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How NYC Democratic Mayoral Candidate Eric Adams Transformed His Life By Going Plant-Based

Jason Wachob
mbg Founder & Co-CEO By Jason Wachob
mbg Founder & Co-CEO
Jason Wachob is the Founder and Co-CEO of mindbodygreen and the author of Wellth.
Eric Adams from the Brooklyn BP's Office
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We'll wager you don't come to mindbodygreen for the latest political updates—nor do we try to take on that responsibility. We do believe, however, in the power of healthy food to transform your life; we also know that the complex, systemic issues surrounding said healthy food (like access to fresh fruits and veggies) ultimately require some government intervention to make headway. 

It's a similar topic we discussed with Brooklyn borough president and New York City's Democratic mayoral candidate Eric Adams on the mindbodygreen podcast. In fact, he shares his own remarkable health journey and how food (namely, a plant-based diet) changed his life for the better. 

He was unhealthy and didn't even know it.

Rewind to 2016, and Adams was not well: He was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes after undergoing a colonoscopy due to an intense stomach ulcer, he tells us. He lost sight in his left eye and was slowly losing it in his right. He had nerve damage in his hands and feet, and he couldn't feel his right thigh. His doctor even revealed he was at a comatose level. 

But let's back up to even before he reached this serious diagnosis: Leading up to these intense symptoms, Adams didn't know anything was wrong. He explains that he had an "over-fixation with meat" and an attachment to unhealthy recipes passed down for generations. "Sugar, fat, salt, processed—that was my diet," he says. Sure, he didn't feel amazing, but he didn't think he ever could: He thought that was just his baseline. 

"I normalized the discomfort of being unhealthy," he says. "I normalized aches and pains, not being able to sleep. I thought it was part of life." 

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He went plant-based, and his life changed. 

It all paints a rather bleak picture, and as Adams notes, it's not an uncommon one for many Americans. "My family members were diabetic," he explains. "I saw it almost as a natural transition when you get to a certain age in life." 

However, Adams was able to turn it all around—starting with a complete diet overhaul. "Three weeks after [following a] whole food plant-based [diet], my vision came back," he recounts. "Three months later, my A1C went down to 5.7. My cholesterol normalized, my blood pressure normalized, my kidney numbers normalized. I dropped 35 pounds. I woke up, and I wasn't feeling discomfort anymore." 

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Today, he makes fruits and veggies the star of his plate: He discovered broccoli, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, kale, and other vegetables he had never heard of before. "The dam broke," he writes in his book, Healthy At Last. "I was soon eating mushrooms, carrots, asparagus, sweet potatoes, red cabbage, beans, peas, and more." (He even had fun finding new plants to cook with—items like cherimoyas, pawpaws, and pomelos make it into his regular rotation.)

"The fountain of youth is found in your fridge," he says on the podcast. "That's where you must start." That's not to say you absolutely must go plant-based (everyone's body is different, after all), but it is a case for adding more whole plants to the menu. Perhaps start with Adams' quick and easy black bean tacos

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The takeaway. 

Food can change your life. Take it from Adams, who saw positive, lasting results in a matter of months. "I had a fast turnaround because of my healthy lifestyle," he adds. "No matter if you are 8 or 80, you can be the person you want to be by taking healthy steps forward." 

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