Conni and Chris have been married for seven-and-a-half years. At their wedding, Conni was morbidly obese. She knew something about the abuse endured by obese people in our society. By then, she had lost track of the number of times she had been humiliated in public, called ugly names by strangers, and been physically hurt by people who felt entitled to treat her as less than human because of her weight. People constantly told Conni she was lucky that Chris had fallen in love with her, and that he must be amazing to be able to look past her weight.
A week after the wedding, she was diagnosed with severe diabetes. Her blood had become so acidic that her organs were shutting down, and doctors seriously doubted whether she would survive. She was 25-years-old.
Five years later, Conni was taking up to 13 different medications and as much as 200 units of insulin a day. She ate what many people would call a healthy diet -- lots of animal protein, and almost no carbohydrates. She had been told that a diet high in animal protein was the only way she could control her diabetes, but it wasn't working. She was working out at a gym for two to three hours a day, but at 5'2" tall, she weighed close to 400 pounds.
When Conni developed an infection in her right calf, doctors told her that part of her lower right leg might need to be amputated. But then a friend, who Conni described as "a vegan and into yoga," suggested that she consider a natural approach to her diabetes, and that she start to think of food as medicine. "I wanted to smash her," Conni admits. "How dare she suggest something so simple! Didn't she know that I had been to the best doctors, that I was on the best diet, and that I was working out?"
But Conni did take her friend's advice to heart, and decided to go on what she calls a "100-percent healthy plant-strong diet." "For the first three weeks," she says, "I felt as though I was ridding myself of much more than animal products. Food had a hold on me that I could not even conceptualize prior to those three weeks. I would sit in my car and cry outside of sub shops, just wanting a tuna melt." It was very rough, but Conni stayed with it and the results were nothing short of miraculous. In 30 days, she was off all insulin.
The physicians she was seeing for her diabetes took a look at her numbers, were amazed, and wanted to know how she did it. "I told them I had adopted a completely plant-based diet. They didn't seem surprised at all, and told me that plant-based diets were helping to reverse diabetes. When I asked why they had not suggested it, they told me because it isn't practical."
Frustrated, she asked her doctor, "Do you think it's practical to be 30 years old and lose a leg?"
She walked out of that doctor's office and never went back. "Everything changed from that moment," she recalls. "I slowly decreased all the other diabetes medicines I was on. I lowered my blood cholesterol without drugs. I lowered my blood pressure without drugs. I corrected my hormonal problems without drugs. Many diabetics go blind, but I reversed the nerve damage in my eyes. And that infection in my leg? It completely healed. The arthritis in my feet? It went away." Today, Conni has lost almost 200 pounds, is medicine-free, and continues to make great strides toward her ideal weight. Her diabetes is in complete remission.
To view food as one of the most powerful tools for health and well-being is to recognize that we have, indeed, a tremendous amount of control over our physical destiny!