The Daily Beet

18 Mar Week of Inspiration! Day 1, Carl.

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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!

  • Nancy J
    Posted at 11:09h, 18 March

    Karl, I love your humor and your determination! Two things that are definitely needed to get you where you’re going. Bravo! I’m sure you will be an inspiration to many.

  • Valeria
    Posted at 11:01h, 19 March

    Karl I love your story! It’s a great inspiration. Thank you or “grazie” from Italy!

  • Edith
    Posted at 11:05h, 19 March

    You could make a movie Karl, of your life before and after! ‘very inspiring and a big congratulations!

  • Donnita M Ackley
    Posted at 11:07h, 19 March

    Wonderful! I am so happy for you Karl.. Be the messenger!

  • KatieLoss
    Posted at 11:25h, 19 March

    We need bumper stickers & billboards with your last comment: “If you were on your death bed would you do anything to be with the one you love for just one more day? Yes!” That is very, very powerful inspiration and motivation. The fact that you have been able to find a way to stick to Engine 2 Diet under extremely difficult conditions shows that there is always a way and everyone can! Congratulations and thanks for sharing!!

  • Tina
    Posted at 11:32h, 19 March

    Wow Karl! I am impressed! Bravo!!! You let nothing stand in your way. Keep up the great work!

  • Emily Farias
    Posted at 11:42h, 19 March

    very inspiring!!! There is always a way, if truly want to do it…. Congrats!!

  • Jac
    Posted at 14:17h, 19 March

    Fantastic, thanks for that.

  • TJ
    Posted at 09:22h, 24 March

    I’m so glad you mentioned the flu like symptoms and night sweats….I’m sure that is happening to me and I totally hadn’t thought it could be detoxing!!

  • Terri Davison
    Posted at 11:23h, 26 March

    Love the truck stop story! My husband and I were traveling once and stopped at a Cracker Barrel to eat because we had been given a gift certificate from a customer. In trying to figure out what to eat off the menu, we quizzed the waitress, asking how different vegetables were prepared. After a couple of false starts, my husband asked, “Do you have ANY vegetables that aren’t cooked in butter?” The waitress proudly smiled, thinking we’d come upon a solution. “Yes!” she beamed, “the string beans!” We asked, “How are they prepared?” Beaming, she said, “In bacon fat!” I guess we weren’t being clear in our quest LOL.

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