Marc and Julie Lowitz first met as law students at Syracuse University in 1988 and fell in love. They married three years later. The Chappaqua, N.Y. couple has since celebrated 27 years of marriage, raised two children and, most recently, embarked on a plant-based journey together to get healthier. What happened next is they lost a combined 70 pounds and stayed symptom-free!

Although they'd always shared a common interest in health and wellness, the Lowitzes' lives changed forever when Julie, now 52, was diagnosed with breast cancer back in 1996 and then again in 2001. Upon receiving the news, the mother-of-two immediately went into research mode, devouring��books and after reading about how dairy and meat contribute to breast cancer she cut out all meat and dairy.

Marc, 53, soon followed suit, trading old-standby foods like turkey and chicken and his favorite barbequed brisket for a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables. Here's the story of how these college sweethearts changed their habits by switching to a plant-based lifestyle and lost a combined 60 pounds in the process.

Breast Cancer Sent Me on a Quest to Discover What to Eat

Julie: After my cancer diagnosis, I started reading about nutrition and became a vegan. Dairy, in particular, was something I knew would not be good for me. I stopped eating all poultry after seeing the movie "Food Inc." in 2009 and went totally vegan after reading The China Study in 2004. I kept on reading, most recently Michael Greger's bestseller, How Not to Die, which convinced me to cut all animal products from my diet. It was a learning process for both of us. I had a doctor who wanted to give me a prescription for a statin when my LDL was elevated. I told him I could fix it with diet, which he didn't believe. Six months later, I was retested and my numbers were fine. 

Marc: In July 2017, I watched a Netflix documentary called What the Health? about not eating meat or poultry. Julie had done that, so I decided, “I'll give it a try.” Then came Thanksgiving...I was like, “I'm going to have turkey tonight,” until I saw my plate filled with other things and realized I didn't even want the turkey! The funny thing is, I used to love poultry. Now I have zero desire to have chicken or poultry.  

Sharing the Same Healthy Lifestyle

Julie: Everything we've done, I've done first then Marc eventually does it, too. I gave up meat and dairy first. Then I started intermittent fasting. Now he does, too. We definitely share a lifestyle, which is amazing for our marriage. We prioritize exercise and healthy eating. We have the same interests and talk about them all of the time. We send each other articles regarding nutritional studies and recipes. We shop for food together. We cook for each other.

I Lost Most of My Weight Very Quickly

Losing weight was fast—like 2-3 months—after I started intermittent fasting/no sugar and low carb (following Dr. Fung). Marc was slower to adopt but his weight melted off when he started IF with LCHF (low carb/healthy fat).  We both had to start adding some healthy carbs back as we were losing too much (never thought I’d say that!). I’ve actually gained five pounds back because I was getting too thin.  😂

Marc: On Sundays, I'll roast a ton of vegetables for the week. I'll be in the kitchen for four or five hours cooking chickpeas and cauliflower and brussel sprouts. That pretty much gets us through the week for work lunches. Most mornings, I'll also make a smoothie with flaxseeds, chia seeds, coconut, raspberry, blueberry, spinach or kale, cinnamon, turmeric and lemon, black pepper and garlic. 

Julie: Marc makes the best cauliflower crust pizza with caramelized onions and pesto! In the eighties and nineties, we thought low-fat was healthy. We used to eat a lot of chicken, turkey, pasta, and rice. Now we eat plant-based and have a ton more energy, sleep better, and I have fewer aches and clearer skin. We still drink bourbon and tequila, too. I went from 150 to 125 pounds and Marc went from 220 to 175 pounds.  (His 45-pound weight loss and her 25-pound loss adds up to a grand total of 70 pounds between them!)

I Started Feeling More Productive

Marc: It was a gradual thing. At one point, I definitely felt more productive, like there was a brain fog clearing. The way we eat has definitely transferred to our kids, too. My son avoids gluten and my daughter is now experimenting with intermittent fasting. Their friends come over and look in our pantry and there's like a box of flaxseed crackers, you know? 

Julie: I feel like the best version of myself. I weigh less now than I did when I graduated from high school. That's exactly how I feel. To be honest, we were eating healthy and exercising for years, but that healthy doesn't feel as good as this healthy.

You hit 50 and you say to yourself, “I have choices here.” I want to be around to see my grandchildren. My children are getting closer to the age where they're going to have kids of their own and I want to be around as long as possible. Food really is medicine. We know that what you eat can actually prevent disease. Period. 

 

Our New Goal is to Be Healthy for Life!

Julie: Once you adopt this lifestyle it’s really not very challenging. We do a lot of homework to keep up with health and nutrition news (through podcasts, websites, etc.). It’s frustrating when there is a lot of conflicting information, so the challenge is to weed through it and decide what works best for you. Now, I don’t really focus on being a survivor.  I’m just a really happy mom who has a passion for health and nutrition!

Thinking of going plant-based? Read our starter guide.

The Beet wants to hear from you! Want to share your story of how going plant-based or vegan changed your life?

We would LOVE to hear your story about how you transformed your health. Please send us a write-up and make sure to cover the following. (Send pics and date them, please! Everyone loves a "before" and "after.")

  1. What made you start eating plant-based?
  2. How did it change or improve your health?
  3. Was there a moment when it was hard? When it became easy?
  4. What is the number one tip you'd give other people who want to try it?
  5. How do you like to think about it now...Do you have a philosophy?