Our Most-Shared Success Stories of 2023

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There’s no shortage of scientific research illustrating the benefits of whole-food, plant-based diets, but there’s something even more compelling about hearing directly from people who have put this knowledge into practice. That’s probably why success stories—firsthand accounts from people who have changed their diets and changed their lives—are consistently among the most popular posts on our website.

To offer inspiration as we head into 2024, we’ve rounded up the 10 most-shared success stories of the past year. Read on for inspiring testimonials written by people who have lost weight, reversed diabetes and heart disease, and experienced other remarkable health transformations after adopting a whole-food, plant-based diet.

On a High-Carb Diet, I Reversed Type 2 Diabetes and High Cholesterol

In 2019, Kim Jarchow adopted a low-carb, high-protein diet in an effort to lose weight and manage Type 2 diabetes. But she ended up driving up her cholesterol instead. “My doctor wanted to put me on a statin for cholesterol and metformin for diabetes. I knew there had to be a better way,” writes Jarchow. She discovered the WFPB lifestyle and decided to give it a try. “Within just five weeks, my total cholesterol dropped 60 points. … Within six months it dropped to 184, and my A1C dropped from 7.1 to 5.9, all without medication.” Read more.

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

Mary McCoy was a vegan who thought she was in fairly good health. But after an annual physical in 2021 revealed that she had high cholesterol and prediabetes, she was forced to rethink things. “After that, I cut out all oils, and started learning more about whole-food, plant-based cooking,” writes McCoy. “By that summer, I’d lost 30 pounds!” Read more.

It’s Never Too Late: How I Improved My Health at Age 80 with a WFPB Diet

Never a fan of veggies, Ardis Coffman wasn’t thrilled in 2018 when her daughter began preparing whole-food, plant-based dinners for them. But after Coffman, who had suffered from Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure for decades, started seeing improvements to her blood sugar within two months of the WFPB dinner routine, she started incorporating WFPB breakfasts and lunches, too—and reaping major benefits. “Now I’m 85 and in better health than I was at 45,” writes Coffman. Read more.

I Beat Heart Disease and Lost 44 Pounds in 9 Months Without Portion Control

Wendy Swiger’s doctor was ready to prescribe medications to manage her cholesterol and prediabetes, but Swiger, already on blood-pressure medications, hoped to find another way. That’s when she dived in to a WFPB diet. “A month after starting this way of eating, I had my annual checkup,” writes Swiger. “My doctor was shocked, saying I’d had the largest drop in LDL cholesterol she had ever seen in her career that wasn’t due to medication.” Within that first month, her blood pressure had normalize, and she was no longer prediabetic. And that was just the beginning. Read more.

How I Transformed My Health in My 60s on a Plant-Based Diet

In 2017, an angiogram revealed a 100% blockage in Armando Alvarez’s right coronary artery. Not a candidate for bypass surgery or stents, he decided to try switching up his diet, first going vegetarian, then vegan and, eventually, whole-food, plant-based. “Soon afterward, the angina that I dealt with for 10 months finally stopped,” writes Alvarez. Read more.

I Switched to a Plant-Based Diet and Resolved My Chronic Pain, MS Symptoms, and Kidney Disease

When a 39-year-old Kimberly Eallonardo was diagnosed with kidney disease and told she’d need a transplant in six months, she was determined to do anything she could to restore her kidneys to health. That’s when a neighbor tipped her off to the benefits of a whole-food, plant-based diet. She was immediately ready to try it. “For me, it was a matter of life and death,” she writes. “Within six weeks of going WFPB, I experienced what my nephrologist called a spontaneous remission. Some would call it a miraculous recovery.” Read more.

From Sick and Tired to Happy and Healthy: My Whole-Food, Plant-Based Journey

Julie Tomlinson struggled with obesity for most of her adult life. She and her husband thought they’d tried every diet to lose weight, but then they came across the Forks Over Knives documentary and decided to go vegan. “After a year without animal products, we’d each lost 100 pounds,” writes Tomlinson. She and her husband then transitioned to a WFPB diet and experienced even more benefits. Read more.

Breaking the Cycle of Deprivation: I Lost Weight and Resolved Several Health Issues on a WFPB Diet

Years of yo-yo dieting left Shauné Hayes desperate for lasting change and struggling with a variety of health conditions, including high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar; arthritis; and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). In 2017, she started working with a health coach, who advised her to adopt a WFPB diet. Over the next three years, she lost 100 pounds; brought her cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure down to healthy levels; and eliminated all PCOS symptoms. “Following a WFPB diet has significantly improved my quality of life overall,” she writes. Read more.

On an Oil-Free Plant-Based Diet, I've Normalized My Cholesterol and Improved My Eyesight

Prior to discovering the WFPB way of eating, Yolanda and Jim Breidenbaugh both suffered from heart disease. Jim had undergone quadruple bypass surgery, and Yolanda had very high cholesterol. After watching Forks Over Knives and reading The Starch Solution, they became convinced that going WFPB was the right move for their heart health. “We found ourselves reaping some health benefits within months,” writes Yolanda. “We both had more energy, and my cholesterol dropped to 147.” Read more.

After a Prostate Cancer Diagnosis Spurred Me to Go Plant-Based, I Feel Like the Energizer Bunny

Upon learning he had prostate cancer, Michael Andrus struggled with feelings of anxiety and hopelessness. “Things felt out of my control, which was a hard reality to face,” writes Andrus. Then his cousin recommended he read How Not to Die by Michael Greger, M.D. “It was the beginning of a dramatic change in my life.” Read more.

To learn more about a whole-food, plant-based diet, visit our Plant-Based Primer. For meal-planning support, check out Forks Meal Planner, FOK’s easy weekly meal-planning tool to keep you on a healthy plant-based path.

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About the Author

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About the Author

Courtney Davison

Courtney Davison is Forks Over Knives’ managing editor. A writer and editor on a wide range of subjects, she co-wrote a nationally syndicated advice column from 2016 to 2018 and co-authored the 2018 book Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice from Dear Annie. She is a longtime vegan and in her free time enjoys trying new recipes and spending quality time with her cats. Find her on LinkedIn.
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