Elana Slashes Diabetes Risk and Gets Fit

Elana Slashes Diabetes Risk and Gets Fit

I was interested in finding a plant-based doctor, and had heard about Dr. Linda Carney through some people that I had met, including Engine 2 Diet's Rip Esselstyn. I knew she would really understand what I was trying to do, wouldn't try to talk me out of it, and that we were on the same wavelength. I was pre-diabetic and needed to find a vegan doctor who would help me follow a plan that I knew would improve my health. I've also had high cholesterol for several years, and was ready to turn my health around.

I knew staying away from processed foods and eating more plants was really important. I also had been reading the labels of food more often than ever before. I previously had bloodwork done by a different doctor the summer of 2012, and the results were pretty poor. Dr. Carney mentioned that genetics can make it tougher, but with her help, I have turned it all around. After she did more of her own bloodwork, I went plant-based and have lost over 65 lbs. since the beginning of September 2012.

My family and I stay away from the processed foods since they contain lots of sodium, and instead we focus on foods that come from the ground, including fruits and vegetables. We also eat lots of whole grains such as quinoa and brown rice. We stick with the basics, and avoid foods with concentrated calories.

I also have an exercise regimen that I've been on which is a huge piece of the puzzle in my overall health. My trainer, Chad Byers, is also plant-based and his knowledge of nutrition and fitness has been a great resource for me. I've found that I don't really get sore after my workouts and I feel different compared to when I was eating an omnivore diet. I work out seven or eight times a week, with high-intensity routines, and I also lift weights. I went from a sedentary life to a super active lifestyle.

I recently ran a 5K and placed 55th out of 444 people and finished in 32 minutes and 52 seconds! I was the kind of person who has struggled with my weight my whole life. I always hated running and I'm proud that I challenged myself in the 5K. I feel more alive, in-tune with nature, and discovered that I have more compassion. Through this lifestyle, I've met so many other great vegans out there, and I feel like we're old schoolmates. You can see the energy in them, and they're just different than anyone else that I've ever met.

Most doctors are not on board and want to hand you prescriptions immediately. They don't understand this lifestyle, and they don't give you the time of day. Dr. Linda Carney spends a lot of time with you, has a great room in her office with educational videos to help her patients, and I think that's really cool. She has the resources there for anyone who may not have access to that information. In October 2012, I took some courses by Dr. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study, and received my certification in plant-based nutrition.

Living in a world where people don't understand what we're doing is challenging. Some people, even medical doctors and physicians, say that oil is good for you, but I learned that Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn tells you to avoid all oils. I'm eating this way because this is how I'm seeing results, feeling great, and this is the information that I've learned. I also have to plan ahead and be prepared, especially with packing snacks. As a mother to a toddler, I pack a diaper bag for my baby and I pack a bag of snacks for myself, too.

All of this information and research has been really helpful in my journey and I now know what to eat and how to improve my health. Making the better choice and sticking with it are both really important for your success. Now I look forward to my appointments and bloodwork to see where I have improved.

I'm starting to work on my health coaching business because I want to help other people. With all of this new information that I've learned, I want to take people on grocery store tours, show them how to prepare easy meals, and what I've done to get to where I'm at. If you're thinking about trying out a plant-based diet, just dive in and do it! Try it out for a few weeks, and see how you feel and how your health can improve.

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