Results: from vegan to whole foods plant based vegan

August 10, 2018

Wow, it’s been over six months since I cleaned up my diet and moved towards a whole foods plant-based plan. And I owe you guys an update!

To recap, since the heart attack, I no longer cook with oil of any type, have cut out refined sugars, and focus on whole plant foods.

beans brown rice greens avocado carrots and beets.

Yes, I do occasionally eat processed food, but stick to those that are minimally processed with emphasis on occasionally. If curious, this post has more specifics about the changes made.

And I do eat out at restaurants sometimes, but not nearly as much as we used to and, again, I choose the options that are as close to whole foods as possible.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to see a doctor. I tried in Portland, but the earliest open appointment was a week after we were leaving. I got on a waiting list for cancelations, but never got a call.

When we get back to the lower-48, I will make another run at getting in to see a doctor. But in the meantime, I wanted to know if the changes I made were helping. Enter Grassroots Labs.

What is Grassroots Labs?

Through Grassroots Labs, you can order tests online at reasonable prices. Then you go into a local testing facility to have your blood drawn. When your test results are ready, you get a notification by email.

I went to Quest Diagnostics in Fairbanks, Alaska for the tests. It was a quick in and out, no appointment necessary. And the results arrived in less than a week. It’s an excellent solution for people that don’t have insurance.

The results are in!

The goals I had were to get my triglycerides down, my HDL up and my LDL down. I wasn’t explicitly trying for weight loss, but it was a nice side effect. And I’ve continued to lose weight slowly.

Here is my results side by side with the lab results from when I was in the hospital.

cholesterol results after 6 months on a whole foods plant based diet.

I know that this is not the entire story, but seeing everything going in the right direction is a relief. I’m hoping this puts me in an excellent position to come off of or reduce some medications, but I’ll wait for a doctor’s okay before making any changes.

Now, some of you might be looking at my “before” lab results and think they look pretty good. And yet I still had a heart attack. Am I ever going to have an answer as to why that happened? I’m not holding out hope.

So if you were curious as to how my changes in diet have worked out, I’d say pretty well! Do you have a success story to share? Or would you like to see results like this but don’t know how to proceed? I’d love to hear from you! Drop a comment below, and I’ll get right back to you!

Laura Nunemaker

About the Author

Laura Nunemaker

vegan. full-time traveler. rv dweller. food lover. cow petter.

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  • Chris Rivett says:

    Congratulations on a job well done, and a very tough job!

  • Kelly Epifanio says:

    Your before numbers were quite good which makes it scary for me. Great job bettering your numbers. Both you and Kevin are seeing the benefits ????????????????keep it up

    • That’s the scary thing. My numbers were already what would be considered excellent when I had the heart attack. It’s just another example of everybody being different. For one person, those numbers might mean a long, healthy life. For me, they meant a heart attack. Hopefully, all the changes will help keep us both running smoothly for some time to come!

      • Toni says:

        Hi Laura,
        I’m wondering how will you determine if the improved lipid numbers are due to diet or the medicines? I’m in a very complex cholesterol situation and am researching everything I can to avoid statins. Thoughts?

        • It’s probably a bit of each. I wish I could remember the source, but I think the % reduction I had is not attainable via meds alone. It seems like something from Nutrition Facts: I am still taking the meds prescribed but honestly, I can’t wait to ditch them. If it was just a matter of needed to reduce my numbers rather than a medical event I would have chosen to try through diet alone rather than take meds.

  • Radomír Koudela says:

    But cholesterol reading after heart attack don’t reflect cholesterol numbers you had before. After heart attack LDL, HDL and total cholesterol decrease while triglicerides significantly increase.

  • kelley says:

    You might want to do a little research into LPa cholesterol level. It’s an inherited gene that is the cause of most heart attacks in otherwise healthy folks. Just found out about it several years ago, and mine is off the charts. I eat according to the Essylstein diet. Just an fyi. Happy camping!

    • Yes, that is an important consideration! I found out about lipoprotein(a) after this post was made, asked my doctor about it, and then had the test done. Totally normal levels. 🤷‍♀️

  • Amy says:

    Laura, I had a heart attach at age 41. That was 3 years ago. My mother died this week from a heart attack. I just found your blog. I am so happy to read about your story. Thank you for sharing.

    • Amy, I’m so sorry about your mom. I read a bit of your story and it makes me want to punch people. Women are never taken seriously about their health, are they? So frustrating. I’m glad you wrote. Get in touch anytime. Being a young female heart attack survivor can be a lonely place.

  • Sarah says:

    I’m currently experiencing heart palpitations and pain but finding doctors write it off as stress or anxiety. I’m 42 and a vegan female. I appreciate you sharing your experience and it gives me a starting point to check out tests. My insurance will not cover a heart monitor saying it isn’t medically necessary. I’m scared to not wake up.

    • That’s really scary! Can you get a second opinion? Women are too often dismissed as overreacting to possible symptoms. 😕 Maybe even look for a plant-based doctor. If your insurance won’t cover something, you can always ask the medical facility what the cash price would be. Many times it’s much cheaper than the insurance price.

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