Herbie of the Week: Elaine (She's Reversing the Blockage of Her Carotid Artery with a Plant-Based Diet!)

Meet our Herbie of the Week: Elaine!

Two years ago, Elaine was told her left carotid artery was 40-50% blocked. Knowing she needed to make a change, she started following a plant-based diet cold tofu.

Today, at 75 years old, Elaine's blockage has decreased, she's lowered her cholesterol AND she lost weight without even trying!

And how's this for a bonus? Her husband went plant-based as well and lowered his cholesterol and lost weight!

I am 75 years old and about 2 years ago was told that my left carotid artery was 70-90% blocked and I would need surgery to correct that or risk a stroke. However after an angiogram was done "only" 40-50% was blocked so surgery was not recommended yet. I decided I needed to make a change before more blockage occurred so my husband and I began to follow a whole foods, plant-based diet with no added fats.

I discovered the plant-based way of eating because I had heard of Dr. Ornish and his studies of heart disease and so I got a book of his from the library. In this book he mentioned "The China Study" and Dr. Esselstyn's book "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease". I read both of those and was convinced that this is what I needed to do. My husband was willing to try it also. So we went cold turkey after getting all the meat etc. out of the house. I started with the recipes in Dr. Esselstyn's book and then got the Happy Herbivore for more variety. It was difficult to cook this way at first and seemed like a lot more work, lots of chopping and preparation and also planning a balanced menu. I persisted and now it is second nature.

My husband and I both lost weight without trying to. He lost 15 pounds and I lost 10. We both look and feel a lot better. His cholesterol is now 117, better than mine.

I cannot imagine eating any other way now. Only remaining difficulty is eating out. It has changed a lot of our social occasions which involve a meal. We do the best with Mexican restaurants or Panera Bread, but it is still difficult to find food that meets our criteria, especially the fat content, even in a vegan restaurant.

A few months ago I had a follow up visit to the vascular surgeon and an ultrasound of the carotid arteries. This ultrasound was much improved over the first one. I believe the diet is reversing the blockage. Also my cholesterol is 149, and my glucose is 85. These numbers are also much improved. The surgeon doesn't want to see me for 2 years and told me "Whatever you are doing, keep doing it."

Thank you so much Elaine for sharing your story with us!