Almost Vegan – Day 30 Results

Late last year my brother Mike and I had the opportunity to attend a conference with the Northeast Business Group on Health, and listen first hand to the man that authored the nutrition / diet plan behind President Clinton’s transformation, Caldwell Esselstyn, MD.  For those that haven’t heard, President Clinton made a bit of a health transformation in 2010, and sources claim that he actually “reversed his heart disease”, crediting Dr. Esselstyn (a former cardiac surgeon with the Cleveland Clinic) with getting him to eat an almost 100% plant-based diet.   Mike (a self-proclaimed “health & performance data geek”) having already read Dr. Esselstyn’s book, new this would be one presentation to remember.

While I can’t say I’m a huge President Clinton fan (although I’m very happy to see his positive results), in listening to Dr. Esselstyn’s lecture and viewing his presentation of angiogram slides that included a before & after of an individual that started with severe blockage and wound up blockage free after only nutrition-based interventions….I was at the very least intrigued.  To sell me even further….Dr. Esselstyn hit guys like me, the “Everything in Moderation” types with this, “Sure, you can have meat and animal products in moderation, as long as you don’t mind having a moderate heart attack”.  And whether I agreed 100% with this or not, needless to say – the man had my attention!

As his lecture continued, and Dr. Esselstyn show study after study that supported his claim that eating plant-based could prevent & reverse heart disease, I started to think about how this might effect me personally….maybe I should give it a shot, and see what happens….and so I have…for the last 30 days (and for the next 60), I’ve eaten “Almost Vegan”.

Now, being a health & fitness professional, I’ve done a bit of homework to bolster my nutritional knowledge, having read countless articles, studies, and books to stay current on the nutrition scene and do my best to help clients steer clear of all the crap out there than can lead to information overload.  And here’s the facts – study after study after study comes out….and there’s one consistent principle – eat mostly fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts / seeds (like almost exclusively) and the vast majority of health risks & issues we face each day can become obsolete.  Put another way by Dr. Esselstyn, “Don’t eat anything that has a face or a mother!”

For me, I say “Almost Vegan” because there are some things that (regardless of research and study that outlines the risks) I’ve consciously decided are not worth giving up…or in other words….are worth the risk.  They are:

  1. Milk in my coffee
  2. Pizza for dinner on Fridays
  3. Small amounts of cheese here and there on things like prepared salads at restaurants….to be honest, I just don’t want to have to ask to “hold it”
Now being a relatively fit guy, who has probably exercised for somewhere between 3-6 hours consistently each week for nearly the last 22 years (or since I could play organized sports), I’ve decided that the only way to see if “Almost Vegan” works for me is to continue my traditional exercise routine in addition to this new nutritional change….below is a summary of my results:
Jan 1- Jan 30
  • 3 lbs. lost (2 lbs. body fat, 1 lb. lean muscle – doesn’t seem like much but for someone that only weighs in the 150’s…these is a decent amount in 30 days…especially since I’m not “trying” to lose weight, and am yet to be “hungry”).
  • 1 lb. body fast lost off of mid-section
  • 1 % overall reduction in body fat
  • 12.75 hours exercised (avg. approx. 3 hrs / week)

Stay tuned next week and I’ll share some of my struggles, successes, recipes, tips, and tricks I’ve learned along the way.  Till then, thanks to my wife for going along with me on this one, cooking dinners for me, and doing her best to find new tasty (or at least not awful) recipes to try.  Also, if you want to stay on top of some good vegan and other healthy cooking recipes consider following these blogs:


Categories: Uncategorized | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Almost Vegan – Day 30 Results

  1. Pingback: Almost Vegan – Day 60 Results « Fit 2 Be (a)LIVE

  2. Luis

    Hi Eric, in reading your “Almost Vegan – Day 30 Results”, it inspired me to give it a try, male a change for the better on food choices. While I know you did not start this for weight loss, I said to myself, if a fit guy can see those results I wonder what it would do for me!, who needs to lose quite, quite more than 3 lbs. I am 17 days into my “Plant” based eating. As you I have started with milk in only coffee and allow 1 day of pizza. As of next week the 22nd even those 2 allowances are forgone during the Lenten season. I have started making my own vegetable soups, eating vegetables I have never eaten before and do not miss the meat/chicken/fish at all. While I still have much to learn I am researching nutrients I may be missing and picking up recipes on-line. I actually started reading up on Rich Roll who is a Vegan Ultraman triathlete. I dont know how much I have loss in weight but I do know I feel much better, as in weight not holding me down and good energy. Keep the updates coming. Thanks – Luis

  3. Adam Jones

    Are you following the recommendations solely from this book? What are they? Can you give a sample of the nutritional guidelines that you do follow? Is it worth buying the book for the “daily plan,” or is it just case studies and slides?
    Thanks, Adam

    • Hi Adam,

      Good to hear from you and thanks for reading! I’ve actually not read Dr. Esselstyn’s book, however have heard it was very enlightening. In his lecture, he provided multiple slides, and anecdotal evidence proving that his interventions with his patients were successful. It was amazing stuff. Personally, I’m not following Esselstyn’s plan exactly – he actually suggests no animal based products, very limited nuts / seeds, and no oil. I’ve been staying exclusively away from meat & eggs, almost exclusively away from dairy, but have not been limiting my consumption of nuts / seeds or oils (although I don’t eat a lot to begin with). Next week I’ll be giving more examples of my “typical almost vegan day”. Feel free to shoot me a direct email at or give me a shout (think you still have my cell) so we can catch up and I can answer any other questions you might have.

      Hope all is well!


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