Success Stories

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We are always excited to share these stories!

Deborah Allen

I had to write you back and let you know how well I am doing with all the new things I learned from my Wellness 101 Class. I am so excited!!!!! Lori, it is amazing the way I feel. Everyday I can see and feel all the ways my body is changing. You were absolutely right about the weight loss. I have lost 10 pounds since starting the program April 4. I can’t believe how easy it is to eat this healthy. When I think about all the past diets I have tried and the way I unknowingly abused my body – I cringe. Losing weight is just secondary to the way I feel every day. I only wish I would have know about this program years ago.

If people only knew how easy it was to eat healthier. Someone ask me almost everyday “What are you doing, where are you getting all your energy and the best comment I get is………you look great!” Lori, I tell them “I am high on food!” I encourage them to sign up for the “free dinner.” I am hoping that more of my friends make it to the Forum.

Have a great weekend and just had to thank you, Dr. Popper, Tony, and the rest of the staff for the great information and the Wellness 101 class. I am truly a happier woman.

 

Gloria J. Blakeman

February 4, 2006 was a day that changed my life forever. That is the day I reclaimed my life and my health.

Approximately five to six years prior to that day, in addition to my usual ailments of sinus and congestion problems, I started having some serious health issues that caused me to be hospitalized on numerous occasions. I was seen by several doctors during those hospitalizations, including a cardiologist, gastrologist, hematologist, dermatologist, infectious disease specialist, and an allergy, asthma and clinical immunology specialist. I underwent extensive medical testing, numerous skin biopsies and testing for allergies. Unfortunately, none of the doctors were able to provide me with a diagnosis, but the usual course of treatment included having mega doses of steroids pumped directly into my veins while hospitalized. I was also prescribed a daily dosage of steroids and antibiotics (in tablet form) for over a year. In addition to the pain and discomfort of the illness, the pain and discomfort from the treatment was horrible. In a little over a year, I gained 80 pounds from being on the steroids, my blood pressure shot up, as well as my cholesterol. Each time I visited my doctor, I received a new medication. I was becoming sicker and sicker with each passing day.

At the end of 2005 I was taking an average of 8-10 medications each day, including medications for congestion, sinus problems, acid reflux, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and asthma. I was totally exhausted and could hardly drag myself out of bed to get to work each day. On the weekends, I would sleep as much as possible. I was thinking about selling my home because it was nearly impossible for me to go up and down the stairs because of the pain in my body. I could hardly bear to look into a mirror because my weight was so out of control and I was puffy and swollen from the steroids. I looked and felt horrible. My social life was non-existent because there was no energy for involvement with family and friends and because I was simply too embarrassed to be seen. Life was miserable.

A trip to my family doctor and another new medication at the beginning of 2006 finally put me over the edge. I became terribly ill from the new medicine. After spending two entire days in bed, unable to function, I decided it was time for some drastic action. It had become very evident to me that I had to act fast if I wanted to keep living. The medical profession had failed me miserably.

I started doing research on line and started doing some serious thinking about what I needed to do to be well again. I wanted off the medications, I desperately wanted the medications out of my body. I mentioned to a friend from work, Nila Little, that I was determined to find a way to be well again and that I had begun doing some research in that regard. Fortunately for me, she turned out to be one of the instructors at The Wellness Forum. After reviewing some information she provided me, I decided to participate in Wellness 101.

I began by eliminating all animal and dairy products from my food intake. Within two weeks of eliminating dairy products from my life, I was off the sinus and congestion medications. I had experienced serious sinus problems since childhood, but suddenly they were completely gone. No congestion, nothing. From that point forward, I have been a believer. Within a month of beginning my new life there was only one medication remaining in my medicine cabinet and that is the medication I take to regulate a mitral valve prolapse. I also quit smoking and am convinced that having the right substances going into my body decreased the amount of cravings I normally would have experienced – the process was painless – and no more asthma medication.

