Lower Your Healthcare Costs…..Forever!

Putting aside all the mounting clinical evidence that points to a plant-based diet as being the answer to obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases, I just love these anecdotal testimonies!

Together, We Lost 200 Pounds in 2 Years!

By Ashely Chong

weight loss

I recently celebrated my two-year anniversary of being 100% plant based. My journey began in March of 2012. I was determined to lose weight and get healthy, so I began researching about nutrition and overall health. I stumbled across information about vegan diets, and how animal protein and dairy really distort the body. After more research and watching a lot of documentaries, including Forks Over Knives, I decided to give plant-based eating a try.

On April 1st of 2012, I went 100% vegan overnight. About ten days in, I felt amazing, my skin was clearer, and I had lost a good amount of weight. I could not return to my previous diet and feel sick again, so this experiment became a lifestyle change―one that I fell in love with! I fell in love with how I felt, how I started to look, and how I started to think.

My fiancé Andrew started his journey not long after I did, and we continued this beautiful lifestyle together. Over the course of two years, I have lost 125 lbs., and Andrew has lost about 75. We are living examples of the havoc that an animal-rich diet full of processed, chemical-ridden, genetically modified foods can wreak on a body. This super lifestyle has benefited us not only physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. We have truly experienced nothing but positive results!

God bless

Multiple Sclerosis? Fork You!

MS, multiple sclerosis, a frightening diagnosis.  What would you do?  Read this remarkable testimony about the power of your fork!

“Life can change in a moment. It did for me”

Saray 570x299 My Journey from Doctor to MS Patient … and Back – Thanks to Plant Based Eating!

October 11, 1995 started out like any other grueling 24-hour shift at the hospital. I was a young, energetic physician living what I considered to be an extraordinary life. But this night was more exhausting than any I could remember. Deeply fatigued, I finally made it to bed around 3 am. Within the hour, I was awakened by a call from the emergency room. As I leapt out of bed, I experienced something so foreign that it simply took my breath away. During this brief nap I had lost feeling in my lower extremities. Something was terribly wrong. I was emergently rushed off to an MRI that revealed multiple plaques in my brain and spinal cord, confirming a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.

I was no longer Dr. Stancic, making early morning rounds on her patients. I was now the newly admitted MS patient, lying in a bed as a flock of medical students and doctors took turns assessing my deteriorating neurological status. Soon thereafter came a parade of drugs with their numerous side effects, all intended to mitigate the frightening progression and symptoms of MS. I had become a drug-dependent, sick young woman struggling to accept her fate. MS had swiftly swept away my dreams and aspirations, and left behind a shadow of my former self.

In the fall of 2003, after nearly a decade of a life compromised by chronic illness, a pivotal and enlightening event occurred. I came across an article in a medical journal touting the benefits of blueberries in MS patients. The article summarized findings suggesting that MS patients who ate blueberries had improved symptoms compared with those who did not. The investigators attributed these results to the berries’ antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

The scientist in me was skeptical, but this publication had the effect of igniting my curiosity. Could food play a role in ameliorating or even preventing chronic illness?I was consumed by this idea, and driven to explore existing medical literature in search of answers. What I found was both illuminating and transformative. There was ample evidence in respectable peer-reviewed medical journals that our diets do play a key role in the development of chronic illness!

I wondered how this topic had escaped our medical school curriculum. The power of healing that lies in a whole-food, plant-based diet is incalculable and unquestionable. I was inspired by what I had discovered and felt compelled to personally adopt this lifestyle. I discontinued all my medications and focused on optimizing my diet.

Over the years that followed, I felt stronger and energized. Remarkably, after years of difficulty walking unassisted, my neurological deficits gradually improved. I felt renewed and infused with a great sense of hope. I decided to take up jogging, which evolved to running. In the spring of 2010 I ran a marathon. It was truly an extraordinary experience.

As a physician observing unnecessary suffering and loss, I felt compelled to spread the word of this seemingly untapped therapeutic resource with whomever was willing to listen. Regrettably, in speaking to colleagues, I found many did not share my level of enthusiasm or acceptance that this approach was valid.

My sense of alienation lifted after watching Forks Over Knives. I was reinvigorated by witnessing other like-minded physicians practice medicine with this philosophy. Today, my focus is educating patients on the value of a whole-food, plant-based diet, with an eye toward reducing prescription drug dependence.

Patients need to learn that they do have control of their individual health outcomes. For my patients, watching this film is a mandatory part of their care plan. The film effectively reinforces all that we discuss, and its impactful style is both educational and entertaining.

We can, as a society, shift and make the necessary changes to improve our health and well-being.  Life can change in a moment … and that can be a very wonderful thing.

God bless

The Third Leg Under The Health Stool

meditation and healthIf you’ve followed this blog for even a short period of time, you know that I am committed to sharing health information that will help prevent, arrest and even cure some of our most insidious chronic diseases.  The emerging science and clinical trials focused on the profound impact diet, exercise and your mental state can have on the manifestation of these diseases is too long in coming, but is finally having a major impact.  Probably the most overlooked and misunderstood contributors to compromising our immune systems are stress and anxiety.  New studies have now shown that, much like diet (Nutrigenomics: A Life-Saving Science), our gene expression is influenced greatly by our emotional states.  Both good and bad genes can be turned off and on, depending on whether we exist in a state of appreciation and peace or one of stress and anxiety.

