Now that we are a little over two weeks into the new year we’ve been noticing some “small” changes in a few people we run into daily. Some are going to the gym to work out and get that body they’ve always wanted. And others are finding new diets to replace the ones that didn’t give them the results they were looking for. But today we are only focusing on the “BIG” changes; the Lifestyle ones that are long term investments to your well being.
It is easy to begin the new year with resolutions like to lose weight, stop drinking, quit smoking, be a better person to your spouse, save more money, or working harder to get a promotion. For some that change is temporarily. For others who truly want change it is a complete lifestyle overhaul. So today we would like to share you a story about Randy’s lifestyle change that saved his life. But before we hear his story I have to tell you that he looks just like Penn Jillette!!! If you were to see Randy in person his size and deep voice can be quite intimidating. Don’t let the Penn look fool you. His vice grip bear hugs are bone cracking!!
I begin this journey in January 2012; when I was an absolute miserable, ticking time bomb at 410 lbs. 54 years old and tired of being tired, my daughters (who eat a plant based diet) had harped on me relentlessly about trying to change my eating habits. I had every reason imaginable to get healthy. My dad passed away from a heart attack after a triple and double bypass while out on the golf course when he was just 62. And my mother had a severe case of Alzheimer’s. Up until this point, I knew it had been merely luck that something hasn’t happened to me. Sometimes I even thought to myself “when” I have a stroke or heart attack; I hope it’s mild enough that I will be able to lead a somewhat normal life or that it would be so bad that it would just take me. I couldn’t have been more selfish. And although I had tried by giving every diet imaginable a try (Atkins, South Beach, Paleo, sugar-free, fat-free, etc) and although each one of them had worked, each one of them would cause me to gain even more weight back when I went off.
In February, my ticking time bomb went off (literally) in the form of a blood clot that almost gave me a stroke or heart attack. I was having difficulty breathing and what my physician believed to be an upper respiratory infection turned out to be a small time bomb floating its way through my legs and lungs. It wasn’t 10 minutes after going to the doctor to have them looks at my swelling leg before they called an ambulance. I was in such grave condition that they wouldn’t even allow me to drive to the hospital. I had what they called a “floater” from my knee to my ankle. Luckily, I had brought a friend with me, who had encouraged me to go the doctor, who saved my life by being there to take me straight to the emergency room.
What I discovered when I arrived had me convinced that I had mere hours before something catastrophic was going to happen. I had blood clots in my lungs and a complete clot between my leg and knee. They immediately put in a filter to prevent it from going to my heart or brain, causing a stroke or heart attack. When I asked the doctor how much time I had to think about it, he responded “two seconds”. Needless to say, they put it in and I was wheeled off. There I remained in the hospital for two weeks from something I had thought was a respiratory infection.
As I walked myself around the hospital for those two weeks, I came across others who weren’t nearly as lucky as me. Although I had worried my family to tears, these families were destroyed because of various problems similar to mine. I was incredibly lucky. And that was the extra push I needed to help keep my family from experiencing the same. I thought that if someone would have broke into my home wouldn’t I fight for my family’s safety and myself? Who wouldn’t? So I fought back. I started reading and learning all I could about health and nutrition. Not about diets, but about how to eat because dieting just didn’t work for me. After going to a plant based diet I saw changes within a few days. Pounds fell off me. I thought everyone woke up tired and sluggish. But shortly after my change, I was waking up rested and alert. My coworkers even noticed a huge change in my attitude and why I was so happy all the time. Because I felt amazing! Losing weight will make you feel good….taking control of your life and future will make you feel GREAT!!
It’s been almost a year now and I have lost 140lbs. For the first time in 20 years, I can buy clothes off the rack. My blood sugar went from 110 to 74, blood pressure from 168/136 to 135/82. My cholesterol was over 21, it is now 143. All in one year! I am still on my medications and am still being monitored closely by my doctor. However, when my doctor saw my improvements he said “whatever you’re doing, keep doing!” He also anticipates that I will probably be able to get off my meds in a few months. I have been on blood pressure medication since I was 25!
This is not a diet, it’s not temporary, and it’s not a quick fix. It’s a complete lifestyle overhaul. Of course I like to look good, but eating this way is so much more. It gave me my life back and it gave my children their father back. My daughters say to me “that is the Dad I remember” and that is exactly the motivation I need. I want to be here to see my children and grandchildren grow. But I also want to be here to do things with them, things that if things keep going the way there were I would have not been able to. Today is your tomorrow. Fight back, fight for your life and for your family’s life
We are proud of you Randy and also know that your family is proud of you as well. We’re honored to share your story on our blog today. May Randy’s story be an inspiration to all of those who are seeking change in their lives and want to be that change for their family!
“The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.” Kettering
“Don’t let others change your life, be your own change agent and implement the changes you want! And if an unexpected change occurs in your life, find the positive in it.” Pulsifer
As we all know it Memorial Weekend is quickly approaching and most of you plan on doing some grilling. A friend of mine asked me a really good question; “Which is worst red meat or processed meat?” Hate to ruin it but the fact is that they are both bad. Now before you fire up that gas grill and throw those thick juicy Ball Park Franks or T-bone steak on; let’s take a look at which one of these is the less of the two evil.
First, I would like to tell you that there’s some pretty nasty stuff in your hot dogs and bologna. You will find all the parts of the animal that usually would get thrown away (depending on your cultural background) like the facial muscle, tongue, and lips! But besides containing a lot of fat, the really ghastly stuff doesn’t get put in until the meat is processed. What could be so awful that it is processed with you may ask? The main ingredient you will find in processed meat is sodium nitrate, another word for Chile saltpeter or Peru saltpeter (due to the large deposits found in each country) to distinguish it from ordinary saltpeter, potassium nitrate.
The salt peter primary function is to prevent bacterial growth and preserve the meat so it can be stored for a long time. This is the same ingredient that they use in smoke bombs, solid rocket propellant, in glass and in cigarettes to make them burn longer. Now I’m no rocket chemist but that sounds like a time bomb ready to go off in my stomach! Studies have shown that eating a limited (keyword “limited” my foodies) amount of fresh meat, beef included, doesn’t pose a major health risk.
However, processed foods on the other hand can pose a really large risk. Sausages, hot dogs, bacon, and processed lunch meats are the worst things you can find behind your local meat counter. According to CNN, “Eating unprocessed beef, pork, or lamb appeared not to raise risks of heart attacks and diabetes, they said, suggesting that salt and chemical preservatives may be the real cause of these two health problems associated with eating meat. The study, an analysis of other research called a meta-analysis, did not look at high blood pressure or cancer, which are also linked with high meat consumption.”
For my entire carnivore foodies try to stay with the meats like minimally processed chicken, roast chicken, and roast turkey. Not only do the processed meats pose a great risk of cardiovascular problems because of the salt and fat, they increase the risk of colon cancer as well. And surprisingly there was no evidence showing increased risk of heart disease in people who ate unprocessed red meats…hmmm. Don’t take my word for it. If you feel the urge to indulge in red meat just keep in mind to eat it sparingly. (Just a little FYI it takes 14 days to digest beef and 4 hours for it to begin rotting!!) Your foodie “Roo” signing off.