As we at MamaSezz well know, changing to a plant-based diet can change your life in ways you never expected. 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.
In this addition of Transformation Tuesday we talk to Health Coach Emily who uses a plant based diet to manage her rare genetic disorder, and has dedicated her life to helping others.
Coach Emily, MS, CSCS, CHWC is a Health Coach who received her B.S. in Exercise Science with a Minor in Sport Management and her M.S. in Nutrition Science. Emily has worked in sports performance, general wellness, and disease management with clinical and healthy populations.
Emily has experience coaching individuals of all ages and risk categories, giving small group presentations, developing content for health webinars, and assisting in creating and running health fairs. She has extensive knowledge of disease reversal, lifestyle medicine, strength and conditioning, nutrition, and sports performance.
When she is not coaching, Emily can be found staying active by skiing, playing ice hockey, or leading a variety of group fitness classes at the gym. She is passionate about achieving optimal wellness by building healthy habits and making changes each day for a better tomorrow.
What prompted your interest in a plant-based diet?
I have a rare genetic condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, but I began looking into a plant-based diet after getting diagnosed with a number of health conditions in quick succession.
I was frustrated that I did not feel as healthy as my peers, despite being an athlete and eating “clean.” I ate a diet that was very high in eggs and poultry, and ate a very modest amount of fats and carbohydrates. I counted calories and macros, and was constantly thinking about food and how it would affect my health and fitness.
I was finally tired of eliminating foods and tracking everything and decided to try UC Davis Integrative Medicine’s 21-Day plant-based challenge in November, 2018. I was living alone and was impressed with how much money I could save by going 100 percent whole food plant-based.
After the three weeks finished, I had lost a significant amount of “bloat” (water retention) and felt so much better overall. A lot of the joint pain I had been experiencing was mitigated, and I felt happier overall.
I was so thankful to be free from tracking everything or measuring out portion sizes and loved being able to nourish my body by eating until I felt full, knowing that all the foods I was eating were nutrient-dense options that would help my body thrive.
How were you able to stick with such a dramatic diet change?
I actually tried to eat poultry again a few times in the weeks immediately after my initial switch, but every time I did my knees got very swollen and I experienced overall fatigue and aches.
Since I enjoy a very active lifestyle, I have found it easy to maintain such a dramatic diet change because I feel significantly better and healthier eating a plant-based diet.
I also found that I was eating a greater variety of foods and learning how to season and cook my foods better, which made eating plant-based even more enjoyable.
What is your life like now?
My health has improved immensely since going plant-based. While I did experience a significant improvement in body composition, the changes in my labs and how I feel have really solidified the positive impacts of switching my diet.
My total cholesterol dropped almost 100 points, coming almost exclusively from LDL and triglycerides dramatically reducing.
While I never struggled with high blood pressure or high blood sugar levels, my risk factors for developing those conditions later in life have also lowered.
I have a rare genetic condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and I have found that many of my health complications related to this syndrome have become more manageable. I am less sore from workouts at the gym which enables me to stay as active as I would like to be, and I am able to stay well fueled and energized for my workouts by eating plenty of carbohydrates.
The high fiber content of my diet has increased my satiety after meals and has improved my gut motility. My skin looks more vibrant from the high micronutrient content of a plant-based diet (hello Vitamin C and carotenoids!). Finally, I just feel better. I feel better physically, I feel better knowing I am not harming any animals unnecessarily, and I feel better knowing that I am doing my part to protect our planet.
Partially due to my own lifestyle transformation and partially due to my increased nutrition knowledge from getting my Master’s in Nutrition, I have opened up my own scientifically-driven health coaching practice to help others improve their diets and lifestyles to increase quality of life and decrease chronic disease risk.
What is your favorite MamaSezz dish?
My favorite MamaSezz foods (there are so many!!) are the High Protein Breakfast Bars, Power Breakfast Smoothie, Lazy Lasagna, and the High Protein Burger. But, I truly like them all – this was a hard one!
Before going plant-based I frequently was injured, and struggled to maintain optimal health for years. I have been enjoying better physical and mental health in the months and years since making the switch! MamaSezz makes it even easier on the busy weeks when I do not have the time to prepare all my foods myself- and I love knowing that I don’t have to check the labels of ingredients lists for any MamaSezz products. I already know that they are healthy and plant-based!
Have Your Own Plant-Based Transformation?!
Tell us all about it! We'd love to know how a plant-based diet changed your life and health. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story.