Laura Wooster Baldwin
35, Arlington, VA
Job Marketing consultant
Status Married, no kids
Vegan For 2 1/2 years
The year after I got married, my weight jumped from 120 to 135, and those fifteen pounds made a big difference on my five-foot-three frame. Although I wasn't pigging out on junk food, I didn't exactly have the healthiest diet--I rarely, if ever, ate vegetables. So I made a 2009 New Year's resolution: I'd try the popular Blue Print Cleanse for four days (drinking only fruit and vegetable juices), then cut all animal products out of my diet for the next three months.
My British husband was not about to give up meat, but he was very supportive of my decision--so I cooked, and he ate. I made stews stuffed with chickpeas, tomatoes, and seitan (wheat gluten). I roasted onions, garlic, broccoli, peppers, and other veggies to bring out their sweetness. I found delicious soy-free vegan sausages, which I made with kale and polenta. I was loving the food--and the results. Three months passed, and I never looked back.
The Payoff: I was back at my old weight of 120 pounds before my three-month vegan trial ended--and I've held steady at 115 pounds for two and a half years. Before, I was a horrendous cook, but vegetables are a lot more forgiving than meats, so now I'm more confident in the kitchen. The best part is how I feel: Now that my meals consist of nutritious foods, I feel and look healthier all around.
If you'd like to try these women's favorite vegetarian recipes, visit prevention.com/veggie-recipes.
The Meatless Monday Movement
If you don't think you can commit to going totally meatless, try 1 day a week. The Meatless Monday campaign has taken off in the last year, with high-profile chefs such as Mario Batali and John Fraser adding meatless specials to their popular restaurants' Monday night menus. "Mondays used to be slow nights for us," says Fraser, who owns the 3-star Dovetail in New York City.
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