I hate to do the math, but I believe it was somewhere in the 1997/98 timeframe when I got to know Kim Chapman. We were cheerleaders…and if you scroll down to Kim’s picture, I’m convinced the first thing you’ll notice is her smile. With a smile like that, it would’ve been a crime if she didn’t cheer! We went to state finals in 1999 and placed 6th in the state…but I digress…We lost touch after that, and had it not been for facebook, she wouldn’t be my guest blogger now.
You see, we have something in common….we’re a couple of “shegans” (girls who are vegan). Kim came across my blog a few months ago, explaining how she just recently made the switch to an all plant protein diet…and why. Her “WHY” is WAY better than mine…I read a book, thought it made sense, made the changes, felt better. Kim has some numbers behind her story…numbers that are hugely important, especially to such a young, active (ahem…MARATHON runner), and healthy girl in her twenties who was at risk for a stroke or heart attack!
Kim made her vegan debut almost a year ago. Her story is one worth reading and sharing……
Hello fellow Shegan enthusiasts! My name is Kim and I am a full time graphic designer and part time dabbler in nutrition and running and I strive to live as healthfully as possible. I so admire and appreciate the passion and effort that Christie puts into Super Shegan and was so excited when she asked me to share my story.
I can still vividly remember the smirk that must have been on my face when my family doctor recommended checking my cholesterol at my yearly physical. Had he some how confused my chart with a middle-aged man carrying a spare tire, glued to his recliner, consuming nothing but red meat and fast food? Far from it – I was a slim 21 year-old who exercised religiously, followed a conventionally, very ‘healthy’ diet and always got glowing reports at yearly physicals. Sure, I thought. Go for it. It’s probably just some sort of formality. There’s no way I have high cholesterol.
A week later I was sitting at my desk at my first ‘big girl’ job when my doctor called to inform me that my cholesterol was well above 200 and if that wasn’t bad enough, my LDL was high and my HDL was low. For those of you not fluent in lipid speak this was far from the glowing report I was accustomed to. This is what I got for being smug. My doctor assured me it was probably genetic, that my numbers were still borderline and I should watch my saturated fat intake and recheck in six months.
Fast forward 7 years. Despite my best efforts to lower my cholesterol by eating a ‘healthy’ diet, watching my fat intake, and continuing to exercise, my numbers continued to rise. Finally at my check up in January of last year my doctor told me that my cholesterol was now over 250 and what was once borderline was now becoming a serious concern. Ultimatum time – I had to lower my cholesterol now or be put on a cholesterol lowering medication for the rest of my life. Don’t get me wrong, no one wants to be in their late 20’s and at risk for a stroke or heart attack, but I also knew that I did not want the drugs. I wanted to be healthy and I felt like the medication was only a band-aid to the problem and not a solution.
Over the next few months I started doing my own research and came across veganism. The more I read, the more I thought that this could truly be my solution. While driving past a local art theater one day I saw that the documentary Forks Over Knives was playing. I stopped and caught the last showing. I was blown away and from that point forward completely convinced that a vegan, whole-food, plant-based diet was the answer – not just for cholesterol but for a truly healthy way of life.
I have now been vegan for almost 10 months and my cholesterol has dropped over 50 points! But more than that I feel good about the food that I am putting in my body and the steps I have taken to maintain my overall health for the long term. There are so many things in life that are outside of our control so I think it’s important to take control of the things that we can and make health a priority.
Just a quick note to the runners and athletes out there considering a vegan diet. You absolutely can perform just as well, if not better on a whole-food, plant-based diet. No Meat Athlete is a great website full of helpful advice if you’re thinking of giving it a try. www.nomeatathlete.com
I am always so grateful and excited for new vegan resources and friends and to see more and more people committing to their health and taking responsibility for their own well-being.
Here’s to health and happiness!