October 29th, 2010
07:59 AM ET

Human Factor: Rich Roll's 'experiment' in fitness

In the Human Factor, Dr. Sanjay Gupta introduces you to a survivor who has overcome tremendous odds. Confronting a life obstacle – injury, illness or other hardship – they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn’t know they possessed. Be inspired by their successes, as we have been.

Very late on the eve of my 40th birthday just four years ago, I was blessed with a precious moment of clarity.  Face to face with an unforgiving mirror after a losing battle with a simple flight of stairs that left me buckled over and seeing stars, I was shocked out of a long-held denial and forced to confront an uncomfortable truth more painful than my heaving lungs - that I was woefully overweight, terribly unfit, and facing a certain future of heart disease – a trending topic in my genealogy.

It was time for a change.  A line-in-the-sand, life altering kind of change.  Seizing the moment, I awoke the next day to formulate a plan and put it into action.

A plan I like to call The Experiment - a journey in nutrition, fitness and wellness that has drastically and forever altered the trajectory of my life.  A journey that over time has divorced me from everything I previously held true about food, age, fitness and health.  A journey that starts with an average overweight middle-aged guy and culminates with feats of athletic endurance I had no idea I was capable of.

It all began when I decided to adopt a 100 percent plant-based whole food diet.  A discipline that involved removing all animal products (and most processed foods) from my diet.  No chicken.  No fish.  No dairy.  Nada.

At the time, my expectations were limited and my goals modest – lose a little weight; maybe feel a little better.  That was it.  In fact, I secretly harbored hope that The Experiment would fail so I could resume my predilection for pizza and nachos - free of guilt and knowing I had tried everything.

But to my surprise, I was amazed at just how fantastic I felt after only 10 days on this regimen.  My energy skyrocketed, fueling a return to a modest exercise routine.  Gradually, I started to shed the pounds.  Slowly, the fitness returned.  And my energy levels continued to improve.  Then came the desire to pursue an athletic challenge.  Nothing was overnight, but a mere few years later I found myself almost 50 pounds lighter with a 10-minute lead and Day 1 stage victory in the 3-day double-ironman distance triathlon known as the Ultraman Hawaii World Championships.

How was this possible?  I am not overstating the case to say that everything I have accomplished as an endurance athlete over the last few years, including two Ultraman World Championships and EPIC5 – an endurance odyssey in which I completed 5 ironman distance triathlons on 5 separate Hawaiian Islands in under a week – begins and ends with my plant-based whole food diet.

But what about protein?  Aren’t you anemic?  How can you stand all that bland food?  You’re harming your body!

I field questions like these on a daily basis from all types of naysayers, including doctors, trainers and nutritionists.  But I have answered them all.  Contrary to conventional wisdom, I am fully fortified on a surprisingly delicious routine of very nutrient dense plant-based foods and recipes that have enhanced not just my overall health, but my athletic ability as well.  In the last four years, I’ve had nary a sniffle.  And at 44 years of age, I am the most vital and physically fit I have ever been in my life.  It’s not an inconvenience.  And its not an impediment – it’s my secret weapon.

We live in the most prosperous nation on Earth, and yet we have never been more unhealthy as a society.  Obesity, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and a vast array of very preventable diseases plague us unnecessarily.  Rather than redress the underlying causes of these diseases, we place too much focus on the treatment of symptoms with pharmaceuticals, thus prolonging and exacerbating very solvable problems.  Just watch television for an hour, count how many ads you see for extraneous prescription medications, and you get the picture.

If we want to heal, truly heal, then we must keenly redirect the national health debate on one thing – preventive medicine.  Simply put, and backed by balanced scientific studies, a plant-based whole food diet has been shown to prevent and actually reverse heart disease (America’s #1 killer) and impede or even arrest the development of a litany of other maladies, including the growth of cancer cells.  And overall, it is the easiest, most cost effective (as well as environmentally conscious) means to vastly improve the health and environment of not just America, but the world at large.

I am not alone in this belief.  In fact, plant-based nutrition has now entered the zeitgeist as a legitimate mainstream phenomenon.  From successful professional athletes to high profile cultural influencers, more and more are opening up to the advantages of living “plantstrong.”  Even former President Bill Clinton recently joined the fray, a bold move that created a media frenzy and will, I hope, catalyze profound, long-term positive effects on our national health dialog.

We all know fad diets don’t work.  But greater lasting health always remains within one’s grasp, regardless of age or condition.  Everyone has the power to change.  It just takes a decision.

They say that the enemy of wisdom is contempt prior to investigation.  Don’t take my word for it; do your own research.  Still not convinced?  That’s fine; just do me one simple favor – eat more plants.

But if you decide you want to feel as good as I do, then join me – I dare you.

How to Connect with Rich

RICH ROLL WEBSITE & BLOG: http://www.richroll.com

TWITTER: http://twitter.com/richroll

In addition, Rich and his wife Julie Piatt recently released their first plant-based e-cookbook titled JAI SEED.  For more information and to purchase for simple download, visit:


Post by:
Filed under: Exercise • Healthy Eating • Human Factor • Nutrition • Obesity

soundoff (642 Responses)
  1. rv collision repair

    Very nice post. I absolutely love this site. Thanks!


    May 24, 2021 at 21:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Internet Marketing Businesses


    May 25, 2021 at 00:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Video Marketing Consultant

    Very good info. Lucky me I came across your blog by accident (stumbleupon). I have book-marked it for later!


    May 25, 2021 at 06:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Forklift Extensions

    Having read this I thought it was really informative. I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this article together. I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worth it!


