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Subject:  Re: Retirment issues? Date:  4/17/2007  11:37 AM
Author:  decath Number:  4654 of 76997

As a vegan, who eats 85% of of his food raw

I'm just curious, Decath, how you came to this decision. Not a lot of conservatives I know are very interested in a plant based diet. What convinced you? Books? Your doctor? Friends? Family?

My disclaimer - long time vegan (the ethical sort, not the strict vegetarian for health sort).

I'm always interested in people's stories around how they decided to make a switch. Please don't think I'm baiting you ... I am genuinely curious. I also live with an omnivore who has health problems, and I'd sure like to keep him around for long past retirement (early or otherwise) and wouldn't mind hearing how your DW is handling this (or how you are handling this in the face of potential reluctance from your DW)


Thanks for asking. I enjoy talking about health and exercise to people as much as discussing FIRE plans). Warning: Long reply.

I consider the ability to live a quality and quantity life an integral part of my FIRE plan. If I successfully FIRE at age 53, then I want to be able to do many of the things that I have been unable to do as a working stiff with a wife and 3 kids.

Growing up, my dad (a staunch independent, strong-willed libertarian) was interested in healthy living. However, giving the knowledge he had at the time, it was limited. My family did a good job of eating fiber rich foods but we ate entirely too much sugar, white flour and processed foods. Thanks to him, I at least had an open mind.

I was an all-around athlete in JH, HS and college. From 23 – 25, I aggressively pursued a birth on the US track & field team as a decathlete. However, I was plagued with injuries and never was able to compete in any major competition. I had all this amazing speed, strength and athletic ability but yet was never able to prove it to anyone except in the few local meets (when I was uninjured) where I competed in individual events.

I stopped training at the age of 26, just after I broke my heel pole-vaulting. It took about a year to heal. Then at the age of 27, my knee started giving me problems (from a HS football injury). I had it scoped and was sidelined for another year. By then, any Olympic dreams were dashed.

I was frustrated by the amount of time it took my body to heal and I was getting sick all the time. Colds and flues 3-6 times a year.

By the time I was 30; I was getting arthritis in various parts of my right arm (which I used to throw the shot, discus and javelin) and in both heels and generally just felt like my body was falling apart. I was eating an OK diet but I still ate too much sugar, drank 3 or 4 cups of coffee per day and overdosed on dairy products (because the propaganda says milk does a body good <g>). I was also experiencing severe “air born” allergies that progressively got worse with each passing year. Coaching my son during baseball season was nothing short of misery with the freshly cut grass and dirt always blowing in my face. I suffered 3 months during the spring and 3 months during the fall, despite taking allergen shots.

I still wanted to compete in sports (flag football, basketball, tennis, golf, softball, volleyball etc...) so being sidelined and playing with these pains were killing me.

During one of my weekly trips to our public library with the kids, I saw a book called “Fit for Life” by Harvey and Maryland Diamond displayed in a featured section. I checked it out and devoured it. Basically, they promoted a plant based diet, with most of it being raw.

I decided to take it slow at first. I replaced my normal breakfast of cereal and milk with raw fruit. The results were dramatic. My allergy problems were cut in half in a few weeks. Encouraged by that, I gave up dairy completely and then I quit eating processed sugar and caffeine (the hardest of all). I experienced severe headaches. Several times, I cowered and drank some coffee to relieve the tension headaches. But that only prolonged the detoxification. In the end, I figured cold turkey was the best way and I painfully endured it.

After a month or so, I noticed many of the arthritic pains subsiding. I continued to read books, magazines and articles (this was during the summer of 1991) about healthy living and decided to try veganism as well as start heavily supplementing with plant based dense nutrients like: barley grass juice, carrot juice, beet juice, wheatgrass juice and whole food organic vitamins.

Initially I did not feel much different other than my body fat declined from 10% to 6%. I experienced detox symptoms and was pretty discouraged by them. I would feel good for one day and then lousy again for a week. I remember missing a lot of days from work. It started worrying me. But eventually, the good days outnumbered the bad ones and by the end of the summer I felt better than I remembered. I started testing my bad knee by going on long distance runs. Being 6'5” and well over 200 lbs, I knew I was risking it. But the knee problem was gone. The cartilage had grown back. I was very much encouraged. I gradually worked back into a sports competition program, playing