Meeting Our Hero! {almost 😢}

If you've been around us for even a few minutes we've probably talked to you about Dr. Michael Greger, his book How Not to Die, and his nonprofit

We decided it was time to thank him in person for all he's done for our family - so we looked at his speaking schedule and booked a trip to Asheville, NC for The Lifestyle Medicine Symposium: Redefining Healthcare. As a registered nurse Emma was also able to get some continuing education credits for attending but the real reason we were there was to meet Dr. G! 

I was so excited I had trouble sleeping the night before, he's my Obama + Tim Cook + Lady Gaga. The conference was amazing and Emma write about that in another post. But as you might have guessed from the title, Dr. Greger didn't make it 😢! He was flying back from Finland and missed his last flight. So close! He teleconferenced in and of course was amazing as always. Here is the letter I hope to hand him in person in the near future:

Dr. Greger,

This winter my mom called, “Sweetness (I know, but that’s what she calls me) I just finished that book you sent me. I can’t believe what I learned!” Her name is Kathy and she is the kindest, nicest, most giving and positive woman you’ll ever meet. That was about 7 months ago. She has since lost over 50lbs, is off all her medication, no longer snores, no longer has allergies, and her blood-work is that of a teenager! She just ran a couple 5ks, a 10-miler, and signed up for a few half marathons! The unthinkable also happened - she has even more energy and positivity than before. She went all in on a WFPB lifestyle because of you! She is now leading our family, sending us recipes, articles, books and advice. She is the manager for a large high-end grocery store here in Minneapolis. Interacting with customers and staff she evangelizes the power being WFPB through her positivity, energy, and physical change. She has sent many others down our same WFPB path and it all started because of you!

Based on the change we’ve seen in our family and friends who’ve followed your advice, I can only imagine the number of letters you receive like this - which is awesome! But for me this is personal, this is my mom. I will never have the words to properly thank you for what you’ve done. She was an amazing woman before - but she’s even more amazing now. We only get one shot at this thing called life and as I get older I realize just how valuable each healthful day is - and you’ve give us more of those - which is probably the greatest gift any one person can give.

I’m sure many days it feels like you’re fighting an uphill battle. From politics, trolls on social media, pseudo science/fads, misinformation campaigns, personal attacks, to the billions of dollars spent by the meat and dairy industry to confuse people and muddy the waters. Although it does seems like the tide might finally be turning, on the harder days think of us, Kathy, and the countless others whose lives are forever changed! 

We lost my Grandma Cleo (Kathy’s mom) not too long ago. The last several years of her life were spent succumbing to the cruel mental prison that is dementia. For loved ones, the pain is doubled because Grandma is here, but gone at the same time. Everyone thinks they’re invincible until they’re not. And when I see people comment on WFPB posts with, “I love bacon” or see my seemingly smart friends choose old habits over health, I think of Grandma and the quote “If you want to know what health is worth, ask a sick person.” I’m preaching to the choir leader here, and I know a WFPB lifestyle can’t prevent every illness, but it is socking how little people value their one and only life. Thank you for honoring your Grandmother through your work and we plan to do the same. Thank you for waking us up.

In addition to our day jobs my wife Emma and I are endurance athletes. Since going WFPB we’re setting PRs, have more energy, and our recovery has nearly disappeared. For my 37th birthday we went for a 37 mile run (I know, we’re crazy.) Normally we’d be held up for at least a week recovering after something like that - we went for a run a day later! 

Finally I wanted to thank you for your integrity and selflessness. You have every right to make money from your books, podcasts, speaking engagements, tv appearances, and website. You should be rich! However, the fact that you donate everything and continue to work even harder makes you heroic. I don’t say that lightly. Before “How Not to Die” came into our lives, if asked who I’d want to meet if I could pick anyone, I’d say President Obama, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and Lady Gaga would have topped that list - but today it is you by a mile! And if I just handed you this letter, know what a big deal it was for us to meet you. We’ll remember this forever. -John