The Daily Beet

21 Feb Plant-Strong Inspiration: Transform Your Health Like Jaime!

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In our Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Challenge Facebook group, one of the biggest questions we hear from our 11,000+ members is one that I’m sure many of you have at least considered from time to time: How do I get my family and friends to join me on my plant-strong journey?

It’s a tricky question. What’s that old adage – you can lead a horse to water….? That’s the case here. Everyone’s “aha” moment is different. That moment where you suddenly realize that plant-strong life is the right decision for you. And the best way to inspire those types of moments in your family and friends is by living your OWN plant-strong life to the fullest.

I’m happy to report that one person who’s doing this exceptionally well, Jaime Sowers, sat down for a cyber chat to talk about his own plant-based journey and how he’s inspiring through living. Jaime is down 20 pounds but even more importantly, has taken control of his heart and overall health! I hope you can find some plant-strong inspiration from Jaime’s story! – Rip

RIP: Before you were diagnosed with atherosclerosis, what did your typical day’s worth of meals look like?

JAIME:  I typically ate six meals a day; however I had been lured into the low carb world of high protein/fat for a while prior to my diagnosis. That included three eggs and chicken sausage for breakfast on most days!

RIP: Did you eat out a lot?

JAIME: A fair amount. Being a single dad, I found myself grabbing takeout a lot from local restaurants. Not fast food, but not vegan health food either!

RIP: Outside of food, what was a typical day like before your diagnosis (eg. exercise, stress, watching TV)?

JAIME: I’ve always been very active. I was a competitive athlete as a child and have been into weightlifting and general fitness my entire adult life.

I currently work as a school administrator and teacher, which can be very stressful at times.  I’m slowly transitioning out of that world!

RIP: Is your job stressful?  How many hours a week do you work?

JAIME: Not so much anymore. I scaled back this year to focus on completing my doctorate, so I’m currently only at my job 20 hours per week. I have incorporated stress management techniques into my daily routine, so I’m confident I could manage stress more effectively even if there were 40 hours a week.

RIP: What did your doctor recommend? What made you decide that going plant-strong was the best choice?

JAIME: Sadly, nothing other than the standard course of medicine I’d been taking.  Additionally, he said I’d be a likely candidate for stents and most likely a bypass, given my age and calcium score.

I’m stubborn and knew there had to be something else out there, so I became an informed consumer about my health! The vast articles of research was all I needed to know that plant-strong was the best choice for reversing heart disease.

RIP: What sort of changes did you make to your routine?

JAIME: I start each day with at least a few minutes of mindfulness. I find it lowers my blood pressure and heart rate, and helps set my mood for the day. And I stopped eating anything with a face!

RIP: How much do you exercise now?

JAIME: I try to get a good sweat going six days a week. It could be 10 minutes, or it could be an hour. Too often we get caught up in following a strict routine, and we cause a lot of stress on ourselves if we fail to meet expectations. This way my goals are simple.

RIP: How often do you eat out now?

JAIME: About once a week. I’m fortunate to live in Santa Fe, NM, and we have a pretty good selection of vegan options. All of have been very accommodating in adjusting oils and fats for me.

RIP: What were some of the first improvements you noticed after going plant-strong?

JAIME: Increased stamina. Even though I’ve been active and in decent shape, I found myself relying on caffeine in the afternoon. Some raw greens and fruit keep me going without the crash now.

RIP: How has your plant-strong lifestyle impacted your family or friends?

JAIME: The support I’ve received has been amazing!  In fact, some of the closest people to me influenced me to start a social media presence to raise awareness of silent heart disease, and suggest the benefits of a plant-strong lifestyle. I’ve started a Facebook page called The Heart Happy Vegan, and will be expanding it to a full blog at thehearthappyvegan.com in the near future!

Many of my family members are now trying to eat at least one plant-strong meal per day, with the hope of expanding even further!

RIP: What motivates you every day to stay plant-strong?

JAIME: I have a beautiful six-year-old son that is my world. I was fortunate to have a grandfather who stayed active well into his 90s, and that is a goal of mine. I want to play ball and dance with my grandkids when I’m 90!  

On a day-to-day basis, I love the way I feel, and love that I can inspire others to take their health seriously.


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Rip Esselstyn

As a firefighter for the Austin Fire Department, he helped people and saved lives. As a friend to other firefighters, he transformed the way Austin ’s Engine 2 firehouse ate in order to save a firefighting brother’s health. Now, as the author of The Engine 2 Diet, Rip is teaching people the irrefutable connection between what they put in their mouths and their ability to reach their ideal weight and their ideal health.

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