The Daily Beet

31 Aug How Karl got plant-strong!

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A lot of people out there have various excuses for not going plant-strong. Today we hear from Karl who definitely had some valid excuses, but didn’t let that stop him from becoming plant-strong and healthy.
We’ll let Karl take it from here! 
“I want to share my story with you in hopes that if there was any thoughts that eating a plant strong diet would be too difficult or you are too far gone for it to matter; would be erased. My name is Karl and I am in my mid 40’s. To say I lived a colorful life would be an understatement to the pallet I painted with. Through my 20’s and 30’s my diet consisted of Tequila, Jack Daniels, beer, cigarettes and many other things that should of killed me for sure. Someone once told me that the government would not let me die until the EPA found a safe way to dispose of my body. I now look back and can not believe what I went through and came out alive.

With a little help from a bet with my friends I quit smoking cold turkey in my late 30’s. 4 of us quit smoking on the same day. The help that they gave me was that they all started smoking within 3 days and I have yet to touch one again. Now every time I see them I can rub it in. You find motivation where ever you can to complete something you set your mind on.

Soon after I quit smoking my good friend Billy Morris came back into my life. Billy races dirt bikes on the weekends. The races are called “Hare Scrambles” and are 2 hour races through the woods as fast as you can go. I know a lot of people will probably doubt this statement but next to soccer, hare scrambles/ motocross is the most physically enduring sport there is. When you race your heart rate remains between 150-180 for 2 hours. there are no time outs, no resting. Just you and a 200+ pound dirt bike that you are controlling with every muscle, every ounce of energy and it is doing everything in its power to throw you off of it. So this is what I do for fun.

For work, I think I may have picked one of the most physically enduring jobs. I move furniture for a living. I arrive at a home with my tractor trailer in the morning. I spend all day either carrying furniture or strapping boxes off to my back and running up and down stairs. Loading or unloading my trailer. Some things you see a mover lift will leave you scratching your head. And who ever reads this and has their piano on the 2nd floor, please ask someone to slap you. That was from me.

Now, here is why I am telling you all this. You see how active I am. Even though I spend every day doing something physical I was getting fat. My energy levels were very low also. I would wake up in the morning and immediately go for the energy drinks. Even when I race I was out of steam half way into it. When I was working I spent the majority of my time on the road eating truck stop food and fast food. That is what they have to offer. It is easy and it takes but a moment to order.

By July of 2012 I started to have a gut. I was pushing 205lbs. The heaviest I have ever been. At 6′ 1″ some people might say that is not that bad but I was very unhappy. I remember the day my girl texted me one simple text “You have to watch the movie Forks over Knives”. One simple text changed my life forever. After watching the movie I said I will never eat meat or dairy again. I knew she had not seen the movie even though she suggested it to me. So I told her she had to watch it. Her response, “After I get back from vacation, they have great food there.” Seriously! I had no warning. There should be a screen that pops up at the beginning of the movie that says,”Go eat your favorite meat or dairy food right now because after this you won’t ever eat it again”.

So the movie inspired me to change my diet but now I was faced with the “How”. How can I be out on the road for weeks at a time and eat a plant strong diet. I found the Engine 2 Diet book on my IPad and downloaded it. Read it in one sitting. In my personal opinion the “Forks over Knives” DVD and the “Engine 2 Diet” book go hand in hand. The DVD tells you the “Whys” and the book tells you the “Hows”. Now with the book I have the tools and the understanding to plan a plant strong diet. But still, I work in a very hard environment to eat healthy. One day, at the start of my diet change, I walked into a truck stop diner. I asked what they had to offer in the way of a vegan meal. She looked at me with this puzzled look and said, “truck drivers aren’t vegans”. I looked around and everyone in the diner was way overweight and said to her, “I can see that”.

So now I am faced with a dilemma. I have nothing to eat. I am working in a toxic jungle and need to find a way to survive. I need to become self sufficient. I cant wait for society to change what they have to offer me. I need to take responsibility for my own diet. So i ripped out a set of cabinets in my truck and installed a small refrigerator. Above it I put a microwave. I installed a power inverter to power it all. I went and bought a large tote to keep in my trailer. Inside it I have a portable stove, pots and pans, camp showers to clean dishes with, cutting boards and knives. Every couple days I stop at one of the local moving agents that are all around the country, drop my trailer and bobtail to the nearest organic food store. Sometimes I had to make a 100 mile round trip to get my food.

So now I have all the tools and resources to live a plant strong life. I wake up and have a Rip Bowl for breakfast, eat fresh fruit for snacks, cook brown rice and veggies for dinner. I also take my dirt bike everywhere I go and recently I was up at pikes peak in Colorado at there national forest. I shredded my dirt bike for a few hours, came back to my truck and made some vegan Maki rolls in the parking lot while I stared at the beautiful rocky mountains. That is living life.

