David's Health Journey
I grew up vegetarian. It wasn't until I was in college did I indulge in eating meat. That lasted for a few years and even into married life, since Lindsay also ate meat. I had no reason to change. I regularly had stomach issues after eating any dairy and had major heartburn and acid re-flux when I ate meat, and almost any other food with dairy. I still didn't want to change. I enjoyed those foods enough that I didn't care to give them up. It was so bad that whenever my office had donuts, I could easily eat half a dozen donuts throughout the day. And, I was so addicted to Coke soda that whenever we would go out to dinner and I would order it, I would continue getting refills until my hands would start shaking (that's how I knew I had enough). It wasn't until 2007, when I traveled to Europe for school, and I would end up paying $7-$8 for a small can of soda, did I realize how addicted I had become to it. When I returned home, I quit caffeinated sodas cold-turkey.
I thought I was "healthy". I would play a softball game once a week and run a 5k race once in a while. I still enjoyed eating donuts and drinking sodas, and I still ate meat. It wasn't until I started to actually go to my regular doctor check ups did I see a reason to consider making a change. At the age of 55, my grandfather had his first heart attack. At the age of 60, my father had his first heart attack. When I was 25, the doctors told me I needed to start taking cholesterol medications. My father told me that it was just in the family, and there was no way to change it, so I needed to take the medicine. So I started to take medicine to raise my HDL and medicine to lower my LDL. I also had high blood pressure and high blood sugar. I certainly did not want to have a heart issue at a young age like my family. At that time, I made the small step to reduce/remove red meat from my diet. I made the transition to turkey burgers and I enjoyed it more because I felt lighter after I ate them and I didn't have as much heartburn afterwards. That lasted for a few years until I just realized that I didn't really need the meat in my diet and decided to drop meat all together and return to being vegetarian.
In my late twenties my metabolism started to slow down and I began to put on some extra pounds. About 8 years ago I got up to about 193 pounds. That's when it really hit me. I was determined not to pass the 200 pound mark. For a 6 foot male at my age, a healthy weight is around 160 ish pounds. At that time, the health insurance I had with my employer offered an incentive program that rewarded you for completing races and online health courses. Being the competitive person that I am, I pushed myself to see how quickly I could get a lot of points. I started doing more 5k races and got into short triathlons with my friends. I watched all the online courses that were available in the insurance program and got enough points to receive a free Polar heart rate monitor watch. When I would go to the doctor for my routine check up, I would see how I could improve my health numbers each time. It wasn't until I began training for half-marathons did I realize the real connection that diet and exercise has on a healthy lifestyle. With the slower, and longer training sessions (in HR Zone 2), I began to burn more fat and I felt much better. My health numbers began to drop and I lost about 20 pounds. That's when I decided to stop taking all the medications prescribed and see if I could beat these "hereditary" health issues naturally. I read up on a lot of information about how I could do it. (See list of resources at the end). I stopped snacking before I went to bed, and I started getting to bed earlier. I eventually eliminated all the dairy from my diet and exercised more consistently and for longer durations. After a few months of making the changes, all my health numbers decreased to normal ranges, without medications. I no longer have indigestion or heart burn after I eat. And I've been feeling great since 2013 (this is when the dream of Vego Bistro began). In 2017, I completed my first half Ironman 70.3 race, fueled by only plants.
It has been a long road, and it's one that has no end. With starting our new business, my exercise routine has unfortunately taken a back seat. And, being vegan doesn't always mean I eat as healthy as I should. It takes diet and exercise working together to maintain a truly healthy lifestyle; a lifestyle that glorifies my Creator and allows me to have a clear mind and a healthy body to live a longer life with the family around me.
I hope this information motivates you to take the first small step to a Healthier You! Keep following us. In the future, we'll be introducing healthy programs like the Vego running group, Dinner with a Doctor, Cooking classes, etc.
Motivation can come from different sources depending on the person, even from health insurance or peer pressure.
It is possible to change your family history of health issues. Even without medication. All things are possible through God who strengthens me!
Don't become complacent with where you are at, physically or spiritually. An active physical and spiritual life can start out small.
Habits and lifestyles take time to change. Don't expect yourself or others to change overnight.
Maintaining weight-loss requires lifestyle change! Short-term diets are not the answer.
Slow, small changes are easiest to adopt, but will result in slow progress. BE PATIENT!
Set reasonable goals. You cannot train for a 5k in one week, and you will not be a vegan overnight, you will not make your weight-loss goal in one workout!
Find support! Your spouse, friends, and church family.
The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.