if she had a bulletin board for "Star Patients", my picture would be posted on it. Of course, we are not on a diet, we have adopted a lifestyle.

We intend to lose more weight, I want to see lower cholesterol and get completely off of my blood pressure meds. Most of this has been done without exercise, but we have begun to incorporate running and walking into our lives. I just can't tell you how empowering this lifestyle is. We no longer feel like helpless victims, waiting to be overcome with chronic, debilitating diseases. We have the power to influence our future health by simply eating a delicious, satisfying, easy diet. It has actually been a source of fun and companionship to make this life-changing journey together. We tell everyone who will listen about this pathway to health and happiness.

Thank you so much Schari & Ryan for sharing your amazing story with us!