TL;DR (too long, didn’t read): I went mostly WFPB (whole foods plant-based) after being a lifelong passionate meat, egg, and dairy eater on a whim and HOLY WOW to my bloodwork (scroll to the images). 😀
If you’ve got some time…
Before sharing my bloodwork with you, I wanted to give you some backstory to yours truly re: my “health and wellness;” I put that in quotes because I never lived from a place of caring about actually being healthy and WELL. Instead, I only cared about my weight, being “skinny,” not being the “F” word, and how I physically appeared (my aesthetic) to others. Note: Although I will use the actual “F word” in my shares – as it is part of the common vernacular – I hate the word for what it has come to mean (more importantly, FEEL) because one can (MUST) have fat versus them BEING “fat;” just as you can have toes but cannot be toes, you have fat and cannot be fat. However, as much as that is the case, I’m also not going to fight against these kinds of things because they are of the least importance, and disclaimers/clarifications like the above are a complete waste of time; accordingly, if the word triggers you, I’m genuinely sorry, but I’m not going to personally tend to that, so my shares on this topic may not be for you.
All that being said, some info about my *health* history:
- 42 years old, born and raised in America to immigrant (from India) parents which is important because their health completely transformed for the worse by eating the Standard American Diet (appropriately called “S.A.D.”) and because they, back in the 80s and 90s were completely clueless about what they or their children should or should not be eating; they, instead, believed that being “skinny” (which I was until I wasn’t) meant that I was “healthy,” and I can’t blame them because my only recollection of visiting my pediatrician was being WEIGHED and told that I was “within the range” for my “appropriate weight” which, as I was outright told, I was *allowed”*5 lbs for every inch over 5 feet tall *cringe.*
- My primary diet as a child and through my teen years included pizza, everything/anything with cheese and white bread, TONS of processed food (loads of processed meat), added sugar/overt sugar galore, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets/breaded chicken patty sandwiches, and hardly any fruits and veggies unless I was eating the latter in the context of Indian food.
- In college, I would out-eat football players (I literally did this once with a linebacker for “fun” 😕 ) and got my next level money’s worth for the dining hall at Boston University; finally on my own, I could also eat all of the fast-food that I wanted and, remarkably, I remained “skinny” (even though my waistline was expanding and had been suggesting otherwise ever since I was in my teens) while others gained the “Freshman 15,” I, legit, arrogantly thought I was immune to whatever plagued most everyone else and the joke would very soon be on me when I gained 20 lbs in my senior year of college in spite of eating the healthiest I had ever eaten and working out more than I ever had (I was dating an extremely healthy physical therapist/personal trainer)
- But to understand my true “origin story,” you’d need to go back to when I was 16 and, for the first time, decided that I was “fat” at 5’5″ and a whopping 95 lbs (~60 lbs less than what I am now) and kicked off 20 years of extreme body dysmorphia, being consumed by diet culture, daily weigh-ins (which resulted in feeling “good/great” if the scale went down or stayed at whatever decided was an acceptable weight to be and feeling “sad/mad” – deep in self-loathing – when the scale went up), my being obsessed with the notion of a “bikini body” (even though I had NO desire to actually wear a bikini – which, no offense to anyone who wears them always felt like walking around in my undies – but I just wanted to be deemed worthy of being ABLE to wear one), and riding the yo-yo dieting roller coaster hard and fast again and again.
- I won’t even get into all the cruel things I did to my body or the exorbitant amount of money I spent in the pursuit of an “ideal body” (you’ll have to read my book for all of that) or all of my #mommyissues regarding my body/weight like how she asked me if I was pregnant at 21 years old (I was “with” burrito belly) and a weight that is 45 less than what I am now (which is 155 lbs so 110).
