Barry Small


I am 63 years old. I have had high cholesterol, hypertension, and weight problems for several years and they had been getting worse. In August, 2010, my total cholesterol was 264, my LDL was 186, and my triglycerides were 147. I was being medicated for these conditions, but my health was continuing to deteriorate.

In September, 2010, I was told that I was getting close to needing bypass surgery. This was not something I was willing to do; I have a great wife and two great kids who need their dad. My health risks had to be addressed, so I decided to look into other options.

My wife Elisabeth and I have known Dr. Pam Popper for many years, and she’s a close family friend. She had influenced our eating habits over the years, and we talked often about how powerful diet could be in preventing and treating disease. But we had never really made the great leap to being vegan or near-vegan. Now, though, faced with the prospect of worsening health and a surgery I did not want to have, I decided to talk to her about my health.

I sent her my blood tests and other medical information and on December 2, 2010, she called me to give her recommendations. I’ll never forget what Pam said to me: ‘Are you ready to do what it takes to get better?’ I respected her opinion, so when she said, ‘Never let another bite of animal food, processed food, or oil pass your lips again,’ that was when I immediately became an oil-free vegan.

Only 90 days later, I went to my family physician to get a lipid profile blood test. In a few days, he called me to come in and review the results. In his office, the first thing he said was, ‘Hippocrates was right! Food is your medicine.’ My cholesterol went from 197 (on medication) to 57. He also did an arterial elasticity test, and it showed that I once again had flexible arteries. He said it was completely different from my test a few months earlier.

The weight loss was also impressive. After 90 days, I had trimmed down from a size 38 waist to a 33 waist. I am now the weight I was in college, 45 years ago. I now take no medications and people constantly tell me I look 20 years younger than I used to.

It was amazing to me that a problem that I had been dealing with for 20 years vanished in only 90 days on a plant-based diet.