The Plant Rx

Your resource for a plant-based diet

Plant-based Health Study

Click here to see: Study Tracking & Results Grid (All Participants)

About the Study

We are conducting a study in which participants will be changing their diets from either a Standard American Diet (SAD) or a Vegetarian Diet to a Plant-based (Vegan) diet for 60 days.  We will be measuring the participants changes in health both quantitatively and qualitatively. The following parameters will be measured in the quantitative portion: (at day 0, day 30 and day 60)

  • Weight
  • BMI
  • Lipid Profile (Total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, vLDL and triglycerides)
  • glucose
  • Hemoglobin A1Cs
*If indicated (based on lipid profile), carotid ultrasounds will be done.

Qualitatively, the participants will evaluate how they feel on this type of diet in comparison. They will also be asked if they plan on maintaining this diet or reverting to their previous one.

In an effort to be as transparent as possible all test results will be published here.

Additionally, our participants will be blogging about this experience throughout the entire 60 day study.

NOTE: You may be wondering why the parameters were not made more strict regarding food intake. There are a few reasons for this.  The first is that, as many of you well know, it is not easy to transition from a SAD to a plant-based one.  Even those transitioning from a vegetarian diet still find the transition difficult at times.  Thus, the hope was to increase greater compliance and minimal discontinuation factoring in the small-scale of the study.  The second was that  all things considered this is likely how the transition really occurs in most cases, if not more gradual.  Lastly, I wanted to see what the impact of  diet completely free of animal protein would be independent of other factors such as processed foods, junk foods and high/moderate oil consumption.  Answering the question, even if poor eating habits are continued, if there still a substantial health benefit as long as those habits are free of animal protein.

** If you have any questions about our study please do not hesitate to ask.


Meet Our Participants!


1. Stephanie:

Click here for Stephanie’s Blog

Age: 40

Sex: Female

Starting Weight: 170

Stephanie

Starting BMI: 27.5

About Stephanie:

I am a forty-one year-old, married full-time working mother with 2 teenagers.  I work an average of 55hrs a week and help run my household with little to no time focused on my own well being.  I consume a SAD diet, which if you listen to most Americans is healthy. I eat chicken, little to no red meat, easy on the sweets with minimal exercise which has left me 40 pounds over- weight.  The last two years I tried my hand at a few 5k runs and never had time or never pushed myself to make any improvements on my minimal attempts at fitness.

Recently a great friend started to educate me with new information, well actually new to me and most brain washed Americans, that the food I ate was hurting me.  My cholesterol and glucose levels were always within normal limits, so I assumed my food choices were fine.  I received 2 great books for Christmas (one written by Dr. Esselstyn and the other by Dr. Ornish) which I have found to be the only answer to my simple question.  How do I get and stay healthy?  I was never one for fad diets, they just didn’t make sense.  As I reviewed the data and am able to make an informed decision to transition to a Vegan lifestyle, I now have another reason for this change.  My baseline labs have revealed elevated cholesterol levels with borderline glucose level, which is an unfortunate finding.  Now I am more determined than ever to switch and prove that this is the best way to heal my body.

So now you know a little bit about me and why I have agreed to be a part of this experiment.  It’s also an amazing feeling that I have a friend who really cares about me and to give me that push I needed to want to live healthy, not just “live” and let nature take her course.

Stephanie’s Initial Blood work: (below)



2. Nikki:

Click here for Nikki’s Blog

Age: 37

Sex: Female

Starting Weight:

Starting BMI:

About Nikki:

My name is Nikki and I am 37 years old and I am new to vegetarianism. I am a currently unemployed teacher and a repair shop business owner. I am happily married to a very supportive man who doesn’t necessarily agree with everything I do but supports me 100%. I have two beautiful little girls, aged 4 ½ and 2, that I hope someday will understand that most everything I do I do for them.  We also have two adorable little guinea pigs and two goldfish residing with us. I grew up in an Italian/Irish family as a daughter of a principal and an office manager for a doctor’s office. My parents were

Nikki & Hubby

 

 

very into nutrition when my sister and I were young. Dinners often consisted of homemade meals made with soy protein, whole grains, vegetables and fruits as well as plenty of raw milk. As a child I was never allowed to have sugary cereals or too much candy on Halloween. I don’t know if this is why I later became obese, turned to food when I was stressed, and became addicted to white sugar?