- In 2011, I – at 136 lbs. – worked out with a personal trainer and literally SHREDDED; my body transformed so dramatically that I very quickly went to 118 lbs and a size 0 which was something I genuinely did not want to be and, accordingly, developed a NEW body dysmorphia. My trainer could not comprehend my “hating my too skinny legs” because, per him, “no women ever had this complaint prior to me;” like I said… I had TONS of body image issues and that was a time that the J-Lo booty was all the rage and my trifling self very deeply cared about being *aTtrAcTiVe tO mEn* (*judges self for perpetuity* knowing how much dysfunction came out of this desire)
- I then lived through major trauma in 2012 where I became something I never expected to become: a domestic violence survivor in the context of a brief 3-month relationship with no love on the table in which I was, on the the final night of our relationship, held hostage and suffocated with a body pillow. I proceeded to file an order of protection (was granted an emergency OOP), found out he had an existing one on record, spent $30,000 in court over 7 months and had a 3″ binder of evidence, lost my case with the same female POC judge in the first case one year prior, lost most of my friends, and was persecuted by my “community” for speaking out about what happened to me. In the aftermath of all of that trauma (the least of which was what my ex did), I experienced extreme PTSD & depression and gained 40 lbs in 2 years mostly by not eating all day but then eating $13-16 of McDonald’s or Taco Bell in one sitting to fill (feel like I was filling) the gaping hole in my soul.
- This was a new body that I felt like a complete stranger living in, and I naively thought that I could get rid of the depression by “just losing the weight,” so I actually went to what one could call a “fat camp” (CRINGE at the entire notion and the whole experience which was based in escapism and self-delusion) and spent $10,000 for 4 weeks to hike/work out for 5 hours a day. DEAR LORD, WHAT WAS I THINKING??? This was a new-to-me dysfunction of being in a no stress, perfectly controlled environment which resulted in becoming quite attached to the blissful feeling of not dealing with life and my actual issues at the crux of what I was experience, and, instead, just wanting to escape it all. I lost 8 lbs in 4 weeks which interestingly felt like nothing to me because I had lost “10 lbs in 10 days” on several cleanse-type diets; of course, I regained all of that weight quickly the second I returned to an uncontrolled environment where I was not exercising 5 hours a day. *face palm*
- In 2018, I lost 15 lbs doing a 16-hour intermittent fasting protocol but my biomarkers were more or less the same re: my A1C, the primary biomarker for diabetes, and my total cholesterol (THE – even if not always the case in ALL people – primary biomarker re: coronary artery disease) was always elevated. In fact, I got my first high total cholesterol level reading at age 19 because I decided to check it after my dad had a brain aneurysm at age 54 in 1998. One would think that such a huge health event in a parent’s life would have helped to transform my lens towards what I ate and how it impacted my health but NOPE. I was young and naive – with no capacity to consider that my future health would be impacted by my actions in my present – and, to my credit, my doctor back then literally said NOTHING about the risks of high cholesterol and told me it was “no big deal” because of my age. I tragically still believed that as long as I was *skinny* – or more like (as the expression goes) “skinny fat” – re: the SCALE that I was FINE.
- I also first learned that I was pre-diabetic back in 2011 and my primary care doctor back then (who also happened to be my #1 target as a drug rep selling cardiovascular drugs because he wrote the most volume of cardio drugs) told me that “it was nothing to worry about because I was young and did not have a weight problem.” It will always irk me that this doctor had the potential to positively impact my actual HEALTH & WELLNESS with a conversation about the seriousness of diabetes which I was on the path to have – you know things like losing your VISION or your FOOT – but he chose the “no big deal!” path and sent me on my way. Note: a few divergent misfit doctors actually don’t even believe in prediabetes and just believe that anything in that range = ACTUAL diabetes, AND they believe that you were diabetic at least 10 YEARS before you ever got your first high A1C reading; for me personally, I believe that I started to become insulin resistant and began having elevated lipids in my tweens as I always had a protruding stomach that just kept growing into my 20s as these physical manifestation in our bodies do not happen without underlying pathology.
- I remained a lifelong emotional eater who would *treat myself* to fast food every time I couldn’t deal with and wanted to numb/escape from whatever I was feeling (#lifetheme). During the few years that followed my trauma, eating this way was my primary M.O. and, while it absolutely decreased, it was still a fundamental part of my being because I STILL only thought about my weight so those kinds of meals were something I could “undo at the gym” or by “eating healthy for a few days.” Rinse repeat… rinse repeat.
