Wellness Health & Well-being 7 Things That Happened to These Nurses After Going Vegan for 21 Days By Melissa Breyer Editorial Director Hunter College F.I.T., State University of New York Cornell University Melissa Breyer is Treehugger’s editorial director. She is a sustainability expert and author whose work has been published by the New York Times and National Geographic, among others. our editorial process Melissa Breyer Updated October 11, 2018 Public Domain. Jay Mantri Share Twitter Pinterest Email Wellness Health & Well-being Clean Beauty A group of 19 nurses decided to test a plant-based diet, here’s what happened. One day at Virginia’s George Mason University, Joanne Evans, M.Ed., R.N., P.M.H.C.N.S.-B.C., gave a presentation to her nurse colleagues about the health benefits of a plant-based vegan diet. Nineteen of the nurses decided to see the science for themselves by test driving a vegan diet for 21 days. A recent review about plant-based diets published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that a vegan diet has all kinds of health benefits, including reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes by 62 percent, reducing the risk of death or a hospitalization from a heart attack by 32 percent, and reducing the risk of developing all forms of cancer by 18 percent. But what more-immediate results would the nurses see? The findings for this self-reported plant-based dietary review appear in the March 2017 issue of the American Journal of Nursing. They include the following. After 21 days: • Ten of the nurses lost weight, with an average weight loss of 4.4 pounds; from a range of 1.5 to 9 pounds. • Six of the nurses reported gains in energy. • Seventy-four percent of the nurses (14 out of 19) lowered their cholesterol, with a mean average of 18 mg/dL. • But six of those 14 lowered their cholesterol by a notable 45 to 60 mg/dL! • Eight of them reported feeling highly satisfied with their health, while only one nurse reported this before the test began. • After the program concluded, the nurses reported eating more fruit and vegetables on a regular basis. • After the program concluded, the nurses reported eating less meat and dairy. “The nurses in the program achieved metabolic benefits without counting calories, measuring portion sizes, or adhering to strict rules,” explains a statement for the review. “They received support through weekly webinars with Evans, who answered questions about day-to-day challenges, provided advice about nutrient intake and cooking procedures, and offered feedback about how to integrate options for family and friends into every meal.” The nurses also used a free program, the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart, created by the non-profit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The meal-planning program launches the first day of each month and works as a support tool that offers dietitian-created meal plans, grocery shopping lists, inspirational tips, videos of cooking demos and grocery store tours, interactive tools, et cetera. “Large bodies of research show a plant-based vegan diet boosts weight loss, lowers blood pressure, improves cholesterol, and stabilizes blood sugar,” says Neal Barnard, M.D., F.A.C.C., creator of the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart, president of the Physicians Committee, and an adjunct associate professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. “We now have preliminary evidence that this way of eating boosts energy, too. The secret is to stick with the prescription since the health benefits last as long as you’re putting the dietary principles into practice. A plant-based vegan diet is not a fad diet, but a new approach to eating, a new approach to health, and a new approach to life.” If you eat meat, would you consider changing to a plant-based diet for 21 days? Even the short-term results are pretty impressive.