After my initial awakening to the need to have to do something about this, my initial moves towards this were driven by the acute fear of a mid-life heart attack, that almost certainly loomed in my probably not too distant future at that time if I didn’t address matters. Initially, my goals were modest, to loose weight, get fitter and to enjoy life with my wife and kids in good health, long term.
Having already started running in 2010, I picked up a book to take on holiday. From an Amazon search about health and well-being books, I ordered the newly released book by Rich Roll, “Finding Ultra: Rejecting middle age, becoming one of the worlds fittest men and discovering myself” (Crown Archetype books 2012). It is safe to say that this book changed my attitudes towards diet and health and changed my life at the time of reading it, from that moment to present day and has given me the framework for the rest of my life.
This book then lead to much wider researching on the subject, many of the resources are given in the references below. I could see the benefits of a wholefood, plant based (vegan) lifestyle immediately, but knew that it would be difficult to integrate this into a busy daily routine involving an extremely busy daily work routine. This could not be a “diet” in the conventional sense, it could not be about calorie counting, weighing food, or adding up proteins, carbohydrates, fats, “points” or “sins” for each meal, it was to be a complete dietary lifestyle change. Initially, I had a plant-based breakfast and lunch, then eating with my family a typical mixed omnivorous evening meal. After several months of this, despite loosing weight and feeling better, blood results showed that my cholesterol was still high, despite taking statins. The option was to continue as I was and increase the dose of statins, or to commit to and try a 100% wholefood, plant-based vegan lifestyle.
This I did in May 2014 and have never looked back. I have certainly never felt better or fitter, I’ve lost 60lbs altogether to date and I am off all long-term meds (including statins). Recovery from exercise is excellent, which I can vouch for being in preparation for my first 100 mile run in April 2016 at 51 years of age. There is much science on this subject, some of it detailed below in the references section, this is simply my own experience, but the list below will give details and references to look into the idea and subject deeper.
People approach plant based nutrition or “veganism” from any of three angles; from the point of view of health, environmental issues, or an ethical (animal rights) perspective. Mine was health initially, but all three combine the more that you look into matters. Heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer are playing and increasing role in the demise of our health, but 90% of Western disease is preventable and in some cases reversible through simple diet and lifestyle changes. Plant-based nutrition is the true path to sustainable long-term wellness for both the individual and the planet at large.
Rich Roll (Crown Archetype books 2012)
T Colin Campbell and Thomas M Campbell II (BenBella Books, 2006)
John Robbins (Conari Press 2001)
Caldwell B. Esselstyn (Avery 2008)
John Joseph ( HarperWave, 2014)
Scott Jurek (Bloomsbury 2012)
Rich Roll and Julie Piatt ( Avery 2015 )
Dr Michael Greger (2016)
Dr Garth Davies MD and Howard Jacobson (2015)
Rip Esselstyn (Grand Central 2013)