Yes, this is me in 2002 at the age of just 29, just before I made the change to a whole foods, plant-based diet. I’m proudly holding a conventional (dairy) mint chocolate chip cheesecake topped with mint Oreos and chocolate ganache that I had just made. Looking back, it’s hard to believe that is even me! My main food groups were cheese (brie, cheddar, gorgonzola, mozzarella – I loved it all!), wine and bread with a side of Benson & Hedges Deluxe Ultra Light Menthol Cigarettes! I thought I ate a pretty healthy diet because I did eat fresh fruits and vegetables (a lot, I thought, especially compared to some people) and didn’t eat a lot of processed junk food and never drank pop. I didn’t eat much red meat, preferring chicken, fish and dairy. I had so much to learn and once I began, I found this new world of fresh, healthy food and compassionate living very exciting and life-changing!
On vacation in Saint Maarten, 2002, a few months after I had begun eating a plant-based diet. I had already lost about 20 pounds and was feeling great. We were sure to seek out the only health food restaurant on the island called Top Carrot. I was very proud and excited about my progress. I had no idea how much better it could get. During that trip, I was reading John Robbins’ book, The Food Revolution. I couldn’t put it down!
One year later in 2003. I had lost 45 pounds and weighed 125 pounds. I was wearing size 4 jeans and felt and looked like a different person! I had begun my journey by reading Marilu Henner’s book, Total Health Makeover and joining her online classes at www.marilu.com. I am truly one of her success stories. Thanks Marilu!
A weekend in Lake Tahoe in 2005 at my dream weight of 120-122 pounds. I had a great haircut, a beautiful dress and I felt fantastic!
Turning my passion for healthy whole foods, plant-based cooking into a job I loved as the Supervisor of Salud! Cooking and Lifestyle School at Whole Foods Market Sacramento. My weight fluctuated between 122-125 pounds in June of 2006.
Summer 2010 in Monterey. My wonderful son William was just 3 year old when this photo was taken and I had a new job as a Food for Life Nutrition & Cooking Instructor for The Cancer Project and PCRM. After a difficult bout of postpartum depression and weight gain, I was back to a healthy weight. In this photo, I weighed 130 pounds. When I wrote this in the fall of 2010, I was down 4 more pounds at 126 pounds and back into size 2s and 4s. As I increased my vegetable consumption, I lost a bit more weight and got closer to my naturally healthy weight of around 120-125 pounds.
I love it that my son happily munches on red peppers, broccoli and kale and drinks yummy green smoothies everyday. I don’t miss cheese, wine or cigarettes anymore. I look and feel better and younger than I did 10 years ago!
Summer 2016. Six years have passed since I’ve updated this page. I’m now 43 years old and my son is 9 and in 4th grade. I’ve gotten divorced and remarried. I’ve moved twice. My new husband, Brian, has gone through treatment for Stage III colorectal and survived. I gained a few pounds the year Brian was going through treatment and haven’t really worried about taking it off. I’ve been vegan now for 14 years and weigh 128 pounds and wear a size 4. I’m definitely not perfect, but I’m much happier and healthier than I was in my 20s, when I was literally busting out of my pants.
Most of all, I’m thankful to have a wonderful partner and am very grateful to be raising a very sweet, happy, healthy vegan son.
I hope you and your family will join me on this journey toward health, wellness and compassion!
“Health, excellent or ill, is passed to our children not through our genes but primarily through our recipes.”
– Joanne L. Mumola Williams