I used to constantly obsess over losing weight: what to eat, what not to eat, how I looked in the mirror each day. I loved cheese, but I suffered from extreme feelings of guilt whenever I ate anything that would make me gain weight. I tried low-carb diets like Atkins but didn’t experience any long-term sustainable benefits. I had chronic constipation and severe allergies; if I skipped my allergy pill even one day my whole body would break out in hives.

Then, three years ago, during my last pregnancy, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. My insulin dose kept growing every week. I got scared for the well-being of my unborn child and for my own health, and I came across some information about how a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle helps people regulate insulin and even reverse their diabetes.

Immediate Results

I was a bit apprehensive at first, because I’d heard people criticize plant-based diets for supposedly being deficient in calcium and protein, claiming we couldn’t get all our essential nutrients from plants (criticism I later discovered was inaccurate). But six months into my pregnancy, I decided to give it a try. Thankfully, my friends and family were supportive of my decision.

The results of the new diet were evident within one week, when my blood sugar normalized. Two weeks later I was off insulin, having reversed the gestational diabetes. There were other unexpected benefits, too, such as resolving the chronic constipation I’d been experiencing. My weight during my pregnancy was 185 pounds, one month postpartum I was 155 pounds, and 3 months postpartum I was 136 pounds. 

Seeing the success I’d had with a plant-based diet, I decided to also eliminate oil, salt, sugar, and flour. Three months later, I’d lost an additional 20 pounds. It was an amazing feeling. Recognizing the power that I had over my body and health was like discovering that I had a superpower! 

Long-Term Benefits

Today I have a clear mind, and my energy is through the roof. My skin looks better than ever. I no longer need to take allergy pills. I’ve gained lean, strong muscles. Never in my life have I looked as good as I do now!

I love simple cooking: I batch-cook beans, rice, and soups (especially split pea). My favorite thing to eat is veggies with homemade hummus. Over the last two years, I’ve become a passionate advocate for the power of plants. I created a YouTube show to get the information out there and let as many people know about this diet as possible.

Ready to get started? Check out our Plant-Based Primer to learn more about adopting a whole-food, plant-based diet.

Valeria Popov gestational diabetes before after plant-based diet
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