When Dr. Matthew Kesler joined the Air Force, he was ready for a change. He had worked as a pediatrician for 14 years and in his words was “burned out and ready for an adventure.” After joining the Air Force, he was stationed at Yokota Air Base in Japan from February 2014 to July 2018. During that time he initiated three plant-based Jumpstarts using the PlantPure Health & Weight Loss Seminar—something that had never been done before!
Dr. Kesler’s interest in plant-based eating began on November 1, 2016, when a friend sent him Dr. Greger’s How Not To Die YouTube video. He watched it and has been plant-based ever since. He also completed the eCornell course, read books, and attended his first plant-based conference in September 2017, where he met John Corry and Steve Kehoe (developers of the PlantPure Health & Weight Loss Seminar).
Dr. Kesler was not sure if the weight loss aspect of the program would be appropriate for the military, but Steve Kehoe told him that “most people don’t want to learn about nutrition, rather they want to lose weight.” He presented the concept to his commander in Japan, who was supportive but did not want the Air Force to appear to be endorsing a specific product. As a result, Dr. Kesler could not wear his uniform when teaching the seminar. However, the Air Force did provide classrooms and biometric screenings for the participants.
Dr. Kesler ran three Jumpstart-style seminars for military personnel. During the programs, he presented the seminar, provided commissary tours that showed participants how to order plant-based foods, and taught cooking and label-reading classes. There were 10 to 20 participants per Jumpstart, and all experienced excellent results. Aggregate data from the 30-day seminars showed on average a weight loss of 7 lbs. and a 17% drop in total cholesterol.
Initially, participants were hesitant about eating a plant-based diet, but by the end of the program they were surprised by how easy and fun this new way of eating really was. One participant approached Dr. Kesler after the program and thanked him for the amazing health impact the seminar had on his life. Another participant’s wife, who was a dietitian, commented that she was surprised at how her husband’s cholesterol dropped so significantly without medication.
In September 2018, Dr. Kesler returned to civilian life and rejoined his previous practice. He found that his practice is now more fulfilling because he feels he is able to empower his patients with good nutritional advice. He tries to find ways to tie nutrition into visits and even hands out recipes for green smoothies—his patients love this! Dr. Kesler feels like he is making a real difference in the lives of his patients and their families.
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