Rich Roll, Vegan Ultra-Athlete, Recovered from Alcoholism and the Standard American Diet
Roll's miraculous health transformation was not the first metamorphosis he had undergone. About ten years before his health scare on the staircase, Roll had entered into recovery from alcohol and drug addiction and ceased the decades-spanning abuses he had inflicted on his body and mind. He began a successful law practice and met his health-minded, vegetarian, yoga-instructor wife, now the mother of his four children.
|Rich Roll before and after adopting a plant-based diet and becoming an "epic" endurance athlete.|
"When I was a swimmer, I was training four hours a day and I could eat anything I wanted. Calories were king. And so I formed those habits, and I stuck with those habits for a very very long time," Roll said. "And there were moments when denial took over and I looked at myself in the mirror and convinced myself I still looked like an Olympic swimmer, even though that was obviously far from the case. And of course, that stuff catches up to you."
While Roll stuffed his face with greasy burgers and fries, his yogi wife Julie Piatt maintained a healthy diet. "Looking in our fridge, it was always very obvious what food was mine and what was my wife's," Roll said. But despite the prevalence of heart disease that ran through Roll's bloodline (his grandfather, a champion swimmer, non-smoker and exercise enthusiast, died of a heart attack in his early fifties), Roll's wife knew better than to try to convert her husband to her way of eating. "She took a very Al-Anon approach to my lifestyle choices," Roll said, by which he means that she lived and let live until he asked for help.