Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

actual picture of a motivated “old dog” 🙂

My answer to this is, “It depends on the motivation of the dog.”

Recently my father suffered a heart attack, actually he was told that he was living in a state of mild heart attack. He had lost the ability to enjoy the simple pleasures of his retirement such as walking his dog and working in his wood-working shop. The stairs in his 2-story home were were becoming an unsurmountable obstacle and his constant chest pain was not only worrying him but also depriving him of sleep.

Like any responsible person breathless from chest pain, he went to the hospital where he was given the terrible news of the progression of his heart condition and the even more terrible news of the open-heart surgery that was to follow. I am not about to say anything good about COVID-19 but it has provided a silver lining, a window in which I was asked to step in and create change! The surgery despite being deemed “necessary” by the cardiologist will have to wait its turn on the backlogged list.

Now, you might ask yourself how does the father of a plant-based nutritionist get himself into this heart attack situation in the first place… you’ll have to wait for the book to come out to get that answer! But seriously you can’t MAKE someone change, you can’t MAKE someone listen, all you can do is share the knowledge the best way you know how and it is up to them what to do with it.

Trust me I didn’t figure that out right away…

After many years of skepticism and my words falling on deaf ears I was being asked for help, of course I will help!

My father, the son of an artist and chicken butcher, at 71 years old, put his life in my hands and in the food that we ate together for 3 weeks. He is a 20 year diabetic, 11 of those years have been insulin dependent. He has experienced almost every diabetic disease progression that you read about in the text books. The man has suffered at the hands of his physicians and the bounty of pharmaceuticals prescribed to him. He has tried to advocate for himself, and only through his own voice has he found a balance between having some kind of quality of life and trying not succumb to the diseases that ravage his body. Never in the past 20 years of doctor appointments, specialist consultations and surgeries has he been told about the power of food to either contribute to or arrest the progression of these diseases he has been suffering from.

Until he was confronted with this news of open-heart surgery he was among the majority believing a plant-based diet to be extreme. He was worried for his grandchildren, wondering if they would grow healthy and strong as this way of eating was nothing like how he had been raised or how he raised me. What now feels extreme to him, is having his chest cracked open and if the food on his plate can prevent that then he was willing to give it a try.

I am writing this with 43 days of plant-based eating under my dad’s belt! I am EXTREMELY proud of my mom and him for jumping in with both feet! I taught them how to cook the kinds of foods that will not only fight this disease but in time reverse it and give my dad back the joys of his retirement that were slipping away. Change is hard for anyone and this kind of change and the trust the he put in me was momentous!

And he was hitting all the milestones!

He started to lose weight.

After just 8 days of plant-based eating his insulin was reduced by half (his call, not mine)( as a reminder, that is after 11 years of increased insulin use)

After about 15 days he walked his dog.

After 25 days he was working about 4-5 hours a day in his wood-working shop, walking up and down the stairs for lunch.

(Everyone is different and their body will heal and regenerate at a different rate, if you are taking medication you should always consult your doctor regarding any change in dosages and keep your doctor informed of your dietary changes. If you change your food, the body that they have prescribed the medication to, has changed.)

My dad still has a long way to go, he isn’t out of the woods yet. He may go forward with the surgery and he may not, that will be his personal decision to make as we should all be free to make our own life and death decisions. You know what would be nice though, is if we could trust the people in “health care” to give us the full picture. Give us all the information and then we can make an informed decision. This unfortunately isn’t the case.

My dad like many others is confused. Confused as to how his doctor doesn’t have this powerful information regarding diet. Confused why he wasn’t presented with this option, never mind now in the face of major surgery, but years ago before the disease had progressed to this point. He is unnerved by the willingness of doctors to medicate and then cut. He has felt the power of food and seen the scientific results on his very own machine that calculates his blood-sugar. This isn’t theoretical to him, this is real.

It can be real for you too. Food has the power you give it. You either choose the food that fuels and heals your body or you choose the food that will direct you towards pharmaceuticals and the operating table. I recommend taking a serious look at your dinner table before the stroke, before the heart attack, before the loss of vision, before the nerve damage, before the cancer, before the type 2 diabetes diagnosis.

But if you decide to wait until after, I will be here. I will be here with information that will give you the power to heal yourself… if you’re lucky enough to get that second chance.

So old dog… what’s your motivation???

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