- & THEN I GOT COVID back in November 2020 so the OG strain. I felt incredibly lucky that it all felt like a big NOTHING and the worst thing that I experienced was an elevated temperature of 101 for 2 days. That was IT. Until it WASN’T. A few weeks later, I began experiencing the worst post-COVID long haulers symptoms like brain fog, sundowners effect – yes, what Alzheimer’s patients experience – heart palpitations, extreme fatigue and so much more. Sadly, as much as I started to get better in the months that followed, I fell back to ground zero – but WORSE – after getting the vaccine (I am 100% pro-v@x but it wrecked me). I gained 15 lbs in the 2 months that followed which is an outrageous amount of weight for my frame and my entire body was super inflamed. I tried to “eat healthier” to lower inflammation in my body but my feel bad feels about experiencing long haulers won out often and had me “eating my feelings” often.
- I wrote several blogs about my COVID experience for anyone who is interested:
- Thankfully, in September of 2021, I finally – after my SECOND emergency room visit in less than 6 months – got my head right and started eating in a mostly health-serving way. I cut out all fast food, reduced my consumption of refined sugar, began doing light exercise, and essentially made it my ONLY JOB to get better; I took lots of supplements which you can see in the blogs above, but I hope you’ll read the BELOW versus relying on supplements as a crutch for your health; note: part of what I do is, literally, sell supplements for a living – many that I still love and use daily – but I wish my lifelong mindset had been to see food as medicine and start there FIRST.
- In March of 2022, I thought I was “fine” and began eating small quantities of my former favorite health-harming foods. “Just a little” but it was just enough to have some long haulers symptoms return (note: I’m calling my symptoms “long haulers” – which I have written a blog about – but I believe that long haulers is more just your body turning the light switch ON for underlying things that had not yet manifested); again, I was depressed, experiencing anxiety about my longterm health, & doing the most to hold myself back from reverting to all my old emotional eating ways, so I went to my PCP (primary care provider). She ordered another set of bloodwork which showed my CRP (inflammation marker) was highly elevated and she wanted to put me on an anti-depressant; I agreed but then something extraordinary happened…
On April 3rd, I sat down on our sofa to watch something on Netflix and randomly searched on the word, “health,” and a documentary, “What the Health,” came up; I watched it and, afterward, decided I decided that I would stop eating meat (I did not decide “forever;” that happened the next day when I watched “Game Changers” also on Netflix & this film really targets men who will want to see the blood of athletes after just ONE meal with meat and also the whole part about erections 😉 ); seeing what animal products do to our blood was enough to turn on a permanent light switch of “Omigod, THIS is THE thing.”
Re: “What the Health,” it is frequently cited as THE impetus for people quitting meat – &, if nothing else, never eating bacon again (not because of the tolls on pigs but HUMANS impacted by the industry) – but it is important to note that it is purposefully heavy-handed. No, having bologna is not samesies as smoking cigarettes, and the film is a bit absurd in how it tries to portray some “gotcha” type moments; yes, our “health” organizations are absolutely in bed with the food industry and not looking out for our best interests – as there is no money in anyone actually being WELL – but stopping by unannounced and talking to an admin person is silly. In spite of it being totally CRINGE in parts, was nonetheless an impetus for me versus an end-all-be-all in “truth” and, following watching both films, I have done over 200 hours of research (totally excessive & highly DO NOT recommend) and learning on my own.
The first week was NOT FUN because they say that your “decaying/rotting animal flesh and animal secretions “(dairy)-eating bacteria (#sorrynotsorry for putting it that way; it helps me stay the course!) in your gut microbiome literally DIE OFF when you stop feeding them and the waste products of that bacterial die-off is not always pleasant. It wasn’t pleasant at all for me but I persisted in spite of not knowing that bacterial die-off was even a thing because I – a former self-proclaimed “raging carnivore” who regularly used the hashtag #worsthinduever – was ALL IN.
After the first week, the magic began… the brain clarity, extreme focus, glowing skin, next-level energy/stamina (one of the many things I do “for a *living*” is help people purge/organize and I was able to do 8 hours up and down off the floor and on my feet with no problem AND come back home and cook a meal and get plentiful things done in my personal life), improved mood (I became less reactionary and felt more resilient to life being “lifey” which, at present, includes being with my parents), incredible digestion, and I felt like someone put a pin in me and debloated my entire BEING (clothes that I was last able to wear at 7 lbs less than what I am now are fitting me with ease).
