Let's inspire other people by sharing our stories about how lifestyle change liberated us and gave us power to truly live life again.
So, what is your story? If you want to share, please email me. Let us all be part of the solution!
Hi, my name is Lowell Gillespie. I want to tell you why I changed to a whole food plant-based lifestyle. First, I will tell a few things about me. I am 75 years old and grew up on a central Illinois dairy farm. We raised Jersey cows which produced a very high-fat content milk. Growing up, I drank as much of this milk as I wanted every day. I would also make eggnog from milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and nutmeg. We would butcher a cow and a hog every year for our meat supply. When Dad became unable to handle the farm, I changed our herd to beef cows. I took care of the farm for 30 years while I also worked at the local university, served in the National Guard for 20 years, helped lead a youth group in a small country church, and raised four children with my sweet wife Judy.
All these activities started wearing me down. At age 48, I remember my head being so numb I could not think straight. I was dragging myself around while trying to keep up with everything. At age 53, I had my first heart bypass surgery. For the next 22 years, I was in and out of hospitals with multiple heart problems. I underwent several tests and procedures, including heart stenting, another heart bypass surgery, x-rays, CAT scans, echocardiograms, nuclear stress tests, and an ablation to zap an extra heartbeat that was causing havoc to the rhythm of my heart. I remember the cardiologist telling me that all I had to look forward to was Hospice Care. It was explained to me numerous times that the cause of my disease is due to a build-up of plaques in my heart arteries. Most of this time I was overweight and still had my arteries lined with plaque, probably from all the fat-filled food I had eaten and the stress I caused myself by trying to do too many things at the same time.
Then in December 2018, three angels appeared before me in the form of three lady doctors. The first one was NP Kara Painton, who introduced me to the Plant Food Based Life Style. She told me not to eat anything that walks, flies, or swims nor eat any by-products that come from them. She said to me if I did not consume the cholesterol filled meat nor the by-products that come from the animals like milk and cheese, my body would clean out the plaque from the blood vessels including the ones that supply my heart. Remembering what my Cardiologist, Dr. Karen Wiarda, recently told me about Hospice Care, I committed immediately changing over to the Plant-Based LifeStyle.
Kara sent me to talk to Dr. Edelita Jamis, who became my LifeStyle coach. I met with her every two weeks listening to her encouraging words as she tweaked my food choices and told me the importance of the change I was going through. Our follow up meetings went from close monitoring of my weight, blood pressure and blood tests, continued disease education, reading the labels on the packages of food in the grocery store. Most packages of food have too much salt and fat in them, so I have to learn how to spot unhealthy foods. Like anybody who is changing to a plant-based diet, I was concern about where I get my protein. Dr. Jamis explained that plants have protein; in fact, they are the ones that make protein first. Animals eat the plants and convert plant protein to animal protein, which becomes saturated with fat and cholesterol. Plants that have lots of protein include nuts, beans, lentils, chickpeas, and others, including mushrooms (fungus). Living on a farm and planting a garden all my life made my changeover easy since I have always loved eating vegetables.
When I went back to see my cardiologist, she was very excited about my decision to choose the Plant-Based Lifestyle. She thought all along that my problem with my heart was related to what I was eating. I had been unable to complete my exercises at the Heart Rehab room in the Carle Heart and Vascular Clinic. I could not spin the arms on the Armamometer without causing PVCs to develop in my heart.
Three months into the plan, I had lost 35 pounds, and my head started clearing up. I was able to work longer on the machines. Seven months into the LifeStyle change, my weight stabilized, and I seem to have lost my muscle mass. That didn’t worry me because, as I continued, I became stronger and more energetic. My muscles also started to tone. I am realizing now that this was all part of the cleansing process my body was going through. During this time, I learned how to cook for myself.
On January 1, 2020, I flew down to Phoenix, AZ, with my youngest daughter, Katina, and husband, Charles, for a much needed get-a-way time. While there, I walked 3 or 4 miles every day for four weeks. On the weekends, we would go out into the foothills and walk up and down the hills. One day we walked seven miles up and down a very rough terrain, and I was not at all sore from all the walking.
Katina had a 20lb kettle ball at her house, which I started swinging between my legs and up head-high in front of me every other day during my month-long stay in Arizona. As a result, my biceps and other muscles began to get firmer. Now I am getting the body I had when I was baling hay on the farm and while I was in the high school football team. I feel better now than I have for many years.
All the changes that are taking place would not have happened if I had not listened to the three angel doctors God sent to me nor the loving care and concern of my family. To them, I owe my life. Thank you.
My name is Philip Lynn. I have a history of three vessel heart bypass surgery at the age of 49. One of the bypass graft had to be redone a year later. The following years, I underwent heart stenting procedure to open up few more obstructed arteries in my heart. I also suffered two strokes that left me weak on my left side. I was taking insulin three times a day (total of 84 units a day) for diabetes. I was taking fifteen different medicines twice a day. My cholesterol was in dangerous range’s, and my A1c was 10.1. I was unable to control my diabetes and my weight, which was 284 lbs.
On July 14, 2018, I had my first appointment with Dr. Edelita Jamis. Dr. Jamis asked me if I wanted to “improve my quality of life and possibly extend my life.” She introduced me to a plant-based life style and suggested that I watch “Forks over Knives” documentary. And, she wanted me to follow up with her regularly. I committed to following this plan.
The results were miraculous. In less than a week, I was off my insulin. My A1c came down to 5.5 after four months. My weight gradually and consistently came down too and I now weigh 179 lbs. I now only take 4 prescription medications. My cholesterol and blood pressure are perfect with no blood pressure medicine.
My quality of life has improved physically, mentally and spiritually. I do things that I could not imagined I would ever do again.
