SOMOS'S Nathel Hernandez

Nathel Hernandez grew up in the Dominican Republic and ate what she describes as a “pretty healthy diet” since many of the foods it included were plant-based and minimally processed.  The traditional Dominican Republic meal is called “The Flag” and consists of rice, beans, meat and salad. The nickname came from the fact that the dish has the colors of the nation’s flag.  

Five years ago, Nathel and her husband moved to New York City.  She thought that she was eating the same diet but found that both her weight and cholesterol began to creep up.  Coincidentally, Nathel was working for a physician at SOMOS, Dr. Ponieman, who promoted a plant-based lifestyle. She observed how passionate Dr. Ponieman was when talking to his patients about PlantPure Jumpstarts and the amazing health improvements the patients experienced as a result.  The combination of these two things helped to gently push Nathel toward making some small changes to her diet.

She began with cutting out milk, red meat and butter.  As a result, she started to feel better and her cholesterol dropped from 229 to 195.  When Dr. Ponieman offered a PlantPure Jumpstart for his employees, she decided to participate even though she wasn’t sure if she would see an improvement since her diet was already mostly plant-based.  

Nathel loved not having to cook for 10 days during the Jumpstart.  When the Jumpstart concluded, she was amazed to find that her cholesterol had dropped from 195 to 150.  In addition, her A1C dropped 1 point and she had lost a total of 15 lbs. since beginning to improve her diet.  At that moment, she thought, “This is it - I am making plant-based eating my lifestyle.” She sticks to a plant-based diet 99% of the time but allows herself to have a piece of pizza occasionally - if she really craves it.  She feels that the ability to be flexible is one of the secrets to her success.

When asked what advice she would give to other people considering a plant-based lifestyle, she recommends paying attention to how good you feel as you eat more plant-based foods.  Eventually, you will not want to go back to your old lifestyle. She also recommends that if you slip up and eat animal-based foods, be aware of how your body feels. By recognizing that you didn’t really enjoy the food, you can begin to solidify this new way of eating.  

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