This We Believe

Separated by Differences, United by Beliefs

The Power of Plants

on February 23, 2014

“Let Food be Thy Medicine, and Medicine be Thy Food”-Hippocrates

At age 23 a strong, otherwise healthy Lexus mechanic fell extremely ill with what he believed was the flu. Unable to keep anything down and with his kidneys passing blood, he ended up in the ER. He was suffering from acute kidney failure, a life threatening situation. A biopsy of his kidney was taken, and Jake, my fiancé, was diagnosed with IgA Nephropathy. IgA Nephropathy is a chronic kidney disease, one he will have for the rest of his life. During that summer day, his life changed forever. Months go by, and many blood tests were performed. The results were always the same, chronic kidney disease.

Following the only accepted treatment plan, he was prescribed many medications such as steroids, diuretics (water pills), blood pressure medication and countless supplements. These prescriptions are not intended to reverse or heal the existing kidney damage; they are only meant to prolong life as long as possible. Eventually chronic Kidney disease leads to kidney transplant or dialysis, but those too are only temporary solutions. Unfortunately, preventing further kidney damage came at a large expense, Jake’s quality of life. The supplements and steroids made him feel like a completely different person. I watched him countless days sick, tired, and in pain. I wiped his tears while he asked me to please not let him die in a hospital. My heart was breaking.

Feeling helpless and frustrated watching the one I love suffer, I decided to take medicine into my own hands.

Adhering to a plant based diet that is gluten free, low in sodium, oil free, and whole grain became my new treatment plan for Jake. I read as much information on this lifestyle as I could, and watched a documentary on the health benefits of avoiding animal products. After adopting this diet, something wonderful happened. His body started to heal.

Jakes body stabilized. His blood pressure returned to normal levels and he regained a considerable amount of kidney function. But kidneys aren’t like skin; it’s rare for them to heal.

I was already pursuing my dream of becoming a doctor when I met Jake, but now my focus has shifted from being an ER doctor, to a doctor that prevents patients from ending up in the ER. Preventative medicine allows people to spend more time living their lives, and less time feeling sick and recovering from disease. After all, preventing disease is easier than reversing disease, and a plant based diet prevents many lifestyle diseases that inflict millions of Americans today. The words Hippocrates spoke long ago have new meaning in an era where medications reign as a trusted way to combat diseases. I believe that food is medicine. I’ll stick to healing my patients with food and encouragement. So they too, can share the same tears we did. Tears of joy when his blood tests came back with wonderful results, he is no longer on any medication or supplements.

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One response to “The Power of Plants

  1. carlymcc says:

    What an amazing and moving story! I truly enjoyed reading this, it brought me to tears!

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