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Start Today for a Healthy Tomorrow

Tina Zeh

I am 4’ 11.5” and have a petite body frame. I was a very active teenager & young adult. I never had a weight problem and I believed I was eating healthy (not much red meat, chicken & fish). I turned 50 and started to feel sluggish and noticed a small weight gain. Exercise was always a part of my life, but I realized that I was making excuses frequently why I would exercise ‘tomorrow’.

I talked to my brother Dominic Marro RD (Plantastic Life) and at the time he was researching healthy options. He was a ‘vegan’ and I decided to try eliminating meat and dairy from my diet. After 6 weeks of being diligent, I lost 8 lbs, felt less bloated and had more energy.

Over the last few years Dominic has discovered that Whole Food Plant Based Diets (WFPBD) give us the best chance to lead long and healthy lives. I have been on the WFPBD for about 1 year and even though I have been fortunate to have a healthy cholesterol & glucose level my numbers decreased about 6 months after I started on the WFPBD.

When I stray from the diet, (I haven't eaten meat or dairy for 3 years) like eating refined sugar, I realize how bad it affects my body. What I’ve found is that when I eat healthy (WFPBD), I feel healthy.

My husband is now eating healthier and hopefully will totally eliminate meat and dairy also (he has definitely decreased his consumption of meat and dairy). He has dropped 30+ points from his elevated cholesterol level within a few months.

I can honestly say changing to a WFPBD has changed our lives for the better. I recently retired and I am 55 years old. I walk 4-5 miles a day and take a boot camp class once a week while doing light free weight exercises 2-3 times a week. I know that my healthy eating has given me back the energy to keep active and fit. It's never too late to change your diet and get and feel healthy!

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It’s Never Too Late To Get Healthy

I wish to share my personal experience with Dr. Fuhrman’s plant based Nutritarian diet. I started down this path on the advice of my doctor after first undergoing an endarterectomy and then quadruple by-pass surgery. It was made very clear to me by my doctors that, although the surgeries removed blockages, they in no way cured me of the disease. As it turns out, my body is exceptionally good at building artery clogging plaque. My objective is to halt this disease in its tracks and maybe even reverse it a bit. My commitment to maintaining the Nutritarian lifestyle is absolute, because I know that if I were to return to the Standard American Diet (SAD), I would regress very quickly.

I have been following the Nutritarian lifestyle for 20 months, and it has changed my life in many positive ways. Within the first six months, I lost 30 lbs. quite easily while never feeling hungry. It has been easy to keep that weight off and even lose a bit more. I am now quite happy, and a bit smug, at my trim high school weight. My “numbers”, i.e. blood pressure, glucose, trigylcerides, cholesterol, etc., are now all well within the low levels that my doctors would like to see for a person with my history. The blockages in my carotid arteries have remained at the same level as those immediately following my endarterectomy which is quite exceptional according to my doctor. And, how do I feel? Simply stated, “great”! My husband and I enjoy ballroom dancing. For a number of years prior to my heart surgery I had to stop frequently when dancing because of discomfort that I now realize was caused by angina. Now I dance all evening.

For those of you who are interested in learning more about the Nutritarian lifestyle, I suggest that the best place to start is with Dr. Fuhrman’s first book, “Eat to Live” which is available from Amazon or Dr. Fuhrman’s web site. He also has a great cook book, “The Eat to Live Cookbook”. The website, with a basic membership of ~ $40/year, is a treasure chest of information. The site has over a thousand recipes, and members receive a new one every day via email. One can also purchase food items and health care related items such as vitamins. I have an upgraded membership that allows me to order products at a discount.  Dr. Fuhrman’s salad dressings and vinegars are excellent. I buy them for convenience, although he also provides the recipes for his dressings.  As you might guess, one does have to change the way that one cooks and seasons food. I have fine-tuned the logistics for eating this way.  The food tastes great, and I have never regretted making the lifestyle change.

            You will find fascinating the personal success stories presented on Dr. Fuhrman’s web site. I have had the pleasure of attending my first one week “Getaway with Dr. Fuhrman”. There I met in person many of the subjects of the success stories on Dr. Fuhrman’s website.  One woman, age 68, had suffered from 10 autoimmune diseases from age 35 to age 51 when she began working on her problems under Dr. Fuhrman’s care.  After 9 months on the Nutritarian diet, she was off all medications except for her thyroid medication, and her other very debilitating symptoms disappeared. She emphasized that occasionally over the past 17 years she would feel cocky and self-assured that she was now disease free. In those few instances, she backslid to the SAD way of eating and her symptoms reappeared. Needless to say, she backslides no more. This was further evidence for me that one is not cured and cannot go back to the Standard American Diet with impunity. At Dr. Fuhrman’s getaway, I was fortunate to be one of eight people interviewed and filmed for a future fundraising event and so had the honor of more broadly sharing my experiences with others.

