Interview with a Teen Nutritarian: David

David is your typical, 14-year-old teenager that was severely addicted to the standard American diet. In fact, he was resistant to have anything to do with eating for health, even though his parents and siblings had embraced nutritarian eating and radically improved their health and quality of life because of it. However, on Father’s Day weekend this past summer David had a wake-up call; a frightening experience with dangerously high blood pressure and the telltale symptom of a TIA (transient ischemic attack); aka mini stroke. Today, six months later and 27 lbs lighter, he’s a changed person as a result of eating high-nutrient foods. Welcome to Disease Proof, David.

 

 

               June                                                 August                                                  December

 

 

What was your life like before Father’s Day weekend?

My parents and siblings were nutritarians so there was always plenty of healthy food to eat, but I refused to eat it. At every chance I could get away from home I ate whatever junk food I could find, and without my mom knowing it I bought donuts, candy, and other stuff.  Because I wouldn’t eat “Fuhrman food’ as I called it, my mom didn’t force me to eat it because my dad didn’t think she should; after all, I wasn’t a little kid anymore. My mom wouldn’t prepare junk food so I learned to cook my own meals. I ate frozen pizzas and lasagna, macaroni and cheese, pot pies, and all kids of frozen processed meals. Even with that, there were many foods that she wouldn’t buy for me like processed cereals, milk, cheese, and butter. 

 

How did you feel?

I didn’t feel well most of the time. It was hard for me to move around because I was tired and would get out of breath easily, so I didn’t exercise. I was always thirsty, and I couldn’t breathe through my nose; it was always stuffy.  Plus, because I was tired a lot I just slept whenever I could.      

 

What was your wake-up call?

During a family crisis my mom requested no junk food be brought to our house. However, some thought nutritarian eating was extreme and felt sorry for me so they asked me for a list of my favorite foods anyway.  It was great!  I loved it because I could eat anything I wanted.  A week later, in the middle of the night, the entire right side of my body, including my leg, arm, and jaw was numb and tingly, and I was very scared. I woke my parents up, and my mom took my blood pressure and it was 158 / 108. The next day she contacted Dr. Fuhrman, and according to my symptoms he said that I had experienced a TIA (transient ischemic attack) or mini stroke that happens before a major stroke*. Immediately, on Father’s Day, I became a nutritarian. Within a week my blood pressure came down to a healthy range, but for several weeks I was scared to fall asleep at night, because I was afraid of having a stroke during the night.

* Dr. Fuhrman states that “Thousands of teens have strokes each year and the number is on the rise. According to a recent article in the Journal of Neurology, strokes in children, teens, and young adults are increasing at an alarming rate in the U.S. Strokes in teenagers - like the one that led to the death of Miss Teen Hawaii, Sheryl Wolfe – or Frankie Muniz of “Malcolm in the Middle” who recently suffered a mini-stroke ( transient Ischemic attack) – are not as rare as people think, and the devastating consequences of strokes have caused rehab facilities and nursing homes to cater to this young population. As the American diet gets worse we see these diseases of nutritional ignorance occur at younger and younger ages. National hospital discharge data from 42 states were examined in children, teens and young adults, comparing the rate of stroke in these groups from 1995-1996 to 2007-2008. The rate of strokes in young people was increasing before 1995, but in the ten years since then stroke hospitalization rate increased another 35 percent.”

 

How do you feel now?

I have a lot more energy. I’ve lost 27 lbs so far and my blood pressures are consistently around 113 / 72. I no longer have numbness or tingly feelings, and the best thing is I’m not afraid of falling asleep and having a stroke in the middle of the night.  I’m no longer thirsty all the time, tired, or have shortness of breath, and because of that I like to run, workout at the Y, and lift weights. Plus, I can now breathe through my nose for the first time that I can ever remember; I always had a stuffy nose. According to a blood test in June I was pre-diabetic, and now with nutritarian eating I won’t have to worry about getting diabetes. I just feel better all over, and my mom says that I’m happier and not grumpy anymore.    

 

What would you tell kids who love junk food and hate even the thought of eating healthy?

 

Try nutritarian eating all the way for just one week. Do it cold turkey, 100%; no cheating. After that week is over then re-assess your opinion and see if it changes. I gutted it out mentally for one week, and it was hard, but I knew it would be worth it to feel better and be healthier. Now I’m glad I did. 

I still sometimes like eating junk food when I’m away from home, but I know nutritarian eating is healthier for me, and I always feel better when I stick to it.

 

What are your favorite foods now?

My favorite foods are tomatoes, cucumbers, Honey Crisp apples, green peppers, snap peas, sautéed onions, hummus, and my mom’s Oatmeal/Almond Bars. 

 

Easy Oatmeal/Almond Bars

5-6 ripe bananas

4 cups old fashioned rolled oats

2 cups raisins

2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

2 cups unsalted sunflower seeds

2 cups chopped raw almonds

1 T. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl mash the bananas and then stir in remaining ingredients. Press mixture into the baking pan and bake for 40 min. Let cool. Cut into bars.

 

Congratulations David and keep up the great job!

