(WXYZ) — Plant-based eating is on the rise, but the newest subscribers to the lifestyle aren’t just doing it for ethical reasons.
Instead, many of them are leaning on it as a way to radically change their health.
In tonight’s Two Americas, we’re meeting two people whose lives took a 180 turn after transitioning to a no meat, no dairy diet and showing us how they’re contributing to the changing face of veganism.
These two men are thirty years apart in age, different in almost every way, but what they share- is a steadfast belief in what to eat: forks over knives -plants over pills.
It wasn’t always this way. Just three years ago Southfield’s Cartiear Madlock was sitting at 390 pounds.
He had been enduring a decades-long struggle to lose weight – Everything from fad diets to weight loss pills. Nothing worked, that is, until he began a fruits and veggies fast.
In the first two weeks?
“I wound up losing about 21 total pounds and I had an aha moment, Oh, expletive, I’m vegan,” Madlock says.
On a no meat, no dairy diet, coupled with daily exercise, the 34-year-old would drop a whopping 120 pounds in just over a year.
Today, plant-based living is exploding. The most recent numbers show a 30-fold increase in vegans in the United States between 2004 and 2019.
The numbers are rising, and the face of veganism, once a young, white female, is changing- with less subscribers turning to it for ethical reasons, and more for health benefits.
“These plant-based diets are really showing in the research that they can help decrease a lot of symptoms and a lot of chronic diseases,” says Registered Dietician with Beaumont Hospital Megan Husek.
Today, there are proven results in those facing obesity, type two diabetes, autoimmune conditions, and cardio-vascular disease.
“I could not take 7 steps without stopping and just waiting for the pain to go away,” says Paul Chatlin, who was staring a life-threatening illness 10 years ago.
“Enlarged heart, leaky valves, sarcoidosis of the right side of the artery,” he says. “I was a mess.”
Scheduled for a triple bypass operation, one doctor gave him a last-minute choice: surgery or a lifestyle change.
“Giving up meat, dairy, and oil,” Chatlin says.
Within two weeks, his chest pains disappeared, cholesterol levels dropped, and his heart disease? Completely reversed.
Today, both men spend significant time in the kitchen and working to educate others.
“I just wanted people to know the benefits of nutrition, before pills and procedures,” Cartiear says.
“We make time for the things that matter, and nothing matters more than your health,” Paul says.
Husek says if you decide the lifestyle is for you let your primary care doctor know so you can more easily track any potential vitamin deficiencies. And take it slow as you make the transition- tip-toeing in will help you stick with it long term.