World Champion tennis player finds new energy in a plant-based diet
Written by meg donahue
Sometimes the best story is the one you haven't told yet.
World champion tennis player, coach and author of the popular book and audio book Live The Best Story of Your Life: A World Champion's Guide to Lasting Change, Bob Litwin exemplifies the power to change your life by changing your story.
After the tragic loss of wife, several invasive surgeries and told he would never play tennis again, filed with despair Bob Litwin dug deep and discovered that change, real change, doesn't have to be hard, it is as simple as changing your story.
MamaSezz caught up with Bob just as he began his plant-based journey. True to form, Bob embraced the change and agreed to chronicle his path for MamaSezz.
Bob Litwin playing with World #1 Novak Djokovic
With candor and humor, Bob tells his story- follow along- it just might inspire you to live the best story of your life too.
Two weeks ago I reached out to Meg and Lisa at MamaSezz. Friends from quite a while ago, I reached out to them because of a tick in my interest about whole plant based food. Less than one week later I received my first package from MamaSezz and I am all in. A little history. I am a performance coach for athletes and businesses. Most of my clients are in the hedge fund world, where being at one’s best has a very direct impact on outcomes. Do and be a gold medal way and gold medal results often flow.
To have credibility as a performance coach requires that I walk my talk, so I better be doing things, all the time, that make me better. I am lucky to have a job that holds me accountable.
I am also a senior tennis player. At 55 I was the #1 senior player in the world in my age group. I am now 73 and ended 2019 #3 in the world and #1 in the USA. Along the way I have won two world championships, two Maccabian Games gold medals and 25 USA national championships. So you can be sure that I use what I teach. I also wrote a book about my coaching model called “Live the Best Story of Your Life: A World Champion’s Guide to Lasting Change.” I mention all this because, despite thinking I was doing all the best things to be my best, I had a pretty average diet. I ate lots of pizza, burgers, pasta, bagels, dairy. Well, as I see that list, maybe it wasn’t that average. It was pretty bad. But I felt great. I had lots of good physical, mental, emotional and spirit energy. Then, about 12 months ago my blood pressure elevated. Hypertension had entered my life. It didn’t matter that I was feeling good. My body was telling me to pay better attention. I started to practice Transcendental Meditation as the data suggested that it lowers blood pressure. I watched Game Changers and decided to go vegetarian. For nearly a year I stayed committed. All in. That’s my way. It’s easier to stay committed 100% of the time than 99%. That 1% opens the door. And lots of great changes from TM and no animal fat. But my blood pressure numbers stayed high. One medication gave me a cough. A different one made me feel spacey and gave me a buzz in my head. My buddy, Mike, told me that he went plant-based, came off his meds and a bunch of his blood pressure dropped to normal.
And that brings me to now. Ten days in to my whole food plant-based life style change...
The first week has been exciting. At first I was a bit confused. Are each of the products a meal? I spoke to Chef Caroline and she helped me to understand that some could be whole meals but that the best way would be to build out my meals from each product. And she made plenty of suggestions. Day 1, I loved the breakfast protein bar. I could have several servings throughout the day but I held back. Had my regular lunch pb&j. Dinner had the protein strips, stir fried with loads of veggies. Fun day. Great food. Felt like a big win to get through a day.The week continued where I tried all that I had ordered. I felt great to be doing it.I am an all in person. I decide and I do it with no breaking the rules. I plan to be all in, in this way for the first month. Then I will decide about being 100% or not. As the week went on, I sensed some challenges. One was variety. Despite being pretty ritualized and having most days in the past alternating between two breakfasts and two lunches, I started to feel that I needed more variety, especially for lunch. I expect to get more ideas from Chef Caroline. She asked me if I was having challenges with taste. Good question but taste is not an issue. The bigger issue for me is texture. So I am giving more attention to making sure I don’t overcook veggies. I like them crunchy. Last challenge is wondering if I am getting enough calories. Caroline suggested that I just add in more fruit or veggies during the day. I am not sure that this will be my answer but I am going to give it a shot this week.
The biggest thing of the week is that my blood pressure numbers have already dropped and stabilized beginning on the second day of eating whole plant based.
I am not a skeptic but wondered, could this be happening this quickly? I asked a doc friend of mine who said that it seems possible. After all, he pointed out, how long does it take to feel full or bloated after eating a burger/cheese/bacon on a big roll (not that I have had that in the last year). I realized that medication can get into my blood stream instantly. So why not eating only good food and no bad food. Fingers crossed. In the meantime, as Lisa told me, watch those blood pressure numbers as “you may need to get off the meds to avoid your bp getting too low."
Oh, for the sake of transparency, we picked up food for dinner last night and the only thing that appealed to me on the menu was veggies and a piece of salmon. I felt guilty, not for the eating fish, but knowing that it probably was farm raised and therefore it felt like eating something that was shot full of something not good for me. Fortunately I am forgiving of my inability to be perfect, so I chalked up to a stumble but not a full on face plant. All in all, my energy is feeling off the charts. In my mind it is what I am eating but in all fairness I got my first vaccine shot last week and I did have a side effect. I felt instantly lighter and happier…and energized.”