Changing lifelong habits is a challenge for anyone, but 97-year-old Josephine Spagnero was able to shift her entire lifestyle to a plant-based diet and has been reaping the health benefits since. Five weeks after going plant-based, she was able to get off all her medications and start walking, now up to three miles a day.

Josephine's story was shared with first with Chuck Carroll, host of The Exam Room Podcast (produced by The Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine) on Monday's episode, called It's Never Too Late to Go Vegan. Caroll talked to Spagnero's son-in-law, Eric O'Grey to get all the amazing details of how she did it. (Carroll himself is an inspirational story: He is known as The Weight Loss Champion after losing 280 pounds after he decided to go plant-based 11 years ago.) We first read about this inspiring transformation in Plant-Based News.

Spagnero, who just turned 97 this August, moved in with her daughter and son-in-law after living alone for 30 years. For decades, she was heavily reliant on medications to control her type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Her habits had become more sedentary, and Josephine rarely got up and moved much during the normal day. The circulation in her legs was poor and walking seemed out of the question. er legs and feet. Her daughter and son-in-law worried that she would never gain back any quality of life, but as vegans, they convinced her to start eating a whole-food plant-based diet. That's when things started to get better

Josephine wasn't easy to convince to make this diet change until she saw the effect that it's had on her health. O'Grey said "She was concerned about giving up meat and dairy"...  but wanted to get off her medications because of the side effects they were having on her overall wellbeing. "Five weeks after moving in with us...she went back to her doctor and got tested. She had a full panel of blood work done...her doctor looked at this and he was just blown away," O'Grey told Carroll.

Josephine's doctor was so impressed with her astonishing transformation, which showed that all of her blood level counts for diabetes and high blood glucose, blood pressure, and every possible marker you can measure, which were once off the charts, were now back within the normal range. So he took her off all medications (something we recommend you only do with a doctor's supervision). "She only had slightly elevated glucose still but he went ahead and took her off all of her medications; diabetes, high blood pressure, and everything else. She has now been medication-free for about 11 months and is super happy," said O'Grey.

After changing her diet and adding walking into her days, O'Grey said Spagnero is noticeably happier and the most amazing thing now is to walk with her since she can go up to three miles. O'Grey is hoping that his mother-in-law can be a case study for others, to show people the powerful impact a plant-based diet can have on your health at any life stage and age.

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