On January 19, 2008 I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I was morbidly obese. At age 50, I weighed 371 lbs.
I didn’t know it then, but apparently high cholesterol goes hand in hand with diabetes. So, I was also in pre-stages of heart disease with elevated cholesterol levels.
The year before, I participated in a sleep study because I was waking up with headaches, had intermittent breathing throughout the night, and I was snoring loudly. Some nights I even woke up choking.
I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and needed a CPAP machine to breathe as I slept.
It was time to rethink my life.
Until I was diagnosed, I would have told you I had been very healthy my entire life.
I’ve also been considered overweight or actually overweight, most of my life.
My mother has always been weight obsessed and was concerned about my weight from the time I was in elementary school. She put me on my first diet when I was in the 5th grade.
Now, with my recent diagnosis, I knew something had to change.
January 19, 2008 was the day I changed my life.
Typical nutritionists and dietitians — as they are trained to do — told me to avoid sugar and carbs and to maximize my proteins. I started a Standard American “diet” of cottage cheese, chicken, salmon, salads, veggies, lots of cheese - no candy, ice cream or cookies.
I remember giving away a donut that I’d put in my desk the day before I was diagnosed. It was devastating for me. "I was not sick! I wasn’t going to be sick!" I thought.
I had to wake up and face the truth — I was sick.
But I didn’t have to stay sick.
I started with standard dieting.
Over the next few years I lost 123 pounds while on various fad "diets." I felt deprived. My weight yo-yoed and I gained a lot back.
By Summer 2012, I had made some progress — down to 290 pounds — but I was still sleeping with my CPAP, still taking all my medications (High Cholesterol, Diabetes, Anxiety), and still pricking my finger to test my blood sugar twice a day.
My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
This was another thing to be concerned about while I was working to change my life. She was starting to decline noticeably. My grandfather, my aunt, and my grandmother had all battled Alzheimer’s. Now, my mom had it.
I started researching what I could do to prevent Alzheimer’s — reading scientific studies, books, and articles along with watching documentaries and videos for several months.
This research led me to a surprising conclusion for preventing Alzheimer's: a vegan diet.
Cutting all animal products from my diet was the answer this research was telling me.
December 25, 2012 I started a vegan diet.
I figured it would be a Christmas present to myself. It worked — sort of.
I lost some more weight and lowered my cholesterol. But the biggest win was concerning my diabetes.
Cutting out animal products completely reversed my Type 2 diabetes.
This was great news, but I realized I wasn't really being healthy even as a vegan.
I was a “junk food vegan." I would eat highly processed "vegan" products that were created in a science lab somewhere. If they're "vegan" they must be healthy, right? Not quite.
Because of this, the weight didn't say off for long. I still felt there was more for me to learn about my health.
I discovered the Whole Foods Plant Based lifestyle.
More research pointed me to something called a "Whole Foods Plant Based" lifestyle. This was the answer I had been searching for.
This way of thinking about food encourages consuming foods in their whole state or minimally processed and free of sugar, oils and food additives.
This changed my life.
I believe with all my heart and soul this is the answer for optimal health. I started eating this way on December 2, 2013. Since then —
My cholesterol is normal now.
My Type-2 Diabetes is completely gone.
I don't need my medications anymore.
My anxiety is gone.
I sleep as well as I ever have and no longer need that CPAP machine.
My gum disease is gone.
My skin is clearer.
My nails are stronger.
My hair is thicker.
Since I decided to change my life in January of 2008, I've lost 236 pounds.
The Whole Foods Plant Based lifestyle I've been living deserves the credit for enabling me to achieve this radical transformation.
Although it took me through a lot of ups, downs, twists, and turns to get here, I'm so grateful to have found this lifestyle.
I didn't have anyone to help me get through this or to show me the right path.
I want to be that person for you. I don't want you to have to journey alone like I did.
I'm here to help you get started right away to change your life!