Veganism Saved My Life: Judy Temkin
In this special series, we share inspiring stories of people who have witnessed extraordinary health overhauls thanks to a plant-based diet.
Name: Judy Temkin
Diagnosis: Osteopenia (lower-than-normal bone-mineral density)
Prognosis: Progressively worse until full blown osteoporosis
Year Diagnosed: 2009
What was your life like before your diagnosis?
I am tall and rather on the thin side (5’7” about 129 pounds). A bit of history: my mother was an avid milk drinker and consumer of all things dairy. She genuinely believed that by drinking these massive quantities of milk, she was doing her body, mainly her bones, good. She suffered a broken hip in 2009, another broken hip in 2011, and passed away eight months after the second broken hip very frail and sad. I had suffered a severely sprained ankle, but no broken bones.
How did you find out about your diagnosis?
After seeing what my mother went through, and after I had my first bone-density test that showed osteopenia, I vowed I would never go through what mom did.
What was your treatment plan laid out by your doctor?
She really didn’t lay one out. She did not to put me on a biphosphonate drug due to some potential side effects of the drugs. I don’t think she had much confidence in them.
How did you find out about a vegan diet?
I researched healthy bones and ways to avoid osteoporosis. What kept coming up was the alkaline-acid balance in the diet: how an overly acidic diet, which is the way most Americans eat, actually leaches calcium out of the bones to reach the balance necessary in our blood. A way to avoid this is to eat a more alkaline diet, and the best alkaline diet is a healthful vegan diet.
When did you decide to give it a try?
I switched to a full-fledged vegan diet in the summer of 2010 when I realized it was best for bone health—and really overall health.
What was it like to transition to a vegan diet?
It was easier for me than I thought. It required a complete shift in the way I think about food, but once I knew I was doing the right thing, no way did I want to turn back.
What was a normal day of eating like before you started eating vegan?
A normal day of eating would have been cold breakfast cereal with dairy milk and coffee with milk. Lunch would be a turkey or tuna sandwich, and dinner would of course would have been chicken, fish, or occasionally beef as the centerpiece with a starch and a vegetable. Ice cream was a usual treat.
What is a day of eating like now?
Steel-cut oatmeal or quinoa with cinnamon, chia seeds, hemp seeds, wild blueberries, and banana is my favorite breakfast—with my one small cup of coffee and coconut milk creamer. Lunch could be a hummus wrap, snacks could be fresh fruits such as apples or pears and nuts such as almonds or pistachios, and dinner could be greens and beans, a sweet potato, a hearty lentil soup, or a big salad.
When did you start to see results? What did your doctor think?
My last bone-density test was several months ago. My doc was amazed. She said that she had never seen a bone-density score improve as much as mine had in all of her years of practice. She actually brought me into her office to ask me what I was doing.
How are you doing today?
I continue to eat this way, and I will never turn back. I dedicate this story to my mother in the hopes that other women can learn that a plant-based diet can save their bones, and thus their lives!
8 Vegan Foods You're Pronouncing Wrong
Take your veganism to the next level by saying these eight hard-to-pronounce words with confidence.
Read More »
Groundbreaking Vegan Medical Center to Open This Fall
Barnard Medical Center will be one of the first of its kind to combat disease through a plant-based diet.
Read More »
The Best Vegan Diet Tips for Long-Distance Running
Matt Frazier, aka the No Meat Athlete, shares everything you need to know about how to run marathons on a plant-based diet.
Read More »
Sneak Preview: What's on the Menu at Chloe Coscarelli's NYC Restaurant?
The 27-year-old chef is the latest to make the leap from cookbook author to restaurant owner, with her first New York eatery opening this month.
Read More »
How One Rancher's Wife Used Crowdfunding to Finance the Animal Sanctuary of Her Dreams
Want to open your dream vegan business? New-animal sanctuary owner Renee King-Sonnen has been there, done that—and shares four tips to make it happen.
Read More »
- 10 Essentials for the Ultimate Fourth of July
- How One Man Survived Mount Everest and the Nepalese Earthquake
- 11 Things You Didnt Know About Pigs
- Top 10 Male Vegan Bloggers
- Vegan Fathers Day, Flowchart-Style
- 5 Reasons Im Glad to Be Vegan
- Subscriber Appreciation Month: VegNews' Office Tours!
- 9 Vegan Foods For Healthy, Beautiful Skin
- Vegan St. Patricks Day 101
- The #1 Way to Make Sure You Eat Your Greens First
- 6 Delicious Ways to Get Vitamin C
- The Unlikely Health Benefits of Coffee
- 31 Changes in 31 Days
- The Top 15 Vegan Instagram Photos of 2014
- The Top 15 Stories of 2014
- Millennium Named "Restaurant of the Year"
- The Top 15 News Stories of 2014
- The Top 15 Vegan Recipes of 2014
- Earth Balance Named "Company of the Year"
- The 2014 Veggie Awards