From a bona-fide couch-potato to climbing Mount Kailash and Mount Kilimanjaro, skydiving, finishing several marathons, riding in a 100-mile bike ride and making a complete change of diet, Dr. Akil Taher is living proof that you’re never too old to turn your life around.
At the age of 73, Dr. Taher is just getting started. Prior to changing from the S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) to a 100% whole food, plant based diet, void of all animal and dairy, Dr. Taher assumed his health was the result of genetics.
At 56 he had serious health conditions which led to open heart surgery at 61. Dr. Taher transformed from a middle-aged practicing physician with a dangerously bad diet into a vital, energetic athlete, ever seeking new challenges and adventures.
This is when he went from ordinary to extraordinary and has not looked back.
He vowed to the nurses wheeling him in for surgery that if he made it off the table, he would run a half marathon with eight months. Not only did he make it off the table, but he also fulfilled his promise to the medical staff and continues into his mid-seventies to look for the next mountain to climb.
Since his rebirth at the age of 61, Dr. Taher has made it his mission to do whatever he can to educate people around the globe on what a healthy diet, and lifestyle, truly consists of.
Climb Your Own Mountain
He’s quick to point out that he doesn’t expect people to climb mountains, run marathons, skydive or ride the white water rapids, but he’s equally quick to point out that one’s diet is the foundation of the life we live, whether healthy or unhealthy.
Over the last decade, Dr. Taher has overcome acute and chronic medical ailments by transforming his mind, body, and spirit through the adoption of a plant-based diet, practice of yoga and meditation, regular exercise, and developing a positive and purpose-driven mindset.
During the pandemic lockdown, Dr. Taher wrote his book, OPEN HEART: The Transformational Journey of a Doctor Who, After Bypass Surgery at 61, Ran Marathons and Climbed Mountains.
“I wanted to use the time wisely,” he states. Not only did he write his book, that has well over 100 5-Star reviews on Amazon.com, but he also learned how to garden, read labels, and cook. He utilized his time as effectively as possible and kept a positive attitude about what was happening.
One thing he advises as people look for ways to improve their eating and move into a plant based diet is this, “It’s important for people to read labels. If you can’t pronounce something, don’t eat it.”
He also advises that people get their Vitamin D checked. If you are not getting at least 20 – 30 minutes of sunshine a day, you need a supplement. For darker skinned people like himself, he recommends a minimum of 30 – 35 minutes of sunshine a day.
Making the Shift
To move to a plant based diet, go in baby steps. Start with foods you like and make your meals interesting. Check the Internet and plant-based blogs, like Forks Over Knives, for recipes.
When attending a social event, eat some of your food intake at home so you are not hungry and won’t set yourself up for overeating, or eating foods you don’t want to eat.
If you don’t achieve your outcome 100% right away, don’t give up.
Realize that with health and sickness, food determines your health more than genetics. “Bad genetics is like a loaded gun. The foods we eat are either pulling the trigger or putting the gun down.”
One of Dr. Taher’s greatest pleasures since becoming vegan and writing his book is watching the enthusiasm of his patients. Many have bought his book and left reviews on Amazon. He feels he is completely aligned with his mission and message that people can heal themselves with food.
There will always be a place for doctors, but many of the problems we have come to accept as normal, could be reversed through diet.
Open Heart… The Book
In the book, Dr. Taher relates the journey of his transformation—how even as a physician who knew better, he led an unhealthy lifestyle; how he ignored the warnings of his heart disease and other chronic ailments; and how after his bypass surgery, he set out to radically change his life to heal his body and his spirit. Training for and competing in his first half marathon was only the start. In compelling detail, he recounts his running in the Chicago, Boston, and Mumbai Marathons; his pilgrimage to Mount Kailash and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro; his first triathlon and 100-mile bike race.
More importantly, Dr. Taher also discusses the enormous role diet plays in preventing, as well as recovering from, heart disease as well as other chronic illnesses, such as cancer, diabetes, and kidney disease. Citing reputable sources and using his own diet and health as examples, he guides the reader away from a diet heavy in meat, dairy, eggs, and sugar and proposes healthier eating—and living—that is grounded in a whole-food, plant-based diet.
OPEN HEART is an essential read for anyone eager to change unhealthy lifestyle choices and embrace the excitement of a vibrant new life.
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More on Dr. Taher www.akiltaher.com