Reading the story of this man who had suffered from several health issues while his doctors were in the dark reminded me of so many people who are so often left helpless after attending their physician. This man describes how his health deteriorated gradually and the only answer of his physician was to cut off salt and to do some exercises. He has never been told by them that his diet was to blame for his health issues and that switching to a plant-based diet would have a dramatic beneficial impact on his health. So, he took control of his health and after doing quite some research he switched to a vegan diet followed by so many health benefits that it almost seemed like a miracle.
“Like most Midwestern Americans, I grew up on meats, comfort foods, and sugar-laden desserts. Later while serving in the Marines, my food trays in the chow hall weren’t any better. After leaving military service in 1992, I became a deputy sheriff, and my food choices while on duty weren’t the best. I tended to go for the quick and available and ate just as many meals behind the wheel of my patrol car as I did at a desk (insert donut joke here).
My lifestyle caught up with me in 1995, and at the age of 31 I was diagnosed with hypertension. My doctor prescribed two medications to help “get things under control” but didn’t ask me one question about my diet. The only nutrition or lifestyle advice he gave me was to “cut out the salt” and “exercise more.”
I stopped taking the meds after about seven months, because I didn’t like the way they made me feel. The next two decades would see a gradual decline in my health.
My Doctors and Specialists Were in the Dark
In 2004, I failed an insurance company physical, because they were concerned about the results of my blood tests. My doctor referred me to the nearby regional cancer center, and the following two months were a whirlwind of needles, pokes, prods, x-rays, scans, a liver biopsy, and a lung test. I was relieved to learn that I didn’t have cancer, but confused when they couldn’t give me a clear diagnosis. Instead, they identified numerous symptoms associated with several chronic conditions, none of which I had. Furthermore, they offered no treatments or cures, just “band-aids.”
I had elevated liver function and fibrosis (scar tissue) in my liver (NASH), reactive airway disease (scar tissue in my lungs, despite never smoking), elevated hematocrit (too many red blood cells), elevated ferritin (an indicator of excess iron) but normal iron levels, and symptoms for polycythemia vera (a type of blood cancer) and hemochromatosis (iron overload), neither of which I actually had.
This array of maladies was a real head-scratcher for my various specialists, who never once discussed my diet or nutrition with me. Instead, their only course of action was to monitor my condition with regular visits for bloodwork and the possibility of phlebotomies (modern-day bloodletting) to relieve my arteries and veins of the extra red blood cells so I didn’t start to clot. And as long as my liver remained under duress, it would continue to build fibrosis, leaving me staring down the barrel of a potential liver transplant. My cholesterol at that time was “only” 210, so it was not even discussed.
My Health Hit Rock Bottom
Fast forward to 2012, and I had hit bottom. In addition to all of the above, I was lethargic and had difficulty concentrating. I no longer had the energy to mow my lawn, and I couldn’t get through the day without a nap. I had painful red rashes under both arms, and I started to suffer frequent cluster headaches. At 235 pounds, I was officially obese. The final straw was a severe and painful recurring eye infection that rendered me unable to see clearly for days at a time and didn’t respond to prescription steroid ointments and gels. I knew there had to be a better way.”
Read the full article at forksoverknifes.com!