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Case #1

Date: 1998/09/04

When I was younger (early teens until I was 24 (6 years ago), I lived on a regular North American diet (consisted mainly of meat calories). I was 10 pounds overweight earlier on, and fluctuated between 30-40 pounds overweight when I was in my early 20's, and probably (NO..most definately) would have gone higher If I didn't make any changes. I was exhausted all the time, exercise was minimal, aerobic exercise, forget it. I was anemic (I had to take this liquid iron shit, but threw it out after 3 days though, it was horrid, I can taste it to this day, everytime I think about it), had high blood pressure (that is hereditary). I was sick all the time, but minor stuff (mostly colds, flus, inner ear infections, sore throats), and I popped antibiotics like candy. My cholesterol was way above normal (whatever that means). I used to sleep ~12-14 hours/day (on the weekends) and ~10 hours on weekdays (when I had to go to school).

I did a lot of research, and decided to try a marine-vegetarian lifestyle (if it could swim, or lived in the water, I could eat it..yup I was a wanna be vegetarian ). So at age 23 (closer to my 24th birthday), I changed part of my eating habits. I cut out all meat. I still ate dairy products (cheese mostly, never was a big fan of milk or eggs), still ate processed foods (stuff made with enriched white flour, sugar, etc.), I still ate preserved food. Cut out all soft drinks (used to drink only diet soda, ~2L/day and up). About a few months after I made those changes, I started having more energy, so I started 20 minutes of aerobic exercise 3 days/week (you know, more or less, but it became easier to keep the routine as time went on. I lost weight pretty slowly, but consistently. In a little over a year, I shed the 40 pounds. The best part was, I was hardly ever sick (now you have to consider that out of 365 days I was literally sick ~90 of those days, between one thing, or another). That year I went down to about ~20 sick days. So, into the second year, I refined my lifestyle yet again. I went from Vegetarian to Vegan (actually even beyond that). I ate absolutely no canned, bottled, or any other food that was preserved in any way. I didn't eat any food that was processed or chemically enhanced (fortified/enriched). In less then two months, my energy levels started to skyrocket. I went from working out 3 days per/week at 20 minutes (aerobic), to 7 days per/week at 20 minutes. Within a month of that, I was working out 3- 3/4 hours/day, 7 days a week. Most of my days were spent exercising, cooling down, showering (I sweat like crazy when I exercise, even to this day), and eating (and I literally had to eat copious amounts of food, so I would maintain my weight, otherwise I would start losing). I was sleeping 5-6 hours per night and waking up refreshed beyond belief. After about 6 months I cut down to one 90 minute session/day (instead of 3, 75 minute sessions) and maintained that level until 1996, when I found out that to much aerobic exercise, is more detrimental then none (I really wish they could make up their mind). So, for the past two years I have only been doing 30 minutes of aerobic exercise daily (alternating between the Concept II rower & Stairmaster, for upper and lower body, respectively).

My blood pressure has been normal (since I became vegan), blood test are "very good" (whatever that means), and I sleep about 6.5 - 7 hours/day now. My last cholesterol test was two years ago, and I had to go back a second time, they thought they mixed up the samples. My doctor gave me a bunch terms (but I know NOTHING about cholesterol), so I just asked him what it meant. He said something is unbelievably low, and he said something was unbelievably high (he gave me all kinds of acronyms, numbers and ratios). He said it was damn good, and that he has never seen a level like this (for a person my age), in his career, and sent me for a third test at another lab (which he believed was my second test). Also, in the past 4 years, I literally have not been sick one day. Other then my yearly physicals, I don't see the guy (thank god!). I wouldn't advocate this kind of lifestyle change to anyone though. You have to eat a lot of food, just to supply your RDA of vitamins and minerals (mostly nuts, seeds, and legumes for the minerals), and its damn hard, to keep a healthy balance, while still having variety. Also, it's impossible to keep any sort of balance when I go on vacation, as there really are no places that cater to my sort of lifestyle. I don't know how any of this is going to help, but that is the way I live my life.

Steve Sebastian

PS - No pills, powders, or miracles, just an overall balance.

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