Ultra Recovery: From Depressed Addict to Pro Ultrarunner on a Plant-Based Diet

From the article:

“Since then, I have competed in some of the toughest and most extreme ultra-marathons in the world, including Badwater, a 135-mile race in Death Valley in 130-degree heat. I am now in the best shape of my life at 45 years old.”


Ultra Recovery: From Depressed Addict to Pro Ultrarunner on a Plant-Based Diet:

In 2005, I was 34 years old, over 320 pounds, had ridiculously high blood pressure, high cholesterol, prediabetes, and two herniated discs in my spine. I was eating fast food three or four times a day, popping pain pills (Vicodin, Percocet, codeine) like Tic-Tacs, and washing it all down with a bottle of whiskey each day in a futile attempt to escape reality.

Despite my efforts to hide it from others, the reality was I was on the fast track to an early death. The saddest part was that I was actually hoping to die. Despite abusing my body for more than a decade, I was somehow surviving—just barely, but alive nonetheless. I was still breathing despite all my medical problems, depression, and hopeless chemical and food addictions.

One morning in 2005, I woke up. I woke up physically from passing out drunk and sleeping for 12 hours, but I also woke up in a much more profound and meaningful way. Until that day, I was a zombie walking through life. But on this morning, as my physical body rose from the bed, a tiny flame woke up inside me—my desire to live and start being a good father to my kids. I slowly and steadily went about the task of putting my broken life and broken body back together.

I dumped the booze down the drain, discontinued my midnight trips to McDonald’s, and started going to the gym. For a couple years, I learned to jog and fumbled my way through dieting. I ate a mostly vegetarian diet with lean meats and some cheese and run-walked my way to a slow marathon finish. I had lost a great deal of weight, but still felt afraid that if I stopped running, stopped dieting, or let my guard down for a second, I would gain it all back. Everything changed at the two-year mark, when I became curious about a vegan diet through some friends. On a whim, I started a 30-day vegan challenge. About two days into the challenge, I watched Forks Over Knives. I haven’t been the same since.

After switching to an entirely plant-based diet, I lost the additional weight I couldn’t seem to get rid of before. I eventually stabilized at 160lbs—half of my former weight! Along with my weight problems, my high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart problems went away for good. Even more spectacular was how I felt—lighter, stronger, faster, and able to run and train harder than I ever had in my life. I was recovering so fast from my hard workouts that my running friends were shaking their heads in disbelief. The year that I made the plant-based switch, I ran a 100 mile ultra-marathon, placed in the top 10 at two other ultra marathons, and went on to set an American record.

Since then, I have competed in some of the toughest and most extreme ultra-marathons in the world, including Badwater, a 135-mile race in Death Valley in 130-degree heat. I am now in the best shape of my life at 45 years old.

I’ve just passed my six year anniversary of being vegan. What started as a health and fitness-based journey has evolved into a peaceful way of life. I find comfort in knowing that nothing must die for me to thrive. Letting go of my old habits and beliefs surrounding food and nutrition was not just an act of taking things out of my life and away from my dinner table. Eating and living this way has added depth to my life and helped me to achieve what I previously would have scoffed at or written off as impossible.


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4 thoughts on “Ultra Recovery: From Depressed Addict to Pro Ultrarunner on a Plant-Based Diet”

  1. Jogging between 45-60 min daily, and hitting the gym a couple times a week, I am meandering around at 275lbs, down from 320 2yrs ago. Diet advice comes flying at me from every direction, I’m so frustrated. I really hope Forks Over Knives helps me the way it’s helped you. Thanks for posting, T. Will Crow

    • To todd crow,

      I’ve helped many people lose weight from 22 lbs to 110 lbs in one year, depending on what ideal weight their body needed to achieve.

      Go through the provided information of the following tags:



      Well, there is more to know, much more.

      Keep me updated about your progress.

      Frustration, as you probably know, is the no. 1 emotion leading to weight gain.

      Provide the body with the right fuel (enzymes, which are only available in raw foods and are one of the most important keys; iodine (!); selenium; potassium; magnesium; sodium [NO toxic salt. Any salt!!!]; boron; etc. all from food and some supplements [iodine, selenium] maybe.) and your body will drop weight, i.e. stored toxic garbage, like you’ve never seen before. In fact, you will have to eat a lot in order to not drop too much weight too fast. Seriously.

      Drink lots of distilled water …


      … people who drink at least a gallon per day achieve the best results.

      In case you start to make your own vegetable (green) juices, which is highly recommended, then you do not have to drink that much distilled water.

      Copied the following from another comment I made:

      To Vilma Lopez,

      I know Andre Norton Webber says it is kind of OK to drink the distilled water from Walmart, because of the very low storage time.

