Today Jeremy shares his plant-strong story!
Plant based nutrition a change for a better future…..
“A few years back my Mom had given me a “cook book” as a gift, being the sarcastic loving son, I laughed and applauded her effort to get me to read something. My Mom had always tried to get my ear with warnings of heart disease and diabetes in the family tree, I knew this was an attempt to get me to consider a similar fate that befell some family members. So being a hard headed individual no more than a few pages were flipped through and the book landed in the cabinet where it sat idle for close to a year.
My wife and I were always “fit”, we both kept our weight under control and tended to work out a few times a week on average. Working to reach our goals of continual improvement with health and fitness, we joined a regular gym and got into a routine of the same old work outs and not seeing much improvement or the physical results desired, never thinking much about nutrition or the impact of our diet on our overall health and fitness. I had experienced weight gains and swings of 20 – 30 pounds over what was my normal healthy weight.
Our friends had opened a local Cross Fit gym, so naturally we joined and started experiencing a whole different workout and fitness lifestyle we were accustomed to with the “regular” gyms. The workouts were intense, even as a physically fit firefighter, I was challenged and enjoyed the workouts. I can thank my wife for getting us up and to the gym to support our friends and their new gym. Our first experience with a “strict” diet that neither of us had done before, was with the Paleo Diet, a Cross Fit way of nutrition so to speak. I will not go into great detail of that experience other than it opened our eyes to what role nutrition can play on your overall fitness and health. We did a strict Paleo Diet challenge for 30 days “competing” with fellow Cross Fit members, keeping a detailed journal of the meals consumed and the ingredients within the meals. During the challenge we cracked open the Engine 2 book for some recipes and “Paleofied” them….but back it went and sat for some time. After the challenge there were good things to note and a whole handful of changes that were immediately made. My wife really felt overwhelmed by all the meat that we consumed while practicing the diet.
So on with our further education with diet and nutrition, we started utilizing our Netflix account to watch food based documentaries, a few weeks go by as we start thinking about our general diet and where our food is actually coming from. One of the last movies we watched was Forks Over Knives and low and behold there was a portion of the movie where Rip was demonstrating his book and a glimpse into the Engine 2 Diet. My wonderful wife has always supported my “crazy ideas” and I love her for that. Being a firefighter, we discuss all sorts of topics as the firehouse, and I was discussing the movies my wife and I had been watching at home, so naturally the crew was curious and had to see for themselves so we watched a few of the movies at work and Forks Over Knives was one of them….during the second time I watched the movie I remembered I had the book! So I brought the book to work and started reading it, wow it made so much sense, just like the movie Forks over Knives. We firefighters get an annual physical to make sure we are able to perform our job, part of the physical is a typical blood panel. So I had been watching my cholesterol stay around 230-240 every year. Another firefighter at my station had the same problem…..elevated cholesterol levels. So we got to talking one day and sort of mimicked the Engine 2 story and challenged each other to follow the diet for one month and get our “blood work to compare numbers. So I came home and told my wife the new “crazy idea” and she was all the support I needed.
This has been the best experience I have ever had! I followed the diet as strict as I could, with maybe only 2-3 “cheat” meals. Low fat, plant based whole food diet and I could eat as much as I want, it was really not that hard to dive in head first. To abbreviate the story……after 30 days my total cholesterol dropped to 169 and I had never felt better, I lost nearly 15 pounds and was as light as I was during the 22 week mentally and physically demanding fire academy that I had completed 6 years prior. My wife also made a change and cut out all things animal in her diet as well, it really helps to have support by someone you care about when taking on new things, so now were are plant strong and rarely “cheat”. We have been practicing this new way of life since 07/2012 and have not looked back!” – Jeremy Donavan