 

 

image credit:  bottom image by Yaro Photography

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Comments (22) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Jen - January 15, 2013 1:54 PM

Great job David, hope more families choose to be healthy and happy from your shining example :-)

Julie - January 15, 2013 2:21 PM

I have two teenagers, and are somewhat athletic and don't like eating salads for dinner, unless drinched in Ranch dressing. What are some of your favorite things to eat as a teenager?

Tina H. - January 15, 2013 2:29 PM

David, You Rock!! Be very proud of your accomplishments and do your best to stick with it. I imagine temptations come at you from all directions throughout the day, but it sounds as though you are made from some pretty tough stuff and will keep up the good fight. A high-five to your mom, too. You guys make an awesome team.

Lois - January 15, 2013 3:46 PM

Wow, David!!!! This is an amazing story!!! Congratulations to you. You are quite an inspiration. (P.S. Sounds like you have an AMAZING mom who loves you very much!!!)

Lisa C. - January 15, 2013 4:38 PM

Thank you for sharing your story! I very much appreciate it. Perhaps it will encourage other teens to follow in your footsteps.

Ebony - January 15, 2013 5:36 PM

Wow way to go David. Now I am confident that I'm making the right decision for myself and my daughter (11 yrs old). You are an inspiration

lee silverstein - January 15, 2013 5:42 PM

you are such an inspiration...you took the bull by the horns as my mother in law used to say and got well! you are now teaching the rest of the world how to do it....young and old....thank you

mberkovitz - January 15, 2013 5:55 PM

Thanks for being such a great role model.

Ann C. - January 15, 2013 7:28 PM

Great job! wow I am impressed. I had my 13 year son read your testimony so that he could see how you made such a great decision. Keep it up and keep learning about this.

Jeanne - January 15, 2013 7:42 PM

Congratulations David for such an accomplishment! I hope many teens who are in a similar situation like you were, could read this. You really are in inspiration to people of all ages. I applaud you!

Helyn - January 15, 2013 8:39 PM

Welcome to better health and congratulations, David!

sharon - January 16, 2013 1:49 AM

Wonderful, David! And-your skin glows!!!

pattymc - January 16, 2013 9:28 AM

Great job, David! I'm glad your well. Keep telling your story so others realize the dangers of SAD foods on young people. This is a serious situation.

Numa - January 16, 2013 11:25 AM

Hi David, What a great job and what an inspiration to all the teenagers who are in the position you were in before.
I wish you well throughout life.

Margie Sifuentes - January 16, 2013 2:53 PM

Delighted to read about your being open to changing your food habits. I hope my family won't need to have such a wake-up call to be willing to change the way they eat. It's sometime difficult to "go against the norm" of what others around you are eating. Thanks for sharing your experience with us on Disease Proof.

Chris - January 16, 2013 3:29 PM

David,

I'm glad you made the choice to eat for health. If you had not chosen foods that heal, you would be on a dangerous path not unlike drug addiction. I hope those who made bad choices to give you food that was requested specifically not to be given, are aware of the danger that they caused to your health and the violation of the loving boundary that your Mom set around you. Mothers need to be respected when they say "No" to other adults about how to care for their children, especially in time of crisis. Good job, David. You have slain the Giant of food addiction.

MJ - January 16, 2013 11:47 PM

Hey David! Great story! Sounds like you were also pre-diabetic with all the thirstiness you were experiencing ... So glad your feeling better and getting your health back! It's too often that kids your age think they're immune to health problems... So far from the truth!!

Sounds like your Mom is your strongest cheerleader!! Hope you can get other teens struggling with obesity & poor eating habits to change! Good luck !

Dr Rudy and Rhonda Kachmann - January 22, 2013 9:31 AM

Hello David,

We are so very proud of you! You look great ! Always remember the importance ot creating goals for yourself. We are so glad that you have chosen the goal of eating healthy.

Thank you for sharing your story. Please continue to share this story through your life time as it will help so many teens. Your courage to make this life change is to be applauded. Good luck and always remember how proud we are of you!

Susan - January 25, 2013 12:06 PM

Hello David,

First let me say what a great job!

Second, I made your almond bars...omg....so very delicious. I have a question though. Can anyone estimate the approx. calories for these goodies. I want to keep myself in check. I absolutely love them and and I Could eat them at breakfast lunch and dinner!

Thank you for your help,
Susan

Cheri - February 7, 2013 2:34 PM

WOW, Great job David!!! My son just turned 13 and it is a real struggle for kids these days. There are so many bad influences. My son has had several wake up calls with his health but he hasn't reached the point of committing to a healthy diet. We have the same problem with family and friends dangling the unhealthy foods in front of him. They feel sorry for him. He has a VERY hard time saying NO! And I just can't keep my son locked away. I have to let go and he has to learn to make healthy decisions. It's hard! It's very frustrating that my son has not-one place he can go that I know he is going to get a healthy meal or snack! SO VERY FRUSTRATING!!!

Wade Balsdon - May 4, 2013 6:09 AM

Congrats David. So happy to see a young person achieve such great results. Please spread your story to help other overweight children get some hope.

Joshua Hughes - June 24, 2013 8:52 PM

Many people like to read articles and good articles can attract more people to read and help more people. This article is really a good article for any people to read. No matter men women or children, younger of older. This article is very meaningful from every aspect that is why I love your site. Thank you for giving us so good article. We will your blog support always.

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