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Finally, I’m in the land of Esselstyn

I’ve been exploring more controlled and directed ways of eating for several years. I’ve tried, monitored, created my own, monitored, etc. Finally, I’ve settled on my forever way of eating and it is the plan promoted by Caldwell Esselstyn. It’s taken me about one year to fully transform my habits to make eating this way second nature. Most people eat what they eat out of habit and I’m no different. Today’s milestone was giving up my beloved Quorn Naked Filets. Goodbye sweet fungus. I loved you.

I’ve had a great deal of self-doubt during this transition. Could I maintain this way of eating? I fell off the wagon twice in the last 6 months but it wasn’t a serious fall. The better I felt, the easier it was to maintain.  Yesterday, I was watching three young men from the Destination Imagination gathering ordering up their foot longs at Subway and I felt a gagging physical revulsion as I watched their sandwiches being prepared. I had made it over the hill and I don’t ever need to turn back again.

During the transition period, I have had several bouts of acute allergic dermatitis.  It was so bad at one point that I had to visit a physician and get an injection of ‘roids.  Tracking down the culprit was made easier because I was gradually eliminating things from the diet. The first hypothesis was a new lotion I was using but, on retest, it was not the problem. The problem was Fage yogurt. It was the last dairy product that I was eating. I am mildly allergic to milk (not intolerant, really allergic) but I had never had problems with hives from milk. Perhaps it was something in the live culture but I was a red itchy mess on and off for two months. No more dairy ever for me.

I’ve felt for many years that my body was a ticking bomb. My brother had a heart attack at a relatively early age.  He didn’t have any of the danger signs. I’ve never eaten as badly as he has during his life but I fear it could happen to me, too.  I don’t want that.  It is too late for him but it isn’t too late for me to change. Change is good.

If anyone out there is considering eating this way, it’s not that hard to do. This plan got some press when Bill Clinton said he was following it. It was difficult for most of the planet to think of Bill Clinton as a vegan but Bill Clinton is a smart guy and he read the literature. He knew he could die or he could change. He changed.

I can tell you this:  I feel much much better. My only health issue is osteoarthritis in my knees.  Curiously, after the elimination of dairy, my knees started to feel better. This could be coincidence but it is something I recorded in my notebook.  I didn’t have blood pressure or cholesterol problems when I started to transition. I’m going to get a blood panel done in about six months after I have been absolutely true to the Saint Esselstyn.

A new documentary on this plan is in theaters now. It’s called Forks Over Knives. Go watch it but, please, don’t eat the theater food.

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