How I became interested in diets and then founded Envision Health and Wellness
I went to see my physician for an annual checkup, which was routine and no big deal. Then my bloodwork came back, and my cholesterol was 350. That was too high. I started medication at the age of 40. Lipitor was the first, and then a few years later, Lipitor and Crestor. The problem was solved because my cholesterol went down to about 200. I thought it was terrific to eat whatever I wanted, even though my doctor told me I should consider changing my diet. The doctor mentioned no specific foods to me, so I only made a few changes. I cut back on pizza a little bit.
Fifteen years later, l was still on the same medicines, two statins, and high blood pressure medication. I was still eating the same foods, including chicken wings, deli meats, ham, turkey, cured meats like pastrami, fried chicken, bacon, burgers, steaks, pasta with cream sauces, spaghetti, meatballs, pizza, all the tasty stuff. There wasn’t anything I didn’t eat except maybe lima beans, and I didn’t eat many fruits or vegetables. I could eat a block of cheese with no second thought. I grew up chowing on Cracker Barrel Extra Sharp Cheddar cheese, Saltines, and Kraft yellow mustard as a favorite snack. The magic of the statin medicine that kept my cholesterol numbers in check allowed me to eat whatever I wanted.
My wife and I celebrated at the local high-end steak houses for birthdays or special occasions. I ordered a steak as big as I could eat with all sides, asparagus drizzled with butter and lemon, mashed potatoes, appetizers, and dessert—the more extensive and expensive the animal protein, the better. A big juicy steak was our reward for the passage of time and the gathering of friends. One birthday, my wife and I went to the best burger place in town to feast on the perfect blend of ground beef, cooked medium rare with a side of fresh-cut fries and bourbon to wash it down. We considered this the celebration of life.
I was still going to the gym but had another disorder, acid reflux, almost every day. I was reading and hearing adverse articles about steroids and hormones in chicken and red meat and the dangers of sliced deli meats, sugar, fat, and salt, but the information didn’t register in my mind. I thought poultry was lean meat and wondered how some sliced deli meats could be harmful. Fast food was necessary because of the hectic, stressful, multi-tasking world we lived in, and it made life fun and easy. I didn’t drink many soft drinks but enjoyed a diet of cola as a daily treat. Food had found its way into every space that humans occupied. The danger in that completely eluded me.
One morning, I watched The Beautiful Truth, about a boy who traveled to the United States to find facts and information about healthy diets for a friend. Within the documentary’s first few minutes, a statement was made that Dr. Max Gerson closed the pantry doors on cancer a long time ago, in 1928. The documentary explained, in plain terms, how Dr. Max Gerson found a cure for many terminally ill cancer patients with a therapy he used to eliminate migraine headaches. The treatment also cured Skin Tuberculosis and other forms of Tuberculosis. Two main principles in his therapy were toxicity and deficiency. It was an inspirational documentary.
My interest was piqued, and I watched another documentary called Hungry for Change. The documentary disclosed how obese people lost hundreds of pounds, turning to a plant-based diet and juicing. The two documentaries gave me an aha moment. The material seemed truthful and was very inspirational. I realized how our citizens have been desensitized with billions of dollars of marketing to eat calorie-dense, nutritiously poor diets. This has created a lot of confusion about what’s healthy food and what’s not. We have also been exposed to environmental poisons, including pesticides, metals, food additives, and factory emissions that adversely affect our health. We have grown into a very sick population with very busy hospitals.
Soon after watching the two documentaries, I bought a juicer. I started a juicing regimen with fresh organic vegetables, including green apples, carrots, kale, oranges, celery, strawberries, and various other colorful greens. I had remarkable results in weight loss, eliminating acid reflux, getting off medications, and a boost in energy that led me to run two marathons, the second of which I qualified for the Boston Marathon.
While writing We Don’t Just Eat Lettuce, a cookbook-self-help book, in the summer of 2018, I began taking a course at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). This is a year-long course and has a broader depth regarding health than just changing your food diet. The school and its founder, Dr. Joshua Rosenthal, have a unique approach to understanding actual health. I am an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. My job is mentoring and supporting others to transition to a healthier life, both mentally and physically. In March of 2019, I started Envision Health and Wellness. I have walked the talk; now it’s time to help others.