I have only been plant strong for 45 days now. My energy levels have risen and I have dropped my weight from 205lbs to 178lbs. My ph level is at a 7. And overall I feel great. A couple of things I would like to make you aware of if you are starting to change your diet. And this is from my experience. Mind you, everybody is different. After 2 weeks into my diet change I had flu like symptoms. I did not have the flu, rarely get sick. I had no temp but I was very congested. When I slept I would wake up in a pool of sweat. I believe it was my body getting rid of all the bad toxins that it had been storing up.

Well that is my story so far. Was it easy to give up meat and dairy? Yes. Is it difficult to eat plant strong being a truck driver? Yes. Did I find a way to do it? Yes. If you were on your death bed would you do anything to be with the one you love for just one more day? Yes. Now I am confident that I am giving my body a fighting chance to live a long healthy life. Thank-you E2 Diet and Forks over Knives and my Girl for pointing me in the right direction.”


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Engine 2 Team
Engine 2 Team

The Engine 2 Team is dedicated to helping you become plant-strong! Each of us are on the plant-strong journey right along side of you!

  • Lynne Calender
    Posted at 09:38h, 31 August

    Wow. If he can do, so can a housewife in Fort Worth! Thanks for passing along the inspiration!

    • Bill K
      Posted at 12:17h, 01 September

      Howdy from a fellow Fort Worth Plant-Strong E2’er 🙂

  • Meridith Larson
    Posted at 10:39h, 31 August

    So inspiring! Way to go Karl! I have a feeling his story is going to help more people than he could ever imagine. Thank you for sharing!

  • Cynthia Mckenna
    Posted at 10:46h, 31 August

    This is a GREAT success story! I love the way you made being plant strong possible for yourself and your work-life.

  • Kate Merriman
    Posted at 10:50h, 31 August

    Karl is a complete stud and a major inspiration!

  • Jeanie Ross
    Posted at 10:59h, 31 August

    I need to get my boyfriend to watch that movie! Great story Karl! My son (23 years old) just quit smoking (I am so happy!!) I will have to show him what you wrote about quitting, it was too funny!

  • Jeremy
    Posted at 11:03h, 31 August

    Wow! I was proud of my wife and myself for making it on a one-week vacation and staying plant strong! You’ve been able to be on the road all the time and stay that way. And you’re right… After we watched Forks Over knives, we never went back. My wife turned to me and said “let’s do it.” Our “last meal” before FOK was an IHOP breakfast and we didn’t even realize it at the time.

  • Maureen McKenna Ruocco
    Posted at 11:06h, 31 August

    Wow, a man on a mission! Beautiful.

  • Audree Kane
    Posted at 11:06h, 31 August

    Great success story!! Very inspiring.

  • Gary Cook
    Posted at 11:11h, 31 August

    Great job Karl! I keep a copy of the movie in my truck to lend out to friends and family.

  • Erin Havard
    Posted at 11:21h, 31 August

    Great Job! Keep it up!

  • greengrassswimming
    Posted at 11:23h, 31 August

    “If you were on your death bed would you do anything to be with the one you love for just one more day.” So well put.

  • mauranj
    Posted at 11:27h, 31 August

    I loved reading this story. Thank you for sharing, Karl!

  • Jill G.
    Posted at 11:54h, 31 August

    Wow. Just wow. If Karl can do it, I can do it. Thank you!

  • missyhelly
    Posted at 12:46h, 31 August

    What a great story! Thank you for sharing. BTW I understand the detox part, I’m on my 2nd week and feeling a bit tired. I shouldn’t be surprised as I was eating too many calories based on fat before.

  • Mark Ferry
    Posted at 13:03h, 31 August

    Very Impressed. Keep up the awesome work

  • Catherine Sardeson
    Posted at 14:17h, 31 August

    that is great story and very inspirational more should here it and hopefully change too

  • make me a plant
    Posted at 15:18h, 31 August

    awesome! love it & continue strong buddy

    Posted at 15:25h, 31 August


  • TB
    Posted at 15:31h, 31 August

    I’ve been almost a year on E-2 diet. I am a firefighter and have taken some “heat” from my fellow FF’s, but I feel the benefits and will stick with it. Stay strong Karl!

  • Lisa
    Posted at 15:50h, 31 August

    Awesome! I know so many people make so many excuses why they can’t do it- if someone who travels this much can do it anyone can!

  • Danielle Marie Zwieback
    Posted at 16:56h, 31 August

    Thanks for sharing your story! What a AWESOME inspiration!

