Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth nutrition, fitness and adventure courses, and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+..
“I felt like I was 60 when I was 30,” recalls Will Bulsiewicz, MD, author of Fiber Fueled. Back then, his grueling medical residency with 30-hour shifts was fueled by fast food and caffeine and led to a 50-pound weight gain, anxiety, and digestive problems. “My self-esteem was shockingly low,” he recalls.
Plant Foods That Heal the Body
The schedule improved as his career progressed, and to get in shape, Bulsiewicz adopted a rigorous 6-day-a-week endurance and weight training program. But despite his getting very fit, the weight wouldn’t budge, nor would his other health issues.
Any attempt to eat a salad triggered severe indigestion, cramping, and often, diarrhea—until he gradually began to substitute plant foods for fast food, a little at a time, starting with a smoothie instead of a double cheeseburger.
“Instantly, I felt energized,” he says. He started studying nutrition and kept making more substitutions, eating plant foods to heal his body rather than succumbing to fast-food cravings. And bit by bit, his weight, anxiety, and blood pressure dropped; his energy and wellbeing soared; and the cravings subsided.
Related: 9 Best Gut Health Remedies
The Missing Puzzle Piece
Bulsiewicz’s secret to optimum health is diversity, meaning a diverse collection of bacteria in the gut.
The more diverse our microbiome, the healthier we are, but such diversity is impossible without a variety of plant foods.
The largest study of its kind, the American Gut Project, looked at the microbiomes of more than 11,000 people and found that those who ate at least 30 different plant foods per week—different vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes—had the most diverse gut microbiomes.
“Don’t fixate on achieving 30, but introduce diversity,” says Bulsiewicz. That’s what transformed his health and now, at the age of 40, he says, “I’ve rekindled the energy of my youth.”
In his new book, Fiber Fueled, Will Bulsiewicz, MD, reveals the key secret that helped him achieve optimum wellness—a plant-rich diet that nourishes a diverse collection of healthy gut bacteria.
Editor’s note: For more information on Dr. Bulsiewicz, visit theplantfedgut.com.