Fresh fruits and vegetables turned his life around
The 10-week FLAVORx study measuring the impact of a whole food, plant-based diet on health, has now concluded and medical director Kumara Sidhartha, MD, MPH of Emerald Physicians is immersed in analyzing and documenting the statistical results.
But for at least one participant, the results are already crystal clear.
“It has been inspirational and transformative,” said Max Makowski of Dennis. “My cholesterol is now in the safe zone. My triglycerides have fallen dramatically. I am losing lots of weight. I have walked nearly two miles with my daughter, picking her up for half the way. I now walk my dog a mile and a half daily.”
For Makowski, the journey to a new way of eating and diet has been a long one, marked by health early in life and then a series of injuries and accidents.
In his teens and 20s, he loved to wind surf. But, over the years, his passion took a toll on his health. A succession of head and back injuries led to chronic, often debilitating pain. Doctors prescribed medications to relieve his suffering, but that only led to a dangerous over-reliance on medications like Oxycontin and Oxycodone.
Worse still, Makowski, once so athletic and conditioned, slowly, steadily gained weight, lost stamina and strength. Food became a crutch.
“I could barely put my socks on standing up. It was an aerobics exercise unto itself,” recalled Makowski, now in his mid-40s. “I couldn’t do regular errands without getting exhausted. I couldn’t even bend down to pick up my daughter to play with her. I listened to myself grunting. It was so demoralizing to hear yourself behaving like a person you didn’t want to be.”
For someone who grew up traveling the world – first with his family as a child and later as a film maker and script writer – Makowski’s world continued to shrink as his body failed him. The pain led to inactivity and inertia, the confidence fading to resignation.
Several years ago, Makowski, who once worked from Hollywood to Peru, Hong Kong and Spain, returned to his family’s home on 33 acres of conservation land in Dennis. What was planned as a short visit extended when his father died and he stayed to help his mother.
Then and there, he suffered yet another devastating setback. A can of gasoline accidentally ignited, engulfing him in flames while he was alone outside. He had the presence of mind to roll on the ground, and make a 911 call.
“I basically blew myself up,” he recalled. Dennis paramedics rushed him to a medical helicopter that flew him to Boston where he remained in ICU for more than a month undergoing surgery and skin grafts.
Today, fortunately, Makowski has few visible scars from the ordeal. “Just enough to impress the ladies,” he jokes. But 18 months of recovery, which added to his preexisting pain, left him heavier and more out of condition than ever before.