Whereas exercise and diet have been widely touted, written about and generally accepted as a means to improving health, the practice of meditation has historically been relegated to mystical status practiced primarily by outliers.  The medical community has recently been more supportive of the role meditation can play as evidenced by researchers out of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine in Massachusetts illuminating the mechanisms of meditation’s effects, specifically the relaxation response.  According to Dr. Benson, the relaxation response is, “a physical state of deep rest that changes the physical and emotional responses to stress (e.g., decreases in heart rate, blood pressure, rate of breathing, and muscle tension)” and is characterized by:

  • Metabolism decreases
  • Heart beats slow and muscles relax
  • Breathing slows
  • Blood pressure decreases
  • Levels of nitric oxide increase (this is very good, see “Boost Performance“)

stress1As Dr. Kelly Brogan points out, “Only recently have the tools to assess gene-based changes been available.  Genetic study of eight-week and long-term meditators demonstrated evidence of changes to gene expression – specifically antioxidant production, telomerase activity, and oxidative stress – as a result of the relaxation response.”  She goes on to say “It appears that the relationship between gene expression optimization and relaxation response is dose-related, so that increasing amounts confer increasing benefit.”  Roughly translated, even a little meditation will have positive effects, but the more you induce the relaxation response, the more likely you will be up-regulating the good, chronic disease fighting genes and down-regulating those genes that promote disease.

 Obviously, this message is huge and has ramifications that require your daily attention, just as diet and exercise do.  The techniques for meditation are extensive and diverse.  A quick Google search will produce seemingly limitless options, with varying degrees of effort and time commitment on your part.  For those of you who want an easy, effective and passive method, I have a recorded session that I often use that you can put on your smartphone and listen to when you go to bed at night or when you first wake up in the morning.  If you would like a copy, just shoot me an email at rbmilligan@aol.com and I will send you the audio file free.

Here’s a quick video from Dr. Brogan I believe you’ll find interesting:

(If the video doesn’t load, go here)

God bless

Stamp Out Chronic Disease: The Smartest Way

Healthy foodLast week, I shared the message about “epigenetics”, which is generally an emerging field of study about how our environment influences the expression of our individual genetic makeups. “Nutrigenomics” is a subset of this groundbreaking science that focuses specifically on the effect nutrition has on switching on and off both our good, disease-preventing genes and our bad, disease-causing genes.  I implore those of you who either have or are at high risk of developing chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even cancer to watch this short video below and take the message very seriously.  More and more credible clinical data is emerging that diet can prevent, arrest and even reverse these chronic diseases.  With heart disease alone, if you compare the largely ineffective, long-term results of both drug therapy and extremely invasive surgery against the effectiveness of a plant-based diet, the choice is simple.  And the bonus is that, with the lifestyle change to a plant-based diet, you actually feel better and enjoy a higher quality of life versus the frightening consequences of radical, chest-splitting surgery or a drug regimen riddled with devastating side effects.

(If the video doesn’t load click here)

God bless

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True Health

Forks Over KnivesFor most of my life, I was under the delusion that it really didn’t matter what I ate.  Because I was always so active swimming, surfing, skiing or playing football, lacrosse or tennis, I never gained weight and was always in pretty good shape.  It wasn’t until I went totally plant-based that I discovered just how naive and uninformed I really was.  There are a lot of other measures, besides weight, that I have now come to appreciate as indicators of true health.  The increased energy levels, absence of colds, increased endurance, less muscle and joint pain, quicker recovery times, better moods, in addition to an even leaner body, can all be traced back to going plant-based.  So, if you haven’t made the switch to a plant-based diet because you don’t need to lose weight or out of compassion for the treatment of animals, as the following testimony confirms, there are a whole host of additional benefits that hopefully will convince you to do so.

Running for “Health” Wasn’t Enough … Eating Plants Made All the Difference!

By  
 Alina 570x299 Running for “Health” Wasn’t Enough … Eating Plants Made All the Difference!I immigrated to the United States seven years ago from Russia. Right away the pleasures of American cuisine turned out to be irresistible to me. Going out to eat two to three times a week with my new American friends? Sure! All of the temptations at supermarkets and fast food places? Bring them on!

 To compensate for all that fattening food, I took up running for the first time in my life and immediately fell in love with it. Running helped me avoid packing on weight, and I found myself in the trap a lot of active people fall into: “I exercise, so I can eat whatever I want, right?”

Over the course of three years, I ran seven half-marathons, one full marathon, and a few 5k and 10k races. As much as I loved running and exercise, I had a growing concern: my body was almost constantly sore, my joints ached … and I was only in my 20s! I was worried that the activity I loved so much was undermining my health. Plus, I kind of stalled in my fitness because of all that soreness. I knew that if I wanted to get stronger without ruining myself, I would have to look into what other athletes who were much better than me were doing.

