How This Health Coach Helped Her Mother Reverse Heart Disease with DietWritten by Meg Donahue
As we at MamaSezz well know, changing to a plant-based diet can change your life in ways you never expected. For some, a WFPB diet can reverse heart disease, for others, it reduces joint inflammation and pain. In this series, we talk with some of the world’s most soulful, dedicated (and often funny) individuals. We get to hear their stories of suffering, transformation, and service — and we learn how food is an essential part of their journey.
Today we talked with Michelle Joy Kramer, a plant based Health Coach, about one of her most life-altering client cases: Her own mom. Michelle had discovered a plant based after helping a friend reverse heart disease years earlier and had set her up with healthy vegan food delivery. So when Victoria, Michelle's mother, came to her for advice about the blockage in her heart, Michelle was strapped and loaded with resources. Here's the story of how Michelle was able to save her mother's life!
On this page
Mother-Daughter Health Success: Video Interview with MamaSezz
The first steps: Reverse heart disease
How Michelle first learned to reverse heart disease
Victoria's transition to a plant-based diet
Life as a plant-based Health Coach
MamaSezz to the rescue (vegan food delivery)!
[VIDEO] Mother-Daughter Health Success Part 1
[VIDEO] Mother-Daughter Health Success Part 2
Who is Michelle?
Michelle Joy Kramer is a Board-Certified Holistic Health Practitioner and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She assists individuals and corporate teams in achieving their optimal health through healthy lifestyle choices regarding nutrition, exercise, spirituality, relationships, and careers. Michelle is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and holds a Certificate from the Cornell University Plant-Based Nutrition Program.
She has also completed CEU and Certification Programs for Health Counseling through Purchase College. She holds accreditation from The American Association of Drugless Practitioners and is a member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. Michelle has a global private concierge health coaching practice and is the organizer of a whole foods plant-based community group in Naples, Florida, called the Naples Green Scene.
She is an accomplished top competing Triathlete and considers her best achievement to be qualifying and completing the IRONMAN World Championship Triathlon in Hawaii.
She guides her clients to work holistically towards health, which includes diet, exercise, and a focus on mental health. Michelle has a passion and a love for mentoring her clients to achieve astounding goals and compelling results both in-person, and via the internet.
We talked to Michelle about her mother's health transformation, and how it impacted both of their lives forever and brought them closer than ever. There's nothing stronger than a mother-daughter bond, and this one saves lives.
Who is Victoria?
Michelle's mother, Victoria, is vivacious and has a big personality! She's an extrovert that's always been all about health. Eating as a family was big in Victoria's household, and she preached the importance of fruits and veggies with every meal.
After a scary diagnosis and a slew of new prescription medications, Victoria knew where to turn for advice. Luckily, she has an open personality and is always willing to try new things. She got in touch immediately with her daughter Michelle, and the two of them came up with a game plan at once.
The first steps to reverse heart disease
Immediately, Michelle got on the phone with Dr. Dulaney, a fellow Ironman athlete, and a top plant-based cardiologist. Just two days later, Michelle and Victoria drove down to see Dr. Dulaney. Victoria was shaken, and nervous about her blockage. She was in her late 60's at the time, and was approaching a big lifestyle change. She knew if she wanted to reverse heart disease, she'd have to make a commitment.
After her appointment, Victoria went whole food plant based! Michelle, a new WFPB dieter herself, held her mother's hand through the transition and gave her plenty of resources to use. Because of her Addison's Disease, Victoria had the additional challenge of monitoring her sodium levels. Michelle taught her ways to get additional sodium from eating certain whole vegetables, and they were able to find a diet that helped Victoria's body to thrive.
How Michelle first learned to reverse heart disease
In her late 40's, Michelle's friend had to have a heart procedure. It was pretty shocking, as she was young. But what was even more upsetting was that her doctors assured her there was nothing besides surgery and medication that could be done. Michelle knew this was not true, because she had learned in school all about Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Greger, and Dr. Esselstyn. There WAS, in fact, another way. After her friend's procedure, Michelle got in contact with Dr. Esselstyn who advised her to stop using oil, and to go whole food plant based. She followed the guidelines of Dr. Esselstyn's book: Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease.
Immediately, Michelle hopped on board and joined her friend in this lifestyle change. That being said, both women were hesitant about giving up some of their favorite comfort foods. They were not looking forward to steaming veggies and cutting out oily sauces but knew it had to be done. It was a challenging first three months.
