Judi Menzel Revels in a Pain-Free Life
The excruciating pain of severe arthritis dominated Judi Menzel’s life. Her suffering began in 1985, when she was in a sedentary, mega-stress job managing millions of dollars held in trust for her clients. At first, Judi treated the emerging pain in her hips and hands with over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen.
The torment migrated to her lower back and her doctors began prescribing stronger and stronger drugs, until she was up to using potentially addictive oxycodone. Still, the pain refused to leave, and continued to imprison her activities. Judi notes “I couldn’t sit without pain in my hip joints. I couldn’t write without pain in my finger joints and working on the computer was the worst.”
The turning point in Judi’s health came in 2007, after 22 years of arthritis agony. Her physical therapist at her HMO suggested she stop eating dairy products, read The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, and try eating only plant foods one day a week.
Ready to try anything to mitigate the pain, Judi checked herself into a vegan holistic health center in San Diego area for two weeks of detox from her daily yogurt habit. She began eating a plant-centered diet with only occasional cheese bites.
Judi’s joint pain vanished after she began her plant-centered diet. She started a gleeful phase in life, pain-free and medication-free. “When my provider told me to read The China Study, I had no idea it would change my entire life. I love the way I feel and the way I look. I look forward to a pain-free life for the next thirty years,” Judi joyfully relates.
She lost 30 pounds for good measure. The weight loss was welcome, since Judi had yo-yo dieted on and off for over forty years.
Over the last three years, Judi refined her diet to a whole-foods plan. She eats fruits, veggies, lentils, legumes, grains, potatoes, nuts and seeds. She notes, “My checklist is – IS it whole, organic, raw, ripe, and fresh…if so, I’ll probably eat it. I do steam some veggies and cook grains and of course, any potatoes.”
Judi terminated her “love affair” with cheese simply by eating more nutritious meals, including lots of dark leafy green vegetables. Judy shares a powerful observation. “When I shifted my focus from losing weight to eating healthy, the craziness vanished. I firmly believe if you give your body the nutrition it needs, the food demons will fade away. For a garden-variety food addict, this freedom is huge.”
This transformation is all the more remarkable because Judi’s parents were southerners. She grew up eating “cornbread with
loads of butter, collard greens cooked in bacon fat, pot roast with brown rice, but loads of greasy gravy. Grilled, in butter, cheese with mayo sandwiches served with creamy tomato soup.” Her mom also served vegetables, but their benefits were not enough to overcome the meat and dairy. Tragically, her father died at age 64 from a heart attack.
Judi is on a quest to learn more all the time about whole-foods diets. She reads, takes courses (she is now certified in plant-based nutrition through eCornell and the T Colin Campbell Foundation), and attends lectures and conferences.
Now lean, active, and energetic at age 69, Judi works to educate others and share the path to good health. She notes, “The number one cause of death is not really heart disease, it’s ignorance of nutrition. In today’s society, largely due to the media, people feel guilty about everything, and poor health is one of them.”
Judi is organizing a class to educate other patients on the wonders of a plant-based diet. She is building a network of people who can aid her on her mission. “It all comes back to what’s at the end of our forks. We who eat whole foods need to deliver this message of sound nutrition of plant-based food. We have to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.” Thanks Judi for all your work to bring good health to those with chronic illness through the simple, low-cost, satisfying means of a plant-based diet.
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Blog posting by Janice Stanger, Ph.D. Janice authored The Perfect Formula Diet, the smart person’s nutrition book built on sustainable food choices. Enjoy six kinds of whole foods for permanent, hunger-free weight loss and health.