The amazing thing to me is that the transition into my new life has been one of the easiest things I have ever done. The journey has been wonderful and life gets better with each passing day. I am currently 65 pounds lighter and still dropping pounds, all without dieting – and I can honestly say I have eaten better, and eaten more, this past year than I ever have in my life. My senses are clearer and I see and feel life on a much higher level. I love the fact that I can live each day knowing that I am not intentionally harming another living creature and I am so much more at peace with myself. I have an exercise schedule which actually includes two days of workouts at 5:45 a.m. in the morning before going to work. I have no trouble getting out of bed anymore and I no longer have trouble going up and down the stairs in my home. I now look forward to each new day, to new challenges and new adventures. I love being active and being involved.

I would never consider, not for one moment, going back to my old lifestyle. I am so grateful for Dr. Popper and the entire staff of The Wellness Forum. They have provided me a second chance at life and I am loving every minute of it.

 

Jerri Ann Brown

During the last several years, I had developed numerous medical conditions, including osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, neuropathy, migraines, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel, and high blood pressure. At the age of 39, I was walking with a cane, and at 43, I had a brace on my leg due to arthritis. At one time, I was taking 17 pills daily, including Vioxx. Additionally, I was overweight, and had started a program at Ohio State University for bariatric patients.

And then I met Susan Duve from The Wellness Forum. I took her class, and followed her advice. I now stay away from meat and dairy, I eat more fruits, veggies, and fiber; I started walking daily and bought an exercise machine.

Today, I’ve lost a total of 40 pounds, I no longer need the cane or the brace, and I’m off all of my meds! I’m saving over $100 per month on prescription drug co-pays alone! I don’t have to visit doctors all the time, but when I do, I tell them, as well as anyone who will listen, about The Wellness Forum!

I’ve slipped into my old habits a few times, but I know what to do to get back on track, and I can stay motivated because I know how much better I feel when I do the things I’m supposed to!

I’m a firm believer that you have to be proactive about your health. I took my life back so that I could do the things I want to do – it was my choice. I’m thankful I found the right program and that I got to the right people who could help me!

 

Dr. Bob and Elaine Darby

Ah, yes! There I stood in June of 1999 making my farewell speech to the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church, feeling pretty good about myself. I was a lucky man, having a good and faithful wife, 4 fine children and a satisfying career as a pastor and seminary professor. And to top all of that – I was in good health – or so I thought… But BAM! BAM! Twenty months later – a heart attack! Thank goodness my recovery was good after angioplasty surgery and a bout with staph infection.

So, here I am a survivor of the good ole boy diet of fast foods, southern style cooking with fat and lots of sweets, telling you that it tasted great but it clogged my veins with cholesterol and I was 40 pounds overweight. My cholesterol level was hovering around 200 and my blood pressure was in the 145-150 over 90-95 range. I was a prime candidate for disaster. So I prayed, “Lord help me! What can I do?” And the Lord said, “Listen to your wife!” I did and she cut us a new pattern for healthy living with advice from Dr. Pam Popper.

Dr. Popper’s consultation process (by telephone) was very helpful as we discussed some of our health issues. These issues included blood pressure control, diet adjustments to include more fiber, drinking plenty of water each day, the importance of a regular exercise program, some guidelines to eating out and a variety of other general health issues.

Now, hear this folks! Our results have been great! Today, both Elaine and I are 40 pounds lighter, my blood pressure ranges from 112-117 over 74-77, and my cholesterol level is 152. I am not on any kind of medication. I have a 3-mile power walk daily and we have never felt better!

We commend Dr. Popper for being available to us and we enthusiastically recommend her and her programs to you!

 

Debbie Dendinger

It wasn’t intentional but my son was a garbologist. Let me explain. It was a little over a year ago that my 13 year old son Rex, who was 11 at the time, was getting ready to enter the sixth grade. It was that summer that he became aware of his physique. He wasn’t a fat child but he was heavy enough that it was bothering him. Of course, I couldn’t say too much because I didn’t want him to become obsessed with his weight. He was getting a lot of exercise working in the south Florida heat twice a week with a batting coach but the weight was not coming off. I thought that I knew, from twenty-three years of experience as a mother, what healthy eating was. I was about to find out that I was way off track.

