Bigt Moose's Vegan Health Success Story: Taking back his health in every way
Many of you know 50-year old "Bigt Moose" (keeping his identifying information private) as an active member of my free Going Vegan for Health Facebook Group. He is one of our most active members, always sharing new recipes, delicious food ideas, facts he's learned and asking questions that benefit everyone who participates in the group. He's also shared his amazing results turning around his own health many times in the group in the form of comments and posting his latest blood work results.
I wanted to nail down the whole story of How Bigt took back his health so that everyone struggling with obesity can see that these results are possible for anyone who tries and commits to a whole food plant-based diet and lifestyle.
348 pounds of misery
Late 2015 and early 2016, Bigt Moose was on type 2 diabetes medication, statin drugs for high cholesterol, anti-depressants and anti-inflammatory pain medication. He suffered from sleep apnea, shortness of breath, elevated blood pressure, several bouts with heat exhaustion requiring hospitalization and chronic pain in his hip, knee, and lower back pain.
"At that time, I weighed 348 pounds. I was miserable and felt like I was dying," says Bigt Moose.
Desperate to lose the weight
Bigt says he had steadily gained weight since 1994 after getting out of the Army weighing 235 pounds.
"Like everyone, I tried losing weight with all the fad diets. I'd lose, and gain back more than I lost. I've never had a successful diet program," says Bigt.
In April 2016 he saw some co-workers that had success with gastric bypass weight loss surgery and it sparked his interest.
"I signed up for seminars and immediately fell into the program of preparing for gastric bypass by undergoing psychological evaluation, cardiovascular tests, and the required three month consecutive medical supervised weigh-ins showing an effort to lose weight."
He did, in fact, lose 28 pounds during this time. Part of that preparation included going on a, "liver shrink" diet to reduce the size of his liver for surgery. He lost an additional 10 pounds or so that way, and had his surgery on November 3rd 2016, at around 300 pounds.
Surgery successful, losing weight but not much health improvement
The surgery was successful and by the 4-month checkup in March 2017, Bigt was down to 255 pounds.
"I plateaued at this weight, despite the tiny amounts of food I was eating due to the surgery," says Bigt. "I had it drilled into my head that I had to consume at least 60 grams of meat protein everyday and I was still miserable."
"After my surgery, my blood work showed no improvement to my high cholesterol. My hip, back, and knee pain was still as bad as ever. Worst of all, I still had diabetes." -Bigt Moose
The "Forks Over Knives" effect
Also in March 2017, while perusing Netflix, Bigt happened upon the documentary, "Forks Over Knives" and he says it changed his life forever because of what he learned about animal products being the cause of his diabetes and his high cholesterol. His wife was already vegan, so he decided immediately to give up all meat based products and try a whole food plant-based diet.
I asked Bigt if he had any transitioning hardships.
"When I first went vegan, I did feel weird. I did feel moody and had some nausea, insomnia and a strange "buzzing" sensation like a caffeine buzz which I attributed to meat product and processed food withdrawal," says Bigt.
He says that transition period lasted about 3 to 4 weeks.
"Not only did the weird side effects disappear, but I had more energy than ever before," says Bigt. "Unlike many people that I see trying this, I've never had any issues with missing meat. I absolutely do not crave it."
The proof is in the blood work
Bigt says his health results were nothing short of miraculous!
"Within one month, my pain was nearly non-existent. By three months, my cholesterol and triglycerides all fell into optimal levels. Best of all, my weight started coming off again and I am now down to 220 still losing about a pound per week or so while loving every bite."
Just check out his blood work results:
2016 (pre-surgery, pre-vegan)
Total cholesterol: 242
Weight: 348 lbs.
(Bigt had been on Lipitor for cholesterol control for at least 3 years by this time, also taking 1000 mg of Metformin per day for type 2 diabetes. He lost weight on his own to get ready for the surgery and was at 300 pounds at surgery date in November 2016.)
June 2017 (7 months post-surgery, 3 months vegan)
Total cholesterol: 175
Weight: Around 245
December 2017 (9 months vegan)
Total cholesterol: 144
Weight: 220, (and still dropping at about 1 pound per week...)
"On top of all of my perfectly normal blood work, my blood pressure is also a perfectly normal 110/70 and I now have zero pain, zero inflammation, my depression and anxiety has improved, my energy has improved, I no longer have sleep apnea, and best of all I have gotten off all of the diabetes and high cholesterol medications!" -Bigt Moose
And guess what else:
"My protein and calcium levels were spot on perfect from my diet alone. No supplements at all! My doctor is from the middle east and thinks my being vegan is fantastic. He was stunned with the health improvements. And, after losing weight, incredibly, I've actually gotten a 1/2 inch taller since losing weight," says Bigt.
One question remains. I asked Bigt if he thinks he could have gotten these results without the surgery first.
"I regret having the surgery so much at times I have to stop and gather myself because I did something that can't be reversed and I have to live with it for the rest of my life. I know without a doubt that these health results could have happened without surgery and I wish this had been given to me as an alternative, but nobody mentioned a whole food plant-based diet...I wish I had only known." -Bigt Moose
What Bigt loves to eat
If you're afraid that going vegan or a whole food plant-based diet will be bland or boring or that you'll never love food again. Just look at what Bigt Moose loves to eat every day for breakfast and for second breakfast, lovingly named,
"The Morning Monster."
1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th breakfast today: "Morning Monster Sandwiches." Lots of black bean spicy humus, lime juice and cilantro, cucumber, carrot, tomato, red onion, avocado, and spinach.
Bigt says the "Morning Monster" was born out of early morning necessity.
"I wake up for work at 3 a.m. ravenous and always loved tomato sandwiches. So, I took some of my wife's "Dave's Killer Bread" bread and I got crazy with it stacking anything and everything I could find in the crisper drawer. I try to incorporate every nutrient I need on one sandwich. Humus, avocado, spinach, kale, carrots, tomato, ground flax, onions, and anything else I can fit on it. Sweet and spicy pickles and jalapeños are icing on the cake," raves Bigt.
Bigt says at first he used Veganaise and humus but eventually stopped the Veganaise once he learned more about sources of fat that stop weight loss and now he just uses humus.
"My favorite is roasted red pepper or Edamame humus. My "Morning Monster" sandwich is so big, I usually have to take half to work and I eat it about 3 hours later," explains Bigt. "At this point I feel fantastic, I have plenty of energy."
Vegan for life
Bigt says this change, "has also stunned and elated my wife. I think sharing our now mutual love of fresh vegan food has enhanced our relationship and by the way, my virility is crazy, too!"
Since going whole food vegan, Bigt says he's watched every documentary he can find regarding this topic, scoured YouTube for videos on the topic and read the China Study and many online articles regarding the science behind this topic.
"There are no words. I just love my new life. I'm 50 years old and I've got a 18-month old that I feel confident about seeing growing to adulthood," says Bigt. "Your Going Vegan For Health Facebook Group has been instrumental in my motivation and commitment to this lifestyle. Vegan for Life!"
How to make a "Morning Monster" of your own: