Like many of us, Brenda Workman was worried about her health. She was overweight, she had little energy, and her joints hurt. She was taking medication for high cholesterol and had tried everything—almost—to manage her weight and get her health back on track.
But then, she had a scary wake-up call that may have saved her life: While working in her garden, she felt dizzy. She checked her blood pressure and saw that it was alarmingly high—and it stayed that way for days. Knowing that this condition increased her already elevated risk of heart disease, she made an urgent appointment with her physician.
Her doctor’s orders? Go vegan!
Heart disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S., is at an all-time high. While physical inactivity is a contributing factor, diabetes, obesity, and foods laden with saturated fats and cholesterol—i.e., meat, eggs, and dairy—increase the risk. More and more people are improving their health by changing the way they eat.
According to the American Heart Association, eating nutritious vegan foods, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and protein-rich nuts, beans, and seeds may decrease your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, lower cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of suffering a heart attack or a stroke.
Ready to make a real change for her health, Workman committed to going vegan. Although it was an adjustment at first—she says that she “grew up on biscuits and gravy, meat at every meal and sausage and all the things that go with causing obesity”—her health has improved dramatically since making the switch. She has lost 60 pounds and no longer requires medication to reduce her blood pressure and cholesterol level. Now, she’s sharing the life-changing benefits of vegan eating with others, as a licensed Food for Life instructor with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
During the three years she’s been vegan, Workman has saved nearly 44,000 pounds of grain, over 1.2 million gallons of water, and nearly 33,000 square feet of forested land—and she has spared nearly 600 animals horrific violence, confinement, and death.
Are you ready to commit to drastically improving your health and helping to protect animals and the environment? Here are some tips for making the best transition of your life:
- Some people find that quitting meat, eggs, and dairy cold Tofurky works best, but if you prefer to ease into it, start by introducing a few vegan meals throughout the week, gradually increasing the number. Many foods you already enjoy may be “accidentally vegan”—such as oatmeal made with water or vegan milk, pasta with marinara sauce, veggie fajitas, and vegetable minestrone.
- Keep vegan choices within reach. Stock your kitchen with nutritious staples like brown rice, quinoa, peanut butter, avocado, tofu, frozen veggies, and frozen fruit to use in smoothies. Keep healthy snacks around, like carrots and hummus, SkinnyPop Aged White Cheddar Popcorn (yes, it’s dairy-free!), low-fat chips and guacamole, and trail mix.
- Make vegetables the main attraction. Focus on all the delicious, healthful foods you can have, instead of worrying about foods to avoid. PETA has tons of free and tasty vegan recipes online.
- Keep your meals interesting by eating a variety of foods. Create a rainbow on your plate with fresh produce, add texture with grains and legumes, and spice things up with your favorite seasonings.
- Change takes time, so be gentle with yourself while you find your way. If you slip up, don’t give up! Just start fresh the next day. Your taste buds will begin to change, and you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised to find that your toxic cravings for animal-derived foods fall by the wayside as your body begins to crave healthy, nourishing whole foods. Online food vendors, including PETA Business Friends, are set up to conveniently deliver delicious, healthy vegan meals right to your door to make the transition that much easier.
Workman’s healthy transformation is proof that we hold a lot of the power to choose our fate. As she puts it, “A lot of people as they age think, ‘It’s always going to be this way, I’m just getting old, these chronic diseases are just going to happen. I have to accept it.’ And I’m a firm believer now that food really does matter.” Our health is in our hands, and so is that of the environment! It’s never too late to start making better choices or to take control of our own health.
Go vegan to save yourself, and help your loved ones make informed choices, too.Order a FREE Vegan Starter Kit for Yourself—and One to Share!