Preface: Reflecting on 2018, I’m recalling 7 things that made a big difference this year. I’m writing as a note to my future self – but they might be of help to you too.

In March 2018 I weighed 89kg. A decade ago I weighed around 75kg. Today I weigh about 79kg. Besides dropping 10kg in weight, I feel fitter, stronger and healthier than I can remember. And this transformation has happened in just 8 months – 90% through diet.

The Why
The ‘why’ is really they biggest driver here. And my driver may be different from others, but I think it’s made the daily decisions and diet transition from a Western diet a lot easier. As I shared in reflection #1, I was gripped this year with this concept of legacy. I’m told this can happen around midlife, which is handy, but I also felt a deep stirring in my spirit which was determined to make the next 50 years count. I can only describe this as work of the Spirit.

My three kids are growing up fast. My daughter is 14 and the two boys are 8 and 10. I may only be a decade or two away from grandkids. Now, a year ago, I couldn’t keep up with my son playing soccer in the park. Today, I can. And I want to be that grandad who is still around and active in his 90s. I know that sounds crazy to some, but it’s a desire that grips me and has made the change easier.

I mean, if I can be around to lay my hands on the head of my great-grandchildren and speak a blessing over them, I can’t think of a greater privilege in life.

So, that’s a big WHY. But as secondary motivators, I found just getting around with all this extra unnecessary toxic weight was so unhandy and unhealthy. From aeroplane seats to chafing thighs, unflattering clothes, diminishing libido, skin conditions, aching guts, hazy concentration, emotional instability, flaring asthma, poor bowel movement and low immune system – something had to change.

The How
I’ll write on this another day, but one thing that I’ve been reminded of over the last 9 months is the importance of peers. Stats show that healthy friendship circles, promote health. And the opposite is true. I have a really healthy friend who was on the Ketogenic diet and transitioning to mainly plant-based, so I started on the ketogenic diet and dropped about 5kg quickly. I know people that swear by the keto diet (which is high fat, low carb), but if you’ll allow me, I’m gonna be honest about what I have discovered in my research and experience. Firstly, I’m glad I started with the Keto diet. I needed the encouragement of losing 5kg quickly. I also included some intermittent fasting which sped things up. But another guy I work with challenged my thinking with a couple of things and after researching it I discovered it isn’t supported by long-term studies or people groups who’ve lived long and well this way. The Keto diet didn’t fit in line with my goal of living long and staying healthy decades from now. So, I moved to a plant-based, whole-food diet.  I don’t like saying vegan, because it has a lot of baggage and there are plenty of vegans who eat crappy processed food with little nutritious value. I do love animals etc. but can’t say I threw away my leather shoes or lounge suite. So, a plant-based, whole-food is what I have landed on.

Here are the simple researched facts: The longest-living and healthiest people groups in the world eat a diet that is 95-100% whole food plant-based.

The two things that moved me to change eating habits, and I would encourage others to look into are; the BLUE ZONES study and diet, and the CHINA STUDY. But especially the work of the Blue Zone study (TED video here) . A guy led a long-term study of the healthiest, longest living communities on earth to see if they have anything in common and they found 8 things you can read about here.    But, in that mix is plant-based eating and portion control.

I use the acronym GBOMBS to guide my eating. It stands for Greens. Beans. Onions. Mushrooms. Berries. Seeds and nuts. I’m thoroughly enjoying the challenge and variety of food. I cook bulk beans, rice and other stuff to make it easier. It is saving heaps on groceries. I’m getting all the nutrients I need – in fact, I’m getting more, better, easier and faster access to the natural nutrients. The only supplement I take is B12. I’ve also started growing my own veggies and microgreens – we’ll see how that goes 🙂

The Value
Feeling fitter, stronger, happier, more attractive to my wife and having the energy to exercise with the kids is phenomenal. On the macro scale, I think humanity needs to seriously consider the role of eating animals and animal products from an ethical and sustainable perspective. If you do the research, you will discover that the push for protein and calcium derived from animal products isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Not all protein is the same. Not all calcium is the same.  The research shows that beans, greens and grains have enough protein and calcium in abundance and are easier to digest and absorb. But more than that, if you want to live longer, avoid cancer, heart disease, diabetes, dementia, sickness etc. just start by making the hard choice of deciding what goes in your shopping trolley and mouth. It’s profoundly simple and simply profound.

The Outcome
I have a lot more energy. My skin is better. My joints don’t ache. I don’t wake in the night from gut pains. My asthma hardly flares up. Sex is better. I think clearer. I recover better from exercise. I haven’t had a major sickness,  cold or flu in 5 months because my immune system is kicking ass.  I save lots of money (because cooked beans are about $1.50/kg and not $20/kg). Clothes are more flattering. I can outrun my kids in the park (for now). My emotions are more stable along with my insulin levels. I’ve hardly been sick in 5 months. So many benefits.

Note to my future self: Dave, remember the long-term dream of holding a great-grandchild in your hands and blessing it. Remember the dream of being around to be an elder and voice of wisdom in your old age. Remember you want to be ’that cool grandad’ who wrestles with grandchildren and chases them around the house. Remember how much better and stronger you feel right now. Remember how you studied all this stuff.  Well, to get there, just begin by eating a plant-based whole food diet!