I have been on just about every diet out there at some point in my life. Some of these diets include Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Atkins, South Beach, Biggest Loser, Suzanne Somers, and Sugar Busters. etc. I am basically a career dieter. What diet have I missed? The only diet I stayed on for the long-term was Weight Watchers. I have actually lost 80 pounds on Weight Watchers but then I came to a point where I just couldn’t lose anymore. I was frustrated and I basically stayed the same for many months. I joined Netflix and rented “Supersize Me” which completely grossed me out and made me vow never to step a foot into a McDonald’s ever again (including not allowing my daughter’s to ever eat there again). Then I wanted to see more so I rented Food Inc. That was a real eye opener! Then one of my girl friends suggested that I read “Skinny Bitch” but she warned me, “Once you read it, you will never want to eat meat again.” I don’t know why but I was intrigued. I was never a huge meat-eater but I enjoyed an occasional filet mignon. I liked my bacon extra crispy and I enjoyed an In N’ Out hamburger “animal style” as much as the next person. So, I read “Skinny Bitch” and was completely astonished at the disgusting realities of the meat and dairy industry. I started out by giving up one thing a week so that I didn’t feel like I was being deprived. I gave up red meat, then poultry, then coffee, then white sugar, you get the picture. Then I decided that since my eyes were wide open I needed to read as much as I could about the subject so I bought the book “The Kind Diet” and then I purchased “The China Study” on my IPOD. I am currently still reading this book and it is so interesting and informative.

I can’t believe that I was basically living life in a bubble and I was very misinformed which I think is true of a lot of people. Either they know what is going on and choose to ignore it or have no idea what is going on. I can’t believe we were made to think that milk “does a body good” and that we need it. People actually believe that if we do not drink milk we will not have enough calcium or if we do not eat meat we will not get enough iron. I have now realized that there are many other ways to get the nutrients we need. I love trying new vegetables like bok choy, kale, greens, sprouts, dandelion greens and collards. You can actually live and thrive without eating meat or dairy. It’s amazing! I have just started on this journey and can’t wait to see where it takes me next!

The reason I have decided to be a part of the mini experiment is because I have recently become vegetarian and I know that I have so much more to learn about my new way of life. I am only beginning to understand the benefits of being a vegetarian/vegan and I am excited to get some support and share my journey to a healthier me! I am thrilled with my new adventure and I know there are others out there like me who probably need to adopt a better lifestyle because of health reasons or to lose some weight and I only hope that I can help them with their journey too.

Nikki’s Initial Blood work: (below)


3. Vanessa:

Click here for Vanessa’s Blog

Age: 30

Sex: Female

Starting Weight: 127

Starting BMI: 21.8

Vanessa, Hubby & "World's Best Dog"

Vanessa, Hubby & "World's Most Adorable Dog"

I’m originally an East coast girl– born and raised in Connecticut and attended college at Tufts University in Massachusetts.  I’ve lived in LA for the past 9 years and I’m currently a dental student at UCLA School of Dentistry, set to graduate this June!  Also, I have the best husband and the most adorable dog in the world.

I decided to participate in this mini experiment for a number of reasons – but I think my main reason is curiosity.  I like to think that I currently keep a fairly healthy diet, but like most people, I know there is always room for improvement.  I don’t eat very much meat right now, but I’ve never cut out dairy.  I’ve suspected for a while now that dairy was a problem for me, but I’ve never been able to eliminate it from my diet entirely (I love yogurt and ice cream!).  I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m going to be really happy once I make this change.  I’m looking at this as sort of an immersion program into the plant-based diet world.   Already I’ve absolutely loved scouring the vegan blogs and getting to learn more about the amazing community out there.  Since I love to cook, this will be a great opportunity for me to try out some really cool new plant-based recipes so stay tuned for that!

Vanessa’s Initial Blood work: (below)




4. Megan:

Click here for Megan’s Blog

Age: 32

Sex: Female

Starting Weight: 178

Starting BMI: 27.1

About Megan:

Hi there, I’m Megan!   I am a 32 years old flexitarian (I don’t eat red meat or poultry, but I do eat fish) and I originally hail from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.  Growing up in Pittsburgh, there was no such thing as a Mothers, Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. My mom did her very best to have a variety of food at the dinner table for all 6 kids, but the main dish was always meat. The only vegetarian that I knew was my little brother who one day asked my mom “Is that a REAL turkey you are cooking?” and once he got the answer, he swore off meat from then on.  I thought that he was crazy.  How could he not love chicken, pork chops, meat balls and cheese burgers?!