It was through a series of exposures that I started to learn more about nutrition and the importance that it has on every aspect of our health and wellness.

In April of 2003, my husband and I decided to attend a conference in San Diego, Ca. That was the start of major changes. I had the good fortune to meet Dr. Pam Popper and very briefly discuss what I could do to learn more about nutrition. I ordered the Wellness 101 Certification Course and it totally changed our lives. You see, Rex is a very bright young man who always applies himself 100% in everything that he does and as I was learning, so was he.

I was learning that milk doesn’t do a body good. My family had been consuming massive quantities of milk to the tune of several gallons per week. Imagine our shock when I started to learn how bad dairy products are for our bodies! I printed off articles from suggested websites and Rex and I would discuss them. I was starting to drink soymilk and he wanted to try it too. It wasn’t an overnight change, but I started to buy small quantities of organic skim milk and mixing it with the soymilk. Before long, Rex said, “Mom, I really prefer the taste of soy”. He also helped me grow sprouts and was eager to taste our first little “crop”! He ate sprouts by the handful. He accompanied me to the store and together we checked the amount of sugar in soft drinks. Was this progress or what?!

My son the garbologist is now being referred to as the “health nut” at school. He packs things such as fruits, vegetables, and organic peanut butter rolled in an organic whole-wheat tortilla and a bottle of filtered water for his lunch. He has informed his friends of how unhealthy those Lunchables that they are eating and explains to them why. I asked him if the “health nut” label bothered him and his response was “No mom, I want my friends to be healthy too”

What a difference a year makes! This experience has been a wonderful one for us all. It is an affirmation to me that children want to be healthy and are receptive to what “healthy eating” truly is. I’m happy to say that my son is now a former garbologist. Through my continuing education from Dr. Pam and the Wellness Forum, I am now able to help others learn what healthy eating truly means and am helping them in their understanding of why these changes are so important. Several of my friends have asked me to accompany them to the grocery to make recommendations of healthy alternatives. Not only have I been able to help my own family but as a Certified Health Coach I am now qualified to assist others in improving their health as well. When it comes to our health, ignorance is not bliss.

 

Francesca Ghiorso

(As told by her mother, Micheline Ghiorso)

I wanted to share with you something that I think you will appreciate. My daughter Francesca, 8 years old, is a Brownie in a home school Girl Scout Troop. A few weeks ago, she asked me if I thought she should sell Girl Scout Cookies this year. The question caught me off guard and I asked why she was contemplating it. She said because we educate people about good nutrition, she didn’t feel good about selling and promoting cookies with hydrogenated oils, artificial colors, and flavors, that we would never eat ourselves.

I told her that her decision would have some ramifications, so she needed to be totally convicted in her heart about what was right and it needed to come from her and not me. She returned to me after a week of praying about it and gave me her final decision not to sell them. She has stood firm and not wavered in her decision.

As we have taught “textbook” health to her as a part of her school curriculum, we have talked about the “dumbing down” of America and that health texts are not teaching the whole truth. We have taught that the message that society preaches of bad things in moderation and balance is a dangerous shade of gray and that the truth is in black and white. This is why we appreciate so much your brand of truthful education. Even at eight years old she appreciates not being talked down to. She has no idea who Brittany Spears is but when we get in the car she asks to listen to Dr. Popper or Dr. Dubois by name.

I’m sure you have days when you wonder if anybody out there “gets it” but I wanted you to know that there is a little girl in Southern California that does. Thank you for the impact you have had on our family. Not only in our personal nutritional changes, but in the standard we have set as a result of the education received from you that has been an example for others.

 

Nancy Mesko

Nancy was first introduced to the Wellness Forum after hearing Dr. Pam Popper’s presentation “Take Control of Your Health” at Michigan State University. At the time, she was researching alternative therapies and educating herself about the health and medical field. She likens this experience to repeatedly running into a wall: “One day, you think you found the answer, the next day something comes along to discredit everything you just learned.”

