Before beginning this journey, I’d tried every dieting fad under the sun: Paleo, protein shakes… the list is endless. Nothing was helpful or sustainable. I always returned to my appalling diet, which included mayonnaise-and-tomato sandwiches on buttered white bread; candy; and lots of chicken (which I ate because I’d heard a “high-protein diet” was the best way to lose weight). If I ever ate salads, they had to be soaked with dressing.
By 2015, I was around 200 pounds (which, at 5 feet 6 inches, classified me as obese). I suffered from acid reflux. I snored heavily and had asthma and back pain so bad that walking at even a small incline was almost impossible. I could never wear the gorgeous summer dresses that I longed to wear because my legs chafed.
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That August, I decided to see my general practitioner. After some tests, I found out that I had sky-high cholesterol; prediabetes; and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD). I was also diagnosed with breast cancer. What an awful shock at just 49 years old!
Changing My Diet and My Life Virtually Overnight
I underwent extensive surgery and some chemotherapy for breast cancer. After that, I knew I absolutely had to get my body as healthy as possible. A friend suggested I watch Forks Over Knives, and I heard Ruth Heidrich’s story. I read work from John McDougall, MD, and Caldwell Esselstyn, MD. I was so inspired that I became 100-percent plant-based overnight!
Over the next 18 months, I dropped 42 pounds. My cholesterol fell to within the healthy range. My symptoms of GORD and acid reflux disappeared. I stopped snoring. My skin gained a nice, healthy glow, whereas it previously looked sallow. I found myself able to walk up stairs with ease, no back pain. I started walking 30 minutes each day.
A Spring in My Step
The cancer has been in remission for over four years. I feel amazing. I remain 100 percent plant-based, with zero oil or highly processed foods.
I bought an air fryer and love to spice potatoes and air-fry them to make oil-free French fries. I serve them with a nice tomato-based sauce I found in Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook. I eat very simply: For breakfast I often have oats, blueberries, and cinnamon, with a tablespoon of flaxseed. For lunch and dinner I like to have a homemade veggie burger patty or beans, brown rice, and baked carrots. I also enjoy hummus and avocado with a nice green salad. I no longer have a sweet tooth like I used to, but when I do crave something sweet, I have a piece of fruit.
I still walk 30 minutes every day. I do yoga every morning at home. I also started swimming a bit, to mix things up. I feel energetic and light. I used to feel sluggish, like I was dragging my body around, but now my body carries me with ease, like there’s a spring in my step! It’s a brilliant feeling.
I changed jobs and stress less, and although cancer is always in the background, my whole focus is to be as healthy and as strong as I can be, so if it does reappear, I know that my immune system is at its best.
My life now is so different now compared with five years ago. With God’s grace and plants, I look forward to being a grandmother one day. It feels so good to feel so strong and healthy!
Ready to get started? Check out Forks Meal Planner, FOK’s easy weekly meal-planning tool to keep you on a healthy plant-based path. To learn more about a whole-food, plant-based diet, visit our Plant-Based Primer.