After college and living on my own, I adopted the typically single girl diet.  Grilled chicken, vegetables, air popped popcorn, protein bars and diet coke.  Although it was super boring, it kept me at the weight that I wanted. Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t due to my super willpower. No no.  I just didn’t have anything unhealthy in the house. If I had a bag of chips, I’d eat them in one day. Box of snowcaps?  Didn’t stand a chance.  I didn’t understand how people could buy a bag of chocolate candy and eat one a day.  That would be torture for me!

Through my 20’s my weight would fluctuate about 10-15 pounds. It was either all or nothing. If there was a wedding coming up, I would be super strict. Near the holidays – I gave myself a free pass.  I never learned how to eat in moderation.  I was just always active enough to stay in ok shape.  When my boyfriend and I decided to move to California 3 years ago, I thought that I would automatically adopt the healthy way of eating that I assumed all Californians had.  I would be near the beach and in a bathing suit more often and thought that would motivate me to eat super healthy.  Wrong!  No one warned me how great the Mexican food was here!  And the self serve yogurt bars?  Amazing!

One night I saw the book Skinny Bitch and thought it looked amusing.  I read the book and the chapters on the slaughterhouses were disgusting.  29 years of eating meat and after that book I never touched it again.  Yea!  Now I am a vegetarian! I will automatically lose weight! But instead of eating more vegetables, I seemed to eat more starchy foods than ever. I am always concerned with getting enough protein in my diet, and don’t want to constantly eat soy.   When I saw Dr Jenna’s website, I was looking for a way to get more protein in my diet from vegetables. When I saw her experiment, I thought it was be a great way to have a doctor to answer any questions and monitor how I was feeling without meat or dairy.   (I feel like dairy has started to bother me in the past few years, but damn those yogurt bars!)   This experiment was the last kick in the rear I needed to stave off dairy and I have a feeling that I’m going to feel amazing!

Megan’s Initial Blood work: (below):


5. John:

Click here for John & Jax’s Blog

Age: 42

Sex: Male

Starting Weight: 259

Starting BMI: 30.7

About John:

John and I are both from originally from Maryland and we met in Florida about four years ago and we have been married for

John

John

 

 

3 and a half years. After four months of being married John’s work transferred us out to California. We really like it out here but moving from our families has been hard. We noticed right away that when you are not around all the people you know and love things change quickly. We were very used to running around and always busy with family and friends and that came to a complete stop once we arrived to California and it was just John and I. We are happy to say that we have made some wonderful friends and our activities of running around have gotten back to normal pretty quickly, but I really started to see a change in my activity level for the past two years has diminished and with that and many other symptoms I believe I am in the wonderful world of peri-menopause and maybe John is sharing some sympathetic symptoms with me(poor guy). We knew that something had to change.


Our friend Megan just told us about this study and we thought it would be a great change that would be beneficial to the both of us.  Neither one of us has really had any experience with plant-based eating but for the little we have read about it we thought it would be a great challenge for us and we are curious as to how it will affect us. John is the carnivore and I am the milk-a-holic.

We have decided to participate in the study for several reasons and for the most part they are completely self-serving reasons. I believe that the plant-based eating will help to combat some of the signs and symptoms of peri-menopause ie. weight gain, lack of energy, slow metabolism and many more. For John it is the weight gain and lack of energy as well.  We are curious as to how this will affect John as he has a very physical job that requires a lot energy and strength. We truly would like to lead a healthier lifestyle and are looking forward to this challenge. We are both a little nervous about such a drastic change, but as they say, nothing ventured nothing gained. We are ready!

John’s Initial Blood work: (below)



6. Jax:

Click here for Jax and John’s Blog

Age: 46

Sex: Female

Starting Weight: 200

Starting BMI: 36.6

About Jax:

John and I are both from originally from Maryland and we met in Florida about four years ago and we have been married for

Jax

 

 

3 and a half years. After four months of being married John’s work transferred us out to California. We really like it out here but moving from our familys has been hard. We noticed right away that when you are not around all the people you know and love things change quickly. We were very used to running around and always busy with family and friends and that came to a complete stop once we arrived to California and it was just John and I. We are happy to say that we have made some wonderful friends and and our activities of running around have gotten back to normal pretty quickly, but I really started to see a change in my activity level for the past two years has deminished and with that and many other symptoms I believe I am in the wonderful world of peri-menopause and maybe John is sharing some sympathetic symptoms with me(poor guy). We knew that something had to change.


