There’s nothing quite like a health scare to encourage you to change your life.

That’s exactly what happened to Empire star Taraji P. Henson. The actress told InStyle magazine that she began suffering from stomach aches while on set filming a movie. She went to the doctor and was given the kind of news nobody wants to hear. The doctor informed her she was at risk for developing stomach cancer if her health didn’t improve. At 48, she realized she needed to make a change to continue living a full and healthy life.


Henson decided to make the transition to a plant-based diet. Today, the actress is overjoyed and thankful for the way her vegan diet has improved her well being.

“It took a doctor in Macon, Ga., to say, ‘If you don’t change what you’re doing, you’re going to get stomach cancer,’” she said. “So I switched everything up out of necessity. I want to live. Thank God, because I feel so much better.”

While plenty of celebrities go vegan for ethical and environmental concerns, plenty have made the change for health purposes, like director Kevin Smith, who went vegan following a near-fatal heart attack. Hopefully Henson’s change will prompt her fans, especially those with chronic health problems, to follow her excellent example.

Heart-Healthy Recipes 

Of course, you don’t need to wait for a checkup to have great, heart-healthy vegan food. Try out these heart-friendly recipes, courtesy of the Food Monster App.


Smoky Sweet Potato Bisque

Smoky Sweet Potato Bisque

Source: Smoky Sweet Potato Bisque

You don’t need cream to make a rich and creamy bisque — in fact, Susan Edelman‘s dairy-free Smoky Sweet Potato Bisquedoesn’t even include coconut cream. Sweet potatoes are cooked until tender and then blended with sautéed onions, non-dairy milk, and plenty of spices that’ll bring the heat and keep you warm. Serve with a dollop of cool coconut sour cream and crackers for dipping.

2. Sweet Potato and Chickpea Coconut Curry

Sweet potato and chickpea coconut curry

Source: Sweet Potato and Chickpea Coconut Curry

Dana Sandonato‘s Sweet Potato and Chickpea Coconut Curry is crunchy, creamy and delicious. The dish combines an excellent blend of spices and fresh ingredients to bring together a curry that is savory and well balanced. The cashews are a perfect crunchy counterpart to the tender sweet potatoes.


3. Swedish Mushroom Meatballs

Swedish Mushroom Meatballs

Source: Swedish Mushroom Meatballs

Making the perfect veggie meatball is an art and the secret is seasoning. These Swedish Mushroom Meatballs by the Cruelty Free Family are blended with fragrant onions, garlic, nutritional yeast for cheesiness, Sriracha, savory liquid aminos, and a few other spices. After being formed and baked until crispy, these meatballs are tossed in a creamy cashew sauce which tastes amazing over mashed potatoes, noodles, or rice. Yum!


We hope you enjoy these delicious recipes and they help you stay healthy during the holidays! For more recipes, download our Food Monster App where we have over 15,000 vegan and allergy-friendly recipes.

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