Prior to hearing the information presented by Dr. Popper, Nancy thought she was doing everything right to protect and maintain her health: she exercised regularly and took all of the multivitamins, extra calcium, and supplements that her doctor recommended. She was raised on a dairy farm, and has consumed large amounts of dairy products throughout her life. She thought this would help protect her future bone health, yet at the age of 35 she was told that she had osteopenia and was one measurement away from osteoporosis. She was also told at this time that she was going into menopause. She now strongly believes that her menopausal symptoms were chemically induced due to the fact that she took birth control pills for three years prior.

She feels that she has always been looked up to by friends and family as being “Ms. Health Queen,” and during the low-fat/fat-free diet craze of the 90’s her cholesterol was at a low of 190. When she checked her cholesterol after 2 years of consuming plant based diet, her cholesterol was down to 140.

Also, after adopting the diet, she has reversed the early menopause and was excited to report to me that that, at the age now of 41, she is four month pregnant with her first child without the use of fertility treatments (she was previously told this would be her only chance to conceive).

She also has experienced a reversal in bone deterioration, and is happy to say that her bones are now more solid and stronger than ever.

She did say that she had to change doctors along her journey — her previous doctor (whom she used to think was a great doctor) was not compliant with her decision to approach health naturally.

Nancy had nothing but good things to say about Dr. Popper and the Wellness Forum. She has very much appreciated Dr. Popper’s ability to decipher the current nutrition information that’s available and put it into layman’s terms. Since becoming involved with the organization, she has become a Certified Wellness Consultant through the Wellness Forum, and is hoping she can use this as a career to eventually detach herself from her current employment, which is in the insurance industry. The last 18 years of her life have been devoted to working with employers regarding healthcare issues, yet she is ready to be involved in the healthcare industry from a different perspective, and share with others what she has learned about health and wellness.

 

Peggy Miles

Thank you so much for your Accelerated Weight Loss Program. It is changing my shape and my life. So far, since beginning the plan 4 months ago, I have lost 40 pounds and have gone from a size 20 to a 16! And the best part is my knee pain is dissipating and I’m able to climb stairs instead of having to take an elevator up to second floor offices! Isn’t that incredible? And it is such an easy plan to follow. It’s a way I can eat for the rest of my life, maybe with the addition of a little more of the good fats (avocadoes, soy, salmon on occasion). But for now, I’m sticking with the program a few more months – my goal is to lose about 40 more pounds (or get down to a size 10).

I had started to lose hope that at my age (54) I could lose weight after trying many times in the past several years and failing. I felt like was looking down the gun barrel at diabetes, heart disease and possibly a recurrence of breast cancer unless I could lose the body fat and get healthier. Discouragement was setting in. Now I’m feeling so encouraged and am working out with weights, walking and even doing a little yoga. My husband has lost 17 pounds since changing to this way of eating, although he hasn’t been quite as strict.

Than you so very much!

 

Janet Triner

Janet Triner is a third grade teacher in the Chicago area who has become a great supporter of The Wellness Forum’s philosophy and its programs for schools. This is her story…

I was introduced to Dr. Pam Popper through a mutual acquaintance, and signed up to get daily health messages from her through voice mail. I was really excited when I finally got a chance to attend her lecture in Chicago and meet her in person. I ordered her educational materials and was an almost immediate convert to The Wellness Forum’s eating plan.

To further my education and to learn more about how to use this new information to help students, I attended the Wellness Forum Foundation’s annual Nutrition for Kids Conference in Columbus, Ohio. This is when I started to get really motivated!

At about the same time, I had volunteered to be on the Science Committee for our school district, and to review our science and health curricula. The courses I took through The Wellness Forum convinced me that much of what we were teaching our students about nutrition was incorrect or outdated. I had already started sharing better and more up-to-date information with my third grade students, and they were quite receptive.

Another issue that I had become quite concerned about was the lunches we were offering kids in the cafeteria. I knew that serious changes were needed here too.

So, I suggested (over and over) that we form a school nutrition committee. At first no one paid much attention to me, but I think eventually everyone got tired of my nagging, and they finally decided to form such a committee. I volunteered to co-chair it with a friend immediately!

