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Jim's Bio

2008 Raw Essay:

Here's an excerpt from something I wrote in February 2007. I think it tells my story pretty well. I'll intersperse this text with a few pictures from my life, as I did in Wendi's bio.

Twenty-nine months ago, I was working on a proposal one morning when I became overwhelmed with a feeling of dizziness and a possible oncoming loss of consciousness. Unsure of what to do, I began pacing around, and it more or less ebbed. Then it returned again -- so I paced some more. Eventually, I found myself wandering around the parking lot wondering what in hell was wrong with me. A few coworkers were mildly concerned. Around 3:00 p.m. (yes, I'm disgusted to admit, after I'd finished my proposal), I decided that something might be seriously wrong with me. So, I drove to my doctor's office and, though I had no appointment, asked if someone could check my vitals. Turned out my blood pressure was 180-something over some other scary number, and my resting pulse rate was upwards of 130. Yep, we had a little problem.

Here's a picture of me circa 1989, before any weight issues emerged. I was pretty much a full-on carnivore in those days.
The long and short of it is that I went on a common pill called Atenolol, a beta-blocker that chills out your heart, lowers your BP, etc. Man, going on those damn things was one hell of a change. When you're used to life whizzing by at 120 beats/minute and then you suddenly downshift to 60 beats/minute, you tend to feel like you're at death's door. But then, as with most other pharmaceuticals, you get used to them. In no time, I was functioning as normal (with a ticker that remained at exactly 60 bpm pretty much all the time) -- all thanks to prescription drug companies. I know we tend to view these giants as evil and, yeah, in many cases, they are. But, they also do save lives in the process, and we shouldn't forget that important fact, IMHO. I'd probably have been a goner if it weren't for whatever company manufactures that tiny little heart regulator.
For a while, I just chilled out -- made some necessary changes like getting more sleep, trying to reduce things that I felt were stressful, cutting out caffeine, etc. In fact, I'm pretty sure a newly developed sensitivity to caffeine is what set it all off. That day, I'd downed two huge mugs of the black stuff (on an empty stomach) in preparation for that proposal work session. I used to be the "I'll make another pot" guy in the office and, to tell you the truth, it was a pretty nice work environment. We used to take turns walking around our little enclave refilling each other's mugs all day.
Kicking coffee was tough. I was all about Starbucks and/or any other coffee house. In fact, call me whatever names you want, but I'll admit to a long-term love affair with the grande cappuccino. Not only that, but life without iced tea has proven miserable at times. I used to drink enough of that at lunch time to make myself visibly fidgety. But, over time, it got easier. I eventually found substitutes (lesser substitutes, of course, but half-way decent ones like herbal teas containing chicory and carob). Celestial Seasonings makes a blend called Roastaroma that almost tastes coffee-like. (Ironically, I'd be lying if I claimed not to miss java, even though I currently regard it as a poison.)

By 2000, I'd ballooned into Jabba the Hut, weighing in at 230 or so. (Actually, it's tough to say, since I avoided scales.) A few years at this weight is all it took for the high blood pressure to set in.
In time, I came to like the beta blocker lifestyle. Kick back and let the pharmaceuticals do all the work for you, you know? Sleep, especially, migrated from generally refreshing to genuinely peaceful. I'd lie down, close my eyes, and wake up in almost the exact same position 8 hours later. I think I dreamed less as well, though I'm not sure. I definitely slept deeper, though. Whatever side effects I had (again, minimal stuff like occasional drowsiness or dizziness) seemed livable; whatever concerns I had about long-term effects on my body and/or life expectancy seemed like things I could deal with some other time.
I also learned that beta blockers are sometimes prescribed to treat anxiety. And, again, everything made sense. I was chilled out, relaxed. I recalled that, every so often in my past, I would wake breathless at 3:30 a.m. or so in a cold sweat, my heart pounding, my brain trying to come to terms with some vague notion of hopelessness that I'd been struggling with in an unremembered, recurring dream. That no longer happened. (Still hasn't happened again.)
So, yeah, I'm a mental case; now you know, okay?
But then, for whatever reason, I decided to start running. I ran all the time, and still do. The extra weight didn't come off at first, but I did feel better. Pants loosened up a bit, my face got a little thinner, etc. I think I became a bit upset at my lack of weight loss after training for my first 10k race. That helped me step things up a bit in a few areas. Not only did I begin to run longer routes, I also adopted some of Wendi's nutritional interests.
After reading up on what she was doing, I decided to try to increase the percentage of enzyme-rich foods in my diet.

