It feels strange to be writing. The last couple of years have passed quickly, and I’ve had little time to pause and jot down the endless flow of thoughts that continuously trail through my mind. Despite all of the many topics that I would love to tackle just getting back into the flow of things, today I’m going to do something a little embarrassing. Today, I’m going to open up and introduce to the world – specifically the few followers that I have left – one of my many flaws. The flaw that I’m going to share with you is especially tough to open up about because it includes photographs of me 40 pounds overweight and shirtless! Being 40 pounds overweight exhibits a lack of self control in a particular area, and self-control is something on which I pride myself. The point of this post isn’t to poke fun and humiliate myself, but rather to shed some light on an important, social issue. The subject is personal health, and more specifically, the potentially flawed way that many family practitioners are viewing the matter.
The pictures below are all of myself. As the captions state, the far left image was taken in 2010; I was 27. The center picture was taken last year (the mustache is only an optical illusion. It shows up in photographs for some reason), shortly after I had implemented some new lifestyle habits. Finally, the picture on the right was taken just last week, and marks what I would call the completion of my short-term health goal.
In the picture on the left, I weighed 215 pounds; in the one on the right, I weighed 173 pounds. The center picture was kind of a halfway point where I weighed in at 193 pounds. Most people who have known me for years were most comfortable with my appearance in the center photo, but that’s to be expected. Over the past fifteen months, I’ve developed an entirely different lifestyle consisting of daily trail runs, bike rides, calisthenics, and swimming (not to mention climbing towers), as well as a diet that consists of less than 1800 calories per day (please note that I would in no way recommend such an extreme diet to anyone who does not research and plan to… really, just not to anyone).
The decision to develop these new habits was made when I decided to purchase life insurance on myself in effort to protect my family, but was denied after blood tests showed that my LDL cholesterol was over 450. Now, my company was also writing a policy on me to cover lost revenue in the event that I died somehow. I’ll never forget the day that the owner of the company called and said that I was denied because of my cholesterol, and that I needed to get the matter resolved quickly because I was a necessary asset. Ned was the owner’s name; he said that if I didn’t get the situation resolved, I would likely soon die of a stroke. A stroke killed Ned 6 months later.
After the blood test, and the subsequent warning from Ned, I hustled quickly to see my doctor. As I sat in the doctor’s office I rattled questions off one after another. I wanted to know what was the immediate risk, and could this be resolved naturally. The doctor said that the risk of death was not necessarily immediate, but that damage was potentially being done, and there was no way to lower cholesterol naturally. I asked the doctor what he recommended, and he quickly began to sell me on a prescription med that would have side effects, but would most assuredly lower my cholesterol. The doctor became visibly irritated when I declined his meds deciding, instead, to go about lowering my cholesterol naturally.
You see, while working in the water industry, I’ve become familiar with the damage to our water supply that our overmedicated culture is causing. I find it ironic that we’ve become such an environmentally aware society that we believe that buying one brand of car over another will save the earth, all the while using and dumping more and more medication each year into our fresh water supply. Silly go-greeners, ha!
As I began to research proper nutrition online, I quickly discovered that everybody was an expert, everybody had an opinion, and nobody agreed with anybody else on the subject. I read one person’s opinion that peanuts and eggs were bad for you, another said that kale and egg yolks were dangerous, and one “nutritionist” warned me to stay away from bananas because they make you fat! I finally decided that step one was to find one person to trust, and stick with only their opinion on the subject of diet and proper nutrition. I was going to follow one person’s methods, and not get distracted by all of the opposing assertions from everybody else. That one person was… wait for it… Dr. Oz. Yep, I said it, and I have no shame. Following Dr. Oz to the letter helped me to understand the benefits of adding greens to my meals, and eating plenty of different kinds of fruits and nuts. From Dr. Oz I learned how to significantly cut calories while upping my vitamin, calcium, and fiber intake. I found myself checking the food labels for sugar content rather than just calorie content. Suddenly, I was eating unsalted almonds like chips, and adding spinach to my eggs; I began supplementing my diet with fiber and protein, and my energy levels spiked through the roof. Evenings that were previously spent on the couch were now spent running with the kids and even jumping on the trampoline with them to see if I could bounce them into the neighbor’s back yard. I felt like I was getting my life back.
I read a lot of ideas from a lot of Dr. Oz haters. Ideas ranging from “Who is this Oz idiot alleging that health may be somehow achieved without medicine”, to “Once again, Idiot Oz states that greens are good for you”, to “Well, Dr. Oz is unscrupulous because he occasionally endorses specific brands”. And to the last one I say, and you think your family practitioner isn’t selling brands? Why do you think it’s so bloody easy to get a prescription for just about anything!? You think Pfizer and Merck don’t have your physician bought and paid for? I’m astounded that in a society full of obese cows who line up at McD’s every morning for sugar and lard sandwiches, our doctors are still saying “don’t change your habits; don’t eat your greens; just take this pill and keep stuffing your face”. I’m astounded that Dr. Oz is coming under such scrutiny simply because he said “Occasionally, eat your greens and some day you might can skip the pill”. Does that idea really merit a congressional hearing? Perhaps my mom should get raked across the coals too, because she’s guilty of touting the same silly ideas! Guess what? I couldn’t care less if Dr. Oz endorses a particular brand of fiber or any of a number of other products. His point is to make sure that your get your fiber if your eating a super low calorie diet; I can make up my own mind about whether I want to purchase the brand that he endorsed. It’s the same silly physicians and research junkies telling you that greens are bad for you who also state that chiropractic care isn’t valid. “If it doesn’t come in a vial”, they say, “then it cannot provide any valid health benefit”.
So, for fifteen months I’ve followed Dr. Oz’ advice. I’ve eaten seeds, fruit, greens, superfoods, less meats, more/only natural and organic products, less dairy, more vitamin rich foods.
After fifteen months, I’ve naturally cut my cholesterol down from more than 450 to less than 130. I’ve lost 40 pounds, and I look younger than I did 5 years ago. My life has completely changed for the better, and my life expectancy has increased dramatically too. So much so in fact, that I was recently able to purchase that life insurance policy. So haters can hate on old Dr. Oz; family doctors can rely on medicine over generally healthy habits and continue polluting the environment with their hasty prescriptions; folks can smack on their bacon encrusted, deep dish Pizza Hut pizza, pop their tums then pop their meds, and talk all the shit they want to on a healthy diet. I just wanted to provide a little bit of my own reflection into the matter.
Thanks for reading!