In May of 2012, our oldest son returned from college for his summer break. One afternoon, he decided to watch a couple of documentaries on Netflix. He happened upon Forks Over Knives and was shocked by the information presented in it. Partway through, my husband returned from work. My son urged him to sit and watch the rest of the documentary with him. Then I walked through the door after an exhausting day teaching middle school English. They invited me to sit down and watch with them, and I plunked down my bag of grading and joined the guys on the sofa.

We restarted the documentary, and the three of us sat in awe as the veil was lifted from our eyes. This was the first time we had heard that type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis (diseases we were struggling with) could be controlled or reversed through a plant-based lifestyle. In fact, none of us had ever heard of eating plant-based! After finishing the film, my husband suggested we take the dive. We watched the Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue and then my husband led the way as we emptied our kitchen of animal-based and processed foods. We started over.

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Sadly, both of our families are riddled with diet-related diseases. I have type 2 diabetes (like my dad), and I was taking medications three times a day at the time. I also struggled with severe osteopenia (like my mom) and walked with a limp. To make matters worse, I weighed 220 pounds. After going plant-based, in less than three months my blood sugar went so low that I was able to get off of my medication. The food had become my NEW medication! Within the first year, I also lost 50 pounds—before this, I had been unable to lose weight on any diet I tried. Our son’s cystic acne disappeared and he lost the 25 pounds he had gained that year from eating so much junk food and fast food in college. To top it off, my husband (whose mom and dad have both had heart attacks) saw his cholesterol drop 50 points!

At first, our younger son (who was in high school at the time) chose not to become 100 percent plant-based. Thankfully, after two years of enjoying so many delicious plant-based dishes, he decided to join us. In addition, two other close family members have joined us in this journey to address their own autoimmune disease and heart disease. Both of them have been able to get off medications they had been on for many years. Our entire family’s health has improved so much on a plant-based diet!

Though my sons and husband are athletes, I rarely exercised before as an obese person struggling with multiple diet-related illnesses. At first, I didn’t do more than just take our dogs (who are now plant-based, too!) for walks around the block. This past year, at 51 years old, I decided to train to run a 5K race. I used the “Couch to 5K” app and consistently followed the program through. I ran my first race at HealthFest 2016 in Marshall, Texas—where I had friends and family cheer me on. It was an amazing accomplishment and day for me.

Over the past four years, I have devoted myself to helping others find the hope my family has found in this lifestyle. I try to inspire people on social media and through my website where I share all the WFPB recipes my family enjoys. It is my hope that I will do my part to help transform families and kitchens all over the world!Amy Johnson main article image newAmy Johnson and son

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