Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Not Even a Stroke Could Keep Me Down - My Whole Foods, Plant-Based Comeback

by guest blogger Gary Wilkerson

Gary before his whole food,
plant-based lifestyle change
In April 2004, I was working in my shop when my left arm went numb. Someone suggested I go take a nap. Shortly after, I just collapsed. I had been vegetarian since the mid 90s. I heard a friend calling 9-1-1. The fire station was across the street. A young helper soon said, "Here they come! They're here!" I never saw them. I was out. Gone. That is until 2 weeks later when I awoke in a hospital downtown Fort Worth, Texas with tubes everywhere. One doctor had written: "Prognosis: POOR" on my record.

The stroke occurred on April 16, 2004, I awoke on April 30; and on May 10 I was transferred to a horrid nursing home in Arlington, TX. Fortunately for me, the friend who called 9-1-1 visited me almost every evening or else I would have never made it. She worked hard to get me accepted by Veterans Affairs into the Transitional Care Unit, Dallas VAMC. There, the dietician said I needed dairy to replace the protein if I didn't eat meat. I agreed. I was still vegetarian at the time, but soon started giving most of it away to other veterans. I was there nearly two months from Dec 30th to late February 2005. And what about the nursing home food before that? Well, unfortunately, I wouldn’t call it food. On most days I was brought meat on a plate when I requested not to have meat.
Gary at Canyon Lake, Texas Hill Country

Later, in November 2006, I cracked the top of my left femur in an unfortunate accident. This led to another 3-month stay at the VA. It was the same situation, only the doctor in the Transitional Care Unit ran tests until she discovered I had hyperaldosteronism which had caused my blood pressure to rise leading to the stroke.

In late August 2011, we moved to Albuquerque, Land of Enchantment, turning vegan at that time. In March 2012, I ran across a link to Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Eat To Live group on Facebook. I joined and then bought the book. At the same time, I ordered The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, PhD. These are the most Awesome books! I've since read all of these two hero's books, and a number of others. Now, we eat a whole foods, plant-based (WFPB) diet low in salt-sugar-oil, primarily.

Gary post-stroke on his tricycle
In May 2014, my total cholesterol was 141 with LDL of 63. These numbers are down even further from my previous days when I used to eat plant-sourced "foods" with large amounts of saturated fats in them. I'm 62 3/4, my left side is still paralyzed from the stroke, but I keep learning and posting about the vegan lifestyle, animals, health, inspiring stories, and a touch of political and comical stuff every day on Facebook. I’ve even sent plenty of WFPB info to my local VA doctor who has now gone WFPB herself!

Everyoneeat right, be healthy! Give yourself the opportunity to be healthy in body, mind, and spirit. You can help save animals, the planet, and improve your own health in the process, all while inspiring others to do the same. INSPIRE YOUR DOCTORS! Mine, at the local VA clinic is now in a position to help other veterans be healthy without immediately resorting to the side-effect-prone pills that so many take.

Gary's library collection
I have hyperaldosteronism and was taking dozens of pills every day. I now take only 12.5 mg of spironolactone for this, down from 100 mg a day that I was taking for several years. On most days, I ride a recumbent tricycle for 40 minutes to an hour or more. With doing this and adding a small amount of spironolactone, plus delicious real food, it controls the hyperaldosteronism quite well. My blood pressure shortly after riding the trike is generally about 120/80 to 123/83, often the systolic is 116. A whole food, plant-based diet and exercise are key to great health, and they helped me.

Recently in September, I saw my Facebook friend, Janice Stanger, had posted a link to The Empty Medicine Cabinet along with her interview of the author, Dustin Rudolph, a pharmacist. I purchased it for Kindle. Very interesting read!

Gary J Wilkerson currently resides in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, just North of Albuquerque. You can contact him at or find him on Facebook.

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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!

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  1. Great story Gary! You were my inspiration to go vegan! I feel so much better now. My cholesterol and weight are both down. Plus, what a GREAT bonus - we are helping to save the animals too!!!

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  3. There are four arteries that supply blood to the brain: the two carotid arteries on each side of the neck, and the two vertebral arteries on the back of the neck. The influence of neck manipulation seems more important in vertebral artery dissection than in internal carotid artery dissection.


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