I cannot give you an incredible story of how my severely high blood pressure went away on your program. But I can tell you that it dropped from a resting average of 124/81 to 106/72 after just a couple months. I can’t give you a story of being morbidly obese and how I am now skinny as a rail. However, I am 5’7″ and was pushing the scale to almost 180 pounds. When I compared myself to the average Joe on the street I thought I looked pretty good. It wasn’t until I got down to 145 (the weight I am now, 6 months after starting the program, and the weight I was when I left high school) and liked what I saw in the mirror, that I realized I was chunky before. Perhaps not “fat” compared to the average “oil belly” guy out there, but I was chunky. The love handles are gone now, there is absolutely no overhang on my belt, and the paunch that was dragging down my back is gone. A strange thing happened on the way, too. For years I have had no posterior. Flat and bony. It seems that some of the fat has repositioned itself and I now have a bit of cushion. Is that strange or is that normal? Either way it is a good benefit.
Pain can make you tired and push you to be a couch potato. I was on that road. For years I have popped enteric coated aspirin several times per day attempting to end the aching in my joints and back. These pains, I thought, just came from being middle aged. Hah! Not true. My gradual health decline manifested itself as a very bad pneumonia and sickness induced asthma, with episodes of hacking, coughing, and sleeping all day. It took months to kick one of these illnesses, and it left me very weak for a long time afterwards. Antibiotics wouldn’t touch it. I quit going to my doctor for the frequent chest x-rays, because I was afraid I would start glowing soon – plus I figured if I was going to get well, I would have to do it on my own. The doctors were just scratching their heads and throwing steroid inhalers at me. It is funny how health slips away a little bit at a time until you finally find yourself with your toes on the precipice. Then you pay attention. Glad I did!
Since I started your program I have no more back and joint pain. In fact, just last week I walked 18.3 miles, in one day, with a forty pound pack on my back. It took me a little less than seven hours. I did just a little better than three miles per hour. Next week I am walking another 23 miles. It should take me about eight hours. You see, I am taking the city transit bus from Canada to Mexico. Where there is no bus, I walk to the next one. That will require about five hundred miles of total walking. One of the reasons I am doing this is to show that good health is not only possible; I have found it and am living it. I could not do this without the McDougall plan. I am pain free now, (except after walking eighteen miles, but that goes away quickly) and years younger.
Until I learned from your information, I thought I was condemned to eventual heart disease. After all, my father died when he was 61. Not suddenly, it was a lingering downhill slide. He suffered with high blood pressure and obesity starting in his thirties. By his mid forties he had the apparent beginnings of heart disease. In his mid fifties, life began to slow down and his health began to rapidly decline. A surgeon performed a massive bypass and valve reconstruction surgery. This was devastating. It took months of balancing drugs to get his heart rate normal, and his blood the right consistency to flow through the artificial valve. After this, followed about six good months where he walked and cycled every day. He felt good and he looked good. It was not long, though, before he drifted back to old, tired and blue. He became very diabetic in the process as well. The surgery gave him less than two additional years of life. During this time he was never told he needed to change his diet. The day he died he was doing what he loved best. Eating greasy, fatty, cheese-smothered food in a Mexican restaurant. He probably had had a few donuts and a hot dog at lunch as well (his favorite foods). The ambulance came to the restaurant. They went through the motions. But it was much too late. He was gone. No one I know made the connection between a lifetime of high fat, high-cholesterol food and his untimely death. We thought it was just another case of bad genetics, perhaps excess stress.
But I was taking “precautions.” I ate chicken instead of beef – a little fish now and then. I used olive and canola oil, instead of denser fats. I ate semi-vegetarian. I ate lots of cheese and chips, too. Every morning and night I took a table full of vitamins, and other supplements, hoping to ward off the “bad genetics” that “predisposed” me to heart disease.
Then I discovered the McDougall website. To be honest I can’t even tell you how I came upon the website. The hand of God, I am sure. I ordered the videos. I was amazed. The information was so sensible and undeniably accurate. For the first time I realized exactly what all of that “healthy” junk food was doing to my arteries, and my waistline. I realized that it was I alone, not genetics, which had the power to give me heart disease. I saw the light, and in one day all of the junk disappeared from my cupboards and fridge and we started eating McDougall style. I love the food.
My Mom also suffered from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, arthritis, and a host of other minor complaints. I mailed her a McDougall cookbook and a video. She’s now a faithful McDougaller too. Previously she had spent some bedridden days with knee pain and stomach upset. Now she is out walking (something she hasn’t done in years just for fun). She has lost about 15 pounds, two sizes and is still going. All of her gastric distress has disappeared. She is 74, feeling younger by the day. She is off every medication, she has normal blood pressure and cholesterol, her arthritis is gone, and she has lots of energy. She is talking McDougall and showing the video to everyone that will listen.
I am a confirmed lifetime McDougaller. I am forty-eight years old going on twenty! The McDougall program changed my life, and changed my Mom’s life. I won’t suffer the same fate as my Dad as well. I am going to help change as many lives as I possibly can.
When the patient asked the cardiologist, “How do I prevent heart disease?” The doctor responded confidently, “Pick the right set of parents.” In other words, it is all genetic and you are helpless to do anything about it (but, he may add, I will save you with my angioplasty and drugs, if you’re lucky). The truth is: we do inherit strengths and weaknesses from our family. Most unfortunately, we have no control over the genetics we were dealt. Most importantly, almost everyone was given enough on the positive side of their genetics, that if they took care of themselves, they would live a long healthy life and never find out about their inherited weak points. Let me give you an example: Say we set up an experiment with 200 people in two unrelated families – the Smith and the Jones families. We asked everyone to smoke 2 packages of Marlboros (cigarettes) a day. After 10 years many members of the Smith family developed lung cancer and many of the Jones’ developed emphysema. Your conclusion? Lung cancer and emphysema are inherited? No! Your conclusion is: no one should smoke – it’s stupid – it will make you sick and kill you.
The same can be said about the rich Western diet. Feed it to billions of people and some will get breast cancer, some heart disease, some diabetes, and many will get fat. So are these genetic diseases? Of course not. They are due to an unhealthy diet and lifestyle. But, where your system breaks down first – cancer, heart disease, etc. – will depend upon your strengths and weaknesses, and many of these were given to you by your parents. But if you never ate the harmful foods, you would never know about your “genetic predispositions.”
Most of what we have inherited from our parents, as Scott Haas has fortunately learned, is an education on how to eat and live. This kind of legacy can be changed. If you don’t want your parents’ diseases, then stop doing the things they did to make themselves sick and look terrible. You are only condemned by what you don’t know and the false beliefs you will refuse to relinquish. I believe almost everyone can look, feel, and function great for a full lifetime if they live by the right set of rules: clean air, clean water, proper rest, psychological comfort, and the right foods. I believe the McDougall diet is the right food for people. I hold on to this belief only because of the results I see everyday in the people who follow this program.
PS Comments from Scott Haas about the VHS (DVD) series, “Dr. McDougall’s Total Health Solution for the 21st Century” may sound like a sales pitch. They are unsolicited observations. Many times in the past I have edited similar compliments out of the “Star McDougallers” to avoid people misunderstanding the purely educational purpose of this series. But I have left Scott’s in because I think it is important you occasionally hear about the exceptional, life-changing, value of this educational tool.