Interestingly, although I temporarily lost 4 lbs in my first month, I regained them as I found myself spending a lot of time at my nephew & niece’s (I guess their parent’s) home and wound up eating a TON of their high-sugar, highly processed snacks so the really compelling part of the below images is that the change in my biomarkers was NOT due to weight loss. Basically, I ended 2021 at ~155 lbs and that is exactly what I am now. I realize to some they might find that hard to believe and uninspiring re: this way of eating because “why would anyone choose to eat this way if they don’t lose weight,” but here’s the thing. Many do – right away or eventually (go to any of the plentiful Facebook groups mentioned below like a few of my favorites: and many folks have immediate/eventual/sustained weight loss but eating whole foods, plant-based is not – simply by default – a weight loss “plan/diet.”
Moreover, no part of me began this effort to lose weight; that was the old me mindset which made everything about the scale and not about my actual well-being, so please trust that – when you have seen the images below – I am so THRILLED to know that I am positively and dramatically impacting my actual health and wellness.
K, so here it is. Preface to understanding my bloodwork (I have included links to the bloodwork that I got and that you don’t even need to see a doctor to get below under “RESOURCES”): The data on the left is from March 15th when I felt AWFUL after having started to fold back elements of the S.A.D. into my diet, & I stopped eating meat on April 3rd (I still have animal-derived collagen in my body-composition-altering #collagencrack and gelatin in my supplements so I am not an aspiring vegan which is a 100% ethical decision), ate THREE overt eggs (I probably used to eat eggs at least 3-4X/week if not more), & dairy only a handful of times (this was HUGE because I ate dairy all the time – almost daily & sometimes several times a day).
During those 2 months, I ate in a mostly whole foods plant-based way which included plentiful fruits (which honestly gave my “all carbs are *bad,* formerly low-carb/keto self anxiety as I was certain I would gain weight and that my A1C would be off the charts), veggies, grains (so much rice & potatoes), & legumes. Keyword: mostly because I am not purist nor have I been “perfect” in this pursuit and, like I said above, I did NOT eliminate all processed food or refined sugars which is okay because I had already made a TON of huge positive changes. There was also no change to how much I was exercising or the intensity.
On that note… here’s my BLOODWORK (again, on the left is from 3/15…. I flipped the switch on how and what I ate on 4/3 and I had my second bloodwork exactly 2 months later on 6/3 so, although the time frame 2.5 months, the below demonstrates what happened from eating in this new way over just TWO MONTHS (click to see each image):
To me, this was nothing short of MIRACULOUS. Without statins, increasing my exercising, being “perfect” in what I ate, losing weight, and ANY addition of any new supplements (again, I was still taking the body composition-altering ones I always took like #collagencrack), I – for the first time in my LIFE (not even when I went down to a size ZERO) – had my total cholesterol drop in this significant way & my inflammation marker, CRP (which is associated with an increased risk of heart disease), decreasing by 62% was just 😯 .
Lastly, the 3 most surprising things to me were: 1) That my HDL (known as “good cholesterol” went UP, 2) My ApoB (also an indicator for heart disease & high Apo B correlates with a higher risk of strokes & heart attacks) decreased out of the “red” zone! 3) Whereas I was certain my A1C would have increased considering I was eating SO MANY CARBS (to be clear, they were primarily in the form of fruits, veggies, starches, & legumes), it actually went DOWN by .1 also moving from red to GREEN!
My cholesterol numbers would have probably moved a lot more had I not eaten as much dairy as I did in that first month and not eaten so many fat-laden sugary foods and snacks, so I am even more committed than ever to keep going on this journey knowing that my body is literally HEALING! (I forgot to mention that my systolic blood pressure # dropped by 20 points and my resting heart rate dropped by 10!)
