Two photos of Mary McCoy showing her before and after adopting a plant-based oil-free diet for weight loss and to reverse prediabetes and high cholesterol - on the left she sits in a woven hanging chair wearing a hat, long skirt, on the right, she poses with her hands on hips

Oil-Free and Thriving: Restored to Health on a Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet

By Mary McCoy,

  • 72

Throughout my adult life, I’ve experimented with different diets in an effort to lose weight. A few years ago, I gave up eating pork and all seafood except salmon. Then I gave up all meat aside from bison, venison, and lamb, because I thought those were healthier. Then, in January 2019, I went vegan. Although I was overweight, I was a pretty active person and always felt like I was in pretty good health. I thought I just needed to work out more frequently.

That all changed in March 2021, when I went for a checkup at my doctor's office and found out that I was not as healthy as I’d thought. My doctor ordered bloodwork, and I received the results about a week later, on March 12, my birthday. The panel showed that I had elevated total cholesterol, at 202 mg/dL, and elevated LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, at 124 mg/dL. On top of that, I had prediabetes. It was a bit depressing to receive all this news on my birthday.

Going Oil-Free

After that appointment, a friend of mine told me about the oil-free, whole-food, plant-based way of eating. She mentioned a raw plant-based cardiologist with a heart and wellness practice located in my town of Houston. As I looked into it more, I became intrigued by WFPB diets. My research led me to watch the Forks Over Knives documentary. After that, I cut out all oils, and started learning more about whole-food, plant-based cooking. In April 2021, I attended the Food Revolution Summit to dive deeper.

By that summer, I’d lost 30 pounds! I was shocked to realize just how much oil I’d been using in the past, and what a difference removing it from my diet had made.

Two Years Later

Since going WFPB, I’ve lowered my A1C to 5.5, which means I no longer have prediabetes. I’ve lowered my total cholesterol from 202 to 171, and my LDL from 124 to 93. Today I'm shopping more in the produce section of grocery stores. I'm reading labels more carefully and eating out a lot less. While I've put back on a little of the weight I initially lost back in 2021, I feel that it’s more muscle, as I’ve been able to do more intense workouts.

I’ve really enjoyed trying different WFPB recipes over the past couple of years. There's excitement in tasting the dishes and seeing how delicious they can be without any of the unhealthy junk that I ate in the past. Some of my favorite recipes are oatmeal breakfast balls or bars, Sweet Potato Waffles, baked falafel, homemade bean burgers, a cashew cheese sauce that I pour on pretty much everything, and so much more. I enjoy using the Forks Over Knives recipe app: It gives me so many options to try and I don’t have to worry about unhealthy ingredients.

I've shared my experiences and suggestions with family and friends. Although I’ve largely been met with skepticism, I was able to help a friend who has diabetes lower his A1C and lose weight by eating more WFPB. I also helped a family member manage hypertension and digestive problems. These experiences inspired me to obtain a certification in nutrition, because I feel it’s so essential to get this information out there and continue helping as many people as possible. It’s too important to ignore.

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.

Has a whole-food, plant-based diet impacted your life?

We would love to hear about it!


Free Download

Free 5-day meal plan!

Get a taste for healthy, fuss-free meal planning with this free five-day meal plan from Forks Meal Planner!

By providing your email address, you consent to receive newsletter emails from Forks Over Knives. We value your privacy and will keep your email address safe. You may unsubscribe from our emails at any time.

Placeholder image

Join our mailing list

Get free recipes and the latest info on living a happy, healthy plant-based lifestyle.

By providing your email address, you consent to receive newsletter emails from Forks Over Knives. We value your privacy and will keep your email address safe. You may unsubscribe from our emails at any time.