Congratulations Millie Donahue, you reversed heart disease and became a star!
91-year-old Millie, the inspiration behind MamaSezz, was featured in the February 2022 edition of Woman's World Magazine after having reversed heart disease.
Behind the scenes at Millie's photoshoot
Summary of Millie's incredible plant-based transformation
This full-page spread told the story of how after a devastating diagnosis in her 80s, Millie had all but lost hope. She was moved into her daughter's guest house, put on hospice care, and told to get her affairs in order. Her congestive heart disease weakened her heart function to less than 10%. She felt hopeless as her body grew sicker and she slowly lost her independence.
Her daughter Meg, wasn't going to take this diagnosis sitting down. She researched hoping to find who had survived congestive heart failure and what they'd done. This is when Meg came across Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease by Dr. Esselstyn. The book outlined how an anti-inflammatory diet rich in whole food plant foods like legumes, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, spices, and beans, could actually reverse heart disease.
Meg was ready to go all in but was a little concerned (as all new plant-based eaters and vegans are):
- Where will my mother get her protein?
- What about iron and calcium?
- Should I keep feeding her eggs and yogurt?
- What about protein powder?
Time to Jump In: A Heart Healthy Diet
After easing into it with a healthy does of skepticism and a lot of research, Meg started giving Millie tiny bits of WFPB (whole food plant based) smoothies and soups through a straw, as this was all Millie could manage at the time. In a few months, Millie gained enough strength to stand and work her way to the bathroom on her own, using hand rails. She could now sit up, so Meg began experimenting with bean chili and veggie stir fry.
Little by little, Millie regained strength. One day Meg looked out her window to see Millie making her way across the driveway, all on her own. She was healing from the inside out, and it was showing.
After one year of eating a plant-based diet, Millie was back to exercise. She went to the pool several times a week and was getting back into yoga. As she continued to gain strength and heal, Millie was able to play regularly with her grandchildren, and even welcomed her first great grandchild into the world. An extrovert, she made fast friends in her new state and regained independence by getting back behind the wheel.
Her doctors were shocked to say the least when they saw her heart function went from below 10 percent to over 56 percent (back within the normal range!).
A family affair! Everybody tries a heart healthy diet
Meg and her partner Lisa made the transition to plant-based as well to support Millie's journey. Soon after making the switch, Meg was shocked to see her macular degeneration was healing. Lisa's cholesterol levels dropped, as did her weight. Little by little, both women noticed they felt healthier, they slept better, their digestive issues were clearing up, and their energy and stamina were through the roof.
They were so inspired by these changes, they started MamaSezz, a whole food plant-based meal delivery service, to help others reap the many benefits of plant-based eating.
Millie: 10 years in to her plant-based life and thriving after she reversed heart disease
While her doctors didn't think a recovery was in Millie's future, today she is 91 years old, rockin' it on the ukulele, and loving the life she almost lost. She still plays with her grandchildren daily and even welcomed a great grandchild into the world two years ago!
The science is in...
Millie's story may sound incredible, but it's not unusual for plant-based eaters. Nutrition research points to whole plant-based foods again and again as the optimal diet for improved health. Not only does Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn endorse a whole food plant-based diet, but hundreds or thousands of doctors with an expertise in nutrition preach: a whole food plant based diet is the best diet for overall health, as well as for disease prevention and reversal.
And doctors aren't just "prescribing" plants to their own patient, they're taking their own nutrition advice to change their own health. Dr. Saray Stancic saw huge suggested with a WFPB diet, discovering she was able to reverse the symptoms of her Muscular Sclerosis, which had previously debilitated her so much so she wasn't able to walk.