The time was August 2000, I had just won a Gold Medal in two of the biggest Brazilian Ju-jitsu tournaments in the world and opened my first Monkey Bar Gymnasium. Needless to say I was feeling pretty darn good!
Three years later and things had changed dramatically. Although my gym was doing great, I could barely train ju-jitsu anymore or workout. Why? I had severe pain in my hands and feet, plus severe knee and back pain! I never had a problem like this before. Why would this happen to me? I ate the perfect athlete diet: oatmeal, raw nuts, whey protein and a banana for breakfast; whey protein bar for a snack; chicken breast sandwich on whole wheat bun with veggies for lunch; smoothie with whey protein for an after workout recovery drink; and salmon, broccoli and potato for dinner. Perfect!
At least that’s what I thought.
You see the crippling hand and back pain I began experiencing was the type that cuts any activities basically down to zero. Because I couldn’t workout, I had feelings of depression, fatigue and then started to gain fat.
After the pain became unbearable, I went to a doctor. I was diagnosed with arthritis. I couldn’t accept this answer so I went for four additional opinions, but they all confirmed that it was true. I believed I would be crippled by this condition for the rest of my life.
One day out of the blue, a guy named John Allen Mollenhauer called me to talk about some of my fitness product inventions and ended up asking me about my health. Reluctantly, I told him about my condition and he said, “that’s reversible you know.” John explained the basis of plant-based nutrition and told me that I had to read a book called, The China Study. John sent me a draft copy of it (it wasn’t published yet) and underlined the key points; he also told me not to eat animal products for thirty days and that my hand pain would be almost gone. Thirty days later it was – and in another thirty days later it was completely gone!
I literally went from crippling pain to good health in a matter of weeks. When I made the decision, I was very worried I’d lose all my hard-gained muscle. Wrong! I’m currently the same lean body mass and weight I was in 2003 before I switched to a plant-based diet. And my athletic performance is as good as ever!
In addition to great health, I also like this way of eating because it’s kind to the animals and better for the environment. I knew with factory farming and the harm done to animals that eating meat and dairy wasn’t cool in my gut. But I thought I needed to in order to be strong. And when I found I could be just as strong, lean and athletic as I’ve ever been without killing animals, man, I was all over that!
This life transformation happened over eight years ago and I’ve been going strong ever since. I have made it my duty to learn and apply all that I can when it comes to plant-based nutrition so that I can do for others what John and The China Study did for me. I began to apply the plant-based lifestyle to my Monkey Bar Gymnasiums. I’ve seen amazing results with my clients, colleagues and friends, who, like me, have experienced improved health and superior athletic performance.
Get our easy-to-follow, meal-by-meal makeover book. The Forks Over Knives Plan shows you exactly how put the life-saving, plant-based diet into practice.
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