This week, The College Greens are sharing Craig’s dad (Roy)’s story. He’s come a long way in the past year and is an inspiration to all of us. We are so proud of him!!
I owe my current state of health to The College Greens. This is my note of thanks as I approach my one year anniversary of being plant based.
As a very busy vitreoretinal surgeon, my days are often long and stressful. I never know exactly what my day will entail. I don’t know if it be straight forward or filled with emergencies where I could be in the operating room at night. As the years have gone by, I continued exercising to some extent, yet my weight continued to climb. I thought that if I am exercising I can get away with eating all the junk food I craved. Why not? After a stressful day I deserved to eat what I wanted.
Last year, in December 2011, at 53 years old and 5’ 11”, I hit an all time high of 240 lbs. I had constant knee pain. As a runner most of my life, I thought the time had finally come where I just couldn’t run anymore. I started biking as my new form of exercise to take the stress off my knees. Fatigue would set in each afternoon around 3 or 4 o’clock. I could feel myself falling asleep while talking to patients. By 5 or 6 o’clock I would routinely get a headache. This was a daily occurrence that I could count on with my hectic schedule. My total cholesterol was routinely around 260 mg/dL (below 200 is desirable). I had a fasting blood glucose of 148 mg/dL (normal 74-100). That’s diabetes! I was of the mindset that I would keep pushing as hard as I could until my 1st cardiac event, which at some point was inevitable; a wonderful mindset for a physician to have. After all, I’m a physician, that makes me invincible.
Tara came into Craig’s life and subsequently into mine. They introduced me to the benefits of a plant based lifestyle. After a week or two of research and watching the documentary “Forks Over Knives” and reading Rip Esselstyn’s “Engine 2 Diet”, I was sold. January 10, 2012 was the last day I knowingly had any animal products or processed foods. I have not looked back for a second.
As I write this I am 4 days away from my one year anniversary of being plant based. The changes in my health are nothing short of amazing. First off, I am down to 195 lbs. Thankfully I saw the light before my 1st cardiac event. After reading Caldwell Esselstyn’s “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease”, I now realize that heart disease is not inevitable. I can control my destiny by controlling what I eat. I have not had a headache in months. I no longer feel drowsy in the afternoons. My knee pain is gone and I am back to running again. In fact, I just registered for my 1st marathon; a life long dream which I thought unobtainable is now in my reach. My total cholesterol, taken 2 months ago, was 140 mg/dL and glucose was 92 mg/dL. I am taking no medicines.
I feel my immune system is stronger. Each winter I could count on at least one or two upper respiratory infections. I have not been sick since adopting a plant strong diet. My office and surgery days are no less stressful, but I seem to be handling them much better. My staff has commented on how much calmer I seem.
And the list goes on: I had joint pain in my fingers which is gone. Certainly a concern as a surgeon. I had trouble running in cold weather as this would cause an exercise induced asthma and I would wheeze for a day or two. I just completed a 6 mile run outdoors with a temperature of 18 degrees Fahrenheit; no wheeze what so ever! Just amazing. I had occasional hesitancy with urination indicating some degree of prostate enlargement. This is no longer present. Finally, I’ve had tinnitus or ringing in my ears for years. You guessed it – almost completely gone. And then there is the trickle down effect. I am a positive role model for my patients. A few of them are now plant based and reaping the benefits. Unfortunately, too few.
Thank you College Greens for changing my life.