“I’ve known for a decade that healthy eating would be important, but it’s just a matter of making up your mind that you want to do it…. It opened my eyes that I can make a few positive changes that can make a lasting difference.”
– Cory Martin
Cory Martin was in a funk. In a job he didn’t like, and frustrated by his son’s childcare situation, his longtime depression and anxiety had spiked.
On top of that, he was exhausted. By 4 p.m., he was ready for bed. But instead, it was time to pick up his two active, young sons.
Beyond the fatigue, he suffered from frequent heartburn, and often, alternating diarrhea and constipation. And he took a moderate dose of high blood pressure medication to control his hypertension.
“I was depressed,” he recalls. “I’ve gone through these cycles before in my life and I always know that I’ll come back out of it eventually, but I never saw the bright side. A month went by and I was still feeling blah.”
A 30-Day Challenge
At the start of the year, Cory’s wife began taking steps to take better care of herself – inspiring him to try something similar.
Over the years, Cory had read a couple of influential books on diet, and one forward-thinking doctor had even recommended that he look into diet to address anxiety and depression.
“He led me to the book, Eat to Live,” he says. “That opened up a world that I just had never really even thought about to nutrition being the key to better health.”
With that knowledge, he decided to go all in with an approach that would effectively be the opposite of his regular routine: a vegan diet.
“Every one of the nutrition books that I’ve read all boils down to the majority of Western diseases, if not all Western diseases, can be traced to animal consumption – whether it be milk, red meat or even fish,” he says.
According to studies, a vegan diet has been associated with reduced inflammation.
A vegan diet, however, would be a 180-degree pivot from the barbecue and burgers that had been a normal part of his diet. And while a stout beer may be considered vegan, he would mostly give that up too.
For 30 days, Cory would eat a mostly vegan diet and carefully track his results. With each passing day, he made a mark on his bathroom mirror under the heading, “30 Days to Be Good to Myself.”
Positive Changes with a Vegan Diet – Within Days
A drastic diet change was about more than just discipline. It took time and preparation for the busy family of four. Cory and his wife typically ate the same meal, with modifications for their boys.
Living in the south, gatherings with extended family in the past often consisted of good ol’ chicken-fried-steak with mashed potatoes, gravy, fried okra and decadent bread pudding for dessert.
On a new diet, however, he chose salad.
In that 30 days, he remained mostly vegan, with a few occasional cheats.
How did Cory go from burgers and beer to fruits and veggies?
“I made ME a priority in my own life,” he says. “I’m not saying it was easy… but it’s not that complicated either. It’s not like I’m building a rocket. I’m building a healthy lifestyle. And the key there is building one piece (meal, workout, meditation) at a time.”
Fortunately, results came rapidly. Within days, Cory had more energy and his digestion was improving. Soon, his moods evened out as well.
“It wasn’t a perfect month,” he says. “But it opened my eyes that I can make a few positive changes that can make a lasting difference. I can see big results in a short amount of time.”
At the same time, he began working out, initially trying strength training and then moving more into body-weight exercises such as squats, pullups and more.
The Energy to Keep Up with Life
More than six months after switching to a cleaner diet, Cory reports that his digestive issues have completely disappeared. He only suffers from occasional heartburn, and even then, he can usually attribute that to eating meat or overeating.
He no longer takes a moderate dose of blood pressure medication, and still, his blood pressure levels are lower than they’ve been in years.
He sleeps better than ever and has the energy to keep up with his boys, full-time job and home responsibilities.
“I have a TON more energy,” he says. “That is the biggest and most obvious change. I am up by 5:30 and am going until 9:30 every day. As a working parent with young kids, it is always nonstop! But I’m not dragging after work anymore.”
And after a lifetime of ADHD – for which he has taken medication off and on – Cory even reports a better ability to focus.
“My wife has even commented on my change, saying I’m so much more helpful with her, the kids and chores, and I’m just generally more pleasant,” he says.
With that success, Cory has maintained his motivation. In the past few weeks, he’s transitioned to being 100 percent vegan after previously allowing a few occasional cheats.
He has also since started a new job, and next, has his sights set on running a 5K.
And instead of being addicted to beer and greasy foods, he’s now addicted to seeing progress.
“I’ve gained the confidence that I can make some changes now and I’m encouraged to keep going,” he says. “I’ve known for a decade that healthy eating would be important, but it’s just a matter of making up your mind that you want to do it.”
And if you have setbacks, just do better the next time, he advises.
“Instead of beating myself up for having a bad meal, or skipping a workout, I instead allow myself to be human and try again at the next opportunity to be as healthy as I can be,” he adds. “I’m trying to be better today than I was yesterday!”
Learn more about Cory journey’s on this blog.
If you found this story helpful, you might like California Woman Back on the Horse after Easing Multiple Sclerosis with ‘Pegan’ Diet.
What works for one person may not work for another. Consult your health practitioner for professional health advice.