Gout Begone – How I Regained My Health


An Interview with Brian who will, no doubt, have some of your doubts begone…

This is my third interview, in a series, with my plant-based vegan friends. I was really looking forward to meeting with Brian today because I had heard rumors of his great personal story! We met up at a local vegan cafe that we both enjoy and chatted over lunch. I can honestly tell you that I was ecstatic about what Brian had to share! Brian is 55 years young. Enjoy!

When did you go plant-strong vegan and why? It was about six years ago and I think that the reason we did it originally was for health. I weighed 260 pounds and I’m 5’10. I was taking medication for high blood pressure, hyper acidity – this is what you generally have before you get ulcers. I also had acid reflux and gout.

What is gout for those of us who don’t know? Gout is a build up of uric acid in the blood. It usually collects in the joint of your big toe, but does affect other joints. I had it in my right knee and left big toe. It is similar to cholesterol in that we reproduce our own, but when you eat animal products you have extra of it. Gout is really painful. The uric acid collects in your joints as a crystallized form [Brian points to the raw sugar on the table] and is like sharp shards inside your joints. It’s like having broken glass inside your joints.

Aside from that I had almost constant stomach pain and heartburn. All the acidity was trying to come up the other way. I was on five different medications for all these conditions combined and now I am on none and I’m 50 pounds lighter. I’m certainly impressed!

So this is due to going plant-based vegan? Yes, what else could it be? I am exercising too. It took me a while to loose the weight because I still liked Lay’s Potato Chips. It’s really about eating the right things!

How has your diet changed since then? What do you eat? I eat a lot of the same things. Every day for breakfast I eat oatmeal with fresh fruits – always organic though. What about for lunch? If I bring my lunch to work it’s usually a salad with all organic greens – some from our garden or from the Co-Op. If I eat out it’s usually Asian like vegetarian spring rolls and noodle soups. 

What’s for dinner? Dinner is a variety. We cook a lot from vegan cookbooks or eat out a lot. Either at a vegan restaurant or at a non-vegan restaurant and will ask them to make our meal vegan. I think this is having an impact and raising awareness that there’s a growing market for it. I totally agree with you on that!

What about the people at your work? Well, the people at work have seen me go from 260 pounds to 50 pounds lighter. They have also seen me from being sick several days a year, catching every bug that comes around to never being sick. I can relate to that because since going plant-strong vegan I haven’t been sick either and I work in a “petri dish of germs” – as someone once told me – being around close to 500 children a week.

You mentioned a co-worker, while we were eating, tell me more about her. She comes from a part of the country where the cattle industry is huge. Drinking milk and eating meat is really all you know. At first when she found out that I wasn’t eating animal products she would make off handed comments like, “I can’t live without meat! How can you?” She kind of ridiculed my diet. It seemed so unnatural to her until she went to a health fair and listened to a talk by a representative from PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine). What the talk at the health fair did was reinforce what I had told her, but it was coming from a health care professional. What was funny was that after this health fair she came back to work all excited and told me she was going to stop eating meat to see what if it would actually work.

Did she have health problems? Yes, she had high cholesterol that she was taking medications for and she had some kind of heart problem. She was also concerned about her energy level and she would wear out earlier than she thought she should. I don’t know how her heart problem or cholesterol are doing, but I do know that she’s feeling a lot better and her energy level is up. Now this was a die hard cow eater, meat, potatoes and gravy, but because these doctors and health practitioners told her about a plant-based vegan diet – the same as I had told her, she was now willing to give it a try. That’s great!

Tell me more about the potlucks at your work that you mentioned while we were eating. Yes, we have potlucks and picnics on occasion and it is interesting because its gone from being 100% animal based to being 80% plant-based.

Let me tell you how this evolved. Please do, I am really interested in hearing more about this! The way they were, when it was 100% meat based, the director would always bring something that I would eat to the potluck. Now the one we had last night, you’d have to look for something that had animal products in it. There were a couple of desserts that had eggs in them.

At first they didn’t know what a vegan was. There were even a couple of people who would mispronounce the word, but now they will think about what’s in the food and make a point at letting me know if the food contains animal products. Again, now 80% of the food is plant-based vegan! It’s funny because now, if they bring something that has animal products in it they’ll apologize because they know I won’t eat it. I am always correcting them when they say, “Oh, you can’t eat it.” I will tell them, “No, I won’t eat it. It’s not that I can’t, but I won’t!” I hear you. I feel exactly the same way now!

What else would you like the readers to know about this dietary shift? It’s hard to describe how much better I feel. I would recommend someone try it for a couple of weeks to a month. It’s really not that hard to do. Of course you can’t eat vegan junk food and expect to feel better, but I suppose you could as opposed to eating at McDonald’s every day. My favorite films on the hows and whys are of course, “Forks Over Knives” and “Fat Sick and Nearly Dead.”

“Fat Sick and Nearly Dead” really describes the hows. But Joe Cross goes on a juice diet. My response to that is that it’s about the nutrition that you get from plants and he shows how unhealthy the Standard American Diet (also known as SAD) is. Amen to that!

Thank you so very much, Brian! You truly are an inspiration! I feel so fortunate to know you and Brenda and have you be a part of my life. I feel confident that your story will inspire others to make the necessary changes to regain their own health just like you have. I have learned a great deal  from our inspirational conversation today! Hugs! 

About urbanveganchic

I'm an urban chic woman, who is passionate about educating others about the benefits of a whole foods, plant-based vegan diet, cancer prevention & survival, as well as art & life. I love adventures and travel. As an artist and a teacher, I care deeply about healthy living, being a conscious steward of our planet, and being kind & respectful towards animals. Learning about a vegan plant-based diet has been like discovering a new country and falling in love with it, so if I sound like I'm enamored you now know why! As a world traveler, I truly wish I had discovered this beautiful new country twenty years ago! Better late than never, as they say, cause there's no going back now! Born and raised in Scandinavia. Proud owner of a tripod cat & a foxy little pup. Speak four languages...some better than others. Working on the fifth one. We are all either part of the problem or the solution! Health & Happiness to you! ~UrbanVeganChic

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