Now some folks will inevitably think, “well, I don’t have high cholesterol and my body is not inflamed.” Fair enough, but our health is a long-term sum total game. Whereas I was impacted far earlier in life due to my genetics and lifestyle (like I said, I had my first high cholesterol reading at 19 and only because I was so compelled to actually find out whereas so many people are not so inclined at such a young age so they may wrongly think they did not have a cholesterol/blood pressure/pre-diabetes/etc problem until the first time they were checked however many years later), someone else may not be until they are 50 or 60 but that doesn’t mean that the effects on one’s body have not occurred as a blood test result only tells you the first time you cognitively KNOW. Far too many people who feel “fine” and don’t have a problem with their weight (which nearly everyone sadly uses as the only or primary bar to gauge wellness), interpret themselves to be healthy, but ask any emergency medicine doctor how many “skinny/fit” people come into the ER having had a heart attack or a stroke. The answer is LOTS. Accordingly, not using one’s outward appearance or even how one feels as the only measure is so important considering that, in 1 out of 4 patients with heart disease, the first *symptom* is sudden death.
I want to mention that my eating in a new way for 4+ months does not negate a lifetime of eating in a health-harming way. Yours truly could still have a stroke or a heart attack or cancer or ANYTHING, but I am doing the most on my end – imperfectly within my present capacity as I wish to do much more – to prevent or delay those things from happening. Similarly, even a lifelong WFPB or vegan person could experience any of those things just due to genetics or the simple randomness of life but harping on those outlier examples – versus the majority of cases – is a bizarre human mindset & please trust that I LIVED in bizarro land; instead of ever folding in more fruits, veggies, healthy starches, and legumes into my diet, I’d be the whackadoodle who’d say, “Well, I know A vegan who got cancer!” as if THAT was my free pass for eating a diet that was absolutely slowly but surely killing me. Note: Many people do this for any behavior they want to justify any behavior; for example, I used to have a friend who smoked cigarettes who always (even though I never said anything to them other than “please just don’t smoke around me”) said, “my grandfather drank half a bottle of whiskey and smoked a pack of cigarettes a day and lived to be 104!” Amazing story, bruh but smoking still moves MOST people expeditiously towards their death and your granddaddy was clearly genetically blessed with armor to his lifestyle but most people aren’t. Also, he could have probably lived to 120 if he hadn’t smoked!
All that being said, I did not write this in an effort to “convert you” or tell you that THIS is the WAY. You do you is my life motto for all things as “there is no one thing that works for everyone or there would be no other things.” If you think you can only get protein from animal sources (completely false & that is a FACT btw) and keto/low-carb is the way, AMAZING, although, for anyone who might be curious, I encourage you to watch Game Changers/What The Health or don’t!
& if you feel so inspired after doing so and want to make any changes, do what you CAN and feel so compelled to do. Versus all of your (all of MY) other efforts, do not obsess about being “perfect” or throwing the towel in because of whatever egregious expectations you have of yourself. &, even if you just start small – swapping out one or two meat meals for WFPB meals – that is a GREAT START! Cut out processed meats? AMAZING! Quit eating bacon? That’s huge! Reduce how much cheese you eat? Get ittttt! Do what works for YOU & call THAT good because simply incorporating more fruits, veggies, legumes, and healthy grains into your diet can make a world of difference.
That being said, I personally felt that this experience was infinitely easier because of 2 things: First, I made huge changes FAST and went all-in on the one that I knew would be the hardest for me (meat) and just made a decision because I WANTED TO for me; if that’s not for you, cool. Had I eaten a “little bit of meat here or there,” I would have been training my palate to keep loving and craving meat whereas now I cannot personally fathom eating it ever again versus dairy which I did NOT just turn off like a light switch and is also far more addictive than meat. Second, I did NOT begin this journey by going out and buying a ton of meat/egg/dairy substitutes or frozen foods from the “Meatless” section. Yes, I do have those things on occasion, but I focused on WHOLE FOODS and as many foods as possible that have no label. Meat substitutes are an amazing thing but, in my humble opinion, they just keep you craving meat and are SO COSTLY. Note: I am editing this blog in August and, in an extreme stress situation, I did break down and eat meat (a burger specifically) and I did not enjoy it AT ALL and it made me feel terribly sick so it was easy to learn my lesson (even if I succumb to emotional eating, THAT is not at all what I want to eat) and focus on better coping mechanisms like making sure I stay consistent with #zencrack which has helped me with every aspect of my life.
