In 2011, I took over a small restaurant in my town and, shortly after, turned it into a BBQ joint. Over the next five years, I gained almost 150 pounds, weighing in at 348 pounds. I also developed severe joint pain and was taking 21 ibuprofen daily (4,200 milligrams). I had horrible sleep apnea, and eventually became pre-diabetic and had high cholesterol and high blood pressure. I had no idea becoming a vegan chef would be in my future.

In 2016, I developed severe edema. My hands, feet, and legs were always swollen. I saw my doctor many times, and the answer was always to throw pills at me. I was prescribed an anti-inflammatory, a painkiller, and a muscle relaxer. The medications seemed to help a little, but they never fixed the issues, and the edema persisted. I even had a deep vein thrombosis scan and a couple of EKG’s. Even though I was a morbidly obese guy, I was never once talked to about my diet!


The Summer 2023 Issue
is here!

Our gorgeous “bookazine” features expert tips, inspiration, and 74 fresh and tasty recipes for Summer.

In September 2016, I began having severe gastrointestinal pain. On October 3, 2016, I was hospitalized for it. They ran many tests, gave me no answers, did not address my diet, and prescribed even more medications.

The Start of My Plant-Based Journey
When I was released from the hospital, I had a conversation with my 68-year-old, extremely healthy, mostly plant-based mom. Her words to me were: “Don’t fill those prescriptions. Food is medicine! Do the research!”

So I did! I was unable to work, and I’m an avid research junkie, so I poured through the internet and medical journals for an anti-inflammatory diet.

Beginning Oct 5, 2016, I stopped eating beef, pork, and chicken; cut my dairy consumption by more than half; and stopped drinking soda. I added turmeric to my diet and started hydrating with lemon and lime in my water. I also limited my refined carbohydrate intake. In a little over two weeks, my edema was gone and my blood pressure stabilized into the normal range. In 100 days, I lost 80 pounds.

Going Full-Fledged WFPB
In February 2017, I watched the documentary Forks Over Knives and immediately stopped consuming cheese due to the casein, casomorphins, and IGF-1 in dairy. Within three weeks of ditching dairy, my lifelong struggle of daily anxiety disappeared. As I continued to research, I decided to give up eggs and fish, realizing that I had no need for these protein sources in my diet. Nor did I need the additional cholesterol!

In November 2017, I had blood work done. My blood pressure is excellent, and everything else is in the normal reference range. I am currently at 188 pounds. That is a 160-pound weight loss in 18 months. The best thing is, I feel great and have a ton of energy.

I since have gone on to start a plant-based nutrition support group in my local community and do plant-based cooking demonstrations at my local farmers’ market. I also started a blog in order to help others and to give tips and nutrition information.

White ceramic bowl full of edible flowers
Up Next: How To

The Home Cook’s Guide to Growing Edible Flowers