Frederick Conroy of Colorado shares his success on the Eat to Live diet:
If life is a journey, and we stop along the way to meet and dance and share knowledge and experience, the road I have been on is a search to learn how to eat properly.
This is my tale. It begins in the row houses of suburbia, with long green lawns kept up with Scott's fertilizer and new paint jobs every eight years. It is the computer age, the age of pollution and throwaways, a time when man was learning to live in natural harmony and rhythm with his world.
Have you ever woken up feeling disoriented, in the doldrums, without any energy or direction in your life? This is the state I found myself in until I met Dr. Fuhrman and I changed my lifestyle to conform to his system of natural health.
Since my twenties I had read in magazines or seen on the TV stories of people whose lives have been changed simply by the food they eat. Whether it was the nutritional advice of Adelle Davis, with her advice on whole grains or vegetables; or William Dufty in Sugar Blues, warning about the dangers of sugar and diabetes; or Frances Moore Lappe whose Diet for a Small Planet warned of the dangers of an overpopulated world of hungry malnourished people, if we continue our dependence on a national diet based on the standards of the cattlemen and dairy industries. I was interested and attracted to the logic and reasoning of the arguments made by the proponents of a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, beans and other natural foods because of 1—the direct link between good nutrition and health and 2—the negative effects of fast foods, junk food.
My family history also played a key role in the decision-making process I made about my health in my adult life. My father grew up in a blue-collar Irish community in New Jersey. His family lived and worked in one of the most developed and industrialized cities in the world. Smokestacks, railroads, yards of thrown away tires and automobiles, rivers with debris which became polluted with chemicals and undrinkable. Growing up in the 1930s and 1940s they made every mistake possible. My father and his peers smoked filterless Camel cigarettes, drank alcohol, and in his youth my father pumped gas. Success was measured not by your health and living in a countryside of beauty and peace, but cars, apartments, drinking and lack of inhibition. Economics certainly do play a role in our medical hygiene and history. After World War II my father and most of his peers pulled themselves up by their bootstraps to a middle class lifestyle, moving from the blue collar homes to the suburbs.
My mother's family was a mix of German and English roots. She grew up in a New Jersey of lawn parties, canoe clubs, golf, and private schools, and even during the depression her father worked. My mother had marked good eating habits, did not smoke and drank in moderation. She was well educated. She also was active physically, and encouraged all of her offspring to exercise daily, whether it was skiing, bicycles, tennis, or marathon running.
As a result of their ecology, my father and two of my uncles died young of cancer. Today diabetes runs rampant through my remaining family, and they have serious problems with obesity and heart disease.
I was on my own trying to learn how to eat correctly. There are so many negative influences out in the world, whether it is peer influence to use alcohol, to be a couch potato, the cafeteria food we were served in high school and in universities, or the mess hall food in the Army, high in calories, low in essential fresh whole foods-—a diet centered on meat, flour, oil and sugar; not vegetables and fresh fruit. There is also the negative influence of media, television and billboards promoting fast food, soda, cookies and candies for instant gratification.
When I reached my mid-forties I had a wake up call and all of this caught up with me I developed bloody diarrhea. I got so nervous I checked myself into the Strang Cancer Center in NYC, and I thought I might die. The symptoms really frightened me. I was told I needed medications to stop the bleeding.
I was at a dead end. I was frightened and lost. I tried changing my diet and symptoms only intensified. I then did a very interesting thing which changed my life forever. I went to the book shop, and I was browsing books on medical care. Then I saw Dr Fuhrman's book, Fasting and Eating For Health. I thought awesome; it remains one of the best books I have read in my life. What could be in this? Was it a traditional Indian method of healing? Had this tradition ever been successful with people in the culture I had grown up in? It sounded like tough talk, that only a strong person would be successful at this. Yet, I was attracted to the logic of Dr. Fuhrman's arguments.
I bought the book and I began the road to recovery, immediately my symptoms disappeared. More importantly, there were no scars—or residual problems that continue after this experience.
Now ,after reading Dr. Fuhrman's Eat to Live, I am hooked for life. I knew this was what I needed. I think I read the entire book in about four days, it was so interesting. It remains one of the most influential and best written books of my life. Because of Dr. Fuhrman my faith in self-healing has developed to a much deeper and mature level. I believe I was guided to Dr. Fuhrman by some inner compass some sixth sense that is divine inside me. I have tried to deepen my understanding why I reached this particular conclusion, and perhaps it is because I believe in the experience of déjà vu. Maybe I have been here before.
As my health came back to me, I began to run long distances, and gradually became involved in running several half marathons and longer distances. Sometimes I feel like my life is similar to that of Diogenes, the Greek who went in search of an honest man, by carrying a lamp in broad daylight throughout Athens. From the beginning everything was right here. If I had not failed, not suffered, I would never have discovered the answer to all my health questions and the healthiest way to live and eat. I have found that when things are their worst, if we believe and sincerely search, there is an answer, a light.
On another level, I am also a little wiser now for the disinformation which was the reason that I came to this point. I believe that we should have a mature education system in this country where true information on nutrition and diet and health are available to people who want to change. This information should and would be in the hands of the media; we would blitzed by information on whole foods and vegetables; and their effect on our lives—physically, mentally, psychologically, and spiritually. This information would be on the radio, computer, TV and billboards. There would not be the need for hospitals that we have today, nor would we rely on surgery and drugs in order to correct problems which primarily arise from the foods we eat. We would learn to eat correctly as the first step to recovery, as the basic building block to a healthy world.