    Posted at 19:32h, 31 August

    Wow, Karl! I needed the boost you gave me by writing about your experience! I’ll pass it on, too!

  • Billy the Kidd
    Posted at 02:31h, 01 September

    Looks like I won’t be eating those ribs this weekend. Thanks Karlypoo!

    • Karl
      Posted at 17:31h, 01 September

      You are welcome billy.. Now watch the movie like I told you and join me on this quest or one day I will be crushing you on the track!

  • Ursula2007
    Posted at 07:45h, 01 September

    That is great, Karl! I’m so glad you are now treating your body right after so many years of abuse. It feels so good, doesn’t it?!? Right on, brother!

  • Bill K
    Posted at 12:23h, 01 September

    Very inspiring, great Plant-Strong-MacGuyver skills Karl has!

  • Teresa
    Posted at 13:13h, 01 September

    You tell a good story, Karl! Very motivational, and well done. Sounds like we started on the plant based diet about the same time. I’ve been on it for 55 days or so. I also experienced detox symptoms in the middle of the second week (mine was like a heavy cold). And again, like you, I feel the Forks over Knives movie goes hand in hand with the E2 book. I couldn’t have done it without Rip’s book!

    • Karl
      Posted at 17:28h, 01 September

      I wish it was just like a cold.. It knocked me out for 4 days. I know it was all the bad stuff in my body removing itself. I will not go into the details as to not scare anyone that might read this, I will just say it was worth it and I would not change a thing.

      • Jennifer Edwards
        Posted at 16:59h, 14 January

        It happened to me, too!

        Hope you’re still doing well. 🙂

  • Hernam
    Posted at 08:43h, 03 September

    Karl, you should take up writing! You have a
    natural way with words. Fantastic testimony.
    Certainly inspired me. Thank you!

  • JenO
    Posted at 12:13h, 03 September

    Congrats Karl – you rock! Wish more men would “man up” and leave the meat/dairy behind. You are a great inspiration!

  • Anita
    Posted at 22:31h, 04 September

    What a great story! The fact that you are a truck driver proves a tough guy can eat a plant based diet. My brother is a truck driver and early this year he had a heart attack while on the road. The ambulance took him straight to the nearest hospital, where they operated on him. He’s still eating fast food, junk food and lots of grease. I’m scared for him. I’m forwarding information about Engine 2 to him tonight in the hope he will be inspired to make some important changes in his life. Thanks for sharing!

  • Rebecca Smith Benson
    Posted at 16:18h, 06 September

    Way to go Karl!

  • cap74
    Posted at 09:00h, 10 October

    Great story Karl! Thanks for sharing and inspiring. Feeling good about my change.

  • Tonya Hersha-Mccomb
    Posted at 08:47h, 27 October

    Awesome!! I am going to have my hubby read this. He is trying to stay plant stong but works graveyard shift at the state pen ( can’t bring in outside food) except fresh fruit sometimes in his pocket, and then goes to school from 9-2 everyday. He tries but always give in at the school cafeteria. This is a very inspirational story. And i agree- the movie should come with a warning! 🙂

    • Jodi
      Posted at 14:25h, 24 June

      Tonya, how is it going for your hubby?

      I am just discovering the E2 site and reading, reading, reading.

      I am curious as to whether you & he have found some solutions to your challenges, and if you have found more success with the E2 Diet?


  • Amy DeBruyn
    Posted at 12:31h, 28 January

    This is awesome!

  • Crowbabe
    Posted at 18:23h, 13 April

    very inspirational! thanks. I’ve been converting slowly for the past couple of months and have already reaped benefits. will be getting the book so I have more meal options. Between this and the juicing which is also vegetarian, I am well on my way! Thanks again for sharing!!

  • Emie
    Posted at 11:26h, 19 April

    Thanks for sharing, I needed the push, I travel alot for work and play and struggle with out outside envirement, I am ready for the Engine2 Drive thru to fuel up! Hint Hint!

  • Deborah
    Posted at 14:50h, 11 July

    Ok, my husband and I are ready to try this in mind and spirit, but my body is weak. Also we still have 10 of 11 kids at home ages 24 to almost 3 that are threatening mutiny when we make the transition. My question is: my friend eats tvp and the ingredient list in that stuff isn’t too impressive (additives), is one brand better than another (I hope)? Is it ok to feed growing boys soybean products? I’ve read that unfermented soy protein can cause hormonal imbalances in boys and men too. My father-in-law is being treated for low testosterone because he developed osteoporosis from the testosterone being so low. Is this something I need to worry about for my husband, and will soy products deplete his T?

  • amy
    Posted at 10:10h, 14 April

    inspiring… thanks for telling your story.

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