At this point, as an Ironman Triathlete, Michelle looked and felt great. She did not know that she could feel even better, until giving up fish, chicken, cheese, and added oils. Her cholesterol dropped 45 points, and she lost 10 pounds of inflammation right off the bat. Michelle felt 20 years younger, and her athletic recovery times decreased noticeably. It took about 3 months until this lifestyle became second nature, and her moodiness subsided. It's been 8 years now, and Michelle sees no reason to go back.
Victoria's transition to a plant based diet
It was challenging for Victoria to change her lifestyle in her late 60's, but luckily, she had her very own health coach to help her stay motivated. Although she felt alone at times, she was able to learn new recipes on her own, and reach out to her daughter for advice.
After just 4 months, she was able to see tangible results in her bloodwork. Her total cholesterol had dropped around 42 points. She'd lost 14 pounds, went off her thyroid medication, and never had to go on cholesterol medication.
For many people, the hardest part about going plant-based is the challenge of the social aspect and stigma. Going against the grain can be difficult, and because many social events revolve around food there is an additional element of the challenge when it comes to diet changes. Victoria felt like an outsider, so Michelle reminded her:
"That's okay, Mom. You're not going to fit in... you're going to fit out! People are going to see the changes, and you're going to feel better, and they're going to start to ask questions. You just have to hang on."
The first vegan Thanksgiving: Vegan food delivery
As their first plant-based Thanksgiving approached, Michelle and her mother began to panic. What will Victoria's mother think of the two of them smuggling in vegan food to their traditional Thanksgiving celebration? How will they breach the subject without seeming ungrateful for the beautiful spread? They devised a plan to order MamaSezz (healthy vegan food delivery company).
Michelle's Grandmother was upset for a while, and Michelle tried to explain that this was a health decision and not personal. For Victoria's mother, food is love, so a rejection of her home-cooked meal for vegan food delivery was bound to hit her hard. And thus, the plan to smuggle the MamaSezz whole food plant-based meals through the back door was devised. Eventually, Victoria was able to show her mother her blood work, and explain that she was off of her medication. Luckily, since then there's been no more sneaking around for this mother-daughter duo!
Michelle and Victoria enjoying a MamaSezz Thanksgiving
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Victoria's plant based journey
It's been an up and down journey for Victoria, as it is with many who choose to change their diet and lifestyle. Very few people go 100% whole food plant based overnight without backslides. It's easy to get bored, to dine with friends and have food envy, to grab for something convenient instead of healthy, and to get so comfortable feeling great that you forget what you'd be going back to. But Victoria has held strong, and it shows!
Victoria's doctors remain shocked. They have trouble wrapping their heads around her success, although they are supportive of her lifestyle. It's been 8 years now, and both Victoria and Michelle are plant-strong! They are living proof that with the right support and motivation, change is possible at any stage of life.
Life as a plant-based health coach
For Michelle, it's the most rewarding job to wake up every day and support people in changing their lives, and their health. Michelle loves her career, and the more she learns, the more excited she gets about motivating others.
Being a top-tier athlete herself, Michelle works with non-athletes to become athletes. This begins with weight loss on a whole food plant-based diet, and once the exercise is added, these individuals flourish. Michelle enjoys watching her clients run their first 5K, and graduate to sprint triathlons.
She recalls providing one client with MamaSezz meals before his race, they ate and meditated together, and then she was able to see him compete in his first triathlon in San Diego! They were able to get their vegan food delivery to the hotel, and this time, Michelle wasn't sneaking it in the back door!
To learn more about Michelle’s practice visit michellejoykramer.com.
MamaSezz to the rescue (vegan food delivery)!
After leaving Dr. Esselstyn's home, Michelle found MamaSezz, and immediately ordered her first bundle. For 2 years straight, Michelle enjoyed MamaSezz foods while she transitioned to a plant based lifestyle. This healthy vegan food delivery made the transition doable, and convenient (especially for someone who doesn't enjoy spending time in the kitchen). It's easy and compliant, with low sodium, and no sugar or oil. Having MamaSezz on hand is a continuing comfort for Michelle and her mother, and can be an even bigger comfort for someone who doesn't have a plant-based buddy to transition with. This is why Michelle recommends MamaSezz to her clients.
Sign up for the MamaSezz 2 week Detox and Reboot Program to get the food and the support you need to live your best plant-based life! Reduce inflammation, lose weight, restore and energize your body, and unhook from unhealthy food habits...in just two weeks!
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