We are thrilled Tom and Nancy are our Guest Bloggers today! They kindly share their journey to exceptional health on a plant-based diet. Enjoy! (Tessa)
My wife, Nancy, and I have always been fairly healthy, or at least more so than many of our peers. We ate what we were told, to be a very healthy diet, fish, chicken, low fat dairy or soy, and lots of veggies and fruits. We both have always been thin and have been running regularly for 30 years and exercise regularly.
It came as a surprise, when Nancy was told that she had osteopenia (now known to be a term created to sell a newly discovered drug) or the beginnings of bone loss. The doctor prescribed Fosamax. That started our vegan journey. Not wanting to just treat possible bone loss, Nancy wanted to know why she would be losing bone when she had been doing everything just right. She was not overweight, ate lots of calcium and exercised a lot. She refused to take the Fosamax and began to study the issue.
Colin Campbell’s “The China Study” was a real eye opener. By eating what we thought were the really good animal proteins, chicken and fish, we were actually increasing the percentage of animal protein in our diet. Animal proteins, we found out, could be the cause of a large number of diseases and ailments. Anybody reading this far likely already knows all of this so I will skip ahead.
Nancy thought that she would like to switch to eating plant based, mostly whole foods and asked me if I would read some of what she had been reading so that I would understand why she wanted to switch. She told me that it might help me, since I had high blood pressure, which is really heart disease. I had never thought of it that way, was told that it was just a normal step in aging.
I had hypertension that was slowly climbing. The doctor wanted to just double the dosage on my blood pressure medicine. I also had high cholesterol that was being kept somewhat under control with red yeast rice. I have had asthma since I was an infant.
I began doing the reading and was immediately convinced that it all made perfect sense. I agreed to go along, to become vegan, but I told Nancy that I wasn’t going to try to convert anyone to do the same or to start preaching veganism.
We began to study everything. Besides “The China Study”, we found Joel Fuhrman’s “Eat To Live”, Doctors Caldwell Esselstyn (“Stopping and Reversing Heart Disease”), John McDougall, Dean Ornish and Michael Greger, all very helpful, as was the blog, “Happy Healthy Long Life” by The Healthy Librarian. She documents the studies or sources of most every claim in her blog and is a great learning tool.
Within the first year (I can’t recall the actual time, and we’ve been vegan for 3 years now), I was able to stop taking my blood pressure medication. My blood pressure now is normal, without medication. My total cholesterol went from 210, with Red Yeast Rice, down to 154 without any medication or RYR. I have discontinued taking the 3 medications used to control my asthma, and I am therefore completely free of all medications. We do take Dr. Fuhrman’s multi-vitamin twice a day, Vitamin D and B12. We are both 67 and take no medicines. We continue to run 3 times per week, 6 miles each time.
We feel the anti-inflammatory benefits of a plant based diet to be really helpful. We regularly notice and comment, that after running races or working hard all day, no more aches and pains! I had a hernia surgery a few weeks ago and was able to resume my running after just 3 days!
We eat all we want and our weight stays very stable. I think it would be hard to gain much weight eating plant based without salt, oil and sugar. Hopefully, our good health will continue for many more years. My only regret is that we didn’t know what harm we were doing for all those years. As told by our government and our doctors, we were “doing everything just right”. Now, we are in the process of reversing the damage done.
At 3 years, we are still learning. The more we learn, the more we are convinced that this is absolutely the best thing that we can do for ourselves and our families.