About Ojai Vegan

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” – Hippocrates


My name is Vickie Carlton-Byrne.

In late 2010 my father died of complications of heart surgery. A month later, I read an article by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn saying heart disease could be not only arrested, but reversed. Heart disease ran rampant  in my family-my maternal grandfather died at 49 of a heart attack, my brother had a heart attack at 45, and other family members were taking statin drugs for high cholesterol.

I read Dr. Esselstyn’s book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, and Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease and was shocked to read that heart disease was caused by poor diet, and could be reversed by diet. It was that simple.  I made the decision to change what I eat, namely, a whole food, plant-based diet with no added oil.  I made a few missteps and backtracks, but when my family saw the documentary Forks Over Knives, we  made a commitment to be plant-based permanently.

After making the change to my diet I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and in unlimited quantities. For me personally, the clock felt like it was turned back at least 15 years.  I no longer felt achy in the morning (something I attributed to being over 40),  lost 20 lbs.  effortlessly, and the migraines I had experienced since the age of 4 stopped occurring.   I used the excess energy I had to start running in 2013 and ran 4 half-marathons that year.

Since then, I have reviewed hundreds of nutrition studies, read countless books on plant-based nutrition, talked to doctors using plant-based diets to treat their patients (successfully!), attended health expos and workshops, and am currently working towards Cornell University’s Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition.

I have learned that navigating nutrition science isn’t really as confusing as it seems on the surface. There is an overwhelming amount of evidence pointing to a plant-based diet as being optimal for humans, and it has been around for decades.

My aim with this blog is to present some of this evidence in a form that you can use for yourself, to see, in the words of Dr. Ornish, how “rapid, dramatic, and measurable” is the power of plant-based eating on human health.  “The proof of the pudding is in the eating”, means you must experience something for yourself. I hope you will.


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