June is "Audiobook Month", so I thought it only fitting that I feature my partner, Scott Brick, one of the most prolific audiobook narrators in the world, as my June Reader Of The Month.
If you listen to audiobooks, you may have heard Scott narrating popular titles such as Money Ball, John Carter (A Princess of Mars), The Bourne Trilogy, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Sideaways, Atlas Shrugged, Blade Runner, I Robot, Mystic River, Helter Skelter, Patriot Games, In Cold Blood, the Dune Series, Ender’s Game, The Graduate, Frankenstein, Somewhere in Time, Fahrenheit 451, and many many more.
He has recorded over 600 titles for top authors such as Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, Michael Crichton, John Grisham, Clive Cussler, Stephen J. Cannell, Nelson DeMille, Brad Meltzer, Harlen Coben, David Baldacci, Gregg Hurwitz, Orson Scott Card, Joseph Finder, Stephen R. Donaldson, Steve Berry, Philip K. Dick, Dennis Lehane, Douglas J. Preston, Lincoln Child, Ayn Rand, Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert, Brian Herbert, and Kevin J. Anderson, among others. To date, Scott has won over 50 Earphone Awards, 2 Audie Awards. Yes, I am very proud!
If that isn't enough, 2012 has been even more amazing! Publisher’s Weekly named Scott their Audiobook Narrator of the Year for the second time, and he and his fellow cast members were nominated for a Grammy Award for their work on the multi-voice recording of THE MARK OF ZORRO with Val Kilmer. Scott also finished writing two books this year -- his first novel, a supernatural thriller based on an 18th-century murder in New England, and NARRATING AUDIOBOOKS BRICK BY BRICK, to be released later this year. You can see Scott interviewed about this on VO Buzz Weekly.
I must admit, June is Audiobook Month is just a lovely excuse to feature my favourite person in the world. However, Scott’s personal journey with food is fascinating and inspirational, and I wanted to share it with you. When I met Scott, he was living on highly processed foods, coca cola, and a cocktail of over-the-counter drugs. Not the diet I would have expected from a Type 1 Diabetic! He was a walking heart attack waiting to happen.
Enter Denise Chamberlain, or "Lady D" as we like to call her. I connected with her the day I met Scott. She and I were like sisters separated at birth, as we sat there sipping on our green smoothies and talking about alkaline living. I said, "Oh, you must have read the PH Miracle! That book changed my life. If I ever met Doctor Robert O Young I would lose the power of speech!" To which she smiled and responded, "Well, hold onto your heart, because Dr Young is my friend and neighbour. You will just have to come down and meet him!" After squealing like a giddy school girl and catching my breath, I started imagining what I would say to this man. I didn't have to wait long. I met him a week later at a presentation at the Beverly Hills Library. After meeting many Type 1 Diabetics that had eradicated their dependence on insulin after just 10 days of eating Dr Young's vegan alkaline diet, my mind started spinning. I had to get Scott down there!
With the force of thunder, I landed on Scott's doorstep at midnight like a woman possessed, with a signed copy of Dr Young's book, The PH Miracle For Diabetes, and a desperate plee to "save his life!" After I calmed down, and Scott read the book (!!) we were driving down to the PH Miracle Ranch in California, spending the week with Robert and Shelley Young, and Scott was beginning his life as a vegan alkalarian. What an inspiring journey it has been, and continues to be. We met so many people with cancer, diabetes, and other degenerative disorders who had returned to optimum health at the ranch. I was fortunate enough to spend the week in the kitchen with the alkaline chefs learning and soaking up the knowledge. What a treat THAT was!
Anyway, I could go on and on. But, I will let Scott tell his story. All I will say is that I am blown away by Scott's willingness to open his mind to a new way of life, his relentless commitment to this new path of health and wellness, and the extraordinary power of live foods! Scott is almost insulin-free, and we dream of the day he doesn't have to "shoot up" every day, as he calls it. Scott, you are the smartest, kindest person I know, and I would be lost without you. You are the best friend I have ever had, and I am so grateful for your wisdom and generosity of spirit. Thankyou for sharing your story here. I love you........
Oh! One more thing.......As foodies, it may interest you to know that Scott narrated many of Michael Pollan's books such as, The Omnivore's Dilemma, The Botany Of Desire, and In Defense of Food, three of my favourite books about the ethics and politics of food. We must credit Michael for starting this process for Scott.
When he told Michael he had finally become a vegetarian, and directed him to my website, I practially kacked myself.
I didn’t have a nightmarish childhood by any means, but there was its share of hardship. Job loss, divorce, that kind of thing; nothing traumatic, but I nevertheless took solace in food. The idea of comfort food hadn’t been invented yet, at least in the pop culture lexicon, but food is definitely how I took comfort: lunches in high school were purchased in the snack bar, NOT the cafeteria, and was typically two of whatever was made by Hostess (Twinkies, Ding-Dongs, Fruit Pies, what have you), washed down by either Coke or Hawaiian Punch. A hearty American meal, right?
So maybe it’s no surprise I was diagnosed with Type I diabetes when I was nineteen years old; rather, I think the surprise is that it didn’t affect my eating habits all that much. For a year or two I was good, I was even what you might call strict, but eventually I learned how to handle what I considered a normal sugar intake on insulin. Plus, I had two doctors tell me the same thing: we don’t care how much sugar you eat, just make sure you’re eating a low-fat diet, in order to stave off long-term side-effects that in older generations typically resulted in the amputation of fingers or toes. (Seriously, telling a diabetic that you DIDN’T CARE how much sugar he eats…? I don’t blame them, I blame ME, but still, c’mon, have an ounce of common sense why don’t you?)
