Last year at my annual physical I shared my choice to be Vegan with my Doctor. The "BIG" question was, what made me choose to do this? My answer brought a satisfied smile to his face and the comment: "That's the message you should share with everyone!" So on the advice of my Doctor, this was my answer:
"I'm almost 59 years old and I took a look at myself and the path I was on and I didn't like where I was heading. My weight was a problem, as it had been for almost all of my life. I was taking pills to lower my cholesterol and blood pressure and pills to fight depression. My back was hurting, my right knee was hurting and my family was fearful that I was a "walking time bomb" with heart disease, kidney disease, Diabetes or even a stroke in my future. I love my family and hated knowing that they worried about my health, even though I thought I felt fine. I made the decision to be proactive about my health rather than wait for something to go wrong and be reactive."
My Doctor then shared with me that he became a Vegan 5 years ago. We talked about some food ideas and stories about weight loss, reversal of heart disease and various studies all supporting a plant based diet. He talked about President Clinton's choice to become a Vegan and how much he had improved his heart health after living through his heart surgery. Now, whatever your politics, I hope you will agree that President Clinton, a Rhodes Scholar, is a very intelligent man. Yet, he made the choice to be reactive rather than proactive. Better late than never!
Generally, I'm about as bad a procrastinator as any one of you. Probably a lot worse than most of you. I wait for things to go wrong and then react to them. After reading a little bit about the obvious health benefits of a plant based diet, I made a proactive choice, a New Year's Resolution (1/1/2014) and jumped on the Vegan band wagon. I have nothing but positive things to say about how quickly and easily I lost the initial 30 lbs, how my back and knee pain have disappeared and how my blood pressure has stabilized at a healthy 112/72, all within my first 90 days.
I'm almost 60 years old now. Its been 17 months and I've lost 85 lbs. No more cholesterol medicine. When last checked my total cholesterol was 141 with no medications. I have no intention of going back to my old ways and am looking forward to the impending improvement in the weather so I can get out with my wife to walk the dog, to ride my bicycle again, jog a little and even play golf without pain. Yes, exercise. ME!
So, realistically, we all have to look forward to a day when are going to have to face our own fate. As my friend, Joel Kahn, M.D. writes in his book, Dead Execs Don't Get Bonuses, "None of us are getting out of here alive." The big variable is how far in the future is that going to be and how will the choices we make right now, today, this hour, this minute, affect what that fate will be. Many things are beyond our control. But what you choose to eat is not among those things. Make good health choices now, rather than wait for a future where you regret the choices you made and you have no choices left. It really is up to you!
What's it going to be: Proactive or Reactive?