In 1989, at 39 years old, I switched careers. I transitioned from accountant to Business and Technology sales and consulting. It may not sound like a big change, but in sales and consulting you’re no longer the guy behind the numbers; you’re right out there in front of people. It matters how you look. Confidence is also key to success,
I lived a sedentary lifestyle – butt in chair most of the time. But when some of the top salespeople asked me to go for a run with them at my first sales meeting, I jumped on the offer. My goal was to be in with the winners. So, somehow, I ran five miles with them. The next day I could barely walk.
After that, my goal changed. Or maybe it expanded. I wanted to fit in with my coworkers, but I also wanted to be fit. I embraced the running life, starting with 5Ks and eventually finishing multiple marathons. From there I moved on to triathlons. I’ve since completed more than 75 including sprints, mid distance and eight Ironman races. An Ironman event includes a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and a marathon – 26.2 mile run.
Along with fitness came a change in diet. As I ramped up my running, I started eating better, too. Swapping out eggs and bacon for Greek yogurt and fruit, choosing chicken over steak, taking skim milk with my coffee.
I thought I was on a healthy path. But I wasn’t.
In 2012, despite all my hard work, I was diagnosed with heart disease. I was told I was at double the risk for a cardiac event, even though I was otherwise living a healthy lifestyle. My doctor recommended statins but said nothing about other options or potential changes to my diet. Still, my wife and I began to do our own research, and we decided to try a plant-based diet.
Within three months, I reversed my heart disease.
Let me say it again: I reversed my heart disease with the help of a plant-based diet.
My good cholesterol (LDL) was up, my bad cholesterol (HDL) was down, my triglycerides were excellent. My risk factor for a cardiac event dipped below the average for my age.
I lost 20 pounds and went from 22% to 11% body fat. Today, I no longer need blood pressure medicine or experience acid reflux.
And on top of all that, at 67 years old, I feel better than ever. My athletic performance has improved, too. As a triathlete, I qualified for and competed in two World Championship competitions. Ironman Hawaii, and the International Triathletes Union’s (ITU’s ) Long Course Triathlon in Penticton, British Columbia (1.86 mile swim, 74.4 mile bike and a 18.6 mile run). Faster recovery and increased stamina are welcome benefits of my shift in lifestyle.
My wife eats a plant-based diet, and we firmly believe it helped her recover from stage 2 breast cancer. After extensive treatment, she is cancer free, and her recovery was remarkable and shorter than typical. Doctors say her diet likely helped, and it is documented that eating a plant-based diet can help reduce the risk of cancer recurrence.
Can I personally promise you’ll see the exact same results as we have? No, but let’s face it: eating a plant-based diet, if done right, can’t hurt and may very well help you. My wife and I don’t regret the change in the least.
Guest Post from Larry Pepper
Some plant-based newbies find that their food waste increases as they ramp up the number of fruits and veggies they eat. Here are our tips for using your fruits and veggie from root to stem.