Hey, I’m Andy.
Here’s my weight loss story and how I managed to keep the weight off, overcome my allergies, and regain my health.
I’ve been overweight for as long as I can remember.
At the same time, I’ve been struggling with allergies as well as horrible stomach cramps and vomiting episodes that lasted for hours.
I remember so vividly how, as a child, I would wake up in the middle of the night with horrendous stomach cramps and spend the night (and the next day) cramped in bed or over the toilet bowl.
Ironically, my parents knew exactly what caused these episodes: If I ate anything ‘heavy’ (namely, meat) in the evenings.
Suffering from allergies
My father told me I had my first strong allergic reaction when I was just a year old when I fell into some uncut grass. At age 7 I was officially diagnosed with a strong pollen (grass) allergy and I was quite sensitive to dust, mold, and other substances as well.
What that meant was that from April until late July I had to be indoors, sneezing and coughing all day.
In an effort to cure my allergy, I had to receive a shot every couple of days for 3 years but it did not work out.
I also took strong allergy medication that made me super sleepy and unfocused. And if I did any remotely vigorous exercise, I couldn’t catch my breath.
Spring and early summer became nightmare seasons for me.
And then there was my weight.
Simply put, I was embarrassed of myself. I even developed a hunched posture since I thought that this way my belly wouldn’t stick out as much. I was embarrassed to go swimming with my friends and when I did, I wore a T-shirt even in the water.
When you are overweight for as long as you can remember, it becomes a part of your identity. You think that this is who you are and that’s it.
Then I contracted a disease called mononucleosis.
I had such a severe throat infection that I couldn’t eat almost at all for about a month. It was a painful experience but it helped me lose the extra weight. And show me I can be slim.
For a couple of years, that is. I regained the weight again. I lost some through sheer will power but it did not last.
By 2016 I also had high total cholesterol, high LDL, I was overweight (with a BMI of almost 30 I was practically obese!) and my physician told me I needed to do something.
Like I didn’t know it!
Discovering the power of plants
At some point, Venny and I decided to watch a documentary every evening.
That’s when we watched the documentary Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, Food Choices, and some others.
Joe Cross’s experience truly resonated with me and in a couple of days, on the 7 Feb 2017, I started living only on fresh, fruit and vegetable juices.
To this day I cannot understand what motivated me but I think that I needed some kind of social confirmation that not eating animal foods is OK.
I think I was ready at that point since for the past year Venny and I had already almost stopped eating meat.
We used to joke that we could easily become vegetarians but we were worried what our family and friends would think of us!
We were ready to make a change and that new knowledge gave us the nudge we needed to make the change.
Three months on juice
I drank only fresh fruit and vegetable juice for 50 days straight and a couple of months later I did another 40 days again.
During that time I lost those 40lbs and I have kept them off for the years since by eating a whole food plant-based diet.
Today, I weigh about 150lbs, exactly as much as the BMI index says I should.
I eat as much as I want and my weight stays the same.
People think that it must be hard to restrict yourself from so many foods. It’s not.
It’s soooo liberating to be able to eat to your heart’s content and not gain weight. You feel free!
No more guilt when you fill your stomach, no more stressing about food. No more fear of the mirror.
Eating whole plant foods lets you enjoy life, enjoy food, and stay healthy on every level!
You already know that we started eating plant-based and I did the juicing experiment on a whim. It began, as so many important journeys begin, as an experiment.
Once you clean your body, though, you don’t want to go back. For us, eating plant-based just feels right!
It turns out, though, that eating right did more to me than just rid me of the extra weight.
Just to get the timeline straight, I changed my diet on February 7. When spring came, I was astonished to discover I had almost no allergy symptoms. A sneeze here and there but nothing noteworthy!
Spring, which for 20 years had been a huge ordeal for me, felt beautiful again.
I could breathe once again.
Not only that I wasn’t overweight, not only that I ate as much as I wanted but I was to enjoy all the seasons of the year. I didn’t need to dose myself with medications that made me sleep through some of the best days of the year.
And those pesky stomach cramps were gone, my bowel movements were just normal and have been so ever since.
Of course, Venny didn’t leave anything to chance and I did regular bloodwork that showed that I was in perfect health!
My physician even told me that my results were so great I didn’t need to do another test for the next 5 years!
I did, of course, and every time my tests came up normal!
Venny is in great health as well!
She has an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which, if left untreated, could lead to the destruction of the thyroid gland. A truly horrifying prospect, if you ask me. Before we started, her TAT and MAT antibodies were quite elevated but now her TAT is normal and her MAT has decreased over 4 times!
She had low iron and hemoglobin which are now both in the normal range!
As time goes by, we seem to get healthier.
I believe it’s because of the way we eat and live.
And fundamentally, this is why we created WellnessDove and all the recipes here.
We have a passion for sharing what we know and showing you what healthy food looks like!