Man Lost Half His Body Weight, Naturally, on a Vegan Diet

Benji Kurtz says that on Memorial Day weekend in 2013 the answer to his “lifelong quest for good health” found him. At the time he weighed 258 pounds and was determined to lose the weight.

Healing With Plants is a media series sharing stories of real people who have cured themselves and found healing through a plant based or vegan diet. We have collected nearly 300 stories to share with you in this series.

According to Benji’s first person account:

“At that point in time, my weight had ballooned up as it normally did in the Spring. I’d pack the pounds onto my 5’5″ frame, up to between 250 and 265 (my all time high was 278), then I’d “low-carb” it for several months, and exercise, get down to around 220 or 230 in the Fall, and then repeat the whole cycle again. I was very fortunate that I was a relatively ‘healthy’ obese person with no serious health issues other than some minor digestive issues best described as IBS. I don’t drink or smoke, and had been eating only fish and poultry for a couple years, so fortunately, I had no chronic illness besides morbid obesity.”

At first Benji thought, as many people today still do, that the way to weight loss was to cut carbs. It had never worked for him before, but this time he vowed to not give into the craving for carbs. Thankfully that weekend he found the documentary Forks Over Knives ,which revealed a whole new world for Benji.

“Not once had I heard that eating all the animal products were harmful. I was only eating chicken and fish anyway—wasn’t that the “healthy meat”? And I had believed dairy was good for me—my favorite food was cheese! We used to buy the giant containers of aged Parmesan from the warehouse store and I would sometimes snack right out of the container – a pinch (or three) of grated Parm!”

But the film caused Benji to question his previously held beliefs about nutrition and food:

“After watching Fork over Knives, I thought to myself, ‘how could I possibly scavenge enough food with no animal products at all?  How could I cook without olive oil?’ I had for years wanted to be vegetarian, but I had convinced myself that there simply wasn’t enough food for me to eat. But, what if there was?”

The message of the doctors and researchers in Forks Over Knives just made sense for Benji. He says,

“’I’m not a scientist, but I’ve always thought analytically, and have gravitated towards common sense and truth. To me, everything that the leaders of the WFPB movement were saying ‘clicked’! Of course it makes no sense to freely eat all the fatty meat and butter and oil you want with no consequence. That’s insane! Of course the idea of making oneself sick and into a state of ketosis to lose weight (classical Atkins’ dieting) can’t be a healthy proposition. It makes sense that our digestive systems resemble other plant-eaters more than meat-eaters.”

Benji began devouring books on the subject as he began to shed the pounds. He described himself as being a “regular vegan” at first still consuming oily foods like fried tofu and oily pasta. Eventually though he began to adopt a more oil-free low-fat vegan diet.

“Eventually, I realized that I didn’t feel “clean” when eating oily food. I realized vegetables were better if they were steamed or roasted, and flavored with herbs and spices than when they were swimming in a pool of oil from the hot bar. It wasn’t about willpower anymore: the oily food just didn’t make me feel as vibrant.”

Benji also took up swimming an activity he’d previously felt uncomfortable about. In less than two years he had lost 110 pounds, nearly half his body weight, completely naturally with a vegan diet. Benji’s old friends almost didn’t recognize him as he tells it:

“The reaction from everyone around me has been nothing short of amazing. Best is seeing friends or acquaintances that haven’t seen me in a year.  They remember me wearing 2xl shirts and 46 to 50-inch jeans. Now when they see me in a small slim-cut shirt and 31-inch jeans they’re not even sure it’s me! That is fun, and never gets old.”

When people ask Benji how long he plans to keep up his diet he insists it’s not a diet but a lifestyle he’s never giving up.

Benji Kurtz lost nearly half his body weight with a vegan diet. Photo from 2014 www.drmcdougall.com.

“What I did was change my lifestyle to one that is sustainable forever; I did so for my own health, for the welfare of the animals that are subjected to unbelievable trauma, and for the welfare of our planet. Why would I want to trade in my healthy habits for deadly ones? And now, a year later, I know the answer to the question: “what is the correct way for humans to eat?” It is a low-fat, whole-food-plant-based diet, with little to no added sugar, oil or salt.”

Benji’s experience is inspiring but not unique. I’ve collected nearly 300 stories of people like Benji who have lost weight, cured disease, and transformed their life with the healing power of a plant based diet. I’ll be sharing more of these stories at the Healing With Plants – check “Healing Testimonials” for more sweet success stories.

Source: Excerpts from Benji's first hand account were taken from  Dr.McDougall.com. Check it out for the full first hand account.

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