My Before & After Pictures + Whole Food Plant Based Lemon Lentil Turnip Soup


I used to be rounder than I am now.

There was a short time in high school when I wanted to be skinny, like Kate Moss and Amber Valetta, so I stopped eating like I normally ate. But I hated being hungry and I was only doing it for attention, so it was short lived.

Apart from that little hiccup, I’ve always accepted my weight and I’ve never changed my eating, drinking or exercise habits based on reaching a certain number. When I was at my roundest I weighed 150 pounds. Being 5’7”, that gave me a BMI (body mass index) of 23, which is considered “normal”. Here’s how the whole BMI thing breaks down.

A BMI over 30 is considered “obese”.

A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered “overweight”.

And a BMI of 18.5 and 24.9 is considered “normal” or “ideal weight”.

If you want to calculate your BMI, just google “BMI calculator” and then put in your weight and height. If you do this, be aware that BMI does not give you the whole picture and you shouldn’t base your health or weight goals based on BMI alone.

It’s just a general indicator, and generally, people with a BMI of between 18.5 and 23 are the healthiest.

Even though I wasn’t technically overweight at my biggest, I didn’t feel good.

And how you feel should always be your number one indicator of health.

I felt physically and emotionally tired, sluggish, heavy, hollow and zapped. I was going through the motions of life without fully living it. I was on autopilot. I was dull. As the pictures reveal, I wasn’t all that jazzed about life.

It wasn’t until I truly put my health first, did I start to transform, physically and emotionally. My goal or intention was never to lose weight. It was to feel good.

So I quit drinking. I got serious about eating a Whole Food Plant Based diet. I stopped eating vegan junk food. I started meditating. I started exploring the dark corners of my mind that I had pushed down for a long time. I turned OFF autopilot and I started LIVING my life.

Two and a half years later, I am 128 pounds and have a BMI of 20. But that’s not the important part. Looking at my before and after pictures, the most obvious difference is how much happier I look in my after pictures.

It’s like my hollow shell was injected with life, love, energy, happiness, freedom and joy. And that’s exactly how it felt to go through my transformation.

I knew all about pleasure in my before pictures, but I had no idea about joy.

And the pictures below tell exactly that.

Two last things I want to mention. In all my before pictures, I was going to the gym and working out pretty hard on a regular basis (at least 3 times a week). In my after pictures, the only exercise I do is yoga and an evening walk with 5lb weights a few times a week. Exercise is important, but it has little to do with overall weight.

In my before pictures I ate a vegan diet. In my after pictures, I’m fueled with whole plant foods, better known as a Whole Food Plant Based diet.

As a side note, I did not limit fat or carbs when I was going through my transformation. I ate (and still eat) a wide range of whole plants foods, including plenty of plant based fats and complex carbohydrates. I created our weekly Plant Fueled Meal Plans so that I could show people exactly how I eat each and every week.

Full disclosure: None of the photos below have been altered or edited. The “after” image in row #4 has an Instagram filter.

Do you have a similar before and after story when you quit a bad habit or changed the way you eat?

Today’s recipe is a mouthwatering plant based soup that will fill your soul in the best possible way.

Plant Based Lemon Lentil Turnip Soup

Author: Molly Patrick


  • 1 cup diced yellow onion (130g)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (140g)
  • 1 cup chopped carrots (40g)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried dill
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 cups turnips, peeled & diced into approx 3/4" cubes (300g)
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped (60g)
  • 2 cups tomatoes, chopped (260g)
  • 5 cups water (1.2 liters)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ½ cups cooked lentils
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 6 turns black pepper


  • Prep and measure out all the ingredients and set them aside. Heat a large pot over medium heat for about 2 minutes and add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic and salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. Add a splash of water to keep things from sticking if necessary. 
  • Add the basil, oregano, dill and turmeric and cook for 30 seconds, stirring continually.
  • Add the turnips, spinach, tomatoes, bay leaf and water and stir. Bring to just a boil, then lower the heat and partially cover pot with lid.
  • Simmer for 12 minutes, then add the lentils and simmer for 10 additional minutes, or until the turnips are tender. Do not over cook the turnips, as they can become bitter and mushy if overcooked. 
  • Turn off the heat and discard the bay leaf. Stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest and pepper. 


Make these Lentils before you make the soup and you'll be good to go. 

Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with less pleasure and more joy.


Get a weekly dose of inspiration to eat more plants and celebrate imperfection

Our Sweary Saturday Love Letters are written by our ex-boozer, ex-smoker, plant-loving co-founder, Molly Patrick.


  1. Kerry on November 4, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Most of the people I know would be more than happy to look like your before pictures.

    • catherine martina on April 9, 2018 at 11:13 am

      I was thinking the same thing…I would be content to look like her before pictures. Actually I think she is beautiful in both before and after…BEAUTIFUL

  2. Becks S on November 4, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    Can see such an incredibly radiant difference. Emanating joy, health and abundance. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Suzanne on November 4, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    Wow Molly you look amazing. I hope by me changing my eating I begin to look healthy like you. I don’t drink but I’m still smoking so all my fatness is from shitty eating. I can’t do much walking now because of my ankles swelling and my pain. I know that after I start eating healthy and dropping pounds I will be able to walk a lot more. I will never fully be pain free because of all the trauma my ankles have been through.

    • George on November 5, 2017 at 6:45 am

      @Suzanne – I know from experience that by changing our eating, our ability to walk without pain improves. Follow Molly’s advice.
      Also, good compression socks and shoes like Orthofeet brand (or others) will help.
      Things will get better for you.

  4. Leah on November 4, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    Goals!!! You look amazing! ❤️❤️❤️

  5. Christina Kis on November 5, 2017 at 5:45 am

    You didn’t look bad. But you needed to set yourself free from what was holding you back. And you did!

  6. Karen on November 7, 2017 at 3:43 am

    You were lovely before, but look so much happier and healthier, radiant actually in your after pictures. Thank you for once again sharing your journey. I hope in a year or two to have such evidence of mine to share to inspire others.

  7. Kat on November 7, 2017 at 9:42 am

    So…if turnips get bitter and mushy if overcooked, what happens to them when the soup is reheated? Thanks for sharing your life story. It’s very inspiring!

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on November 7, 2017 at 10:16 am

      Hi Kat,

      I made this soup yesterday for lunch but ended up doing a dry saute (preheated for 2 minutes) of the main veggies, and then switched over to manual pressure in the Instant Pot for 3 minutes. I let it sit for 9 minutes afterwards before quick-releasing the remaining pressure and the turnips were not mushy and overcooked at all. I reheated on the stove this morning for 7 minutes and not the slightest hint of bitterness and I think it was even more delicious!

      Team Dirty Girl

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