    May 25, 2021 at 06:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Social Media Marketing Service


    May 25, 2021 at 06:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Forklift Rental California


    May 25, 2021 at 08:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Digital Marketing Companies

    I used to be able to find good information from your articles.


    May 25, 2021 at 08:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. TheProxy

    Yes! Finally someone writes about the proxy.

    May 25, 2021 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Social Media Marketing Consultant


    May 25, 2021 at 15:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Internet Marketing Services


    May 25, 2021 at 17:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. ford ranger quảng bình

    I don't even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great.
    I don't know who you are but certainly you're going to a famous blogger if you aren't already 😉 Cheers!

    May 25, 2021 at 17:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Digital Marketing Services


    May 25, 2021 at 18:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. geico store near me

    Very good post! We are linking to this great article on our site. Keep up the great writing.


    May 26, 2021 at 06:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. rv vinyl wraps

    After looking into a number of the blog articles on your web site, I truly appreciate your way of blogging. I saved as a favorite it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back in the near future. Please check out my web site too and let me know what you think.


    May 26, 2021 at 20:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. truck shop


    May 27, 2021 at 02:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. RV Solar Panels Systems Near Me

    Spot on with this write-up, I actually believe this amazing site needs a great deal more attention. I’ll probably be back again to see more, thanks for the advice!


    May 27, 2021 at 05:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Content Marketing Company

    You need to take part in a contest for one of the most useful websites on the net. I most certainly will highly recommend this web site!


    May 27, 2021 at 09:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. RV Shades California


    May 27, 2021 at 10:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. oc rv dealers

    Hi, I do think this is a great site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to come back yet again since I book-marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.


    May 27, 2021 at 15:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. trailer repair near me now

    Very good post. I am going through a few of these issues as well..


    May 27, 2021 at 16:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. RV Roof Los Angeles

    Everyone loves it whenever people come together and share thoughts. Great website, stick with it!


    May 27, 2021 at 17:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. RV Batteries California

    Great blog you have got here.. It’s difficult to find quality writing like yours these days. I really appreciate people like you! Take care!!


    May 27, 2021 at 20:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. RV Flooring California


    May 27, 2021 at 21:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. car wraps orange county


    May 27, 2021 at 23:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. forex

    Pretty component to content. I simply stumbled upon your web site
    and in accession capital to assert that I get actually loved account your weblog posts.
    Anyway I'll be subscribing to your feeds or even I fulfillment you get right
    of entry to constantly fast.

    May 28, 2021 at 00:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. rv repair in riverside ca


    May 28, 2021 at 08:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Digital Marketing Consultant Near Me

    I like looking through a post that will make people think. Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!


    May 28, 2021 at 09:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. affiliate marketing for dummies

    Wow, wonderful weblog structure! How lengthy have you ever
    been running a blog for? you made blogging look easy.

    The total glance of your web site is wonderful, let alone the content!

    May 28, 2021 at 12:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. slide out repair

    Having read this I thought it was really enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this information together. I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


    May 28, 2021 at 13:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. RV AC Orange County


    May 28, 2021 at 15:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. pocket water pipes

    Dab Mat cool rolling trays A one hitter dugout is one of the simplest ways to smoke legal herbs on the market. So while they are extremely convenient to use, the disadvantage is that it holds a relatively small amount of weed and needs to be refilled all the time if you tend to smoke frequently .


    May 28, 2021 at 19:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. RV Upholstery California


    May 28, 2021 at 23:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. game slot online

    Unquestionably believe that which you said.
    Your favorite reason seemed to be on the net the simplest thing to be aware of.
    I say to you, I definitely get irked while people consider worries that they just don't know about.
    You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the
    whole thing without having side effect , people can take
    a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

    May 28, 2021 at 23:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Box Truck Alignment


    May 29, 2021 at 06:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Semi Truck Dent Repair Shop

    I needed to thank you for this excellent read!! I certainly enjoyed every bit of it. I have got you book-marked to look at new stuff you post…


    May 29, 2021 at 15:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. SEO Marketing Experts


    May 29, 2021 at 19:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. RV Trailer Repair Near Me

    I was able to find good info from your blog posts.


    May 31, 2021 at 00:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. RV Repair And Service Near Me


    May 31, 2021 at 05:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Social Media Marketing Consultant


    May 31, 2021 at 08:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. motorhome remodeling companies

    I could not resist commenting. Perfectly written!


    June 1, 2021 at 10:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Odell Knezovich

    Saved as a favorite, I like your web site!


    June 1, 2021 at 14:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Sima Attinger

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up and the rest of the site is also very good.


    June 1, 2021 at 19:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. toy hauler modifications

    I needed to thank you for this fantastic read!! I absolutely enjoyed every little bit of it. I've got you saved as a favorite to check out new stuff you post…


    June 2, 2021 at 14:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Lamont Gentle


    June 2, 2021 at 15:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Social Media Marketing Consultants


    June 2, 2021 at 18:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Touring Van Repair Shop


    June 2, 2021 at 20:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. live22 login

    Excellent blog you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any discussion boards that cover the same topics discussed in this
    article? I'd really like to be a part of group where I
    can get feed-back from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest.
    If you have any recommendations, please let me know.
    Thanks a lot!

    June 2, 2021 at 23:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Internet Marketing Companies Near Me


    June 3, 2021 at 03:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Internet Marketing Companies Near Me


    June 3, 2021 at 03:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. W88

    Howdy very nice site!! Man .. Beautiful .. Amazing .. I'll bookmark your blog and take the feeds additionally?
    I'm glad to find so many useful information here in the post, we need develop more techniques in this regard,
    thanks for sharing. . . . . .

    June 3, 2021 at 08:13 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Leave a Reply to RV Service And Repair Near Me


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.