Aubrey Meador is President of ARCA, a global technology and services company headquartered in Mebane, NC. Aubrey not only participated in the Mebane Jumpstart, but he’s promoting plant-based eating to ARCA employees as both the right thing to do and a source of business advantage. Here’s Aubrey’s story:
What motivated you to participate in the 10-day PlantPure Jumpstart?
About four years ago I decided to get more serious about my health. I started running, got to my ideal weight, and got into what I thought was great shape. Since then I’ve competed in marathons (including qualifying for and running the Boston marathon), so naturally I thought I had achieved a pretty good level of health.
Then I watched Forks Over Knives and was struck at how much of an impact food has on our lives. It really brought home that there was a lot of room for improvement, and there were a lot of things I was doing that were probably harmful to my body - lots of dairy protein, meat, and oils.
I got intensely curious about whether eating a whole foods, plant-based diet would make a noticeable difference in my health and my life. I went all-in, really eager to participate in the Jumpstart program.
What did you discover in the pre-tests?
Over the last few years my cholesterol has been, not dangerously high, but not low either - around 200-210. It was borderline having to do something about it, but not high enough to justify taking drugs.
In the Jumpstart pre-test, it was measured at 196. And my triglycerides were up at 210. The other measures were in the same sort of range.
I thought, “Gosh, all of this exercise - running 20-40 miles a week - isn’t having the kind of impact on my health that I was hoping it would.
What was the Jumpstart like?
First of all, the variety was pretty amazing. There were so many different types of meals - from burrito wraps to sandwiches to stews to soups to chilis.
To get exposure to that variety opened my mind to all the possibilities of a plant-based diet. It made me realize that it would be simple to put together tasty and enjoyable options. They were also really filling, which was good because as a runner, I stay hungry all the time. I didn’t suffer at all.
What were the results of the Jumpstart?
I saw significant improvements in all my tests. For example, my cholesterol dropped to 145. That proved to me that there was really something to this. Being pretty fit like I was still wasn’t putting me at the right levels where I need to be stay healthy.
What is life like now?
Since the Jumpstart ended I’ve stayed on the diet. I just got back from a business lunch with customers visiting from New England. We went to a really nice restaurant, and I got a great plant-based meal. And I had a great opportunity talk about the food and what I’m doing.
What are you doing to promote plant-based eating at ARCA Tech Systems?
I’m passionate about the health of my employees at ARCA. The company, which provides technology and services to help people control cash in bank branches, retail stores and self-service kiosks, is an 80-person organization with a global presence. We’re located in rural North Carolina, so we have a diverse mix of people: some who travel the world for us, and others who’ve never been out of Alamance County.
When we let them know about the Jumpstart, 27 employees signed up for it right away. We chose a subset of them to do the first program. We get the meals delivered, and it’s fun to sit around the table and talk about the different options. Someone will say that a particular dish isn’t their favorite, but someone else will say that they thought it was wonderful.
And everyone’s talking about their weight loss. They compare with each other: “I’ve lost 8 pounds... I’ve lost 7 pounds... I’ve lost 10 pounds.” Across the board, people are losing weight and feeling better. And they’re talking about how they’re going to keep it up now that the program has ended.
The ones who didn’t participate in this first round keep asking when they can start the next one. It’s created a real buzz at the company, about feeling better and living longer.
While the bottom line wasn’t our motivation to do this, it’s definitely worth it financially. We’re self-insured: as our claims go down, we expect our renewal rates to drop. That will save us a lot of money.
I didn't realize how bad I felt until I started feeling better - 4 days after starting a WFPB diet! It is now my lifestyle and I don't miss eating the way I did for 52 years - and I do love to eat! My new favs are also nourishing and healthful and oh so tasty! Way to go Aubrey - your company will certainly benefit from this jump start - I cannot wait to hear the updates going forward.
Congrats, David! What are your new favs? Hungry minds want to know ;)
One of my new favs is the "Vegan Bowl" from Sabrosos- from Taco Salad - no bowl, no meat, no cheese, no sour cream. (Not on the menu, but they do a wonderful job every time and I leave totally satisfied!)