Herbie of the Week: Daniel

Posted by:Lindsay S. Nixon Category: Herbies

After my father's post "What It Really Means to Feel Better," Daniel sent me an email detailing his journey to a plant-based diet. The results and changes were remarkable, so I asked him if he would be up for sharing his story as a Herbie of the Week. Luckily, he agreed!

HH: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I'm 70 years old, have been on a complete plant-based diet including NO OILS for....let's see, I'm on my 14th month. I began after having a complete body "meltdown."

HH: Can you tell us a little more about the "meltdown"? 

I woke up in the hospital being told that I had "died."

I went home with a bag of pills and was told to start kidney dialysis. I was devastated. I was 68 years old. Had always eaten "well" — lots of fish, no junk/fast food, sodas, physically "active."  I had always done a yearly or more blood panel.  Over the years, my "numbers" didn't change much, but what was considered "normal" sure did, and I ended up with high cholesterol and blood pressure. Yeah, I was a "few pounds" overweight, but I had always been a "big guy," and yeah I drank wine every day, but the medico's told me everything was "OK" — until it wasn't.  (That has become my "mantra" when people ask me "what have you done?" and then want to argue with me. "Don't tell me I can't have my bacon!" I tell them, well then have it! You're fine! UNTIL YOU'RE NOT!).

HH: How'd you find your way to a plant-based diet?

The following Sunday evening, I just happened to turn on CNN, and watched intently the interview of Bill Clinton and his describing his path on a plant-based life, the positive effects he had attained....I was enthralled.  Maybe this would help me!  

So the following morning, I drove to Whole Foods (had never been in the store before!) and purchased Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease and Eat to Live. I went home, read the books, cleaned out my kitchen (no easy task, as I had always cooked, had my own catering company years ago, was known for my "dinner parties," etc. etc.), returned to Whole Foods and restocked. I never looked back! 

HH: Have you experienced any benefits? 

So, I've lost 40 lbs., my total cholesterol is 86, I generally feel better, and I sleep better. I think I'm pretty happy, but I hate being 70.  I realize now that I'm certainly in better health, but I "started too late."  Two back operations, two hip replacements, arthritis, neuropathy, bad ankles, no feeling in my feet.....these issues remain.  I haven't gotten worse, but I guess I had higher expectations........So it was nice to read someone else in my demographic relating the same kind of issues. [Editorial Note: He's referencing my Dad's blog post, linked above]

I will "pound" the plant-based life for as long as I'm alive.  There are so many other areas that I feel better about, i.e., being "in control of my life!"  Shopping, reading labels, cooking all of my food that I put in my mouth, the feeling that I'm in total control of my health. I will also continue to answer people's questions about "the way I look," the comments that "I can't believe you're still alive" (from my own doctor!) by giving them a book by Fuhrman, Esselstyn, McDougall, et al. and by telling them to subscribe to the Happy Herbivore.

HH: Anything else you'd like to add?

People have often asked me how I could so drastically change my entire life as I have, and I always try to explain that you feel so absolutely better, wonderful even, that your palate changes so quickly, that there is never (for me) a thought of "returning" to my previous life.

HH: Thanks Daniel! Keep rockin'!

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