This is how I discovered that a lot of really good endurance athletes were on a plant-based diet! I became curious and went on to do some research. I learned that eating animal products and junk food do a lot of harm to us, no matter how hard we exercise. One night, my husband and I watched the amazing documentary Forks Over Knives, and it blew my mind!

At first, I was afraid that adopting the plant-based lifestyle would be too hard: there are too many temptations out there … going out to eat could be a challenge … and what about the opinions of family and friends? I kept on reading wonderful books about plant-based athletes (like Scott Jurek’s Eat and Run) as well as articles by T. Colin Campbell, John McDougall, and others. Eventually, after watching Forks Over Knives — The Extended Interviews, I was completely convinced that a plant-based diet is the healthiest for us, and all my previous fears and excuses fell by the wayside.

The first couple weeks were all it took for me to believe that I was on the right track: my energy levels skyrocketed and stayed high throughout the day; I started waking up early with no problem, even though I considered myself an owl before; all the skin blemishes that had plagued me since adolescence cleared up; I was finally able to exercise harder and recover quicker; and my muscles and joints were no longer sore.

Leaving my old eating habits behind turned out to be no problem: I found a lot of delicious plant-based vegan recipes through Pinterest and bought a couple great cookbooks. My husband was a little skeptical at first, but after I showed him all the scientific information about plant-based eating and started cooking delicious vegan meals, he was convinced.

On November 10, I ran my first plant-fueled marathon in 4:08:18. I fully credit my plant-based diet for making me stronger than ever. I am living proof that plant foods alone can fuel a physically demanding lifestyle perfectly … and what could be more convincing than learning through my own experience!

It’s been six months since I became plant-strong, and I am proud to say that this way of life has not only made me healthier and assured me of my inner strength, it also gave me confidence to find my voice and inspire others — by sharing my story through my new blog!

Thank you, Forks Over Knives, for encouraging me to embrace this healthy lifestyle!

God bless

Make Your Resolutions Stick

visualization“I’ll believe it when I see it!”, the mantra of most skeptics, can actually be turned around to help you stick to whatever New Year’s resolutions you’ve made for 2014.  Understanding the real truth that you’ll actually “see it only after you believe it” could be the key to success in reaching whatever new goals you’ve established for yourself this year.  Both your conscious and subconscious minds have to truly believe that you can attain any goal before you actually reach it.  The most effective way to accomplish this is through two scientifically proven and distinct visualization techniques.

The first is through calling up mental images of your past successful experiences under the same circumstances.  They can be snippets of times when you actually experienced success and personal satisfaction in your new resolution, like exercising when you didn’t feel like it or pushing away a dessert you really wanted but knew was bad for you, or being particularly organized in accomplishing a complicated task.  Whatever it is that you want for yourself in 2014, there is a high likelihood that you’ve experienced some piece of it in the past; use it, draw on it, dwell on it, even obsess about it and be convinced that you have the capability to follow through on your resolution.

learningbyexampleThe second visualization technique can be an amplification of the first or even a substitute, if necessary.  This is simply using the most effective technique we’ve all employed since birth, called modelling or learning vicariously.  How did you learn to walk or talk?  You watched, observed, listened and mimicked.  Do the same thing with your resolutions.  See in others what you want for yourself and simply focus on their behavior.  If you want what they have, do what they do.  This technique is simply convincing yourself that, “if they can do it, I can do it!”  I experience the power of this technique every time I attend a live professional tennis tournament.  After spending hours watching the best in the world up close and personal, the next time I step on the court, I always play better.  Scientists explain that the power of that imagery allows the brain to recreate the experience in our own behavior and bodies.  It’s another fascinating miracle of our human “being” and it can help you make those resolutions for 2014 stick.

God bless

Resolution Inspiration

GoalsIt’s almost impossible at this time of the year to avoid the concept of making positive changes in your life through myriad New Year’s resolutions.  Whether or not you declare them publicly, write them down privately or just give them fleeting thoughts, those improvements you’d like to see in your life come from deep inside and represent areas of your life you “wish” were different.  What is it then, that transforms these “wishes” into reality?  The answer is simply…..MOTIVATION!  The evidence for this can be seen in your own life.  What are some of the personal accomplishments in your life of which you are most proud?  Typically they will stem from having overcome formidable obstacles, having expended extreme effort or having put another’s needs above your own.  There was most likely a sacrifice to be made and we humans are wired to need some type of motivation to make meaningful sacrifices.  Whether it’s to avoid pain or seek pleasure, mentally or physically, there is some trade-off to be made in order to effect change and transform a wish to reality.  Success may be measured in the results, but the true personal reward is in having driven yourself to a new level, in knowing that you were tested and rose to the challenge.

One of the most effective ways to stimulate motivation is through example.  In the interest of trying to help you accomplish whatever resolutions you may be contemplating at this time of year, I strongly encourage you to take 15 minutes to watch the TED presentation by Diana Nyad below.  Although perhaps an extreme example, it demonstrates the power of the human spirit and should provide you with encouragement in accomplishing your own personal goals in 2014.

(If the video doesn’t load, go here)

God bless

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