Lauren Melton looked healthy, but her blood pressure told a different story. She shares what adopting a plant-based diet did for her hypertension.

Four years ago I was diagnosed with unexplained extremely high blood pressure. This news was quite shocking and unbelievable to me, as I had none of the typical contributing factors you expect for hypertension: I didn’t smoke; I wasn’t a heavy drinker; I wasn’t overweight; I didn’t lead a sedentary lifestyle. I thought, Surely this can’t be true. I ate (what I believed was) healthy, I exercised regularly—what gives?

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Searching for Answers
I began visiting many specialists, including cardiologists and internal medicine physicians, and I even became a patient at the Vanderbilt Hypertension Clinic. I sought answers as to the “why” of this chronic illness, but after many tests and visits, all the specialists could tell me was that my condition must just be the result of “bad genes.”

This news was devastating, to say the least. There I was at 30 years old, being told that I’d have to be on blood pressure medication for the rest of my life, and that I’d have to endure a much higher risk of developing even deadlier conditions, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, heart attack, and/or stroke.

I spent the last four years attempting to manage my condition as best as I could, trying to stay positive, and dealing with medication side effects.

Health Takes Flight
A few months ago, on a long distance flight, I watched the documentary Forks Over Knives. I was blown away by the research on the connection between various chronic illnesses and the typical American diet. Based on what I learned, I decided to give a plant-based diet a try.

Within just a matter of weeks, my blood pressure completely normalized. I no longer needed medication at all. I find it incredible that no physician or specialist had ever discussed the potential for reversing my hypertension with this dietary approach.

I am now healthier than ever, all thanks to a plant-based diet. I have more energy, my skin is clearer, and my blood pressure is finally back to normal.

Being an advocate for your own health is so important. I encourage others to learn more about a plant-based diet. It could change your life as it has mine.

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.

Two photos showing Julie Tomlinson before and after adopting a plant-based wfpb diet for weight loss, blood pressure, and cholesterol - on the right, she's lost 100 pounds
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