Wisdom from the Community
Introducing Vivian Amos-Brown – Rob Chapman – Gwendolyn Hondras
During our “Feed the Body, Nourish the Soul” event, we had the privilege of hearing from a few community members, each having life experiences that eventually led them to discovering the healing and revitalizing power of plant-based nutrition. To hear them tell their stories in their own words, click here.
Vivian was simply out shopping one day and had filled her cart with foods she thought were just fine, like grass-fed chicken and the like. At the time, she weighed in the 190s. As she walked into her home, she felt her heart racing, and her first thought was that it was AFib (atrial fibrillation is a quivering or irregular heartbeat). In short order, she wound up in the hospital. There, among other things, they determined that her liver enzymes were extremely high (543 and 672), so her doctor recommended beta blockers, blood thinners and other medications. At that point, she decided she to take her health seriously and determined she would dramatically change her diet. She sought out other advice, first with a doctor who introduced her to a raw vegan diet. He had her watch Forks Over Knives which was the beginning of her journey to discovering the power of whole plant foods and her own healing. She began doing her own research, watching more documentaries, YouTube videos of Dr. McDougall, Dr. Goldhamer, and others. The information she gathered empowered her to make serious changes in her eating pattern, and in her first year of this lifestyle, Vivian, who was NOT trying to lose weight, discovered 60 lbs. had melted away! For the first time in her life, she’s reached an optimal weight and has been able to maintain it!
Like anything else we do for the first time, Vivian found it challenging at first, but with practice it has become second nature. Now she finds this lifestyle “very pleasurable.” She added, “I feel better now today than I did when I was 40 years old!” Vivian is a proud and healthy 80 years of age!
Out of curiosity, Vivian made an appointment to see Dr. Kim Williams to see what sort of health changes had happened in her year of eating plant-based. Remember, when she wound up in the hospital a year earlier, her liver enzymes were 543 and 672? Those liver enzymes were now 10 and 22! Dr Williams said she was doing so well that she didn’t need to come back. And she was surprised to discover other healing as well, like her cataracts were improving, brain fog disappeared, and pain from arthritis in her knees greatly reduced as well. Well done, Vivian!
VIVIAN’S TIP: Don’t let yourself get hungry…that’s when the temptations creep in! ALWAYS have something in the freezer or refrigerator that’s quick and easy to prepare for “those times”. And get all the junk food out of your home, because it will “call your name.”
Rob has been fortunate in that he’s generally experienced rather good health. However, for the past 15 years, his cholesterol had remained high, consistently over 200, sometimes well over 200. He’d not been eating red meat or pork for over 15 years, so he knew that was not the issue. Then in 2016, he went on a Jazz Cruise which offered plant-based meal options. In the past, he’d resisted such options because he’d not found them to be filling enough, they always left him feeling hungry. But he decided to try it again on the cruise and was surprised (and pleased) to discover that he had no trouble being satisfied with the food he was eating. Shortly after returning from the cruise, he again had his cholesterol checked and it had dropped 28 points. When he saw that, he was hooked and has been following a plant-based lifestyle for 4.5 years now.
Rob loves his kiwi, kale, quinoa, and beans. He admits he’s really not a cook, but that he does like to prepare very simple meals. While his wife is not “quite” on board, she’s slowly learning, too. He adds that when he goes out, he simply brings foods he likes along with him so he never has to choose between what he knows he enjoys and is good for him versus “something” because it’s available when he’s hungry. He’s also found that, while friends and family don’t eat the way he does, they are generally very supportive and he often hears “now remember, we’ve got to include something for Rob.”
ROB’S TIP: Find a good support system…Live by the 4 “Fs”: Faith, Family, Friends, Facts
Gwendolyn is a self-described “newbie” to plant-based eating, having just started this journey 5 months ago. Her enthusiasm for this lifestyle is positively infectious! Over the years, she’s been generally healthy, she’s discovered that in the years since she turned 50, things were starting to “happen”…and none of them were good”. She found her energy had waned, but thought “well, I’m in my 50’s, so it’s just the way it is”. She’d pretty much accepted that what she was experiencing was normal and there was nothing she could do to change it.
As a “shopper”, Gwendolyn noticed that one of her customers was always buying a LOT of produce, so one day when she dropped off the day’s haul, she decided to ask her about it. That began a string of conversations that continues to this day. That customer shared a lot of information, recipes, resources, etc., so one day Gwendolyn just decided to give it a try. And she was amazed! Weeks went by, then months went by and it’d dawned on her “I’m really DOING this!” She says “there’s no way I’m going back! I ENJOY the food, I enjoy the recipes, the resources that I get so I’m not bored!” Not only did she find that her energy came back, she dropped 27 lbs without even trying!
GWENDOLYN’S TIP: Stop eating out, do your cooking & eating at home, and prepare a “road bag” so you have something to eat when you’re out and get hungry
Our thanks to all three guests for sharing their stories and inviting us to join them on this adventure! Each began from a different place, some from facing serious health issues, but others simply discovering that by making some simple changes to their way of eating they are now leading healthier, more vibrant, more energetic lives. And who doesn’t want to do that? This lifestyle is not just increasing our lifespan; it is also about increasing our healthspan! One of our favorite videos about that message is this one – Your last 10 years of life.
Would you like to join us on this great plant-based adventure? At the moment, all of our events are online, but we’re hopeful we’ll be able to meet in person again in the not too distant future. At that time, we’ll again have live events, potlucks, picnics, etc., and we’d love for you to join us! To see what is come up in the near future, visit our Events Calendar. Pay particular attention to events (online) marked PBNM – A Delicious Adventure. You’re invited to join in on the calls!