Molly Yingling battled heartache and stress after losing her father to what she described as a "sudden and quick" heart attack in 2018 when he was only 68-years-old. Molly grieved with her family and mother Rachel, who dearly loved her husband. Two months later, the Yingling family was hit with more devastating news. Rachel, Molly's mother, and also her best friend, was unexpectedly diagnosed with breast cancer, leaving Rachel and her family unsure if her mother would survive.

Molly worried about her parent's heart disease, cancer, early death, and decided to pay attention to her own health. After watching the documentary, What The Health,” which Molly described as “eye-opening,” she realized she could potentially prevent illness by eating a plant-based diet. On July 2nd, she cut out meat, and little by little stopped drinking dairy milk and eliminated cheese from her diet. She described the plant-based switch as easy in comparison to what she went through with her father and now the intense pain of her mother's diagnosis. Rather than focusing on grief or cancer, Molly focused on her own health.

From there on, Molly cooked amazing vegan meals and slowly introduced a plant-based diet to her family. She recommended that her mother, Rachel, watch What The Health, to learn how eating a plant-based diet can reverse illnesses and disease. Just two weeks later after Molly went vegan, Rachel was on board and joined forces with Molly to live a healthier lifestyle.


Rachel had high cholesterol and was prescribed various medications that gave her bad side effects, and after dealing with radiation and medications for cancer, the last thing she wanted to do was take more medication.

Just four months into her vegan journey, Rachel received excellent news from her doctor: Her cholesterol went down to 163 from 260, and she was medicine-free. Rachel said, "I just want to share what a good feeling it was to get my results after changing my diet. I could stay off the medicine, and now I don’t have to depend on pharmaceuticals any more than I have to. It’s such a good feeling."

The mother-daughter duo reached out to The Beet and offered to share their inspiring sorry about how a vegan diet changed their lives for the better. Now, Molly feels amazing, doesn't get headaches like she used to, and improved her running and recovery time due to less inflammation in her muscles. Rachel is cancer-free and had her last radiation in March. She feels lighter, less bloated, and more positive being able to be off of her medication. The two of them are throwing their first vegan Thanksgiving celebration tomorrow, prepping delcious meals, sharing the recipes with us below. Read on to find out how Molly and Rachel plan to inspire others to go vegan, sharing their personal secrets to success.

After a great phone call with the cheerful duo, The Beet suggested they come up with a name for their plant-based team of two. Rachel emailed us a few days later and came up with a nickname from the "Pete and Repeat."(Pete and Repeat went out in a boat. Pete fell in. Who was left?) Molly and Rachel wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday!


The Beet: Molly, what inspired you to go, vegan?

Molly: My father died of a heart attack at the end of 2018. It was very sudden and quick. Two and a half months later, my mom, Rachel, was diagnosed with breast cancer. There were all of these health scares in my immediate family history with both of my parents. I had just lost one to a heart attack, and we didn’t know if our mom would survive cancer. I decided I needed to start paying attention to my health. My dad was only 68 when he passed away, and I knew I wanted to make it out of my 60’s.

As I was beginning to think about my new goal, I watched the documentary What The Health. My mind was blown. I realized that I could improve my health by going plant-based to help my own health. I wanted to avoid cancer; I wanted to prevent heart disease. It was an eye-opening documentary, but watching what happened to my mom and dad changed my life and inspired me to go vegan for my health.

TB: How did you make the switch to a plant-based diet?

Molly: I stopped eating meat on July 2nd. After a couple of weeks of being meatless, I thought maybe I could start cutting out dairy, just by cutting out a little bit here and there. I first stopped drinking regular milk, and then cheese, and about a month in, I had cut everything out.

TB: So it's been four months of eating vegan, how do you feel?

Molly: It’s crazy because it feels exactly how the documentary said I would feel. I didn’t know all the incredible things that would happen to my body. I’ve always been a runner, even before I was plant-based, but now my inflammation is totally gone. There’s no pain, and I can recover faster, so my running has improved so much. My headaches went away; I’ve only had one headache since going plant-based. I don’t even have to take ibuprofen anymore. Everything feels so good.

TB: Did you find switching to a plant-based diet challenging?

Molly: Honestly, because we’d just had gone through grieving for my dad, and the cancer journey with my mom had been so intense, going plant-based, in comparison, was so much easier to get through. I was doing it for myself. I just had to focus on transitioning, but it felt good to focus on something good like my own health, rather than focusing on grief or cancer.

