1000's of miles of cycling couldn’t save me from a poor diet
Updated: Oct 18, 2019
For most of my life, I was on a “see food” diet. I ate pretty much anything I wanted. Red meat, dairy, junk food of every kind. I was not sedentary as I am an avid cyclist that averages a bit over 6,000 miles a year. For the record, I am 6’4” and weighed 185 most of my adult life. But in July 2017, after a routine physical, my family doctor wanted to see me. Turns out my total cholesterol was 330! My LDL (the bad cholesterol) was 244! He suggested that I consider taking a statin. I was vehemently opposed to it due to the effect it could have on my muscles. That is when I decided to take the advice of a good friend, Ian Cramer, and start my journey to a whole food plant-based lifestyle. I met Ian when I agreed to be part of his team’s crew for the Race Across America in June 2015. We spent many hours together and that is the first time I considered a plant-based lifestyle. I was really skeptical back then, but the check-up convinced me it was now or never. I chose NOW!
"I am now 64 and riding as strong as ever...Just this month, I crushed two hill climbs in my home county by 31 and 39 seconds less than my best time in previous years!"
I made the switch gradually. I investigated foods to eat, sources of protein, recipes for my wife to fix (she loves to cook!) and read several articles about the WFPB lifestyle. I was convinced almost immediately that this is what I needed. I did not want to take medication for the rest of my life so I changed my eating habits. A previous family doctor had prescribed Crestor, Lipitor and Zocor, and they all came with the side effect of making my legs ache. So for me it was an easy choice. There was NO way I was going to go through that drug regimen again so I gave up red meat and dairy of all sorts right away instead of taking yet another drug. It was actually easier than I thought it might be. I started snacking on nuts, dried fruits and Ghirardelli 86% Dark Cacao. I bought a Ninja blender to make smoothies with almond milk and fruit. I started eating more plants. My wife found a recipe for Brussels sprouts that is out of this world. (I had never eaten them in my life.)
It is now May 2018, and my body has changed. I weigh 165 now. My LDL is now 182, a drop of 62 points! It is still high according to the medical standards but most likely that is due to family history. This lifestyle has made dramatic changes, and I believe by sticking with it that I will see even better results down the road. I have put over 5,300 miles on my bicycle so far this year and plan on doing many more. I am now 64 and riding as strong as ever. I can say this because I use the Strava app to record my progress. Just this month, I crushed two hill climbs in my home county by 31 and 39 seconds less than my best time in previous years! Feel free to follow me on Strava, where I go by Paul Padgett, to track my amazing rejuvenation. That, along with the lower LDL number, is all the proof I need to continue my WFPB lifestyle. You may ask yourself, “Why should I change?” I will tell you with no hesitation that I do not miss Oreos, Chips Ahoy, ice cream or any other foods created by corporations that I ate in abundance before I made the leap! I eat nature’s bounty now and will never stop! So can you!
Editors Note: Paul Padgett is a good friend of mine who I met while at graduate school in Ohio. We rode many miles together and he also drove a follow vehicle for us during RAAM 2015. Check out THIS video and THIS VIDEO for our RAAM experience.