So, I started running religiously in 2005 (and still do!), but couldn't get under approx. 220 pounds no matter how much I ran. When I weighed in for my first 10k in '06, I'd managed to get myself down to 217, but still needed BP meds.
Wendi eats 100% living foods (which basically translates into raw produce, nuts, seeds, etc.) -- which is probably viewed as pretty hard-core by most people. I don't think I could ever do 100% like that, but I figure I'm at 80% or so, and have been for a couple of months. (Still have to have my bagels on the weekend, and the occasional Steak -n- Shake burger. But, suffice it to say that we eat a lot of salad, which is fine, since we all really like salad to begin with.)
The result? I went to see my doctor again today. I figured it'd be the usual -- take my vitals, re-write me another year on the beta blockers. But not this time. He said, "How're you doing?"
I said, "Let me show you," then hopped off the table and showed him how my pants are at least 4 inches too big at the waist. One might even say -- and, this is really weird for me to type -- that I'm approaching "normal."
Dr. J's eyes grew wide. "Well, damn, you're healthy! It's time to get you off that shit." He actually said that. Then I got one of the coolest lectures from a doctor that I've heard to date. "You know," he said, "there are two ways to deal with this disease -- the easy way [i.e., simply gulping pills], and the hard way [i.e., making the lifestyle changes your body is calling for]. You did it the hard way, which few people actually do."
"So, I should stop taking the pills?"

Late summer 2007. Here's me a month or so before my second 10k, at which I weighed in at 186 pounds. No more pharmaceuticals for me!
"We'll wean you off them," he said, outlining a plan to reduce the dosage down to zero over a month. He said it'd keep my body from freaking out from such a major change (which is good, as it wasn't pleasant going on the damned things).
"So, when do you want to see me again?" I asked.
"Next time you're sick," he said.
So, I'm feeling overwhelmed right now, and, for some reason, more than slightly apprehensive. Damn near two-and-a-half years of treatment, and I've got a new prescription in some handwriting I can't read -- except for the final word, which says "stop." Life without meds... Imagine that!

Since writing that, I've slowly increased the percentage of living foods that make up my diet. I'd say I'm at 90% currently, with the occasional cooked meal at office functions. I also keep noticing perks of this lifestyle, which are very enjoyable to me. For example, when we receive big gift baskets of cookies at work, the staff devours them in mere hours. If we receive a fruit basket, it lasts for a week (usually because it takes me and the other few fruit-loving people that long to eat it all). Or, at office functions, I've noticed that I can take enormous plates of salads and fruits because there are always leftovers of these things.

Finally, I have no intention of ever returning to a diet that I'm certain was responsible for my weighing 230+ pounds and relying on beta-blockers to prevent my body from having a full-on heart attack. I'm not anywhere near as knowledgeable as Wendi when it comes to most things raw, but if you're looking for a guy who can whip up a mean nut dip, drop me a line.

2009 Update:  Wow, that story is even more interesting to me now, as it outlines my transition from health-crisis to general health. Since then, I've discovered that it only gets better(!) the longer you live this lifestyle. With years of living increasingly high-raw and a long span of 100% raw now under my belt, I have much more to say on this topic! It wasn't until 2008 that I began to experience many of the profound non-physical benefits that Wendi and other raw foodists often describe. But, whoa... This "diet" will surely change your life in ways unimaginable. The physical stuff -- releasing your extra weight, removing your reliance on pharmaceuticals, restoring your vitality, rightsizing your body -- is only the first of many changes you'll experience. If you're overweight, take my word for it that losing the weight will be the easy part!

I'll update this page more thoroughly in the very near future, as we have a total redesign planned for PureJeevan.com in 2009 as we head out into the world to teach others about this miraculous way of life.

What Happens
When You Eat
Living Foods?
Compare pics from two diets I've followed:

90+ % Cooked (around 230lbs. + BP meds):

High % raw foods (around 185 lbs., no longer on meds):

100 % raw foods (170 lbs.):

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