Our friend Megan just told us about this study and we thought it would be a great change that would be beneficial to the both of us.  Neither one of us has really had any experience with plant based eating but for the little we have read about it we thought it would be a great challenge for us and we are curious as to how it will effect us. John is the carnivore and I am the milk-a-holic.

We have decided to participate in the study for several reasons and for the most part they are completely self serving reasons. I believe that the plant based eating will help to combat some of the signs and symptoms of peri-menopause ie. weight gain, lack of energy, slow metabolism and many more. For John it is the weight gain and lack of energy as well.  We are curious as to how this will affect John as he has a very physical job that requires alot energy and strength. We truly would like to lead a healthier lifestyle and are looking forward to this challenge. We are both a little nervous about such a drastic change, but as they say, nothing ventured nothing gained. We are ready!

Jax’s Initial Blood work: (below)


7. Amber:

Click here for Amber’s Blog

Age: 30

Sex: Female

Starting Weight: 127

Starting BMI: 20.5

About Amber:

My name is Amber, I am a very busy hair stylist at a fast paced salon, I also do house calls, editorials, fashion shows, and tv and movie work. Every day is a new day.


Growing up I ate meat and potatoes, corn-fed if you will. Whole milk was a big part of my diet as a child. Currently my kitchen is almost obsolete as I eat out almost every meal. I  find myself eating whatever is accessible just to fuel up. I definitely eat to live. I have never been a fast food eater, but cream sauces and rare meat are a big part of my  diet…. If I could live off coffee alone, I would as eating is not something I make a lot of time for.

I do however find myself feeling fatigued and drained rather quickly, as well as a new development of psoriasis. I feel as I’m getting older I need to take better care of myself and diet seems the right direction. I feel meat and dairy are major issues in the problems that are arising and I am so excited to be apart of this study! From the my personal research and what I have seen in my friends and family a plant-based diet definitely can make a huge difference. I’m looking forward to the changes I see in the way I feel!

Amber’s Initial Blood work: (below)













27 Responses to “Plant-based Health Study”

  1. Megan Abraham said

    Hi there! I got your website address from a Meetup Group! It is so very interesting and I am very excited to see what happens for the “mini-experiment”. I’d be very willing to be a part of the trial if you still need people. Thanks so much and I look forward to learning more!

    Best
    Megan

    • Jenn said

      Hi, Megan! I’m so glad you found us. I will send you an email directly. We would love to you participate with us. The more the merrier! 🙂 Jenna

  2. Ann said

    RE: Brendan Brazier, a professional triathlete, speaker and author is now offering education by online video on how to eat a healthy plant based diet. He advocates a vegan diet for athletes, but much of what he talks about is applicable to anyone who wants to eat a healthy low fat diet that is centered on plant foods. Eating a plant based diet is the most effective way to “go green”. To sign up for the video series go to thrivein30.com.

    I can tell you that he has worked with my Chiropractors office (he was a patient) and they have many people who could give you feedback on Brendan’s offerings.
    Dr Dan Yachter in Lake Mary FL is the office perhaps they can put you in touch with people who would be able to provide specifics.

    I’m very interested in your site. I have seen the proof of healthy living through food and perhaps we can share on each other’s sites as I am in the process of beginning a site about being healthier in your family and environment through your choices.

    Looking forward to delving more into your site.
    Kind regards,

    Ann Schulte

    • Jenn said

      Ann, Thanks for commenting and thank you for the information. I greatly appreciate it. I would love to hear more about your new site. It sounds great! Also I would love to share on each other’s site! The more awareness the better! Let’s connect via email to discuss more. Kind Regards, Jenna

  3. Nikki said

    Hi! I am very interested to find out more about your mini experiment. I am interested to see where the individuals start and where they end up at the end of the experiment. I have been reading The China Study and it is all very exciting and new to me. I was wondering if you still need people for the mini experiment? If so, I would love to be a part of it!

    Thanks!
    Nikki

    • Jenn said

      Hi, Nikki-
      Yes we still have a few spots open. I will email you under separate cover. If you don’t get an email from me, check your spam box or email me directly! I look forward to speaking with you soon. Jenn

  4. Nancy Tosh said

    Hi! I read a tweet about your experiment today and I’d love to be involved. I live in Ventura.