      Personally, I recommend to get a water distiller and not to drink it from plastic containers …

      Water Distiller, Countertop, White Enamel, Glass Collection – Price: $209.00

      … additionally I recommend a carbon filter to remove the VOCs.

      Andrew and others recommend to drink at least a gallon per day. (Freshly made vegetable juices with your slow juicer do count also , but pure water is so important).

      The testimonials show that people who have been drinking at least a gallon per day had the most amazing success stories to tell.

      Every individual is different and so it plays also a role how healthy, old and toxic you are, when you are starting to drink distilled water.

      Correct breathing is very important too …

      Buteyko Method: Correct Your Breathing – The Oxygen Advantage – Shut Your Mouth And Change Your Life | Patrick McKeown | TEDxGalway (Video)

      … and so is a healthy diet:

      About diet I would have to write a book to tell you what works for me best (and I am still improving after all these many years). There is so much to know and people are making so many mistakes, just like they are doing with their ‘normal’ diet.

      Enzymes are so important for our health, but if we cook (kill) all of our food, then we have destroyed all of them:

      “A good way to help you to understand the importance of enzymes is by giving you an illustration.An architect, in cooperation with a contractor, may determine every item of material needed for building a new home.

      These hundreds of items could be correctly ordered and safely delivered to a building site.

      But until the carpenters, brick layers, plasterers, painters and other specialists come to do the work, the home remains unbuilt.

      Enzymes are the bodies labor force in performing all chemical and biological processes in the body. We are born with a given, limited amount of enzyme activity (I compare it to a bank account); we must learn to conserve it.

      Depleting our enzyme supply (constantly drawing from the bank account by eating only cooked and processed foods) results in a weakened immune system. Weakening our immune system makes us prime targets for disease.”

      When starting drinking distilled water (breathing correctly, changing your diet and exercising) you get results from the start, BUT you may not see and feel them immediately.

      It all takes time.

      I’ve helped people lose 10-46 kg in one year (having them eat as much as they want, but no more garbage!).

      The high ‘distilled’ water content of raw foods makes them feel full very fast and they can eat as much as they want, without gaining weight.

      And they have to eat a lot because the body will detox, rebuilt and rejuvenate itself, which needs a lot of energy and building material.

      Here are some books (Note that I do NOT agree with everything in these books. However, they will set you on a journey and help you figure out what is good for you. Personally, I believe it is important to have read all of them.)

      Fresh Vegetable and Fruit Juices: What’s Missing in Your Body? by Norman Wardhaugh Walker, R. D. Pope (Compiler), R. D. Pope (Foreword by)

      Hippocrates LifeForce (In this book you’ll get an explanation how long it takes on average to detoxify and rejuvenate different parts of the body and a lot more of course.)

      The Vegetarian Guide to Diet & Salad

      The Gerson Therapy: The Proven Nutritional Program for Cancer and Other Illnesses

      Become Younger

      Healthy at 100: The Scientifically Proven Secrets of the World’s Healthiest and Longest-Lived Peoples

      Green juices and not too much fruit & not too much nuts are important. You’ll find that out yourself.

      Why am I saying all of this?

      Simply because if you bring the pieces of the puzzle together and combine all the good stuff, then distilled water will be so much more effective!!!

      It is all about adequately nourishing and detoxing the body (physically, but also mentally and spiritually).

      Your increased level of the life force (Qi, Prana) and focus might very well set you on a spiritual journey as well.

      And maybe you want to take your time and look at my comments (in the comment section of this article).

      Hope that was helpful.

      All the best.


      From now on you will lose weight.

      The cleansing can be sped up many times, with less strong detox reactions, by doing colon hydrotherapy and/or coffee enemas (see the Gerson Therapy).

      You may want to do a few colon hydrotherapy sessions first and then stick to coffee enemas.

      Sounds maybe totally crazy, but it works.

      All the best,


  2. Thank you for your kind reply. I will immediately pick up some distilled water and get my juicer out of storage. Stocking the fridge with fruits and veggies too. Much appreciated, Todd Crow

    • To Todd Crow,

      You’re welcome.

      It has to be a slow juicer, or it will kill the enzymes and some other vital nutrients.

      Furthermore, the juicer should be very good at juicing greens, because that will be what will clean and rebuild your body.

      Horizontal juicers from Omega, for example, are good in juicing greens (Spinach, salad, dandelion, stinging nettles, ground elder and horrible tasting, but extremely powerful wheatgrass).

      More info about juicing you’ll find in Norman Walker’s book: “Fresh Vegetable and Fruit Juices: What’s Missing in Your Body?”

      Carrots will also prove to be very helpful achieving your goal.

      Start slowly. Learn something new everyday. If you do this correctly and your body is given all the vital nutrients it needs, then it will show you what it can do.

      You’ll be amazed and in one year you will be a different man.

      All the best.



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