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What Giving Up Meat, Dairy, and Processed Foods Did for My BMI, Blood Pressure, and Cholesterol

Brittany Jaroudi was struggling with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity at only 25 years old. Then she saw Forks Over Knives and turned things around in a big way. 

Growing up, I was always fearful that my parents would die. I had to witness my mother go through cancer three different times, and my father had a massive heart attack that led to triple bypass surgery and, eventually, stents and a defibrillator. My dad now has diabetes and congestive heart failure. These days, I help take my dad to eye injection appointments and my mother to chemo. It has been a rough time seeing my family so sick.

Raised on the Standard American Diet
Through my childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood, I followed the same lifestyle as my parents, eating a standard American diet. We ate take-out and lots of meat, dairy, and oil.

My struggles with weight began when I was only 8 years old, and by the time I was in my mid-20s, my eating habits had really caught up with me. I was 185 pounds! With my being only 5 feet tall, my BMI was clearly in the obese range.

My doctor diagnosed me with high blood pressure (150/90) and put me on two different blood pressure medications. I had high cholesterol (total cholesterol: 242). My anxiety was through the roof, with a resting heart rate in the 90s. My hs-CRP (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation and cardiovascular disease risk) was extremely high, and I had chest pains. I thought, “This can’t be my life at 25 years old.”

From Rock Bottom to Record Highs
I began researching ways to get myself out of the health crisis. I found the Forks Over Knives documentary and it all clicked. I saw what my future would be if I stayed on my current path: heart disease, autoimmune disease, diabetes, and maybe even cancer. After watching the documentary I immediately went plant-based. I got rid of all the dairy, meat, and processed foods we had in our house. I went shopping for whole plant foods: grains, fruit, veggies, and legumes.

Since that day three years ago, I have lost 60 pounds; I no longer have high cholesterol (150 total); I no longer have high blood pressure (110/70); my resting heart rate is 60; and my hs-CRP is in the normal range! I can’t say enough about how amazing I feel and how grateful I am to have found this lifestyle at an early age.

I credit Forks Over Knives for changing my life and truly saving it. This new lifestyle has given me more than I could have ever dreamed of. I currently help run a whole-food, plant-based Meetup group in my community. My life’s passion now is to educate others about going whole-food, plant-based and to save as many people as possible from lifestyle diseases.

It is never too late—or too early—to become healthy with plant foods. I look forward to a lifetime of eating whole-food, plant-based and helping others.

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