20200520_112017 (1)

TB: Rachel, let's talk about your plant-based journey.

Rachel: In May, I went to the Doctor, and they told me my cholesterol was 260. The big threat was that if my cholesterol didn't go down, I would have to go on medication. After going through my cancer treatment, I knew I didn’t want to go on any more medication, and I know that cholesterol medication has terrible side effects. I wanted to avoid that. When Molly showed me the documentary, I knew I wanted to try a plant-based diet. I started eating plant-based two weeks after Molly. Luckily enough for me, Molly cooks for us–she researches recipes, she tries new things all the time–there’s so much variety, and the food is so good. With Molly’s help, It’s been an easy transition for me.

TB: So nice! What are your favorite meals that she makes?

Rachel: Easy question! I love it when she makes Chinese cuisine because it’s always been my favorite kind of food. There are so many flavors. I also love it when she makes chili, which we had last night. Either of those dishes are always my favorite dinners.

TB: What did your cholesterol go down to after eating plant-based for four months?

Rachel: It went down to 163 from 260. I pulled out my record from before I made the switch and saw that I had other numbers in the danger zone that have now improved as well. My HDL, LDLD, and triglycerides have all gotten within a safe range.

TB: How do you feel eating plant-based four months later?

Rachel: I just feel so much lighter. I can tell numbers have gone down and have stayed down. I just don’t feel bloated. It’s a very good feeling. When I told my doctor I went plant-based after he saw my numbers go down, he only asked where I was getting my protein.


TB: Amazing! So have you convinced other family members to try going plant-based?

Molly: Yes! My sister Carrie also found out she had high cholesterol; her reading was at 207. I encouraged her to try eating more plant-based by telling her to look at how our mom was able to drop her cholesterol by 53 points. She’s now eating more plant-based than ever before. I’m sending her a ton of recipes. When my mom told her two sisters about it, they and their husbands started eating more plant-based.

Rachel: Just to add, one of my sister’s husband is a cyclist and had problems with his ankles, and going plant-based has helped his pain.

TB: Do you think eating plant-based together, brings you closer?

Rachel: Of course. How can I not appreciate all that Molly is doing for me? She’s looking out for my health.

TB: Do you have any advice for someone trying to convince a family member to change their diet?

Molly: You have to have them approach with an open mind. I have some family members who are pretty resistant to changing their diet, but I tell them to just try it for themselves to see how it feels. I can talk about how I feel, but it’s so different when they see how good they feel.


Here is How This Mother and Daughter Duo Will Celebrate Their First Vegan Thanksgiving

"We’re going to have a plant-based Thanksgiving, except for my husband, who will have a turkey leg," says Molly.

TB: What’s on the menu for your first vegan Thanksgiving?

Molly: I’ll be making stuffing, which will be easy to make vegan. I’m making a vegan green bean casserole, and it’s much better than a regular green-bean casserole. Instead of using traditional, canned cream of mushroom soup, I’m going to make homemade “cream” of mushroom without the cream. Using a homemade “cream of mushroom soup” makes it so much better than the original; it’s unbelievable how good it is. For the turkey, I’m doing Tofurky’s “turkey cutlets” that comes with mushroom gravy. It’s the only part of the meal that’s not going to be homemade, and obviously, my husband’s turkey leg.

TB: Do you think your husband would ever go fully vegan?

Molly: Maybe one day. He eats a lot of vegan food because I cook dinner every night, so he has to eat what I’m making for dinner. I’m not sure I could convince him to eat plant-based for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s funny because even after being partially plant-based, he’s seen a change in his own body. His body can’t tolerate meat as well as it used to.

He likes all the recipes I make. He likes what I make for dinner: he told me that he doesn’t miss the meat when I make something delicious. When I make tacos, he’ll let me know he doesn’t miss the meat, and it’s just a great taco. He’s realized that now when he gets a fast-food burger, he doesn’t feel good after eating it. Not that he felt good before, but now, he can really tell the difference.

TB: Rachel and Molly, do you want to add anything you want The Beet readers to know?

Rachel: I just want to share what a good feeling it was to get my results after changing my diet. I could stay off the medicine, and now I don’t have to depend on pharmaceuticals any more than I have to. It’s such a good feeling.

More From The Beet