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

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!

 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


Christmas & The Fruitcake Lady

What better way to get into the Christmas spirit than to get some sage advice from the “Fruitcake Lady”?

God bless


“Miracle-Gro For Your Brain”

brain healthThis title is actually a quote from John Ratey, a neuropsychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, who is making the case that fitness has a long-term influence on a wide range of cognitive abilities.  It’s generally accepted that exercise is effective in reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.  Recent research by Ratey and others now suggests that the physical exercise in which we engaged as children helped power the brain through the many changes into adulthood and the subsequent decrease in physical activity as we age is partially responsible for the onset of dementia.  One German study, published in 2010, tracked 4,000 people older than 55 for two years. It found that those who rarely took part in physical activities were more than twice as likely to suffer from a cognitive impairment by the end of the study than those who engaged in exercise such as gardening, swimming or cycling a few times a week.  Another study, which followed 1,500 people for 20 years, showed that those people who exercised at least twice a week during middle-age were less likely to develop dementia in their 60s and 70s.

There are three possible explanations for the link between exercise and brain function.  One is the euphoric effect and clarity of mind felt after exercising which produces a drop in stress levels, long recognized as an impairment to cognitive function.  The second is the effect on blood pressure.  High blood pressure, especially in the arteries that feed the brain, has been linked to a slump in mental performance.  Regular exercise tends to lower blood pressure, thereby reducing the stress and damage to these arteries.  The third, Ratey describes, is “exercise also prompts the brain to send out growth factors such as insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).  BDNF is like ‘Miracle-Gro for your brain’ because it creates an environment where neurons can flourish and promotes the formation of new connections between cells.”

exercise and the brainMost importantly, you can produce this beneficial effect at any age, even with moderate exercise like walking.  Ratey suggests starting slowly with an exercise regime that is not likely to produce injury or initial discouragement.  However, in concert with the most recent exercise theory, he goes on to stress that the most dramatic effect will be through High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  Aside from producing the best physical results, HIIT seems to also produce the best mental conditions as evidenced by a German study in which participants incorporated two three-minute intervals of high-intensity sprinting into a 40-minute run. They produced much higher levels of BDNF and noradrenaline, and the runners performed 20 percent better in a post-run vocabulary-building exercise than those who had taken more leisurely exercise.

The only benefit to dementia is that you meet new friends and family every day.  It’s a horrendous condition, but science is now suggesting you have some control over it manifesting in your life.  Start moving!

God bless

Emotions Gone Wild!

It’s Friday, the end of the week and time to usher in the weekend with the right attitude.  Think of some of the most significant events in your life, and no matter what they were…….your marriage, the birth of your first child, your first job, retirement, etc., I doubt any of them sparked this kind of reaction:

(If the video doesn’t load, go here.)

Have a great weekend and God bless.