I am a former United States Marine (Gulf War Vet), retired deputy sheriff and I always considered myself to be fairly fit and healthy.

Following my retirement in 2002 I marched along as usual. Same lifestyle and eating habits, same outlook on the future, blissfully ignorant of what was happening inside my body. And in 2004, at the age of 40, I failed a life insurance physical and my reality changed forever. After weeks of testing and a biopsy I was diagnosed with several chronic conditions, the most severe being a liver disease called NASH, already in its third stage of development. Stage four is liver death. 

Photo credit: Jeanette Tibbs

Photo credit: Jeanette Tibbs

The doctors told me there were no treatments or cures. I numbly listened to them speak the words 'liver transplant' and 'cancer' while explaining what my future might hold. It was just "wait and see what happens."

In 2012 my health hit an all time low and I took matters in to my own hands. My research led me to the documentary Forks Over Knives and put me on a life saving path of truth and discovery. Following an initial three weeks of research and learning, I transitioned overnight to a Whole Foods, Plant-based diet. Cold 'turkey,' no screwing around. Within a matter of weeks my blood values had all reached normal status and I lost 65 pounds (29 kgs) in 5-1/2 months. Total cholesterol from 210+ to 127; triglycerides from 408 to 110; my liver function (ALT, AST) in the low normal range for the first time in at least eight years, and all without one pill or supplement. I never counted calories, worried about carbs or felt deprived. In fact, I was eating as much as I ever had. I was tired of being sick and tired and I found my Life of Optimal Health and Happiness.

I earned my certificate in Plant-based Nutrition from eCornell and the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, and now mentor others who have reached midlife, blissfully ignorant of what their previous lifestyles have done to their bodies. With my regained health and energy I'm able to participate in a full and rewarding life. I enjoy multi-sport exercise, have completed a 10k race, two Olympic distance triathlons and have my sights set on a full distance Ironman triathlon.

You can read in more detail about my diagnoses and health transformation in this article featured on the Forks Over Knives Website. And if you haven't already done so, you can watch a "Get Started" message here.