Our curriculum director became an early and strong supporter, and we had teachers from all grade levels, a school board member, and both a high school and middle school student all agree to participate. The state’s mandating a wellness plan gave everyone extra incentive to make improvements.

We have decided that our first goal is to educate teachers and then begin to incorporate nutrition education into each grade level. Once these activities are well underway, we will start providing programming for parents. My experience, however, is that kids are really good at sharing the information they learn about good health and nutrition with their parents, so this process will probably start much earlier.

Many teachers have attended my presentations on the effect of food on the brain and learning. They are aware of my passion for good health and nutrition, and have come to me to learn more or help them to make positive changes in their own situations. For example, I helped one teacher to convince her children’s daycare center to stop using sugary snacks and unhealthy foods as rewards.

I am so excited because this program will give me even more opportunities to share information with my peers and influence what children in other classrooms learn.

I hope everyone who reads this feels inspired to get educated about optimal health, speak up and share with others, and be persistent and insistent in pushing for change.

 

Susan Wojewoda

In August 1985 I started my freshman year in college and I was sick. I had spent the previous summer fighting abdominal pain with a weeklong stay in the hospital. The diagnosis was a ruptured ovarian cyst and a bladder infection.

Through my four years in college, I continued to have recurring bladder infections. I frequently took antibiotics, which usually resulted in yeast infections, abdominal discomfort and other side effects. I visited the Emergency Room with abdominal pain more than once with no diagnosis, although I eventually was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

My eating habits, as you can imagine while being away at college, were awful. The only good thing about the bladder infections was at least they resulted in my drinking a lot of water.

After college, I became what I thought was a healthy eater. I ate little meat, not much fried food, a lot of salads and drank lots of water. My stomach problems continued, and I suffered from constipation, bloating and pain. The only relief I got was through exercising and not eating.

In May 2001, my digestive system completely shut down. I was admitted to the hospital through the ER with unbearable abdominal pain, bloating and nausea. My stomach was pumped. I was there for 5 days, taking drugs to try to get my intestinal tract to relax.

In January 2002, I was back in the ER with the same symptoms. This hospital stay was the first of 5 during the next 4 months. Again, my stomach was pumped and tests were run, with no diagnosis.

During the second hospital admission, which lasted 3 weeks and resulted in no diagnosis, I had exploratory surgery. Scar tissue was removed; I lost 20 pounds and became very weak.

By the third admission, I had thrush and was dehydrated. The fifth visit lasted a month and I was diagnosed with Superior Mesentery Artery Syndrome, requiring still more surgery to perform an intestinal bypass.

Once released from the hospital I was told to eat whatever I felt like eating. I could return to my regular diet, but was given pills for nausea, pain, to make me have a bowel movement, and just about everything else. I met with a dietitian who recommended the Standard American Diet.

For another year I battled with constipation, nausea and bloating. I was on more medication. My body became addicted to laxatives and I was on my way to becoming addicted to painkillers. I became very frustrated, weak and depressed.

I bottomed out when I was readmitted to the hospital on Mother’s Day, 2003 and given more medication.

On June 9, 2003, my dad took me to see Dr. Pam Popper. For the first time, someone understood my problem. Based on her advice, I completely changed my diet, and I no longer eat meat, dairy, processed foods and sugar. I also used some excellent supplements and started exercising 5-6 hours per week.

I began to feel better within the first week! It is now 10 weeks later and I can’t believe how sick I was. I now have so much energy! I am now more regular with no bloating or abdominal pain. My nails are stronger, my hair is shinier, I am sleeping great and I am overall so much happier! I have no cravings for sweets, but now crave healthier foods.

I am so convinced of the value of this lifestyle that I want to let others know there is a better way to live. As I talk to people, some ask me when I can go back to eating things like dairy and meat. My response is why would I want to go back to eating the things that made me sick?

I praise God every day for the scar on my stomach. I know that may seem a little silly, but I know that my years of feeling sick were a stepping stone to becoming healthy and helping others.

And to think this has only been 10 weeks – I can’t wait to see how I feel in a year!

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