As a starting point, I highly recommend watching the films that I mentioned above (plus Forks Over Knives) and Eating You Alive), joining the Forks Over Knives Facebook group (this is the one that I feel shares the most science information and success stories), Plant-Based & Vegan Recipes for Beginners, and Plant Based Health & Weight Loss Support Group by my friend, Kerryn. She offers an amazing free guide and TONS of great info that can help anyone incorporate more WFPB meals into their life irrespective of whether they are looking to lose weight or not.
I highly recommend NOT joining a hundred “vegan/plant-based” groups” or obsessing over and saving a thousand recipes (*raises hand*). Instead, if you are so inclined to embark on this journey, start with the BASICS and keep it as simple as possible.
On that note, if you took the time to read this blog – to me, personally, the most important one that I have ever written – THANK YOU, and, to anyone who may be interested in exploring this path further, I have included a TON of info below: books to read, films & YouTube videos to watch, people to follow, more groups once you do a deeper dive into the info, cookbooks, how to connect with me, and more!
Lastly, if you found this share of any value and feel so compelled (no obligation or pressure & just mentioning) to make a donation, I have a GoFundMe for my post-COVID healing journey which left me incapacitated and unable to work for almost a year and from which I am still continuing to heal almost 2 years later, or, in order for me to avoid paying fees, via Paypal (pay as friend to paypal.me/smitamoon), Venmo (@SmitaC), Cash app ($smitamoon), or Facebook.
On that note, thank you again for taking the time to read and please check out the resources (including links to the bloodwork I got that you can also get without a doctor’s visit) below!
Signing off with the best of wishes to our good health whatever that may mean to each of us respectively,
- Bloodwork: Although I had and still have insurance, I got a few of these tests without seeing my doctor because I COULD and it was such a huge savings re: my TIME (no waiting at the doctor’s office for extra COVID exposure and 1-2 day turnaround with results direct to you)
- Note: You will get an extra 15% off the prices below with code: SMITASHARES
- Lipid Panel (includes total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, non-HDL, Chol/HDL ration, triglycerides): $21 (current savings of 76% off)
- hsCRP (analyte of choice for cardiovascular risk assessment): $33 (current savings of 34% off)
- A1C (average blood sugar over past 3 months): $22 (savings of ~56%)
- Apo-B (powerful indicator of CAD): $35
- VLDL (“When high levels of VLDL are present, the conversion of VLDL to LDL is slowed and the accumulation of intermediate particles is thought to contribute to the development of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.”): $14 (current savings of 34% off)
- ** If you got all of these tests, they would be $106.25 with the discount code ** The first 2 are the most important in my opinion, and CRP is probably the MOST important because far too many people have no idea what kind of inflammation is at play in their bodies; I didn’t until I got COVID)
- Favorite Body Composition Scale: While not focusing on weight as the primary outcome of all of your health efforts – whatever they may be respective to you – metrics around our body composition can absolutely provide valuable insight &, while I weight exactly the same, my clothes fit me completely differently; for example: my bathing suit (video on TikTok)
- How to connect with me: 1) Please be sure to follow this group where my dad and I share about wellness: Be Well With the Moons. We will also eventually be hosting webinars on various topics including those who wish to embark on being WFPB (my dad is a walking health encyclopedia and his science background is nothing short of amazing plus he gets paid $90+ to host these amazing yoga sessions in a corporate setting and will be hosting low-cost mini versions via the group) 2) You can connect with me personally on Facebook, but please bear with me as I get a lot of messages. If you want any support on your journey – as I said I’ve done over 200 hours of research and had my own powerful transformative experience – I am wonderful at providing accountability on all things. It would be my honor to help support you and we can figure out what working together would like (my personal motto is: provide the most & compelling important info that can get you going, we should not need to connect often, & being there for support without ever becoming a crutch to you all while valuing my time and yours); if reaching out for this purpose, I will prioritize you over all other messages, so please start your message with #WFPB. You can also e m a i l us at bewellwiththemoons [at] g m a i l [dot] com.