  5. Elizabeth said

    Hello Jenn,
    I saw your posts on The Kind Life forum about your experiment and want to commend you on starting this, as well as your informative website. I am a Registered Dietitian and Wellness Coach and, like you, was asked by a friend if I had read The China Study (which I had not), so I picked up a copy and read it in one day on a plane. I was blown away that even as an RD (who keeps up with the latest nutrition news) I hadn’t realize the full benefit of a plant based diet. Thus began my journey on experimenting on myself by eliminating all animal products. I did this for 6 months and my results were 1) more energy when exercising and on long runs 2) elimination of IBS 3) normal bowel movements and 4) decreased LDL. I then contrasted this by resuming to eat dairy, organic beef and eggs and was astounded that I became fatigued, constipated and my typical IBS symptoms return. I now promote a plant based diet to clients and encourage a minimum of 90% plant foods and green smoothies. Although I am not in the LA area I support your work and your experiment. Best, Elizabeth

    • Jenn said

      HI, Elizabeth-

      Thank you for stopping by! I’m so glad that you did. Whereabouts are you? Actually, let me send you an email under separate cover! Thanks, again. Jenn

  6. […] Our “mini-EXPERIMENT” […]

  7. Jax and John said

    Hello- My husband and I are friends with Megan and are very interested in your study and would like to be part of it. My husband and I are in our mid 40’s and we know we can live better. We are big meat and dairy hounds but are very willing to try and do much better for ourselves. Please adivse if you are still accepting applicants. Thanks!

    • Jenn said

      Hi! Wonderful! I would love to have you. I love your enthusiasm. I am going to email you directly. If you do not get it for some reason, please email me. =)

  8. […] Jenna and the Plant Rx team, are gearing up for a Plant-Based Health Study that kicks off on January 15th where they will follow and document (lucky) participants who will […]

  9. […] american diet, test, vegan, vegetarian Jenna, a physician from The Plant Rx, is overseeing a 60-day mini plant-based study with preparations underway as I write! Baseline health indicators are being measured for […]

  10. Christie said

    Hi Jenna – I spoke with you on TKD site a bit (4health). I cannot participate in the study since I live WAY over here in cold Wi., but I’m hoping you’ll be reporting exactly what everyone is eating so I can maybe follow along here on my own? I’m interested to see how the diet could help me.

    Thank you!

  11. […] Plant-based Health Study […]

  12. […] is an inspiring woman who is currently conducting a very important 60-day plant-based diet study, in which participants (Stephanie, Nikki, Vanessa, Megan, John and Jax and Amber) will be changing […]

  13. […] Plant-based Health Study […]

  14. Melody Ireland said

    hey everyone participating in this study, your all doing an awesome thing for your health and I wish you the best of luck!!
    lots of love, xx Melody

  15. […] Plant-based Health Study […]

  16. […] few weeks ago, I told you about The Plant Rx and their 60-day Plant-Based Health Study. Well, they are halfway through the study and so far, the results are astounding. I can’t say […]

  17. […] Plant-based Health Study […]

  18. […] Plant-based Health Study […]

  19. […] may remember reading our interview with Dr. Jenna Taylor, from The Plant Rx, about her important 60-day plant-based diet study. So many of YU enjoyed her valuable insights as a professional in a field that, sadly, isn’t […]

  20. […] Plant-based Health Study […]

  21. Patricia said

    Dear Jenna,

    I just came across your website while Googling “Dr. Fuhrman and Green Smoothies”. One of your participants blogged about this and so up came the page with her testimonial.

    Will you be doing another such test?

  22. Patricia said

    Oct 30th, 2011

    Dear Jenna,

    I just came across your website while Googling “Dr. Fuhrman and Green Smoothies”. One of your participants blogged about this and so up came the page with her testimonial.

    Will you be doing another such test?
    Have read almost all of Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat to Live this weekend. Have a gagillion raw books, ideas, my Vitamix, and more… but have slipped back into caffeine-driven diet to keep up with, of all things, an organic berry farm which my husband and I now own. It is glorious, but it makes no sense to drive myself into the ground with stimulants and heavy food so that I can grow healthy food!!!

    I had Just been thinking… wonder if there is a test group I can join??
    I need the support, and have the “education” — and the enthusiasm.

    I have done a 10-15 day diluted juice fast every year for the past 18 years, and each year I feel Wonderful, but each year (more so recently) I slip back into old habits.

    I VERY much need to get back to health. At age 50 I’m in the pre-menopause phase of life, and it is simply high time for me to handle my eating habits to create a more energetic, healthier, and (I know from experience) happier me….

    Thanks much,
    Patricia

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