During this time of the year when we all tend to overeat and need a little more health inspiration to re-charge our healthy living goals, I wanted to share Stefanie Ignoffo’s story of extreme transformation. Together, she and her family lost a total of 250 pounds, and in doing so, they each managed to reverse their lifestyle diseases. Most importantly, they gained new-found energy and healthy living resolve–all by switching to a whole foods plant-based diet.

Stefanie and I have been friends for years. We both are Food For Life instructors with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). We both have certificates in nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. We both give cooking and nutrition classes to groups and individuals and we both can’t stop talking about the benefits of eating plant-based foods for health and wellbeing. On this episode of Awesome Vegans, Stefanie Ignoffo of Plantspiration, LLC gets real. An excerpt of our conversation is below.

How One Family Lost 250 and Reversed Disease with a Plant-Based Diet

Stefanie: In 2015 my daughter Hailey was 15 at the time and she came home from school and she said, ‘Mom, I want go vegan,” and I said, ‘No way! Worst idea in the world. You’re going to die of protein deficiency. You’re not going to have calcium. I truly believed that this was going to be the worst thing she could ever do.

She had mentioned she was reading this book (about people) that didn’t use animals. I understood the logic. So, at that moment I backed her up on it. ‘Alright, I’ll go along with your bad diet.’ Then I went to the internet to search, you know. How long can we live without eating meat? How long could we survive? Will she make it a week?

Little did I know that not only can we survive, but we can actually thrive! So, after John and I were finishing up on what had been our ninth surgery in eleven months, I went back and I revisited that Forks Over Knives documentary that I had come across while seeing how long my daughter could live. I sat my family down and, you know, I thought we were healthy eating our lean chicken, eating our low-fat milk and our low-fat cheese.

But after I watched this movie, I just realized here I was enabling these diseases. You know, here I was bringing the food in. I was making my husband overweight. I was helping my son with this childhood obesity. I was watching my girls struggle with energy and skin. I realized we were all being affected by what I was bringing home. So, I went cold Tofurky, as they say, and I completely stopped bringing animals into the house.

Altogether we lost 250 pounds, by accident! Eating only plant foods!  So,100 of that was mine.  The rest was the rest of my family. It was a huge impact, and I couldn’t stop talking about it after that. I felt like everybody should know that this is awesome!



I had tried everything. Nothing had worked like this! All the other diets I'd tried, yeah, maybe I had lost a couple of pounds here and there, but my entire life I had been obese. I had just found what worked and it didn’t just help me lose weight. It helped me reverse diseases and it’s easy- I’ve kept it off easily three years later. The whole family, we’re still crankin’ the plants.

EA: I love this story because you are every mom in America.

You start thinking, ‘What? My kid’s going to die. That’s just crazy talk.’  But then it always helps to have a teenage daughter. They’re so very convincing. So, you say, “Okay fine. I’ll follow you on a lark for two weeks. I’ll be a supportive mom,’ and then low and behold you find 250 pounds later that your kids have more energy, their skin is better, and you’re reversing lifestyle diseases.


SI: You know, here we’re living the standard American life. We’re getting older, we get bigger, we get sicker. Isn’t that the way we think this goes? Well, I’m here to tell people that’s not the way it goes!

EA: Yeah, I say that all the time, too. You are here to take back your health.

People think this is sort of a rite of passage. We get older, so we get sick. No, it does not have to be that way. In fact, you can take back not just your health but your youth. I mean I’ve always had a lot of energy, but in many ways, I felt like, “Oh my gosh, I’ve got this newfound lightning bolt in my step, but my health had been kept from me.”

SI: It really was, it really was. Nobody told me about this, nobody explained I could be eating all that I want. I didn’t have to restrict, I didn’t have to count, I didn’t have to measure, I didn’t have to weigh. This was glorious. We were waking up every day and the scale was actually moving, and it didn’t stop. It’s like (eating plants) took us to where we should be.

EA: Naturally, which is what I love.

For the full interview, click here.

Elysabeth Alfano is a plant-based business consultant and helps people transition to a plant-based diet. Follow her @ElysabethAlfano on all platforms.

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