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Terri Edwards lives just across the North Carolina-South Carolina border where she loves the natural beauty that surrounds her.

But Edwards is often found in Spartanburg, Asheville, North Carolina, and other nearby cities, spreading the word about the health benefits she has found in a plant-based diet.

Edwards, who is certified in plant-based nutrition and through the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine as a Food for Life instructor, is teaching others how to improve their health through what they eat. She is teaching wherever the medical community requests, including physical therapy, OB/GYN and cancer treatment practices.

“From the time I was 35, I began dealing with health issues,” Edwards said.

Weight wasn’t a concern until her mid to late 20s. Edwards began biking and walking many miles each week. She was even featured in a national fitness magazine.

“I became an exercise warrior,” Edwards said. I had a young daughter. I lost 40 to 50 pounds. Back then, the big thing was low fat. I ate Little Debbie cakes and topped them with low-fat ice cream. My weight was coming back on even though I was doing the same extreme exercise. I became discouraged and slowly gave up on the exercise.”

Edwards regained the weight she had lost and began to experience health issues. Around that time, Edwards’ daughter adopted a vegan diet. She encouraged Edwards to watch “Forks Over Knives,” a documentary about plant-based eating.

“We sat down Feb. 12, 2013 — my husband and I — and watched,” she said. “I had never heard of plant-based nutrition and had no idea there 50 years of research tucked away. There were so many doctors advocating for it. Why did my doctors not know? I went at it 100 percent. I wanted to know what, if anything, it was capable of.”

Plant-based nutrition includes eating fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains, avoiding animal products and limiting or avoiding added oil, sugar and salt.

Edwards’ health issues began to subside. Her total cholesterol dropped from 220 to its current level of 150. In 2014, she started a blog, http://www.eatplant-based.com, to share recipes and links to research.

Her recipes are varied and include Thai Spring Rolls, Loaded Potato Skins, Black Bean Burgers and more. Edwards’ site also includes links to doctors in the Upstate and in Western North Carolina who support plant-based nutrition.

Edwards said getting control of her own health motivated her to spread nutrition information to others.

“I could have been on a better path so much sooner,” she said. “I don’t want to exist. I want to really thrive.”

Find out more…

Get healthy recipes and learn about local classes through Edwards’ website: http://www.eatplant-based.com.

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