The love of my life for over thirty three years, Steve Tarpinian, took his own life in Sedona on March 15, 2015. Seven months later, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Needless to say, my life for the past eighteen months has been a bit of a challenge.
To help my depression and PD symptoms, I have been following the traditional medical approach and tried three different prescribed medications, all of which did not improve my quality of life, but rather, gave me bad side effects.
Many times Steve would quote Albert Einstein:
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.
So, I thought I might try a more holistic approach to alleviate my symptoms and adopt a plant based diet. I have been a vegetarian for a few years, but not a very healthy one as I ate a lot of cheese and consumed too much sugar laden and processed foods. A few months ago, I received an email regarding a week long, plant based Engine 2 Immersion retreat in Sedona, put on by a good friend of Steve’s, Rip Esselstyn. Steve and I have known Rip for over twenty years, so I emailed Rip and asked him if he thought if this retreat would be worthwhile for me in light of my current physical and mental health challenges. He felt it might be and I figured I had nothing to lose by giving it a shot.
The week was amazing and I met some wonderful people, ate phenomenal food and was given tools and invaluable knowledge on how to continue a healthy, plant based diet when I got home. Sedona is a mystical place and I feel myself so drawn to it. Many people go to this beautiful location in search of vortexes. In Sedona, vortexes are said to be created from spiraling spiritual energy where the energy is such that it facilitates healing, among other things.
I had a Sedona vortex moment during one of the Immersion sessions led by Milan Ross. Milan was a guest speaker who had been through the Engine 2 Immersion program previously as a participant and has had some truly life changing health improvements. Milan then said his wife’s multiple sclerosis went into remission after six months on a plant based diet. It is believed by some, that many of the neurological disorders such as MS, PD, Alzheimer’s etc. share some characteristics such that if a cause/cure is found for one of them, it will make it easier to find a cause/cure for all). When Milan shared his wife’s experience, I broke down in tears as I started having all these images/memories flash through my mind while thinking as Steve would always say; “There are no coincidences”
- In 1995, I met Rip.
- In the 2000s, Steve and I bought Rip’s book about plant based diets. Although we ate many plant based meals made from recipes in this book, Steve and I were not fully committed; we were not ready. However, Steve introduced his father to a plant based diet which probably saved his father’s life since his heart disease was reversed as a result.
- Flash forward to 2015 when Steve took his own life and I was diagnosed with PD.
- In 2016, I receive an email about the Engine 2 Immersion in Sedona after feeling so discouraged with my current course of treatments. I was ready to try something different. I was finally ready to commit to a plant based diet.
On the last night of the Engine 2 Immersion, there was a little graduation ceremony for the participants. After I got back to my room, as I took off my shirt (a shirt I had not worn in years; I don’t even remember why I chose to pack this one), I looked at the back of it. Steve loved this shirt as he loved to read the inspirational words on it.
About a third of the way down the back of the shirt it said: “There’s no such thing as coincidence”.