About fifteen years ago, the age of 23, Candace Brookins was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal disorder where one of the main symptoms among many women is infertility: Her doctors told her she would face difficulty trying to have a child it would take months, even years, of treatments to bring her hormonal imbalance under control.

After years of complications with birth control that used to manage it, she decided to do a 7-10 day cleanse for a month that transitioned into a vegan/vegetarian diet. During this cleanse, Brookins found that this was the difference she needed in order to conceive: “I transitioned into eating food again and was vegan/vegetarian for 6 months until I discovered I was pregnant with my first child! That was a huge surprise because my husband and I were told that between the birth control and the PCOS, it would take easily a year or more to possibly conceive.”

But unfortunately, she felt pressured and broke her new diet in order to "eat enough protein", a common myth that you cannot achieve this on a plant-based diet, "I broke my vegetarian diet and began eating poultry, fish, and seafood again. I got up to 206 pounds during my pregnancy and just knew I could do better."

How Veganism Helped Treat Her PCOS

So she listened to her inner voice and went vegan again, and was able to shed her baby weight and cure her PCOS symptoms. “I absolutely believe the removal of dairy (the thing I partook in most), along with eliminating meat, reversed my issues." After being told that it would take a year or more to conceive due to her diagnosis, she stopped taking hormonal birth control and solely depended on a vegan lifestyle in April of 2006. By October 2006, she was pregnant.

“Since I've been vegan, I have had zero ovarian and cyclic back pain.” Most importantly, Brookins has said she never felt as good physically and emotionally when she followed a vegan lifestyle.

Sharing Her Knowledge of Plant-Based

After her own experience, Brookins decided this was too important not to share with others. Brookins enrolled in a plant-based culinary school.”I went to plant-based culinary school to not only shorten my learning curve, but to get really clear on how to intuitively and effectively create flavorful, nutrient-dense, and satisfying meals for my family and others that may be interested in getting more plants in their diet”.

Now, Brookins coaches women like her who need to change their diet for their health. She is a certified plant-based chef and uses her love of cooking to follow in her late grandmother's footsteps in creating comforting treats that are cruelty and animal product-free!

She founded “Planted Vibes” a health brand that shares fun, engaging, and educational content, events, and offers private chef services, holistic health coaching, and vegan treats to diverse audiences. Her clients are typically women who live in the southern region of the US, but she uses her social media platform to spread the word and tell her story nationally.

Even after the tremendous health benefits she has experienced from a plant-forward diet, Brookins says she still gets resistance from some: “People are going to criticize what they don't understand.”

She talks about a time when she was judged about her vegan lifestyle. “I still recall hearing whispers at a funeral, some years back, that I was starving my children because they didn't eat chicken at a repast! People are going to criticize what they don't understand and I'm open about my journey so that those who desire to make changes see they aren't alone.”

Brookins uses the many misconceptions and judgments as fuel to keep advocating for a lifestyle that she feels is rewarding.

“I truly believe plants are for everybody and even if it's adding another serving of fruit or veggies to your diet, it's a win in my book! I know everyone won't be vegan and that's okay, but we all can be healthier.”

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