Back in December 2009, my life changed in a way I could never have imagined. Annette, an old friend from my student days, came to visit me. Although we had exchanged the odd postcard, I’d seen her just once since 1984. I later realised just how much we were meant to maintain that contact, however loosely, because Annette, now my wife, has been a constant and much-appreciated support on my journey to better health. When I met Annette in 2009, I was clinically obese, weighing well in excess of 17 stone (110kg) and I took medication for high blood pressure and raised cholesterol. I had tried countless times to lose weight, but nothing seemed to work, the various 'diets' were never sustainable and only ever resulted in minimal weight loss, and within a short period of time, I was back to where I started. Annette was the catalyst for change.
I learned from Annette the power of eating natural wholefoods with the emphasis on plants and the huge influence this can have on our health. There was no element of persuasion or pressure, I simply ate the same foods that Annette chose for herself. It was both easier, and I was ready to learn more about the elements of Annette’s diet that had had such a powerful impact on her own health and aided her recovery from endometriosis. I began to see and feel almost immediate benefits. I lost weight, gradually and consistently. By the time we got married in April 2011, I had lost almost 2 stones (12kg) with relative ease. This was exciting, I felt I had discovered the 'holy grail' of diets, the one that works and yet doesn't seem like a diet.
To my delight and amazement, I continued to lose weight steadily and now weigh just under 12 stone (76kg) and have been able to maintain this weight over the course of the last 2-3 years. I am also off all my medications. Annette and I have been so completely convinced about the huge benefits that a whole food plant-based diet confers that we want to share our experiences and inspire others to adopt this way of eating, both for their own health as well as for the health of the planet.
So that we are able to provide the most accurate and comprehensive information possible with just the right balance of rigour and accessibility suitable for a general audience, Annette and I are now certified Mastering Raw Food Nutrition Educators after successfully completing a year long program run by two of America's leading Raw Food and Plant-based Educators, Drs Rick and Karin Dina. Their research-based education is exceptional and provides a solid and authentic foundation for our own classes.
But the story doesn’t end there. One of the things I have realised is that no single lifestyle intervention can provide all the solutions. For me, 2022 was the year I became aware of ‘the breath’. Annette made the same realisation, before me, and I followed her lead once again and became certified as an Oxygen AdvantageⓇ Functional Breathing Instructor thanks to the expert coaching of Patrick McKeown, a world-renowned Breathing coach. Breathing is something that we do every minute of every day, and yet many of us are not getting it right. The benefits of proper functional breathing for our physical and emotional health and performance are enormous and I wish to share these with others so they can reap the benefits for themselves.
The Before Picture
This is me in about 2005, probably at my heaviest. Looking back now, I can't quite believe how big I was. I think I was in denial. I knew deep down that I was building up potential health issues. I only wish I knew then what I know now.