CNN just profiled Benji Kurtz, a man who lost over 100 pounds by eating a low-fat, whole food, plant-based diet:
Light Bulb Goes On: He Lost 100 Pounds With Plant-Based Diet, CNN, 28 July 2014
Dr. McDougall also profiled him, in a letter written by Kurtz himself:
Benji Kurtz: A Relatively ‘Healthy’ Obese Person
On Memorial Day weekend, 2013, Kurtz weighed 258 pounds. His highest weight was 278. Kurtz is 5’5″ tall. He was severely obese. He began by eliminating animal food and lost about 50 pounds. The rest came off after he stopped cooking with oil: “I was still eating oily pastas with fried tofu chunks.” And now, a year later:
“I’m down 110 lbs from when I started last year. From my all-time highest weight of 278, I’m nearly half-gone! My BMI is 24.4, and I weigh 146. My cholesterol is at 167 mg/dL, my HDL is 53 mg/dL , LDL is 99 mg/dL, triglycerides are 71 mg/dL, and glucose is 83. My blood pressure 117/77 mmHg and my resting pulse is 54 bpm.”
Kurtz was eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans. He ate oatmeal for breakfast. He ate red lentil chili, baked potatoes, split pea soup, steamed vegetables, and pastas for lunch and dinner. He ate fruits, nuts, and seeds in between.
“He discovered that he could eat as much as he wanted of the right foods and not gain weight. His new way of eating felt more like abundance than deprivation.”
His cholesterol dropped from over 200 to 167, his blood pressure dropped, his health insurance rates dropped. His energy levels increased, so did his ability to taste:
“Once you start eating this way, your palate totally changes,” Kurtz said. “You are tasting food the way food was supposed to taste in the first place. Like a film has been lifted off your taste buds.”
“I don’t crave foods I no longer eat. I’m not going to bed hungry. Everything about life is better.”
These last two points about taste and cravings aren’t often addressed. Cravings change. Dr. Doug Lisle explains this in his book The Pleasure Trap. We crave the foods we eat. We stop craving the foods we no longer eat. If we continue to eat animal fat, we will salivate over animal fat. We are, in effect, “trapped” by our perceptions, and by behaviors based on those perceptions. This is the part people don’t appreciate. They think life will be hard without “______” and what’s the point in living without “______.” They don’t take the plunge and discover that “______” was just a perception and that it can, quite literally, disappear.
Some before and after photos of Kurtz: