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About Vegan Weight Loss

Welcome to the Vegan Weight Loss site. We are the site owners, Jerry Smith and Elaine French. We live in Mesquite, Nevada. We both struggled to keep our weight under control for many years. We finally discovered the secret to losing weight and keeping it off permanently.

It was a simple vegan weight loss diet and a daily walk. We have now been vegans for over 25 years. Here are our stories:


Jerry in Giants uniform
I was an overweight kid with the nickname "Tubby." In spite of my weight, I loved playing sports and was always active. I played football and baseball....I even played in the minor leagues for a few years.

After I quit baseball, I began working for United Airlines. I worked swing shift. My idea of a good late night snack was cheese, peanuts, and beer. I became a long distance runner to keep my weight under control.
My daughter developed kidney disease when she was fourteen. We were living in Hawaii then, and a friend sent us to Dr. John McDougall. Dr. McDougall was a local internist who used diet to treat disease.

Dr. McDougall told us we could save my daughter's remaining kidney function if we put her on a low fat vegan diet. I threw away all the old foods and started my daughter on the diet right away. To support her, I followed the same diet.

My daughter avoided dialysis for 7 years! The diet also turned out to be the perfect vegan weight loss plan for me. I lost 30 pounds and lowered my blood pressure to normal.  I was so happy to learn that I could eat until I was satisfied and not gain weight.

I eventually developed injuries from running and had to stop. But I found I could keep my weight stable with a daily walk as long as I stayed on the vegan weight loss diet.

For the first three years we were on the diet, my daughter and I ate the same foods over and over again. We ate oatmeal, fruit, spaghetti, brown rice, potatoes, chili, and steamed vegetables. It was kind of boring, but at least my daughter was healthy and I was at my ideal weight.

Finally I became desperate to learn some new recipes! In 1986 I took McDougall's cooking classes, where Elaine was the instructor.


Elaine Honolulu Marathon
I was a flight attendant for Pan Am and later for United Airlines. In those days flight attendants had to be a certain weight. Every few months I had to go on a diet, and I would barely pass weight check.

I loved to go out to eat on layovers, and by the next time weight check came around I would have to diet again. I wish someone had told me about the vegan weight loss diet. I hated dieting and being hungry all the time.

I started running 30 miles a week to control my weight. (Does this sound familiar?)

I bought a vegetarian cookbook called Diet for a Small Planet. As I read the book, I was shocked to learn how wasteful it was to feed grain to cows. I was concerned about the environment. I became a vegetarian.

I used a lot of cheese and other dairy products because I thought I needed them for protein and calcium. A year later I read The Pritikin Program for Diet and Exercise by Nathan Pritikin. I eliminated dairy products and oils from my diet. I had now created a vegan weight loss diet without realizing it. I lost weight gradually and felt great.

A foot injury ended my running program, so I switched to walking. But as long as I stayed on the low fat vegan diet, my weight was stable.

I was living in Hawaii then and I began working for Dr. McDougall in my free time. I edited his first book, The McDougall Plan, and I taught cooking classes to his patients. Jerry was one of his patients.

Jerry and Elaine

We discovered that we had a lot in common. We were both vegans. We both worked for United Airlines and we loved to travel. We were both broken down runners who walked every day. We both drove blue Volkswagons. We both wore Birkenstock sandals. People told us we looked like brother and sister. Oh, brother, it was fate.

The two of us, with Dr. Bill Harris, founded the Vegetarian Society of Hawaii (VSH) in 1990. We taught cooking classes at American Vegan Society conferences. We gave lectures about vegan weight loss and taught cooking classes at the National Institute of Fitness (NIF) in St. George, Utah. NIF was a well known weight loss spa.

 In 2002 we retired from our airline jobs and moved to St. George. We opened a vegan restaurant there called the Health Deli. We soon met an enthusiastic customer named Wes Craig, and we helped him start the Vegetarian Society of Utah (VSU).
E and J Health Deli
While running the Health Deli, we created the vegan weight loss menu for the Body Shop Spa. We prepared the food for the Body Shop Spa for five years. In 2007 they changed their name to Fitness Ridge and they moved to a new location outside of town. They finally built their own kitchen and hired a chef.  

They became very popular and are now a site of The Biggest Loser television program. (No, the spa is no longer vegan.)

Running a restaurant was hard work. After five years, we were ready for a change. We closed the Health Deli and moved from Utah to Nevada.

Mesquite, Nevada

E and J mountains sunset

We love the activities in our community. We go for a long walk every morning. We wear our pedometers to ensure we walk at least 10,000 steps every day.

Jerry is also a "gym rat." He spends time on the treadmill and elliptical machine, and he lifts weights. He rides his bike around town.

I (Elaine) enjoy yoga and I am learning country line dancing. Line dancing makes me use my brain. It gives me lots of steps on my pedometer too.

We have started a vegan club
in Mesquite. It is a great way to meet like-minded people.

I write the pages for this website and Jerry is my best critic. We enjoy helping people and we hope you enjoy the site. If you have any comments or questions, please leave a message in the Facebook comment box at the bottom of any page. We try to answer all questions within a few days. We delete rude comments, because life is just too short to deal with them!

If you would like to know how we built the site, click on the "Site Build It" banner below. We highly recommend this company.

Thank you for visiting.

Jerry and Elaine

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