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When you start our meal plans, you get a welcome email from me that's part motivational, but also asks you to share your story, hopes, goals, etc. with me (if you want) so I can help cheerlead!
Back in January, Keith responded to my welcome aboard email with his story and I asked if he'd be willing to share it as part of the series. Keith agreed, saying, "Sure, anything to help spread the word about how valuable this change can be."
Keith in June 2013, looking healthy and happy!
HH: What motivated you to make a change? Why did you adopt a plant-based diet?
I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes on 7/1/12 (my birthday…great present) and had also had a colon resection surgery in the summer of 2011 — so after getting the diabetes diagnosis, I decided it was time for a change. I did some research and came across the Reversing Diabetes book, which led me to Forks Over Knives and then to your cookbooks.
HH: Have you experienced any benefits since making the switch to a plant-based diet?
The changes over the last 12 months have been amazing. I’ve dropped 43 pounds from 218 to 175 (and still dropping), my cholesterol dropped from 210 to 133 and my A1C dropped from 10.3 to 5.8, and I’ve now been completely off my cholesterol and diabetes medication for about eight months and my numbers are looking great.
Even my liver enzymes have come back into the normal range as my AST went from 58 down to 14 and my ALT went from 77 down to 23. I’ve never felt healthier, I’m exercising regularly, I haven’t even had a stomach ache or indigestion since starting the diet, my energy level is up, and my skin has drastically improved…I am truly amazed at the difference.
HH: You're clearly thriving! So what made you start the meal plans?
My experience really just motivated me to get even more serious about how we eat, which is why we signed up for the meal plans back in January. The meal plans have been great, as we’ve found the hardest part of eating a whole-food, plant-based diet is the planning aspect.
We ate out probably 10-15 times per week and even though I’ve gotten better at what I eat when eating out, I know there’s still lots of room for improvement by eating at home more and doing a better job of preparing our own food.
Keith "before" in 2009.
HH: You mentioned in an email your wife had taken the pictures of you featured here. I have to ask -- What does she think about all this?
My wife has been great through all of this and is also starting to reap the benefits of the diet. For the first time in my life, I’m learning how to prepare foods, cook, and even bake.
A wonderful side effect has been the fun my wife and I have working together in the kitchen. I think she’s mainly laughing at my strict recipe following skills while she easily modifies just about any recipe to her creative tastes. I can definitely say that now, 12 months into a whole-food, plant-based diet, I don’t even think about what I “gave up.”
UPDATE (June 27): At my last doctor’s appointment, after all my blood work was back, he looked at me and said, “that’s it, I’m calling it…you’re no longer a diabetic!” For me, I can’t think of a better endorsement for this lifestyle change. Thanks for your excellent cook books and wonderful support!