If you are my patient, you know my opinions on diet (based on recent science). If you are not my patient, you can visit Dr. Gregor’s site to see the science. Many people in the face of good science do not change what they do because they feel like the health benefits of giving up something they like is not worth it. I have friends that still smoke ( a few) in light of more than a half century of data showing that smoking causes various cancers, stroke and heart disease!! I was talking to a friend the other night and telling about how I changed my diet and they suggested that I put my story on the Website, so here goes!
in about 2008 a childhood friend recommended that I read The China Study by Colin Campbell. I downloaded the book and read it on my way to an all inclusive in the Dominican Republic. I don’t know about you, but I could usually count on gaining about 5 pounds in a week at an all inclusive. I thought I would try going on a plant based diet for the week and see what happened. So, I ate beans, rice, fruits, vegetables, nuts, a little seafood, a few desserts, drank margaritas, but avoided all meat, eggs, milk and cheese (except for the aforementioned seafood). When I got home after the week, I had not gained any weight! Well, I decided that I would try going on as strict a plant based diet as I could for 8 weeks. You can do anything for eight weeks, right?! So, I got current labs and weighed in. For 8 weeks, I ate fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and avoided all animal protein and processed foods (beef, pork,chicken,fish, turkey, eggs, cheese, milk, all dairy, packaged foods with added sugar). Now, I did cheat a little. In those 8 weeks I had 3 small shrimp. 2 fried jalapenos stuffed with cheese, 1 piece of sausage pepperoni pizza and one chicken wing. At the end of 8 weeks, I had lost 14 pounds, my cholesterol had gone from 230 to 160, I felt better, slept better and had no indigestion! So being a true Texan, I thought this is great, I can do this most of the time and went to Crazy Gals Cafe in Bertram, Texas and had a jalapeno cheeseburger on jalapeno cheese bun with fried onion rings. I literally felt sick for several hours, but it really tasted good! So I went back on the whole food plant based (WFPB) diet and then a month or so later I went to a 4th of July party and had some brisket. The brisket felt heavy on my stomach for several hours and I felt bad! Back on the WFPB diet and several months go by feeling better all the time. But, I start thinking about that jalapeno cheeseburger again and I go have one and it makes me sick. I really did not want to give this up because I really liked the way it tasted, but after a total of five tries, it just wasn’t worth feeling that bad. Gradually over the next year and a half or so I converted almost completely to a WFPB diet. I still eat a little seafood, but I am noticing that it is starting to make me feel bad when I eat it as well.
So, I started this whole journey as an experiment and a trial, but my body guided me the rest of the way. Most patients state that it is hard to follow, but I think it is just a matter of motivation. I can find something at most restaurants that fits my diet and the way I feel is certainly worth it. Last year I got my vision restriction removed from my drivers license. My cholesterol has been as low as 136. In the US, cholesterol is thought to be good if it is under 200, but 1/3 of Americans drop dead from heart disease. If you look at countries where only 2% die from heart disease, the average cholesterol is under 150. In fact, about 35% of Americans that die from heart attacks have cholesterol between 150 and 200.
Well, back to work. More later!