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Podcast Snippet: Turning Vegan Transformed My Health in the First Two Weeks

Updated: Apr 27

Partial transcript from episode: I Lowered My Blood Pressure and Changed My Life - The Unexpected Benefits of a Plant-based Diet

So one evening, after finishing a huge dinner of filet mignon with a baked potato soaked with butter and sour cream, I told my husband, I'm done. And he was like, what? And I said, I am done eating things that are killing me. I'm turning vegan as of tomorrow morning. And he was like, okay, great, I'll do it with you!

So the next morning, when we got up, I had to skip my coffee because I can't drink coffee without creamer in it. So we went to the refrigerator and the pantry, we cleaned out every type of food that was not plant based, we got rid of everything. We took it all to the food bank, and we donated it. And then we made a 40 minute drive to Wegmans, which is a store where we knew we could buy lots of good vegan friendly choices. And we bought about $400 worth of food.

Now suffice it to say that we really didn't know better at first, we bought, you know, the good green leafy stuff and lots of fruits and vegetables. But we also bought the processed vegan cheeses, the vegan sandwich meats, the impossible burger patties, you know, all that processed stuff. And we really don't eat those things anymore. But I will admit, they filled a niche during that first couple of weeks of transitioning. So they do serve a purpose for sure for people who are coming off of the crazy diet that I used to be on, and you know, switching overnight to vegan.

So here's a little more background on my health that I haven't really shared much about on previous episodes. In addition to having fought bladder cancer for the past six years, I was also overweight with a BMI of 28 .4. So that's the high end of the overweight category right before you hit the obese stage. Now I'm really tall at 5 '9", and so it's a little easier for people my height to kind of hide their weight, but I was at a very unhealthy weight.

I had also been taking medicine for high blood pressure for many years. Hypertension ran in my family, so I just assumed that it was something I was going to have to deal with for the rest of my life. And to make matters worse, the last time my cholesterol was checked a couple of years ago, it was a whopping 250. I didn't tell anyone that at the time because I didn't want to hear from my family and friends, oh my God, you need to do something about that. So yeah, even though I knew that, I still had not made any changes to my diet to bring that down.

So after watching those documentaries and getting a full understanding of what high cholesterol does to one's arteries, I was really kind of scared to think about what kind of blockages I had already been building in my body over time from just eating a very poor and unhealthy diet. The good news that I gleaned from those shows that I watched and everything that I read was that these problems can be reversed at virtually any age. It was never too late to start. And that was a great motivator, as great a motivator, as reducing the joint pain that I had from the cancer treatments.

So here's what happened on day five of my first week on a solely plant -based diet. I woke up and got out of bed without any pain. I am serious, no pain. And that was an absolute miracle for me. I even asked my husband if he thought maybe it was psychosomatic. You know, I just didn't feel the pain because I had convinced myself it was gone. But that really seemed like a reach. I mean, there was no wishing away that kind of pain that I had suffered for so many months. So that was the first thing I noticed. And then as days passed, I felt better and better. Then at the end of week two, I took my blood pressure. Now, this was back when I was still on medication. So before turning to a vegan diet on a good day with meds, my blood pressure was still elevated, usually with a systolic number being, you know, like high 120s and or low 130s. And I had kind of come to accept that as the norm for myself.

That morning, I took my blood pressure that second week after transition. It was 117 over 70. I was like, what? I took it again several times throughout the day, and it remained low. And that is crazy. I mean, I thought that's nuts. That's never been it's never been that low. But there it was.

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