My Story on Forks Over Knives

160lb. Weight Loss!

On 07/19/18 my weight loss transformation testimonial went live on Forks Over Knives.   It is less than 24 hours later (today) 7/20/18 and I have had hundreds of comments, dozens of inquiries, and a mass following on social media.  Although I don’t love the attention, I am happy that my story inspires others.

I want to point you to two important resources on this blog.  I am not the only one that has seen dramatic changes on a plant-based diet.  There are a lot of testimonies on the #PlantsHealHumans page.   There is also a Facebook page so please feel free to share your healing story there!  I also have weight loss tips in my post “Easy Weight Loss On A Plant Based Diet“.

If you need whole food plant based recipes, please visit my Recipe Index.

I also have a lot of meal ideas on Instagram. @respectfulliving1

Here is the Forks Over Knives Post :

How I Went from Being an Obese BBQ Chef to a Healthy Vegan Chef

Success Stories |
By Jeff T.

In 2011, I took over a small restaurant in my town and, shortly after, turned it into a BBQ joint. Over the next five years, I gained almost 150 pounds, weighing in at 348 pounds. I also developed severe joint pain and was taking 21 ibuprofen daily (4,200 milligrams). I had horrible sleep apnea, and eventually became pre-diabetic and had high cholesterol and high blood pressure. I had no idea becoming a vegan chef would be in my future.

In 2016, I developed severe edema. My hands, feet, and legs were always swollen. I saw my doctor many times, and the answer was always to throw pills at me. I was prescribed an anti-inflammatory, a painkiller, and a muscle relaxer. The medications seemed to help a little, but they never fixed the issues, and the edema persisted. I even had a deep vein thrombosis scan and a couple of EKG’s. Even though I was a morbidly obese guy, I was never once talked to about my diet!

In September 2016, I began having severe gastrointestinal pain. On October 3, 2016, I was hospitalized for it. They ran many tests, gave me no answers, did not address my diet, and prescribed even more medications.

The Start of My Plant-Based Journey
When I was released from the hospital, I had a conversation with my 68-year-old, extremely healthy, mostly plant-based mom. Her words to me were: “Don’t fill those prescriptions. Food is medicine! Do the research!”

So I did! I was unable to work, and I’m an avid research junkie, so I poured through the internet and medical journals for an anti-inflammatory diet.

Beginning Oct 5, 2016, I stopped eating beef, pork, and chicken; cut my dairy consumption by more than half; and stopped drinking soda. I added turmeric to my diet and started hydrating with lemon and lime in my water. I also limited my refined carbohydrate intake. In a little over two weeks, my edema was gone and my blood pressure stabilized into the normal range. In 100 days, I lost 80 pounds.

Going Full-Fledged WFPB
In February 2017, I watched the documentary Forks Over Knives and immediately stopped consuming cheese due to the casein, casomorphins, and IGF-1 in dairy. Within three weeks of ditching dairy, my lifelong struggle of daily anxiety disappeared. As I continued to research, I decided to give up eggs and fish, realizing that I had no need for these protein sources in my diet. Nor did I need the additional cholesterol!

In November 2017, I had blood work done. My blood pressure is excellent, and everything else is in the normal reference range. I am currently at 188 pounds. That is a 160-pound weight loss in 18 months. The best thing is, I feel great and have a ton of energy.

I since have gone on to start a plant-based nutrition support group in my local community and do plant-based cooking demonstrations at my local farmers’ market. I also started a blog in order to help others and to give tips and nutrition information.


I have now lost 168 lbs. and am gaining a ton of muscle easily on a whole food plant-based NO OIL diet.  (See cooking without oil tips & tricks)

348 lb. BBQ Restaurant Owner to 180

6 Replies to “My Story on Forks Over Knives

  1. Hi Jeff,
    Your story is fabulous. I’m so glad you are now healthy. I, too, believe food is medicine. I lost one brother at the age of 50 to obesity related illnesses. I have another severally obese brother I can’t seem to influence…How did you start a plant-based nutrition support group in your local community and do plant-based cooking demonstrations at your local farmers’ market. Was this a free service you did? What equipment did you take with you? Were there certain recipes you focused on? Did you sell FOK books there too? I would really like to do this in my neck of the woods here in Vermont and would love any tips you can provide. Thanks, Roxane

    1. Hi Roxanne, Thank you for your comment. To answer your questions: I got involved with the Plant Based Nutrition Support Group ( They are Michigan based so I have support here. Because I am well connected to my local community, I was able to get the word out quickly for my small group. There is a local FB group that I can post info on. The local newspaper and radio station picked up the story. I also started a Facebook group and invited those that I knew would be interested. Other members can also invite people they think would be interested. We do a monthly potluck that is whole food plant-based no oil or added salt or sugar. Our group has grown from nothing in January to over 140 members in the local community. As far as the cooking demos are concerned, the local farmers market manager wanted to add cooking demonstrations as a value add to the market. I use seasonally available produce that is donated from the vendors. We were able to get a grant from the county for $10,000.00 for a healthy community initiative. We are using $3800 of that for incentives (tokens to buy produce) to those that participate in our seminars and cooking demos. These tokens only go to seniors and SNAP recipients. The rest of the funds are used to pay for the equipment, health department licensing, staffing (minimal), nutrition education material printing, etc. I do not sell FOK books there, but that is not a bad idea! I do sell some of the food items that I make under our cottage industry law at the market. Also when I do the demo, I promote the PBNSG group. It works out for the market and the group and I do get paid to do the demos. As far as equipment is concerned, unless you know what you need or can work with someone that knows what they are doing for commercial cooking, it is a pretty extensive list. Because we have access to electricity, I use induction burners that cost about $70 each – then I do not need to worry about hood ventilation and other regulations that come along with having an open flame. You would have to check with your county or state health department for specific requirements. You wold for sure need a handwash basin, as well as a 3 sink/basin wash system for utensils and pans. Hope that helps, let me know if you have any questions. Jeff

  2. The beginning of the article states that you had a BBQ place. Did you change the menu or continue as it was? Just curious.

  3. Hi Jeff,
    What an inspiration and path to better health. My husband and I just saw the documentary, Forks over Knives and woke up to the damage that our Western Diet is having on us. We are making the change! I have diabetes 2, even though I am controlling it with medication I would love to leave that all behind. I hope to loose the meds and another 30 pounds. I will look to your blog for tips! Thanks!

    1. Hope you found what you needed. I have an article on reversing T2DM

      It is quite easy to reverse Type 2 Diabetes on a whole food plant-based diet. I would recommend the resource .

      If you want the science, there have been multiple studies on this. Most recently by Dr, Neal Barnard and the Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine conducted a Randomized Clinical Trial: A plant-based dietary intervention improves beta-cell function and insulin resistance in overweight adults. A 16-week randomized clinical trial.

      Prior, the Ma-Pi2 macrobiotic plant-based diet was able to bring ALL participants HBA1C from an average of 12.5 down to 5.6 within 6 months and ALL participants were able to get off insulin, and almost all off metformin. The diet was over 70% carbs, much of that from whole grains.

      Hope that helps, If you guys need further assistance, I do coaching via Skype as well.


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