Updated: Aug 19
Hi, I’m Fred Vanderwerf and I’m 50. Turning 50 this past year in the midst of pandemic has made me ask how can I prepare myself best for the second half of life. I began to look into my retirement plans and make sure things were on track there. I watched countless youtube videos on financial readiness for retirement. One in particular said, “more important than retiring from something is knowing what will you be retiring to.” It hit me that I don’t exactly know the answer to that. I’m still dreaming about that, but it got me thinking that whatever it is, I want to be healthy enough to enjoy it.
I’ve been a fairly healthy guy my whole life, enjoyed sports and being active. I still play pickup games with the neighbor kids but not without regretting it the next day. Around the age of 40, I began to slowly add weight. My job changed, my hobbies changed, and weight didn’t come off as easy as it went on. I broke 190lbs then 195. Next thing I knew I was up to 220. I would try popular diet tactics – high protein/low carbs, intermittent fasting, medifast. I would have success and maybe drop ten pounds, or even 15, but I would fall off the wagon and the weight would return and then some.
This past January, my wife and I joined Rooted Green Wellness” January Kickstart Your Health 5-week series. Why? Honestly, the absolute number one reason is because my best friend since the 8th grade - Joel Erickson - assists his wife , Jill, the instructor, with the class. Most of my life he has been my “bigger” buddy. But Joel has been eating whole food plant based for 4+ years, has experienced a reversal in his heart disease, and his in better shaped now at 51 then he was in high school. I am now his “bigger” buddy. It’s a pandemic, I’m a raging extrovert, and love meeting new people, and I thought “Hey maybe we will learn something about health while enjoying time with my friend. “
The first week in the class we openly admitted we were just here to learn, no promises of actually eating WFPB. By the second week the assignment was to begin WFBP eating. Huh?! What?! Well, ok. I can try anything for 5 weeks. I lost 5 pounds right away, and that just helps a guy keep going. The next weeks the weight didn’t come off near as fast but was moving in the right direction, and I noticed I was feeling better, my complexion was looking good – no winter flakiness, no dandruff, and super soft skin (I know I’m a guy and I just said “soft skin”). The weekly accountability knowing I was going to check in with my new friends also helped keep me going.
By the last week I think I was down 10lbs feeling like I had much more energy, enjoying the new weekly recipes Rooted Green was offering us and honestly not missing meat, eggs, or dairy in the least. It actually didn’t feel like I was limiting what I could eat, but actually expanding my possibilities, and opening me up to whole new food groups. I find that a whole food plant-based lifestyle keeps me full. I am so much more aware of my fiber intake. (Thanks to the class I learned that most Americans get double their daily amount of protein but only 15% of their fiber.) Can you believe, I eat whenever and how much I feel like? I just now put WFPB things into my body. For me, it’s been absolutely crucial that I didn’t have to give up popcorn. I eat popcorn AT LEAST once a day, and now I eat without oil or butter.
It’s been 10 weeks, and I am now down 20lbs. I feel great, my skin is still soft (yes, know I have said this twice now😊 ). I joined a gym to get some coaching on how to improve strength and tone. I have 3 months until 51 and I have a few goals in terms of my health. First, ace my next blood screening this summer, 2) become the “little” buddy again in my relationship with Joel, and 3) give as much attention to my health now as I do my retirement accounts, so I’m not just financially ready, but physically ready. Watch out! I would wholeheartedly recommend Kickstart Your Health class with Rooted Green Wellness!