Meet our Herbie of the Week: Heidi!
Heidi was only 25-years-old when she was put on medication to regulate her heart rate and blood pressure. Knowing that wasn't healthy, a friend introduced her to whole, plant-based foods, and within 3 months Heidi was off her medications!
A year later, Heidi "fell off the wagon" when she was deployed to Iraq and let meat and cheese back into her diet. It wasn't until after the birth of her first child (and finding out her daughter was lactose intolerant), that Heidi recommitted to a plant-based diet -- and the results are amazing!
Here's Heidi's story in her own words!
When I was 22 I found out I had high blood pressure, especially my diastolic number -- always in the upper 90s. The doctors told me to cut back on salt, and that was it. I was in the military, so I exercised regularly and thought I was in "very good" health. Then at age 25 (nearly 5 years ago), I started having an irregular heart rate. After several weeks of monitoring and tests, the doctors decided to put me on a Beta-blocker to regulate my heart and blood pressure.
In talking with my best friend one day, I revealed my new meds, and she (thankfully!) did not hold back her feelings. "Heidi, I am so worried about you. You're 25. You should not be on this kind of medication. I'm going to tell you what you need to change, and I don't care if you don't want to hear it. I love you too much to keep quiet." She proceeded to tell me about the healing powers of whole, plant-based foods. I knew she was right, so the next day I cleaned out my pantry and fridge and started over. Within three months I was safely off the Beta-blocker, my blood pressure was normal, and my heart rate was regular.
About a year later I was deployed to Iraq, and I fell off the wagon a bit. I still stayed away from most processed foods, but I allowed meat and cheese back into my diet about once a week or so. Eating plant-based in the desert pretty much meant having salad w/salsa, steamed broccoli, fruit, beans, and rice every day. I allowed this backslide to take over my willpower more often than I cared to admit for the next two years.
In 2012, at age 28, I gave birth to my first child. After the initial weight came off, I staggered at 127 lbs for weeks (I'm only 5'0" with a petite frame, so that's heavy for me). After about two months we learned that my daughter, who was exclusively breastfed, was lactose intolerant. What a wake-up call for me! I knew dairy was bad for me, but I'd allowed my selfish desire for the taste of cheese to cause her gut pain. And that was it -- I was back on the WFPB diet for good. It was then I learned about Happy Herbivore, the benefits of omitting oil, and just how delicious plant-based cooking can be! Within 5 weeks I was back in my pre-pregnancy jeans, and down to my "naturally healthy weight" (as I call it) of 110 lbs, which I have effortlessly maintained for almost a year now...and my *new* pre-pregnancy jean size is TWO sizes smaller than before!
Last June I ran my first official 5k (5 mins faster than my goal time!), and now I'm training for my first half marathon. I turn 30 this month (the 28th!), and I'm not at all nervous or depressed about it. I'm in the best shape and health of my life. Even after having gone through pregnancy, I look and feel better than I did in high school! I couldn't have done any of this without the continual support of the HH Facebook groups and delicious HH recipes!
Thank you a million times over for what you do. You are changing and saving lives!
Thank you for sharing your story, Heidi!