Still, for the first twenty years of my life after my diagnosis, my health was pretty decent, as was my weight. However, about four years ago, my work life started having an effect. I’m an audiobook narrator, so as you can imagine much of my life is spent sitting in a chair. I work with thousand dollar microphones that can hear it when you bend your elbow, so trust me when I say there’s NO movement involved in my job, no healthy activity that might conceivably pass for exercise. And I’m blessed to be in demand in my chosen profession, so I found myself working more and more hours. Well, the more hours you work, the poorer your eating habits become, isn’t that a rule or a law somewhere? And the more tired you are from work, the less you exercise, isn’t that a similar regulation? Well, if not law, it was certainly the practice in my life. In a year when I found myself working ten or twelve hours days, six (but more like seven) days a week, I suddenly found myself about thirty pounds heavier than I typically was. Having spent most of my life at about 180-190 pounds, I suddenly found myself hovering at 216. Oy.
I decided to try something new at New Year’s 2010 – I decided to try a fruit and vegetable cleanse. Three weeks of living on basically only one category in the food pyramid was a wake-up call for me, but I survived, and lost sixteen pounds, putting me right at the two century mark. Great start, I thought, but there was still work that needed to be done. Well, 2010 was also the year I met Tess, a year that saw a wonderful amount of change in my life. Dating a vegan was not something I’d expected to ever happen, yet I’ve always tried to embrace change rather than fear it, so I dove in feet first. (Thank God I’d had that trial run of three weeks with only fruit and vegetables, it made my upcoming transition bearable, and far less of a shock.)
Tess introduced me to Dr Robert O Young and The pH Miracle, the vegan alkaline diet that is devoid of any type of food I’d been stuffing myself with for years, and extraordinarily effective with Type I diabetics, many of whom ultimately stopped taking insulin. I started out giving up meat; I was a vegetarian for several months before going "vegan." It was an easier transition, I thought, less culture shock. Then came the shift to being vegan, which wasn’t easy, I have to admit. There were days when I was so exhausted that Tess said, “C’mon, let’s go to a restaurant and get you some fish.” I felt like an addict weaning myself slowly, rather than facing the agony of withdrawals.
And really, that’s what I was. Food is by all means an addiction, as is any learned behavior. I had to break myself of mine, and it hasn’t been easy, I’m the first to admit that. Rather than craving meat, I found myself dreaming of grains, of rice or bread or please God just a handful of Wheat Thins. Still, the body learned bad behavior over time, it can learn good behavior as well. And without even trying to lose more weight, I lost a ton. I got as low as 166, literally fifty pounds lighter than I’d been at my heaviest. Weight was dropping off me like hot fudge off a sundae.
There finally came the day this past December when I found myself at the Southern California ranch of Dr. Robert O. Young, whose book THE PH MIRACLE has had such a profound impact on both Tess’ life and mine. I was excited to meet Dr Young, and I’d planned on being there a week and was really curious what kind of an impact the diet and exercise regimen would have on me by that end of that time.
A week? Not even! Within two days, I was down to a single unit of insulin a night, when my previous dosage was 25-30. And that night’s dosage was taken more for comfort than out of necessity. Again, learned behavior; I was more comfortable dealing with the devil I knew than the one I didn’t. Embracing change doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t scary.
Now, these many months later, I’m not off insulin completely; but I remain on a MOSTLY vegan alkaline diet, and I’m much happier. Whereas my breakfasts used to consist of cereal and milk, or bacon and eggs, or doughnuts and orange juice, or a combination of all the above, my mornings are now spent blending something along the lines of spinach, cucumber, an avocado and two limes into a vegetable smoothie in our Vitamix and drinking it down. Lunches at the studio, which used to be grilled cheese, hamburgers or burritos are now typically vegetable soups, salads, or the (very occasional) veggie-burger patty – no bun. Dinners, which were never quite as bad as the Cheetos and beer I joke about with Tess – though yes, there were a few nights when it was popcorn and Coke – are more likely to be vegan salads, soups, stir-fried veggies, or even the occasional salmon salad or vegan fried rice!
It’s so hard to recognize my life anymore. I mean, who knew that the Junk-Food Kid’s splurge meal would suddenly become a salmon salad? (Thank you, California Canteen, I am a convert!)
Tess often introduces me as a vegan, yet I feel guilty claiming to being such; so many vegans have made their choice based on passionate feelings about their fellow living creatures – the so-called Meat Is Murder vegans – while I am not that person. I’ve made my decision because of health reasons, and am more addicted to fish than ever. In all truth I’d have to label myself a pescatarian with vegan tendencies. I will get there.....in time. Still, it’s a long way from the junk food junkie I used to be. And it never would have happened without Tess. Not just her encouragement, but her example, and her website. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve turned to it to make my life easier. It never would have happened if I’d had to do it all on my own. I am also so grateful to Dr Young and his staff. His knowledge really opened my eyes to a new way of living that I will always be grateful for. I look forward to recording the audiobook of The pH Miracle, and continuing my work with him.
If you’re someone who’s considering making such a change yourself, I won’t lie to you and say it’s been easy, or that it continues to be easy. Yet I will tell you I’m grateful every day that I made the change. I remember the way I used to eat and all I can think is, that way lies madness. And obesity. And heart disease, tooth decay and an early grave. Thank God for Tess. On so many levels.
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