For many people, giving up the SAD lifestyle appears impossible, and they rather continue a life of eating foods that are basically poisoning them, and to moderate the symptoms of that steady poisoning they take pills that often have side effects that further limit their enjoyment of life. This is unfortunate but understandable, because it is very difficult to overcome an addiction to the high fat, high salt, high oil content, high sugar, and highly processed foods that one has been eating since childhood, and which are often presented as rewards or expressions of love. Recognizing this difficulty, Dr. Fuhrman has on his staff motivational counselors to help his patients make the transition to healthy eating. One of his counsellors, with considerable experience helping people with a variety of addiction problems, informed us that overcoming food addiction is more difficult than overcoming either alcohol or drug addiction.

By the way, I took the Whole Food Plant Based personality traits test, and, as you might guess, I aced all the personality traits for a successful WFPB.  However, I do suggest that the trait “disagreeable” be changed to read “independent minded”. What is the message here? Is it that SAD people are agreeable and fun to be around, and those WFPB folks should be avoided? I find it strange that a doctor who strongly advocates the WFPB lifestyle would want to convey that message. But, then again, perhaps I am just being disagreeable.

Elaine C. DeLuca

April 9, 2015

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Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB) is working for me.

I attended the Plantastic Life (PL) one-day course on whole food plant based (WFPB) diets back in January 2015. I attended as an open minded skeptic.

I was an Atkins disciple from years ago and I lost over 100 lbs. on it. So I thought it was THE diet.

The science that Debbie and Dominic shared made sense to me and with their encouragement I began a WFPB diet the last week of January, 2015. As of 5/15/15, I have lost 54 lbs. Needless to say, my Doctor was quite pleased. I’m convinced that I could have lost much more than that because I have repeatedly cheated! I’m looking forward to attending a PL cooking class in the future.

I never thought WFPB could work for me. I’m grateful for both the information and encouragement that the PL team provided to me. I hope they keep doing what they do.

Mike Link

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I Was On An Unhealthy Path

Deborah Berlino

I was gaining weight and wasn’t happy with the way my clothes were fitting. Although I wasn’t close to being obese, I wasn’t comfortable with my weight. I was afraid that I would eventually become obese and begin to suffer some of the maladies associated with obesity.

So I tried counting points, similar to Weight Watchers. I was successful. I lost weight, but I couldn’t keep it off. I gained all the weight back and then some. I now understand that this is an extremely common pattern for most dieters.

It was back to the old drawing board. I was unhappy with feeling tired and sluggish after eating a meal. I also didn’t like that I was unable to lower my total cholesterol number that usually fell between the 195-200 range.

I finally asked my brother Dominic (Plantastic Life) about the whole food plant based diet (WFPB) that he followed. I was slow to seek his advice because I thought that there was no way in the world that I could ever give up meat, cheese and olive oil. I’m Italian. I grew up eating foods like capicola, pepperoni, salami, provolone, greasy fried veal and chicken parmesan and greasy fried eggplant parmesan. And of course, EVERYTHING was sautéed in olive oil.

My brother explained the health benefits I could expect from transitioning to a WFPB lifestyle and he encouraged me to watch a DVD called “Eating” by Mike Anderson. After watching the DVD, I was absolutely sure that I had to at least try to eat a WFPD diet. I also read the China Study and started reading and listening to researchers and MDs like T.Colin Campbell, Caldwell Essestyn MD , John McDougall MD and others who have dedicated their lives to helping people get healthy with food.. Their books, articles and presentations convinced me that WFPB was the way to go.

After only a few months of seriously eating a WFPB diet, I not only dropped weight, but I had more energy and my total cholesterol level dropped by 30 points! I work two jobs and still have a lot of energy.  I have been eating this way for about 4 years now and, I can honestly say that I not only don't miss meat, I can't stand looking at it when I walk past the meat section in the market.  5 years ago, if someone told me that some day I would react to meat this way, I would have called him/her a lunatic.

There are so many wonderful recipes out there that make it easy to eat healthy and I truly enjoy the food.  Every Monday, I bring a week’s worth of healthy food to work. Of course, my co-workers look at me like I’m a freak when I eat quinoa, kale, chia seeds, broccoli, peas, corn and a whole array of fruits and vegetables. When they poke fun at my food, I tell them to "give peas a chance."    I will take my low cholesterol over their high cholesterol any day.  I'll also take my vitamin D and vitamin B12 over the crazy amount of pills they take each day. I figure that I must be doing something right when my doctor keeps saying “whatever you’re doing, keep doing it” and never pulls out the prescription pad.  I'm proud to say, at age 60, I am not on any medications.  There aren't many 60 year olds in America that can say that.  Dr. McDougall is right when he succinctly pinpoints the main cause of chronic disease in America by simply saying, "It's The Food!”

January, 2015

Update - May 2015:  My total cholesterol was recently measured at 146 on no medications.  The lowest it's ever been!