A former drug addict who battled a 'lifelong struggle with self-hatred' has revealed how he transformed his life on a plant-based diet.
Adam, from Austin TX, shared his story in a video shared by advocacy organization Million Dollar Vegan (MDV), which encourages and supports people to sign its 31-day pledge and give a plant-based diet a go. Participants are offered a free Vegan Starter Kit featuring meal plans, tips on where to eat out, and answers to tricky questions.
In the video, Adam describes how changing his diet helped him overcome a slew of diseases, as well as helped him become 'the most authentic version of [himself he's] ever been.
"I was battling the end of a 10-year struggle with substance abuse, a lifelong struggle with self-hatred, and a disbelief that I would ever wake up and experience being alive again," Adam says. "I had avoided any opportunity to let myself know the state of disconnection that I was living in.
"At the time of my diagnosis, my A1C was at 12. That's a biomarker for diabetes, and anything above 6.4 is type 2 diabetic. My blood pressure was 210 over a hundred and something. My cholesterol was through the roof. Which is, if you think about it, completely reasonable given the way that I was living my life.
"I found myself alone, in the dark, on the floor, in a puddle of vomit with no one around me, not because they didn't wanna be there for me, but because I had pushed everything that meant anything out of my life."
Adam ended up in addiction recovery treatment where he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, erectile dysfunction, bipolar disorder, suicidal depression, anxiety disorder, sleep disorder, and attention deficit disorder.
"The last thing that had to break before I changed my diet, was literally me. And my motivation had nothing to do with my diabetes, or my heart disease, or my obesity, or my substance abuse," he says. "Those things were real, and they are motivation, but the motivation for me was, all right, I was obese, and I didn't wanna be. I had heart disease and diabetes, and I didn't want those things.
"And I nearly died from substance abuse, and to be honest, I didn't wanna live, but I surely discovered after attempting suicide that I didn't wanna die. Within three months of adopting a plant-based diet, of adopting a mindfulness meditation practice and moving my body with purpose, reconnecting with nature on a regular basis."
Within a year of changing his diet, Adam was off every medicine he'd been prescribed while in rehab including antidepressants, mood stabilizers, sleeping medications, anxiety medications, and ADHD medications. He lost 100lb (which totals 200lb as of today) and completely reversed his diabetes.
He says: "We underestimate the power of the most simple choices that we have in our lives, and those simple choices are the ones that we have control over, most of the time: what we put on our plate, how we talk to ourselves, how we live with other people.
Change doesn't happen five minutes from now. It certainly doesn't happen five minutes before. It doesn't happen five weeks or five years from now, and it doesn't happen five weeks or five years before. It's right here right now, because now is when I have a choice, and I know the choice that brings positive change for me is the diet that creates the greatest health I've ever experienced in my life."
Impact on the world
He adds that his diet also allows him to 'feel good about the impact he has on the world around him', and 'allows him to get up and be the person that he wants to be for his family'
"It allows me to be the most authentic version of myself I've ever been," he concludes. "And you know what? It's the person that I've always been. I didn't become somebody new. I became the person I've always been, just the most authentic version of it that I've ever experienced in my life."