As we at MamaSezz well know, changing to a plant-based diet can change your life in ways you never expected. In this series, we talk with some of the world’s most soulful, dedicated (and often funny) individuals. We get to hear their stories of suffering, transformation, and service — and we learn how food is an essential part of their journey.
This week, we talked with Craig B., an important member of the MamaSezz Kitchen, bass player, music enthusiast, and Marine Corps veteran. Craig has worked for MamaSezz for years, and was inspired to go plant-based after seeing the positive effects it had on his co-workers, and reading the MamaSezz Blog. When life felt hopeless as his body was deteriorating, Craig took control and made a change that would change his quality of life forever.
What was life like before Craig started his plant-based journey?
Craig always ate veggies with his meals, but was a huge fan of steak and pork. As a black man, he was no stranger to cooking with pork fat and other traditionally fatty cuts of meat that his family had made for generations. It wasn’t until he started working in the MamaSezz kitchen that Craig was introduced to a plant based diet and decided to give it a try.
He has always been a hard worker. Craig was a Marine Machine Gunner, has worked for the VA, and held many physically demanding jobs over the years.
Like many Marine Vets, Craig experienced back and knee pains throughout his adult life, and was becoming so discouraged with his physical deterioration that he felt like he was out of options. Over the years, his blood pressure had been on the rise, resulting in him taking 3 different prescription medications to help balance it out. On top of it, for years, Craig has gone to Dartmouth for 3 hour, invasive procedures after being diagnosed with Glaucoma by the VA.
He especially hated these long appointments because he was poked and prodded in order to receive the treatment he needed. He was told that eye surgery was just around the corner.
The discouragement was eating him alive, and he felt as though it was only going to get worse from here. He was worried about losing his eyesight eventually. Worst of all, his knee pain was so bad that surgery was recommended, meaning he may never be able to run again.
After watching a few of his MamaSezz peers thrive on a plant based diet, and reading the MamaSezz blog, Craig decided to take charge of his life and slowly introduce more plants into his diet.
He started out by drinking the MamaSezz Strong Heart Beets mixed with a little orange juice as a pick-me-up and realized it was actually helping him with his joint and back pain. “I’m serious, those beets will make you feel like a million bucks in a matter of minutes!”
Today, Craig enjoys 2-3 totally plant-based meals a day. Occasionally he will indulge in a hamburger or an ice cream, but for the most part he has kicked meat and dairy to the curb for good. “I just found out how nasty all of that stuff is, and how bad it is for you and had to cut it out”
The most notable and tangible difference to Craig's healthy happened after his last eye appointment at Dartmouth Hospital. What was typically a three hour, invasive appointment was just one hour. One by one, doctors would come in, examine him and leave with a look of surprise on their face. There was no glaucoma to be found! Craig was overwhelmed with joy, and figured that his body had taken care of it on its own. It wasn’t until he spoke to our head cook, Kelly that he realized his diet may have had something to do with his recovery.
As it turns out, eating more plans has been scientifically proven to help with eye health, specifically glaucoma. Craig was reaping the benefits of his diet change, and didn’t even realize it.
In addition, his blood pressure has begun to level out, resulting in reducing his medications. His back feels better than it has in years, and he no longer needs knee or eye surgery. Craig has been active his whole life, so the idea that he would no longer need surgery was freeing.
“In my 40s I felt like an old man. I was done with life because I felt like I couldn't do anything anymore. I’ll be 60 in 2 weeks and feel better than ever”
How was he able to stick to such a drastic diet change?
Working at MamaSezz, surrounded by people who have changed their lives with diet is motivation enough for Craig. Seeing his co-workers with crazy amounts of energy, and health that seems to be getting better rather than worse is living proof that what he’s doing is making a difference. The inspiration is in the results that he has already felt, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
What is his life like now?
Because Craig is not in chronic pain, and no longer needs knee and eye surgery, he is feeling at the top of his game. His limp is gone, and he no longer feels as though his body is deteriorating underneath him. He is a hard worker, and is on his feet constantly, but doesn’t feel it as he used to. He swears by the MamaSezz Strong Beets, and sticks to a 90 to 95 percent plant based diet.
He hopes to continue cutting out medication as his blood pressure continues to stabilize, and looks forward to living a long, better and healthier life.
What is Craig's favorite MamaSezz food/dish?
What is he most proud of?
Craig is most proud of being a core member of the MamaSezz Team. He takes pride in his work, and is a leader and major inspiration to everyone who he works with. Craig mentors new employees, and leads by example.
If he could meet and have lunch with one person (alive or dead) who would it be?
(This is one of my favorite responses we’ve gotten to this question so far!).
Craig would meet his Great Great Grandmother and Great Great Uncle for lunch. His Great Great Uncle started his military career in 1894 when he fought in both WW1 and WW2. He was like a second dad to Craig, so he stuck to him like glue and learned all he had to teach. He taught him about respecting others, cooked great food, and was a huge part of his upbringing along with His Great Great Grandmother. He would also include his Mother in this lunch, because family is very important to Craig.
Have Your Own Plant-Based Transformation?!
Tell us all about it! We'd love to know how a plant-based diet changed your life and health. Send us an email at email@example.com to share your story.