Lisa Morris joined our Seven-Day Rescue Challenge Facebook group in April 2017. Now nearly a year into her journey, Lisa recently shared some details and pictures in the group that were simply incredible. We just had to talk to her and find out more of inspiring story!
Q: How did you discover Engine 2? What made you decide to go plant-strong?
A: I first head Rip talk about it on the CBS morning news show several years ago. I remember Gayle telling him that [a plant-strong diet] all sounded logical, but she couldn’t see people sticking with it. Rip asked her to give him two weeks to prove it for her. I went to the library, took out The Engine 2 Diet and read it along with his dad’s book, How to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease (since I was having chest pain as well as blood sugar and cholesterol issues), plus T. Colin Campbell’s The China Study.
I wish I could say those were enough to sway me away from the junk I was eating, but I sadly continued eating the Standard American Diet for several more years. I think when I finally decided to go plant-strong I was at a point in my life where I was ready to make that change no matter what the cost, because I was feeling so badly, the cost of medication was killing us financially and I wanted to be a healthy example for our grandbabies. Most importantly, I wanted to be able to dance with my husband, Eddie, at our 50th anniversary (granted, I’ll be 99 and Eddie will be 90!). I can visualize it and continue to believe that with the new change to our eating ANYTHING is possible. So May 6, 2056 here we come!
Q: What types of meals did you typically eat before going plant-strong?
A: I ate anything and everything that was put in front of my face, whether I was hungry or not. Cheese was probably my #1 food, with meat and bread coming in a close second. Then of course my grandmother taught me that no meal is complete without some type of ooey gooey sweet for dessert.
While grocery shopping, I would always go for the cheapest product (whether it was healthy or not) to be able to stretch the pennies that we had to work with for the week. Unless they were canned (and basically stripped of much of their nutritional value), greens, other veggies and fruits were not part of the weekly menu. We ate a lot of sausage, bacon, gravy and biscuits, along with tons of eggs (many a breakfast supper were part of the dinner plan) not to mention hot dogs, chicken or whatever meat was on sale that week. PB&J or toasted cheese sandwiches with canned tomato soup were staples in my kitchen.
Q: In general, how was your health?
A: It went from bad to worse, and would flip flop depending on which diet I decided to try, but my issues involved: High blood sugar, high cholesterol, chest pain, hypothyroidism, continued hair loss, several surgeries to remove tumors from both breasts, gallbladder removal surgery, massive acid, fatty liver and Multiple Sclerosis. MS was the top biller in all of it.
The week before Halloween October 2016, I lost the vision in my left eye and had to undergo a high dose medicine drip for 5 days as an outpatient in the hospital. I had been taking a steroid for my medical issues — which has its own host of problems, including swelling up like a sausage and the feeling that you’re on a treadmill going full speed and can’t stop. At that point, my MS was affecting my balance to the point that — even with a cane — it was difficult to stand up. Driving was a rarity (and only when I absolutely had to) because simply using my leg muscles would put me out of commission for the next several days. Many a glass I broke because of my inability to hold onto things with the weakness in the arms/hands and the cognitive issues were getting worse (along with my vision again).
Q: Outside of food, what was a typical day like before you went plant-strong (eg. exercise, stress, watching TV)?
A: Because of the weakness in the legs/arms, the cognitive issues it just got harder and harder to do any type of exercise. Just walking from room to room was enough for my body to handle so I would either sit and watch TV, read when my vision would cooperate or go outside and sit in the sunshine when the weather would cooperate (that was and still is my most favorite of all)
Q: What were some of the first improvements you noticed after going plant-strong? What was the biggest improvement?
A: My first improvement was realizing that I no longer walked like a “weeble wobble” doll as I maneuvered from room to room, and that I wasn’t holding onto either the walls and/or furniture as well. I remember the first time that happened, looking when I got to the other room and wondering, “How in the world did that just happen?!”
My energy increased almost as quickly as the “weeble wobble” situation got better, and we decided that every Sunday after church we were going to go as far as we could walking the mall. In less than three weeks, I went from going super slow with my steadfast third leg (aka my cane) to realizing that I didn’t have to lean so hard on my cane. It then went from carrying it with me (using occasionally) until I was carrying it and not having to use it at all. I finally progressed to leaving it in the car and walking on my own (which I would say was an exciting moment) as I no longer had to rely on my third leg at all to help me walk. I haven’t picked it up since (at most when I am pushing it, I may have to rest for a minute or two)!
Since our first initial round of the mall and when the weather is good, we would also drive to the closest park every Saturday for a walk (a 35-minute ride) and we’d continue our mall walking on Sundays after church. During the week, I have starting using the gazelle glider, which is much easier on my legs than a treadmill or exercise bike. I started out having to go slow and hold onto it. Now I can do it without any balance issues at all, which blows my mind! It’s amazing to look back on how far my body has come — all by feeding it the proper fuel it needs to heal.
Q: How has your plant-strong lifestyle impacted your family or friends?
A: For the most part (and yes there are plenty of party poopers) it’s had a positive impact on my closest friends and family. I have a few who I’m sure are watching from the wings to see if I’ll fall again since I had always started, but never completed, “diets” (a word I’ve realized should never be used when it comes to nutrition). I wish I had this powerful knowledge back when my three children were young, but that’s in the past. Right here, right now is where I jumpstart my role as a parent and grandparent by continuing to lead by example and by showing first hand how putting the proper fuel in your body changes everything.
With that said my sweet hubby Eddie had been a “meat and potatoes”, high fat, dairy kind of guy all his life, so converting him wasn’t even on my radar when I started. Yes, once I started to feel the changes I wanted him to experience them as well, but I also knew that I couldn’t push. As I cooked our meals he always ate whatever I fixed, so he had plenty of plant-strong side dishes. On July 10, 2017, he decided to jump into this way of life full force and as he told my neurologist and his doctor, “I had the example and proof in front of me the whole time that this works, so if Lisa can do it, I can too.” While he’s still not 100%, he’s getting much closer (some health issues are getting him even closer as I share our story).
Q: What motivates you every day to stay plant-strong?
A: The fact that the good Lord has graciously provided me with another day here on this earth is motivation enough. While I don’t know what his plans are, I’m gonna enjoy the ride (healthy and happy!) while I’m here.
I hope and pray that the snowball effect from people like Rip spreading this information and knowledge keeps growing to help those affected with ALL types of disease!