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Diabetes Awareness Month - Janet Knoblock, a Kaiser Permanente patient story

LANCASTER, Calif. — We live in a world of evolving dietary choices, the plant-based lifestyle has gained tremendous popularity. The switch to a plant-based diet can have profound impact on our health. Janet Knoblock, a Kaiser Permanente patient is proof of the positive impact how a plant-based diet helped transform her health and life.


At 76 years old, Janet Knoblock weighed 234 pounds and relied on oxygen and a walker to move around. She had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease also known as COPD from a 50-year smoking habit, and feared she would end up wheelchair-bound. That's when Janet made the decision to attended Kaiser Permanente's Plants for Life class taught by Dr. Steven Lawenda at the Kaiser Permanente Lancaster Medical Offices.


"After the first 30 days on the whole food plant-based diet, I was never hungry and didn't have to go hungry, which was amazing," said Janet. "It wasn't very long; within six weeks I wasn't using the walker anymore."

In just 10 months, Janet lost 90 pounds and no longer needed supplemental oxygen. Her COPD improved dramatically. "I can walk all over the place now!" said Janet. "I feel 25 years younger." Inspired by her mother's success, Janet's daughter Kim also took the class and lost 62 pounds, which was especially remarkable given her history of having had weight loss surgery and hitting a plateau. 


Plants for Life teaches participants how to use whole plant foods to prevent, treat, and often reverse chronic diseases like coronary heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. The class provides the science behind the benefits of eating whole, unprocessed plant foods while minimizing or eliminating animal products.

"The results we see with the Plants for Life program can seem almost miraculous, but they are completely scientifically supported," said Dr. Lawenda. "People start feeling so much better, losing substantial weight, and often getting off multiple medications."

The class shares practical strategies for transitioning to this way of eating, including meal ideas and cooking tips. Participants learn how to make dishes like Buddha bowls, tacos, chilis, curries, stir fries, and desserts using plant-based ingredients. There is emphasis on utilizing herbs, spices, vinegars, garlic, citrus and other natural flavor boosters to make simple, wholesome foods taste great.


"I batch cook beans like a chili and sweet potatoes to have ready meals on hand," shared Janet.


Plants for Life encourages attendees to commit to at least a 30-day trial of the lifestyle. "Think of it as an experiment and be open minded," advised Janet. "Then be prepared to be blown away by how good you feel and how quickly your health improves!"

Dr. Lawenda explained that in addition to the tangible benefits like weight loss and reduced medication need, participants typically experience increased joy and quality of life. "People consistently report having more energy, less pain, improved mood, and an enhanced sense of wellbeing," he said. "They fall in love with this way of eating and living."


To learn more about upcoming Plants for Life classes in the Antelope Valley, visit or call 661-726-2200.


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