Friday, July 29, 2011

A Plant Based Odyssey

I grew up in the Central Valley of California in the 60's and 70's, and had a Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer sort of a childhood, filled with adventures in an area of the country known at that time as "The Fruit Basket of America." Thousands of acres of peach, almond, walnut, and olive groves stretched for miles in all directions, and I and my best friend often hiked out along the railroad tracks or canal banks into the country to catch lizards, snakes, and frogs or just explore and play in and around the orchards on the blistering hot, summer days we often had.

The son of a small business owner and an 8th grade English teacher, my early diet was filled with economically conservative-type meals like tuna casserole, hot dogs, burgers, chicken, pork chops, and other generally meat heavy bills of fare, some of which I resisted like it was deadly poison, much to my mother's aggravation. In retrospect, perhaps I wasn't too far off in my early assessment of this kind of food.

One good habit that I can really thank my mom for was that she always insisted that I eat some fruit every day, and was always happy to cut up an apple or an orange for me as an afternoon or evening snack, as well as making sure she sent me to school with something packed in my lunch pail or brown bag. Of all the dietary advice I received in my early years, that has been one that has stuck with me, and one that I have tried to pass along to my kids as well.

Like Dustin, it has been a long road for me to come to the realization that the meat and dairy foods I have been consuming for years have really done me more harm than good, and I've fought high cholesterol now for about 10 years, have had some Osteo Arthritis problems that led to several surgeries, and have taken all sorts of medications, choosing to believe that my doctors have known what is best for my health. I mean, they would never consider telling something that might harm me, would they?

About June 20th this year, I finally decided it was time to change the error of my ways, and really take charge of my health by altering the kinds of food I consumed. You can read about the beginning of that journey here, and about some of the insights, questions, and interactions that have come up along the way on my Plant-Based Odyssey blog. Since making that decision, I am feeling much better, have experienced a decrease in arthritic pain, an increase in energy, and have a much better outlook on life than I had before switching to a whole foods, plant based diet. I am enjoying discovering protein alternates like tofu, legumes, quinoa, and so many others that I've never heard of before. And guess what? I actually don't miss the dairy and meat much at all any more. But even better than that, I'm still alive, which my ingrained thinking had been trying to deceive me into believing might not be the case.

I am really glad and feel privileged to be teaming up with Dustin and other team members on the "Pursue A Healthy You" blog on getting out the word on the benefits of changing to a whole foods, plant based diet, and looking forward to sharing more about my journey with you all here as time goes along.

Happy and healthy living, everyone!

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by Dustin Rudolph, PharmD
Clinical Pharmacist

Check out Dustin Rudolph's book The Empty Medicine Cabinet to start your journey towards better health. This step-by-step guide leads you through many of today's common chronic diseases (heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and more), giving you the facts on foods versus medications in treating these medical conditions. The book also contains an easy-to-follow guide on how to adopt a whole foods, plant-based diet as a part of an overall lifestyle change, producing the best possible health outcomes for you and your family. Hurry and get your copy today!

We'd love for you to join us in spreading the good word about plant-based nutrition and lifestyle medicine by telling your family and friends about our website at

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