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"A Letter From Marla: My Crohn's Is Gone and I lost 62 lbs!"

Dear Dr. Jamis,

This year has been remarkably different. My Crohn's Diease is gone, completely undetectable. No IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). My gut health has not been this good since my teen years. I haven't experienced a single virus or cold this year, which I find impressive considering I was on antibiotics and corticosteroids just before transitioning to a plant-based diet.

Teachers and fellow students have all commented on how different I look this year. I began December at 220 lbs and am currently at 158 lbs. From a 2XL pants size to a medium. Last year, I spent half the school year sick, but this year has been a remarkable transformation.

Embracing a plant-based diet means embracing antibacterial and antiviral foods. One of my favorite parts of taking Nutrition class this year was building upon the information you had already shared with me. I no longer miss unhealthy foods. I've always found comfort in eating, and I've discovered that I can adjust recipes to fit my new lifestyle.

Reflecting on my heaviest moments, I recall hiding behind my kids in pictures. Many can relate to this. We wouldn't hide if we felt that obesity was healthy or acceptable. I've had moments where I covered myself in photos with my daughter at the pool; it was a sad reality.

I needed the strength to push through the toughest times, and I am so thankful for your guidance. Your presence is truly missed, but I'm also grateful for having crossed paths with you.

My daughter Lucy is learning to navigate this lifestyle change. She makes a quick taco plate – one of her favorites! A bean variety, like black or pinto, microwaved with lettuce, tomato, salsa, and a couple spoonful of guacamole. It takes just 5 minutes. Adding a couple of whole grain flax seed pita bread rounds out the meal as a complete protein.

Often, people struggle to know where to begin. One of the challenges is not knowing how to make healthy food that also tastes good. It's important to branch out and try new foods. A year ago, I wouldn't have touched chickpea curry, but making adjustments to familiar dishes is key. Change may be daunting, but the gains make it all worthwhile."

Your guidance has truly made an impact on my journey to health, and I can't thank you enough. Here's to embracing change, celebrating small victories, and thriving on this transformative path!

- Marla V.

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