I can walk my dog for as long as I want to. I do Yoga three times a week. I do a 40-minute cardio exercise, and lift weights six times a week.
For the first eight months, Dr. Jamis counseled me weekly. I will always be grateful to God for that day in July 2018 and Dr. Jamis. I believe she changed and saved my life.
MEDICATIONS DISCONTINUED AND YEARLY COST SAVINGS
This is my mother. She is 68 years old. She likes telling her story and she wants me to write this testimonial on her behalf. She was diagnosed with diabetes with complications (nerve pain, blurred vision, and lung infection) 25 years ago. Like any diabetic, she was not spared from concomitant diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and asthma. She was maintained on rising doses of insulin, three oral diabetes pills, three anti-hypertensive medications, 2 asthma inhalers, 2 nerve pills, eye drops and cholesterol pills with multiple "health supplements".
Despite taking all her medications diligently, her blood sugar and blood pressure went on a roller coaster ride. She reached the point of wanting to give up as her medications have become too expensive and nauseating.
When I told her that I have reversed my diabetes with the lifestyle change, she doubted it will work for her, since she thought she's been "diabetic for way too long and it's impossible". All I did was constantly educate her about her diseases and how the human body can heal if given the right nourishment and care. Little did I know that our weekly talk over the phone changed her mind. She needed to gradually cut down her insulin dose because her blood sugar was consistently trending down. After six months, she was officially off insulin. Another 3 months passed and she was off asthma inhalers and cut down half of her blood pressure and oral diabetes medications. She got off her nerve pill (for neuropathy) and eye drops as well, and remained symptom-free. Overall, we got her prescription medications down from 12 to 3. She also lost weight and her energy level increased. She noticed that since she started lifestyle change, she didn't get sick too frequently anymore.
My mother was my first patient. At one point, she was injecting insulin and now she doesn't have to do it. She still couldn't believe that she'll ever be injection-free.
MEDICATIONS DISCONTINUED AND MONTHLY COST SAVINGS
Levemir 13 u daily - P1,150/pen x 4 pens = P 4,600
Empagliflozin 10 mg tab - P30 x 30 = P 900
Cardipress 1/2 tab daily - P 9 x 30 = P 270
Amlodipine 10 mg - P20 x 30 = P 600
Losartan Plus 1/2 tab daily - P15 x 30 = P 450
Atorvastatin 40 mg - P25 x 30 = P 750
Seretide Inhaler = P 1,933
ALAnerv - P 81 x 30 = P 2,430
P 11,933 total amount saved per month
MEDICATIONS CONTINUED AND MONTHLY COST
Metformin 1000 mg daily - P24 x 30 = P 720
Metformin/Vildagliptin 1000/50 mg tab - P35.50 x 30 = P 1,065
Pioglitazone 30 mg daily -P 46 x 30 = P 1,380
* P (currency) = Philippine peso
My journey started many years ago. I started having gastric issues back in the 1990’s. I was put on several acid reducing medications. None of them ever really worked for me but I continued taking it. My gastroenterologist sent me to a nutritionist who basically told me to stay away from foods that take a long time to digest. She also suggested drinking smoothies. This helped for a while but eventually the gastric issues returned. Several years into this, I had a stomach scope which showed that I had Barrett’s esophagus. I was told that it was incurable. I also had testing done that showed I had gastroparesis which meant that it took my stomach a very long time to digest food longer than what it should by several hours. At this time I just decided to deal with my diagnosis and eat as best I could and try to avoid foods that hurt my stomach.
In 2018, my doctor suggested I see another specialist for my stomach and encouraged me to get a gastric pacer implanted to help my stomach digest food. I had an appointment with this new specialist in December of 2018. In the mean time I had seen Dr. Jamis about my cholesterol. It was elevated and she was concerned about heart disease and suggested I go on a Whole foods plant based diet. I was scared about heart disease so the next day I went cold turkey and embraced whole food plant based diet. This was November 1, 2018. Also I weighed 180 and I am 5’6” tall. Another thing I was dealing too at the time was my allergy. I had to take several allergy pills and inhalers for my asthma. I was in bad shape over all, but just kept accepting that’s how I was going to be.
Going whole food plant based was difficult in the beginning, but by December 1st I started to feel better and was losing weight. I didn't exercise. In fact, I was eating all day long. Prior to my scheduled appointment with the gastric specialist, I had another scope of my stomach done. It showed that my Barrett’s esophagus was completely gone. The doctor was amazed and asked me what I had been doing. I told him about going whole food plant based. He said keep doing it. Just two days before my appointment I realized I was no longer having digestive issues and cancelled the appointment. By January Dr. Jamis rechecked my cholesterol and it had dropped significantly. I had lost over 20 lbs and was feeling great. Here I am now almost a year into being whole food plant based and I’m down 44 lbs. I am completely healed of my gastric and allergy issues. What seemed bleak a year ago is now a miracle! I could have just gone on another medication for the cholesterol, but didn’t want to take anymore medications. I now take no medications for my stomach, asthma and allergy and I am feeling great. Eating whole food plant based saved my health and kept me from having to get a gastric pacer implanted. I will be whole food plant based for the rest of my life.
•The cost of implanting the Enterra Therapy system (Gastric Pacemaker) in the US is approximately US
$30,000 and is covered by Medicare as well as some private health insurance companies
•An estimated average healthcare cost for severe intractable nausea and vomiting (gastroparesis) is
$ 6,972 per patient per month– IV hydration/nutrition, endoscopy, gastric emptying test.
($ 6,972 x 12) + $30,000 = Total medical cost saved : $113,664 in 1st year
Gastric electrical Stimulation (Enterra Therapy System) for the Treatment of Gastroparesis. Techonology Assessment Report. https://www.ihe.ca › download › gastric_electrical_stimulation_enterra_sup...