I’m going to fill you in on a little secret, something that has been in progress for sometime and only now am I starting to accept it. It all started about 6 months ago and was cemented into place around 3 months ago. Since around 2014 I have been sick constantly, in fact somewhere around 2-3 times a month from anywhere between two days to weeks at a time; to say that is has been difficult to keep to a training regime is an understatement. I figured I wasn’t getting enough sleep, or my child was making me sick, or I became allergic to something. In any-case I figured it would go over soon enough so I never bothered with going to the doctors.
On top of always being sick I have had very little energy over the last couple of years. I figured it was part of getting older! However after finally getting sick of always being sick I decided it was time for a change. I was sick of being sick and tired!
Before I go any further let me roll back my timeline another two years about the first time I tried to get into running, it was after I read the phenomenal book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. It was this book that inspired me to start running, and with that I also learned that I couldn’t keep any routine as I kept getting sick all the time. I also figured that losing some weight and running more is probably a good idea considering my “adventurous” lifestyle.. or backpacking.
I kept giving it a shot, and whenever I needed some extra motivation I would go back to reading Born to run. Well, getting sick and being tired has a bad habit of sapping what little motivation I had to move and at the same time I started to get more fat than usual around my stomach and chest. Man boobs started to form and where I once had a slight visible muscle definition was now replaced with fat and mushyness. My thin muscular face has been replaced by a somewhat gooey one. To say I was aging bad, in my opinion was an understatement.
I had always followed the Paleo diet or carb free diet for most of my adult life, not religiously but it had definitely become my lifestyle. I preferred a steak a plate full of broccoli and sweat potatoes to a pizza. I believe that this kept me from getting overly fat, as the diet does work as a diet. I never thought that it was my diet that was leading to my sickness and getting fat. Then I watched a documentary called Forks over knifes a while ago, more like a year or so ago, and it stuck with me. So I decided to watch it again as well as read a few books on the subject of a whole foods plant based diet. To my amazement these are some of the absolute best researched books i’ve ever read of diet and nutrition such as the China Study and Whole by Colin t. Campbell. How not to die by Michael Greger and a few others. I also read Rich Rolls book on his similar journey from half dead to making a change; Finding Ultra.
After reading these books I realized that there was a very real possibility that it was my diet that was killing me and not some unknown infliction that came up from hell and has decided to plague me personally. So I figured that I could at-least give the idea of the whole food plant based diet a try for a short while and see if there is any difference. What is a whole food plant based diet? (WFPB diet = VEGAN) Or sort of, in reality vegan could be chips and coke cola, WFPB is a healthier alternative.
At about the same-time I started to make my progress over to a WFPB diet, I finally made my way to a doctor to get my blood work and so on done. The test results came back negative on finding any reason on why I am sick, but came back positive on that I will probably die a young and horrible death due to heart disease as my cholesterol levels where much higher than normal for my age. What did my doctor prescribe? Pills and lots of them or change my diet and start exercising more (this is Sweden, doctors are allowed to prescribe diet and exercise as their not yet completely owned corporate subsidies of the drug industry). I decided I would try diet instead.
My process has been slow, it has taken me several months to replace my typical meat recipes with WFPB alternatives, to empty my shelves of my meat and dairy recipe books, and to restock my fridge and cabinets with vegan goods. When I got the test results from the doctor, my WFPB transition was more or less complete, with the test results pushing me over completely.
Disclaimer: I hate the term Vegan, when I think of the word vegan all sorts of strange shit pops into my head, the PETA people throwing paint on fur wearers, the hippy dread lock guys refusing to shower or wear shoes, or the creepy vegan gangs standing outside McDonalds terrorizing bystanders. With that said, I certainly think animals should be able to live their own lives, but It simply doesn’t sell me on being a vegan, I love bbq chicken wings and a lovely juicy cow on my plate.
No, my motivation for a WFPB diet is this: I don’t want to die a horrible slow death. I don’t want cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s or any other number of afflictions that can be attributed to the typical western diet. I would love to write a lot about the research done and used in the books I listed above, but I won’t. It’s just too much and I prefer everyone to do their own research before listening to me. There are studies of patients, hundreds of patient on their death beds with heart disease and diabetes who went over to a WFPB diet and within months their health improved so much that they didn’t need pills anymore. Many of them in the control groups lived an extra 20 years or more while the subject who continued their traditional diets and moved over to pills and operations died within the first year or two of the studies. I could go on and on, but I will leave that to you. You will know when the time is right, you will feel it in your bones and when you feel it, you will read these books and make the changes.
Stopping to drink some cocunut water and eat a banana on a 70k bike ride
So what are the results so far? Since I converted over to a WFPB diet I have not been sick, not even close to being sick. My energy levels have increased ten fold – I feel like I’m 18 years old again. I have so much energy that in-order to not go crazy I have to get out the house and run! How much do I run? Hundreds of kilometers every month on top of several hundreds kilometers biking. I don’t get tired, I just keep moving. My muscles and bones are completely recovered from one day to the next. I’m sleeping better, I don’t get tired after eating and I’m losing a lot of weight. My energy levels increased so dramatically that I quit drinking coffee altogether – from a liter or so of coffee a day to nothing. To say that the side effects of eating a WFPB diet are far beyond my expectations is again and understatement. The new me is so addicting that the idea of ever going back to a traditional western diet with dairy and meat is simply not a possibility. Another plus side is that most restaurants only have one or two vegan dishes, AWESOME! I don’t have to spend time debating on which of the 20 different meals to choose from.
Left: Just finished the Stockholm tunnelrun 8k
Right: About to run my third competition for the year. 10k which I came in at 56 minutes.
I have no idea what my test results will show the next time around, but honestly, I’m not too worried about it. There is no doubt in my mind that my cholesterol will be radically reduced and my heart will be thumbing at full blast without interference for many years to come.
My mousli banana crunch. A vegan breakfast that taste amazing
So heres to the new me, and my own continued progression, I am even thinking of making a simple VLOG to document my journey. I am also in the process of converting all my backpacking recipes to vegan alternatives and so on. With all this said I hope that you two will do the research and find the motivation to change. It will change your life and make you wonder what the fuck you where doing all these years killing yourself slowly, when you could have been living life to the fullest. Focused, energized and on fire.
Some tips for your own transition:
- Watch the documentaries Fork of knives, Food matters and the newest What the health
- Read some books The china study, Whole, How not to die
- Buy some new recipe books. Fork over knifes has a great app as well as recipe book. The plant power way is a good book. Green kitchen has a great book and App.
- Replace your favourite recipes with vegan alternatives. Experiment! you can’t be afraid to try new dishes when making the transition.
- Be patient and realistic, the transition is not going to happen overnight. Give it a month or so to take the first steps, then go all in! The feeling of being unstoppable and awesome is addicting.
- Remember: on a pure health basis if you want to avoid cancer and all the other diseases and sicknesses attributed to the western diet meat and dairy should not exceed 5% of your total consumption. So in other words, it’s perfectly ok to eat a little cheese now and then if you get the urge!
- You don’t need dread locks and wear hemp clothing just because your diet changes. But if you feel like it go for it!