If you think adopting a plant-based diet is not in the cards for you, you might be interested to hear Jeff Adezsko’s amazing story. As one of Phyter’s owners and partners, you might assume he has always been a hardcore vegan. But, just as some people immediately get images of tree bark salads when they hear “vegan”, that’s a common misconception. As more foodies become aware of the health and environmental benefits of going vegan, the lifestyle has become exponentially satisfying and delicious. Jeff’s amazing path, from junk food junkie to plant-based champion, illustrates the joys and benefits of working vegan options into your diet.
Breaking Bad Habits
Like a lot of kids, Jeff didn’t always make the best choices when it came to nutrition. “Food was not important to me at that time in my life. I was a sugar-holic. I’d give my good lunches to my friends and I’d eat ice cream. I was a horrible, horrible eater—and consequently, I had horrible allergies.” Eventually, these poor habits started to have even more serious effects. “I had high cholesterol. After doing some research, I started realizing that I can affect my health in a positive way just by changing my diet.” It was this conviction that he could make a positive change that energized Jeff. “I think one thing that kind of irks me is people believing in predisposition. I don’t believe there’s a predetermined destiny. I believe that everybody needs to take control of their own health.”
Change didn’t happen overnight, however. “I called myself a flexitarian for a long time. I started eating less meat. My wife and I started eating more vegetables. I was on a quest to eat healthier. We did a pretty good job on our own, but I don’t believe I was where I wanted to be. Even making ‘healthy’ choices can be tricky. When I was eating protein bars, I didn’t know that I was eating whey protein, or pea protein, or chemicals. Your perception is that you’re eating something healthy. And that’s not always the case. So when I met (Phyter co-owners) David and Gloria three years ago, and I met David’s father, Chef Dave, he said go plant-based for three weeks or five weeks and see how you feel. And my wife and I did it.”
Getting on Track to a Plant-Based Diet
Once he made a serious effort, the benefits seemed to multiply. “I had never felt better in my entire life. After four months my cholesterol came down 70 points. I was never able to get my cholesterol under 200. I used to float between 230 and 260, depending on what I ate. When I went plant-based, my energy level was through the roof. I started sleeping better. Everything about my life became better even just my outlook. So I was hooked after that.”
So having been on both sides of the dietary spectrum, what advice would Jeff give to people who are interested in going plant-based? “Start slow and take baby steps. It’s just like anything else. You have to do some research, and try and find other people that have done it and ask them about it. A common mistake is people stop too soon. They think that you can change a habit in 21 days. It’s actually more like ten weeks, because your intestinal tract is carrying bacteria that’s used to digesting this other food that you’ve been eating.”
That’s not to say Jeff is an all-or-nothing zealot. “We don’t try to tell everybody that they should go 100% plant-based. All we try to teach people is to incorporate more plants into their diet. We want people to know that when they eat a Phyter bar, it’s like having a smoothie without having to make it. A lot of items that I throw in my smoothie in the morning are in Phyter bars—pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seed, almond butter, and then of course the fresh vegetables and fruit. We even have people just throwing a Phyter bar in their smoothies since the ingredients are so healthy.
Of course, the benefits people experience make a plant-based diet all the more compelling. Aside from clearer skin, increased energy, and even weight loss, a vegan diet can support long-term health by preventing chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Sounds pretty good to us.