A few months ago, a reader sent me a copy of one of his recent blogs. It was a letter to Bill Clinton—thanking him for influencing him to take charge of his health. The message and photos speak for themselves.
Dear Mr. Clinton,
You’ll probably never see this message, and I’ll probably never meet you. But you initiated a profound change in my life, and started a process that extended and saved my life, so I am compelled to write this letter of thanks and share these thoughts with you.
In August 2010, I saw you interviewed on CNN. You looked great, better and more presidential than I’d ever seen you look before. The jowls and large bags under your eyes were gone, and your face was oval rather than round. In the interview, you talked about getting back to your high school weight and reversing your heart disease by following a plant based diet, based on The China Study and other research by doctors Campbell, Esselstyn, and Ornish.
Your interview really caught my attention. At the time, I was 51 and was taking over $1000 in medications per month. I had Type 2 diabetes, my total cholesterol was 300, my blood pressure was 160/100, I was 280 lbs, my waist was 50 inches, my neck was 18.5 inches, and my shirt size was 3XL.
I had to sleep 10 or more hours per day and always felt exhausted. All of my joints felt sore all the time, and I was not able to even tie my shoes, let alone walk up a flight of stairs, without feeling out of breath.
At 51, I couldn’t remember ever having a meal in my life that didn’t include meat or other animal products. I’d been overweight for at least 25 years. I didn’t know what a plant based diet was and had never heard the term before. I’d tried every diet and method I could find to lose weight, including Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, the Paleo Diet, etc. I had attempted to strictly follow each of these diets, and had succeeded in losing up to 40 lbs on each. But I eventually found each of these diets to be unsustainable, and not possible to practice permanently. So each time when I slipped on these diets, I quickly regained all the weight I’d lost and then some.
My doctor told me I probably wouldn’t live another five years unless I got my weight and medical problems under control, and suggested weight loss surgery. As a final step before following that drastic advice, I googled “Clinton plant based diet” after watching your interview. At that time, I was disappointed to find that my search did not return any book or plan I could follow. But in the meantime, I bought a copy of The China Study, and while reading it, searched for and hired a nutritionist to find out whether a plant based diet would work for me as it had for you.
Based on weekly meetings with my nutritionist and following her advice, I learned how to cook for the first time in my life. I stopped eating all processed sugar and learned how to eat a well balanced plant based diet of organic whole plant foods.
My new diet wasn’t just salads and apples, it included all the foods I like best, such as rice, potatoes, lasagna, Chinese stir fry, and Mexican food. I also started walking for a half an hour each day with my new adopted dog Peety. And by doing these things, I ended up losing over 100 lbs in 8 months.
In addition to my weight loss, my total cholesterol dropped to 130, my blood pressure is now 100/60, and my glucose and all other medical stats are normal or optimal, so I no longer have any symptoms of type 2 diabetes. My waist size is now 32 inches, I have a 16 inch neck, and I wear a size medium shirt.
I now only sleep about 7 hours per night, but I feel well rested and filled with energy all day long. My energy and mental clarity are through the roof compared to before, it’s as if I came out of a lifetime fog. And I’m also on zero meds now, and no longer have any medication in my home except for a bottle of Advil.
Best regards, Eric
The bottom line. Great story. My question is this: When do you think our medical community might start showing people how to take charge of their health. I will bet you that Bill Clinton has done more for promoting health than 95% of all the medical doctors in this nation—combined. And he did it by simply making the right choices for the right reasons—with his success speaking volumes about what’s wrong with our nation’s overall approach to health care. Than you Mr. Clinton and thank you Eric for sharing your story.
Today is my 673rd consecutive daily blog and my streak will end after another 57 blogposts. But don’t worry; all of my previous work will remain here for your convenience and I will continue to post blogs several times a month. But my primary focus will be a full-time effort to help selected corporate clients implement food-focused wellness initiatives aimed at promoting health and slashing the cost of health care.
- Read Eric’s complete article. Vegan Dinner Parties.com blog
- Like success stories? Arthritis, MS, Lupus & more…a total of 81 success stories
- More about Bill Clinton. Dean Ornish and Bill Clinton; from burgers to whole plants
Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com
- The movie that’s changing the lives of millions: Forks Over Knives DVD
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The “big picture” about food (our book)
- An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell
- Dr. McDougall’s new book, The Starch Solution, with lots of great recipes.
Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Diagnostic Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to email@example.com
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For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page or some great recipes at Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.
Got a question? Let me hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.
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Blogging daily at hpjmh.com…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.
—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation
Jim, I’m going to miss reading your blog each morning. I have been reading your blog everyday ever since we visited in Stonnington CT.. You have provided me with wonderful insights into the “plant based lifestyle” and I am very grateful for your information. I recommend your book to many and just hope that they will get the “Big Picture” !! I truly understand your desire to step back and work on how to make a living promoting your 4leaf program. If I can be of any help to you please let me know. I will miss the daily blog but will definitely look forward to your posts as time goes by. My perspective has been on some of the “small” details of the “Big Picture” and I’m going to pass some thoufghts on to you for consideration. Be well and “Thank you!!” for your wonderful contribution to the world of the “plant based” lifestyle. My best wishes to you in your endevor to establish yourself with Corporate America and the challenges we all face to save our earth and humanity. / Your friend / Les
When I read that you are going to decrease the frequency of your blogs, my reaction was “Oh no” but I realize that will likely be necessary on your part. I love your blogs Jim, you are helping so many people. Such positive reinforcement – thank you!
Congratulations, Eric. As Bill Clinton motivated you, so you will now motivate others to take charge of their health. This is what is happening in the paradigm shift we’re all a part of………your incredible transformation is like another brick in the foundation of plant based eating we’re trying to spread across this country. It’s happening, and you have made a difference – in your health, first and foremost, and for so many others who want good health without being tied to Big Pharma’s umbilical. Bravo, bravo, bravo!
I concur with Dr. Campbell. Your posts have been the most wonderful start to my day, and I feel as if you and some of your frequent responders have become new friends. You have provided so many helpful tips, websites, videos, and recommendations. So I again extend my appreciation for your great efforts and invaluable information. Please continue to blog at a pace that is comfortable for you because your thoughts, passion for plant-based nutrition, and personal sharing are invaluable.
Great story Jim and good luck in your new business.
P.S. Have a great day today and a better day tomorrow!
That’s the most incredible before/after story I think I’ve ever seen. Largely because his before is extreme but his after is extreme too. This guy looks like he’s in some great shape now. Many athletes would be envious.
Your note that you will be stopping your blog after another 57 days. I’m curious what is so significant about 730 days?
A more modest pace may be a good idea but I hope that you will continue. A few in-between days likely will make your posts even more enriching.
Nothing especially significant about 730 other than it means the end of two full years of consecutive daily blogging. So I just picked a day and decided to let people know in advance.
I have concluded that I will be needing more time for “earning a living” in the years ahead and didn’t want to compromise the quality of my blogs by trying to keep that daily streak alive indefinitely.
Thanks for your comment; I will do my best to make my future blogs as enriching as they can be. Thank you also for inspiring many of my 673 blogs to date. Sincerely, Jim
I agree totally with Colin! Blog a few times per week or month or as mood strikes you. All the best.