From a Nearly Fatal Heart Attack to Hiking the Hollywood Hills: Veganism Saved His Life
In the popular Veganism Saved My Life series, we share stories of people who have witnessed extraordinary health overhauls thanks to a plant-based diet.
A dire diagnosis can turn your life into a timeline grimly defined by “before” and “after,” making you face the unimaginable—the looming possibility of your early mortality. But for some, a frightening diagnosis is also an opportunity to heal. VegNews’ annual feature, “Veganism Saved My Life”—available now in the January+February Health and Wellness Issue—features the heart-wrenching stories of five individuals whose lives were saved by veganism. Here is the first.
Heart disease, stroke, gout
High risk of deadly heart attack, lifelong medication, early death
How Paul Did It:
Paul Figueroa’s favorite foods were steaks, burgers, and pizza. So when he was just 40 years old and diagnosed with gout—a common affliction faced by those of Filipino descent like Figueroa—he didn’t think for a second it was diet-related. His doctor didn’t either, prescribing him medication to go along with the drugs he already took for sky-high cholesterol and blood pressure. A year later, a massive heart attack—known as the “widow-maker”—resulted in a full blockage of his left anterior descending artery and damage to 40 percent of his heart.
On the day he left the hospital, his cardiologist (the first doctor to make the connection between his condition and his food choices) recommended he watch Forks Over Knives. He watched it that same day, and—along with his wife and daughter—went vegan immediately. With his family’s support, he fostered his newfound plant-based community and, at the same time, expanded his palate to thoroughly enjoy wholesome, plant-based meals. Figueroa started watching more documentaries, including those that spoke to the ethical and environmental reasons to adopt a vegan diet, such as Earthlings and Cowspiracy, all helping to solidify his conviction to his new way of life.
Two years later, his cholesterol and blood pressure have returned to normal, he has drastically reduced his risk of heart attack, and his favorite hobby, which was once eating, is now hiking. He recently trekked up to the famed Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, where he looked down at where he had been, and realized there was no going back.
What Paul Eats In A Day
Fruit smoothie with almond milk, berries, banana, turmeric, black pepper, flax seeds, rolled oats, and cinnamon
Vegetable sushi with asparagus, cucumbers, carrots, and avocado
Brown rice bowl with black beans, guacamole, corn, lettuce, and salsa
Vegan cashew milk ice cream
Snap peas, carrots, and broccoli with hummus
“If you have been diagnosed with a chronic disease, you owe it to yourself and your family to adopt a vegan diet, as it provides the best chance for reversing your condition.”
For more of VegNews’ Veganism Saved My Life series, check out Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams’ story and medical doctor Brook Goldner's story, and check back next week for more. And be sure to pick up a copy of the January+February issue of VegNews, on newsstands now!
Why Going Vegan Can Help You Relax
Are you someone who practices mindful meditation? If so, heres why you should be vegan (if you arent already).
Read More »
Want Political Change? It's Time to Start Voting Vegan
Lets put ethical, moral, and environmentally conscious champions in government.
Read More »
5 Reasons Your Next Vacation Should Be Aboard the Vegan Holistic Holiday at Sea
A 10-night vegan cruise with healthy food and a plethora of plant-based celebs? Yes, please!
Read More »
How Do You Remember 100 Songs in 4 Days? For Pop-Punk Band Alkaline Trio, the Answer is Veganism
Matt Skiba says eschewing dairy helps with his voice and his on-stage energy level.
Read More »
5 Woman-Owned Vegan Businesses You Should Be Obsessed With
What's even better than a vegan business? A vegan business owned by a woman.
Read More »
- 6 Valentine's Day Gifts for that Vegan Curmudgeon in Your Life
- 6 Red-Hot Vegan Lipsticks To Drive Your Valentine Crazy
- How a Vegan Canadian Figure Skater Prepared to Win Gold at the Winter Olympics
- How to Be a Vegan Teen Valentine
- Vegan Valentine's Day Tips From No. 1 Best-Selling Author Kathy Freston
- 5 Vegan Turmeric Recipes for Those Who Are Slightly Intimidated by It
- How A Vegan Diet is Making ''Everything'' Easier for One Punk Singer
- Your Meat-Eating Friends Want One of These 10 Vegan Books
- 7 Ways to Veganize Your Bed, Just in Time for Valentine's Day
- 5 Steps to the Perfect Vegan Valentine's Day
- 8 Love-Infused Vegan Events to Celebrate Valentine's Day
- Thanks to These 7 Vegan Pies, We Have Declared National Pizza Day a Holiday
- No Valentine This Year? Try Vegan Speed Dating
- 6 Ways to Queer Your Vegan Valentine's Day
- Bought Too Many Vegan Girl Scout Cookies? Here are 10 Desserts You Should Make With Them
- Glow Up With These 18 Vegan Beauty Brands in 2018
- How One Chef is Getting NFL Players to Go Vegan
- From Struggling for Breath to Running Marathons: Veganism Saved His Life
- 6 Badass Vegan Women Who Don't Take Any Sh*t
- 10 Vegan Chip and Dip Match-Ups Fit For A Super Bowl Smackdown