I gave this podcast the title of regaining strength after illness because ultimately that is what Korin and I are discussing. When I was a cancer patient, I remember my skin hanging on my bones like a schmatte (a rag) with no form. It wasn’t because I was emaciated (that came later). It was because my life-saving medications broke down my muscles and there wasn’t enough “stuff” in between my bones and skin to “plump it up!” (my nod to Hanz and Franz).
I was kind of concerned that my physique would never return to normal. That I would be flabby forever.
It was about a year after treatment ended that I started looking emaciated because I had changed my dietary habits to be completely plant-based and probably wasn’t consuming enough nutrients to sustain the healing process. I don’t like pictures of myself from that time because I looked too skinny.
My commitment to healing.
My commitment to healing myself was strong and I wasn’t going back on my decision to be vegan, gluten-free, and alcohol-free. I remain so today.
I stopped eating meat and became plant-based not because I couldn’t stand the thought of eating animals, I had done it all my life after all. Mine were more selfish, health-related reasons. But after being vegan for a few years, yes, I started feeling queasy at the thought of consuming an animal because I knew the harm and ultimately death inflicted on the animal resulted from my dietary choices.
I realized it wasn’t necessary.
It wasn’t necessary to inflict pain, suffering, and death on innocent creatures who were born to die. It wasn’t necessary for me to participate in and support the system (food chain) that was creating this negativity in the world. I continue to make this choice on a daily basis. Other food options abound in this land of plenty that we all live in.
“If slaughterhouses were built out of glass, eighty percent of the world be vegetarian or vegan because it’s just how gross it is.” ~ Korin Sutton
Korin’s decision to become vegan.
Korin decided to become vegan after hearing a speaker while he was in the military. We talk about how he came to his decision and his desire to make a difference in a way that made sense to him.
Why do I spend so much time talking about being vegan for a podcast that is geared toward regaining strength after illness? Because most people have this belief that you have to eat meat to get your “protein” and for “healing”. Both of those ideas couldn’t be further from the truth.
Korin didn’t just thrive as a vegan, he became a vegan bodybuilder!
As a bodybuilder, Korin eats enormous amounts of protein (but adequate for his needs) every day and lifts weights three hours a day, competes with the best of them (not in a separate vegan athlete category), and places in the top ranks regularly. We even joked that Arnold Schwarzenegger admitted to believing he overconsumed protein in his competitive days and has cut way back on meat consumption in recent years!
My point being that you don’t have to eat meat to get enough protein for regaining strength after illness.
You don’t need meat for healing either.
As a matter of fact, eating animal products creates undue inflammation in your body as it tries to digest and assimilate the animal flesh. It works to do the opposite of what your intentions are. And there are hundreds of studies to support that as long as there is adequate protein in the diet, it makes no difference if it is animal or vegetable in terms of regaining strength after illness (or any other time). We mention one of those studies on the podcast.
“People could look healthy on the outside, but you don’t know the hell is going on on the inside.” ~ Korin Sutton
Getting fit after a cancer diagnosis.
I asked Korin specifically about exercising after a cancer diagnosis. Is it that much different for a cancer patient to get fit after surgery or during treatment than anyone else injured in a different way? Turns out it’s not.
“The difference is where you start.” ~ Korin Sutton
Yes, you may have to start with lighter weights, you may have to do more gentle activities, you may have to use props, like a chair, in yoga and be cautious about how far you stretch so as not to undo what your surgeon did, but you can rebuild muscle and regain strength and mobility after the BIG C.
Evidence shows that exercise is good for you in moderation during treatment as it helps you keep your energy up.
“People who workout recover faster because the exercise is still pumping blood to the injured area.” ~ Korin Sutton
Athletes and people who are comfortable being physical regularly have a mindset of getting healthy as quickly as possible, not relaxing and eating whatever they want. This was was a major takeaway for me.
Highlights from this episode include:
- 2:18 How Korin became a bodybuilder.
- 4:43 Why Korin became a vegan.
- 5:29 The misunderstanding of how animals become food.
- 10:00 What it’s like to be a vegan bodybuilder.
- 12:00 Can you be a vegan in the military?
- 15:27 Breaking the barriers as a plant-based personal trainer and bodybuilder.
- 21:21 How much protein do you really need? Studies show not as much as you think.
- 27:09 What Korin eats for protein.
- 28:06 What Korin advises newbies to do to feel better in your clothes – corrective exercise and core deficit for weight loss.
- 32:31 Remember to get cleared for exercise after surgery.
- 46:38 Thoughts on protein intake and kidney function.
A new episode is released every second and fourth Thursday of each month.
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