It was born out of an opportunity that was masked as a crisis. Back in 2015, my dad went in for a routine cardiac stress test to measure the health of his cardiovascular system. After completing his cardiac stress test, they realized that there was a major health problem with his heart. So, they performed a follow up test, called an angiogram, to visualize the blood vessels that feed oxygen to the heart, called the coronary arteries. The angiogram revealed that all five coronary arteries were partially or fully blocked, which was a health emergency. Knowing that it was a high risk of him having a heart attack and potentially dying at any moment they scheduled him in for emergency open heart surgery, a quintuple bypass, done by the end of the week.
Luckily, he had the surgery, survived, and is still alive and well to this day. The medical team that found this issue with his heart, saved his life. But it left me with a lot of questions mixed with high emotions;
Why didn’t they detect it sooner?
Could this have been prevented through lifestyle, diet and nutrition?
Is it genetic? Could this happen to me?
After diving deep into the peer reviewed medically indexed health journals, I found my answers. A plant-based diet, like eating a strict vegan diet and emphasizing key essential nutrients can make or break this outcome. The research is out there. The science is out there that this is a preventable, chronic health condition.
I then went to my family doctor and asked her to run some routine blood labs to see if I was at risk of this happening to me. And the results I got back were shocking;
My LDL-cholesterol was significantly elevated
I had stage 1 hypertension
What my doctor told me next was more shocking, they said not to worry about it because I was a fit young man and was doing all of the right things, eating well and exercising regularly. She went on to explain that if my lab biomarkers remained elevated or got worse in the future she could put me on medications to help. I didn’t want to end up like my dad and have emergency heart surgery or wait till I have a heart attack in the next couple of decades. The research was clear so I took matters into my own hands.
I started eating a strict vegan diet focusing on whole foods and continuing to exercise regularly but also manage my stress and improve my sleep routine.
I year later I went back to my family doctor and did my annual physical. This time my blood work came back with different news;
My LDL-cholesterol was NORMAL
My blood pressure NORMAL
Upon review, my doc was excited for me, but asked me if I was taking for my blood pressure and cholesterol medications as they were not on my file. After explaining that I wasn’t taking medications but rather went 100% vegan and worked on my lifestyle, she was completely surprised and immediately told me to consider not being a strict vegan as they can miss out on a lot of key nutrients and become unwell.
Wait, what? This was completely backwards. By eating a 100% plant-based diet and improving other lifestyle measures I was reversing cardiometabolic disease. Which is thoroughly supported by the medical research. From my extensive review of the literature I was already aware of the key nutrients to be concerned about and I was covering all of my bases. In fact, I got her to test my other lab biomarkers to double check these levels and THEY WERE ALL WITHIN NORMAL LIMITS.
This is when I decided that I wanted to switch gears in my practice and help other PB and vegan individuals get the truth on how to properly eat a PB diet in a healthy and sustainable way. Knowing that many health practitioners are not familiar with the unique needs of vegans and PB eaters I my mission is to inspire self-empowerment for the PB individuals so they can prevent and/or correct common health challenges experienced with a PB diet without having to go back to meat and/or animal food products
The reward I get to when I help someone achieve their health goals and have a better quality of life, I get high off that. That's my drug of choice, so to speak.
And that’s why I do what I do.