Herbie of the Week: Michele (She Lowered Her Cholesterol, Stabilized Her Weight & No Longer Feels Like She's "On a Diet!")

Meet our Herbie of the Week: Michele!

Michele's journey to a plant-based diet started about 5 years ago when chest pains sent her to the hospital. Not wanting to be a victim of heart disease, Michele went 95% plant-based right away and her cholesterol dropped 80 points in 3 months!

As a former low-carb dieter, Michele was relived she could eat all the carbs she once desired -- and the best part? For the first time she didn't feel like she was on a diet!

Today, Michele is still proud to say she's a Happy Herbivore (and thanks to the meal plans, she's staying on track!) and she's also convinced her husband to make more plant-based options!

Here's Michele's story in her own words!

Today is a good day - I take that back, today is a Great Day!!! I am alive and breathing, have been blessed with awesome family and friends I can walk this life with, and I have a deeper appreciation for whole plant-based foods. I guess I have not written anything about my plant-based journey because my journey has been up and down so many times.

My journey began about 5 years ago when I was experiencing some chest pains and a few episodes to the emergency room due to the pain. It was during that time that I came across the Engine 2 Diet and realized I did not have to be a victim to heart disease any longer. I went about 95% fat-free, whole grain, plant-based right away, except for a chicken breast very occasionally. My cholesterol dropped from diet alone about 80 points within those first 3 months or so. I was feeling better and my weight stabilized as well, even though I did not really need to lose.

I ran across Happy Herbivore while in the Barnes & Noble book store because I was wanting more recipes that I could easily learn to cook. Between Happy Herbivore and Rip's book, I was so excited about how I was able to eat lots of healthy plant-based foods. I would make large batches of fat-free, vegan, whole grain cookies to keep in the freezer when I had that sweet tooth craving. I was eating the carbs I so longed to have during past times of doing low-carb diets. I was thrilled with my progress, my weight, my ability to eat all the carbs I wanted too and still keep my weight off. This was dieter's heaven, but for the first time, I did not feel like I was on a diet. This was truly a way of life.

Of course, during that time, I stayed about 90% plant-based and was living in Connecticut. It was so much easier to stay focused while living in Connecticut as there were a ton of options for grocery shopping and also lots of options for eating out. Although I am thrilled to say that I moved down to Louisiana over two years ago, it has been a struggle to stay focused on my plant-based eating to say the least. I have my good days and my bad days (days when the voices of my loved ones speak louder to me than my desire to stay on track). But I have to say that at the end of the day, I keep coming back to the place that brings me the most satisfaction - plant-based eating.

I have been blessed to find a naturopath doctor not too far from me who totally supports my plant-based eating (even as imperfect as I am with it at times). That makes a huge difference in this journey. I also have swayed my sweet husband over to more of an interest in choosing plant-based options when he can, as he works internationally and cannot always have what he needs to stay the course. He has had two stents after major blockages were discovered, and he is always thrilled when I prepare recipes that Happy Herbivore and others like HH have created for us.

I have recently become a member of the meal plans and I am getting myself more organized to help me stay the course. Thank you for your weekly inspiration. So, all in all, today is a good day to be a happy herbivore, no, once again I take that back - today is a Great Day to be a happy herbivore.

Thank you so much, Michele, for sharing your journey with us!