Dave Tester Is Vegan ?
Feb. 4, 2019. It was the day after the Patriots beat the Rams in Super Bowl 53. My wife, Claudia, and I were visiting the winter recreation town of McCall, Idaho. Due to a local power outage, we missed the entire first half of the big game and spent a cold night in our hotel room. Making our way back to Boise the next day, I surprised Claudia with a bit of startling news: For the rest of the year, I was committed to eating an exclusively vegan diet. You’re probably thinking the same thing that Chris Spates, one of our clients in Austin, Texas, uttered after I broke the news to him. Chris, my favorite barbecue chef, was astonished that I was indeed no longer eating anything that has eyes on it. Yes, that even included his world-famous ribs and brisket. In fact, the headline of this article is a direct quote from Chris as his jaw dropped to the floor: “Dave Tester is vegan?” Before you jump to any conclusions, perhaps a little context is in order. Claudia was diagnosed in 2018 with a connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. It was frustrating for both of us to receive this unwelcome news, but it was also incredibly painful for Claudia. The most challenging part of it, however, was the lack of potential cures for the problem. Most doctors would only prescribe pain pills and sleeping medications for her. This methodology was far from a cure, and Claudia was not a fan. She began researching plant-based diet plans for better body health. A book called “Forks Over Knives” proved to be the beginning of her journey toward becoming vegan. My dad always told us when I was growing up, “If you don’t like what one doctor tells you, look for another one that tells you what you want to hear in order to get healthy.” In this case, we didn’t like the prescription from the doctors, so we looked for an alternative answer. At the time of my decision to go vegan, I had no idea that it was to become the foundation for my goal setting. This month, 300 million Americans will set goals for 2020. By the first week of the month or by the time most of you read my newsletter, 41% of those who set out to reach goals will have already given up or stopped trying altogether. It’s not because we don’t have good intentions. Rather, it’s because we don’t have a plan . Remember, first and foremost, our goals must be S.M.A.R.T. goals. This is part of discovering what your WHY is. The process looks like
this: You must first determine WHAT your goal is. Secondly, you must figure out HOW you will reach that goal. Next, you must set a timeline for WHEN you will reach the goal. Finally, ask yourself, “WHY is this my goal?” This is a very simple process. If your WHY is strong enough, you will find your way. My father is a veterinarian. My grandparents and great-grandparents were all homesteaders, farmers, and ranchers. I grew up on eggs, bacon, steak, milk, and cheese. It’s a rite of passage in the Tester family to eat beef and drink milk. Raising chickens is part of the cherished Tester tradition, as well. You’re probably beginning to see why this whole business of becoming vegan was nothing short of an entire paradigm shift for me! What I discovered, however, was that my WHY was greater than my want to eat meat. Claudia’s health was my WHY. She wasn’t on the verge of death, thankfully, but the level of pain and distress she endured was heartbreaking for all of us. In the midst of it all, I discovered my WHY. I was committed to supporting Claudia as she changed the direction of her health with a plant-based diet. Her pain level was nearing a 10 by February and averaging a 7 or 8. With the vegan diet and help from our friend Jim Zamzow’s product called
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