Making Ripples Across the Pond

It is amazing how a simple change made by one person can have a ripple effect on many lives within a community.  Meet John Munro, CEO of Wessex Heartbeat in Wessex, England. Wessex Heartbeat is a non-profit organization that exists to ensure that people being treated at the Wessex Cardiac Centre are provided with the best possible care and support.  An average of 30,000 people go to the Wessex Cardiac Centre each year for a variety of cardiac health–related problems.  

In 2004, John would not have described himself as the picture of health. At 6’3” and 20 stone (or 280 lbs.), he was overweight, and knew that he was not a good role model for his charity.  John’s father, who had outwardly appeared to be very healthy, died of heart disease at age 51. John realized he was on a similar path if he did not change his lifestyle, so he decided to lose weight and improve his health.  

John’s initial strategy was to maintain his normal diet (which included meat, dairy, and fried foods) but eat a little less and exercise more.  He had minimal success with this strategy and only lost 1 stone (or 14 lbs.). John found he was being compulsive about cutting out food and over-exercising in an effort to lose the weight.  Everything came to a head when he began experiencing dizziness at work due to not eating enough.

Two years ago, John came across the PlantPure Nation documentary and felt it was so compelling that he went on to watch Forks Over Knives.  He found both films to be highly motivating, but the real clincher came last November, when John’s physician told him he would have to go on statins because his cholesterol was 276 and his LDL was 108.  John’s cholesterol had always been high, which he chalked up to heredity, but after watching the documentaries he realized that was not the case. His high cholesterol was due to what he chose to eat each day.  

John did not want to go on statins so he decided to try a juice fast for 30 days instead.  He describes this experience as “horrendous”: The first week was tolerable, the second week was hard, and the third week, in his words, was “awful.”  To top it off, he only lost 5 lbs. during the fast!

John decided to use a different strategy and go 100% whole food, plant-based.  He reports that trying to eat plant-based in the UK is very different than in the US because there aren’t as many convenience food products that can make transitioning easier. John created his meals using recipes from the PlantPure Nation Cookbook, and after 10 days his cholesterol dropped from 212 to 139 and his LDL dropped from 108 to 54! His cardiac nurse could not believe the results. Additionally, John’s physician had previously told him he had “quite an angry liver,” or fatty liver disease.  When John’s liver was re-checked two months ago, there was no sign of fatty liver disease. He no longer diets; instead he focuses on eating health-promoting foods and now weighs a healthy 200 lbs.

John’s remarkable health improvements have made him passionate about urging others to try plant-based eating.  As a result, John is running the first-ever PlantPure Jumpstart in Wessex, England. The pilot program will be modeled after the Jumpstarts run in the US and will incorporate the PlantPure Health and Weight Loss Seminar to educate and motivate participants before they begin the Jumpstart.  Using recipes from the PlantPure Nation Cookbook, a chef will create the 10 days’ worth of meals as PlantPure does not ship food to the UK.

People within the hospital and community have noticed the positive changes in John’s health and clearly want to try this new lifestyle for themselves: 12 people have already signed up for the event—which is slated to start in October—without it even being advertised!  Participants are not allowed to be on any medications, and before and after biometrics will be collected to demonstrate the effectiveness of the program.

John’s ultimate goal with the pilot Jumpstart is to fold the 10-day immersion into the Healthy Heart Program at the Wessex Cardiac Centre.  He also wants to take this message out into his community so that people can improve their health before suffering from heart disease. John’s story is an example of how a simple choice—in this case, to watch a film—can be life-changing, and not just for one person, but for an entire community.