- (Disclaimer: The spoiler alert to all of these films/books is: Carbs are not the cause of heart disease; FAT is. Stop eating animal products that promote heart disease & cancer. Eat more fiber-rich foods so fruits, veggies, starches, & legumes. Someone could understand and practice those things without ever having to watch a film, read a book, join a group, or watch a video.
- Films: Forks Over Knives/What the Health/Game Changers/Cowspiracy/Seaspiracy (all free on Netflix), How Not To Die (Free on Amazon Prime), Foods That Cure Disease, At the Fork (Free on Prime), Food Inc, Live and Let Live (from butcher to vegan chef!), Vegucated, Plant Pure Nation, Rotten (a documentary series; I have not watched it but I am going to)
- Books to read but first some disclaimers. All of these authors have similar foundational concepts – most of all that animal products are not good for you – but vary in their exact guidance. Please do NOT get caught up in their nuanced guidance as this is the case in the entire space of health and wellness; everyone has their own unique approach that they believe is right. Accordingly, consume the info they provide and then practice what resonates with you and, most importantly, can actually DO; what I mean by that is… if one doctor says something that feels too extreme for you to practice in present (like I love Dr. Esselstyn but I – in spite of reducing my added oil/butter consumption by 75% – am not going to be eating zero added oils ever), DON’T! If something one of them says does not make complete sense, go to YouTube and search for that exact topic by another one of the authors. Or let’s schedule some time together and I’m happy to try to help. Also, do not get ALL of the below books at one time and put yourself into info overload/overwhelm; check out their descriptions and see which resonates with you the most and start there, and don’t move on to another until you have fully digested that one book.
- How Not To Die by Dr. Michael Greger – (please do not take this title literally as in you will never die 🙄 )
- The Starch Solution by Dr. John McDougall – This book was where I started and I am so glad I did. It was so reasonable and easy to begin practicing, and I ate a TON of rice and potatoes which was very satisfying to me while also being pretty shocking.
- Fiber Fueled by Dr. Will Bulsiewicz – “The plant-based gut health program for losing weight, restoring your health, and optimizing your microbiome”
- Mastering Diabetes by Cyrus Khambatta and Robby Barbaro – I believe this book is a must read for anyone with Type 1, Type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, or Alzheimers (known as Type 3 diabetes) and, on the latter 3, even if you just have a family history for these diseases.
- Eat To Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman
- Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. – this is the most strict of all the books but still a good read because, even if one was to do 85% of what Dr. Esselstyn says, you’re doing a LOT for your health.
- The Pleasure Trap by Drs. Douglas Lisle and Alan Goldhamer – this is really for people who are new to WFPB and, most importantly, feel like they want to make changes but feel literally trapped
- The Cheese Trap by Dr. Neal Barnard (he is my favorite in this space and I, legit, just watch/listen to his videos on YouTube all day long like a huge nerd). The reviews for this book are incredible and this is a must read if you feel like you cannot remotely fathom quitting or even reducing dairy and, specifically, cheese.
- Excellent videos on dairy (which has more saturated fat than even meat which is also why so many vegetarians and, particularly, South Asians – plus the significant amount of oil we use in cooking and our unfortunate genetics which pre-dispose us to coronary artery disease – are not necessarily “healthy” and still have heart attacks, strokes, etc.):
- Dairy and Milk Health Dangers by Dr. Vieth – This blew my mind and made me sad and mad
- What the Dairy Industry Doesn’t Want You To Know by Dr. Neal Barnard (1.5M views)
- The Truth About Dairy – Interview with Dr. Milton Mills (he was in “What The Health” & I loved his matter-of-fact style plus the info about how so many of us are lactose intolerant – for a REASON as we were never meant to consume the milk of cows and no other mammal consumes the milk of another mammal – but we are marketed something that literally makes us feel awful and causes negative health consequences)
- Other great videos:
- How To Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind (2.2M views)
- Other groups:
- McDougall Success Stories – Truly inspiring stories of people transforming their lives
- Plant Based Health & Weight Loss Support – This is the group of my Plant-Based Coach that I am working with and she offers this incredible free guide to anyone who joins her group which is great even if you are just looking to add more WFPB meals to your diet and not go WFPB entirely