Working at Whole Foods had been good to Milan Ross. It not only allowed him to earn a decent living but also provided his family the medical insurance his family so desperately needed. But it wasn’t until Milan was offered the opportunity to attend Dr. Stoll’s Immersion program that his life totally changed. This is the story of how Milan Ross lost two hundred and twenty-five pounds of excess weight and found the passion his life had been missing.
Since 2010, Dr. Scott Stoll, a medical doctor and past Olympic athlete, has conducted a week-long intensive health program. The seven-day course provides the most up-to-date information on nutrition, achievable exercise, and culinary education, as well as encouragement, coaching, and vision casting. While food is the centerpiece of the program, it is meant to be a transformational experience that forever changes the attitudes, habits, and lives of those who attend the program—all in just one week. It was to this program that Whole Foods sent Milan Ross.
The Change not only tells the personal story of Milan Ross and what he experienced during that crucial week of his life but also provides the voice of Dr. Stoll, who takes the reader through the very same program Milan experienced. Unlike weight-loss books that offer quick fixes to lose the pounds, The Change is designed to look within each individual and see what is driving him or her to eat food that is known to be unhealthy. Based on science and inner strength, which is the true seed of change, this book is meant to have its readers lose weight and be healthy not for just a month or a year but for a lifetime.
“Inspiring . . . Many will relate to Ross’s history of struggle with weight. His personal story also connects readers to his wife and son, and to his sunny and humorous outlook (e.g., his moniker is “Big Sexy”). Stoll's lectures are informative and science-based, clearly revealing the dramatic benefits of a healthy lifestyle and plant-based diet. The only ingredients missing from this detailed week of transformation are specific recipes for the enticing veggie-based meals served on Ross and Stoll's healthful sojourn.” —Publishers Weekly
"[The Change] promotes a plant-based diet . . . [the book] convincingly argues that people will 'focus on the moment' and, step by step, change old habits and 'decide to eat well, move more, sleep more and stress less.' Informative and inspiring." —Booklist
"[P]rovides instruction in nutrition, exercise, and cooking. [Authors] Milan [Ross] and Dr. Stoll have teamed up to share Milan's amazing 225-pound weight-loss experience in their new book . . . alternates between the two authors' point of view, with Milan sharing his personal story, and Dr. Stoll guiding readers through his Immersion program. Be sure to [also] look for The Change Cookbook, out later this year."—Taste for Life Magazine
Milan Ross was born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri, and graduated from Central Visual and Performing Arts High School with a passion for the arts. After pursuing a career in the music industry and getting married, his family was faced with a health crisis, which required him to find a job that provided health insurance to cover mounting medical bills. In 2012, Milan walked away from his career in music and took a position with Whole Foods Market. This fateful decision changed not only Milan’s life but also the life of each member of his family.
As an overweight individual, Milan was intrigued by the health retreat offered by Whole Foods to its employees in need. He soon applied and was accepted. After attending Dr. Stoll's Immersion program in 2013, Milan lost over two hundred and twenty-five pounds. The story of his dramatic transformation broke nationally on the cover of Vegan Lifestyle Magazine. It has since been featured in several national magazines and highlighted in the feature-length documentary film Eating You Alive. In addition, Milan has developed his own organic health food line, Full Flavor Vegan (www.fullflavorvegan.com).
Today, through his many speaking engagements across the United States, Milan has made it his life's mission to help people attain optimal health and change their lives. Milan lives with his wife and son in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, where they are actively involved in serving their church and community.
Scott Stoll, MD, received his medical degree from the University of Colorado. He is board certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and specializes in regenerative medicine, utilizing natural treatments, diet, and lifestyle to aid the body in healing chronic disease and injuries.
Prior to receiving his MD, he was a member of the 1994 US Olympic Bobsled team, and he currently serves as a physician for USA Bobsled & Skeleton. He is also cofounder of the Plantrician Project and the International Plant-Based Nutrition Healthcare Conference; has served as a member of the Whole Foods scientific and medical advisory board; is athletic team physician for Lehigh University; and is department chairman of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Coordinated Health.
Beyond conducting his popular "Dr. Stoll's Immersion" program several times a year, Dr. Stoll is the author of Alive! A Physician’s Biblical & Scientific Guide to Nutrition as well as numerous scientific articles, and also contributed chapters to the book Rethink Food. Dr. Stoll can be heard on his daily radio program, Health Minutes, in the Lehigh Valley, on Channel 60 TV's "health minutes," and in lectures nationally and internationally. He has also appeared on The Dr. Oz Show, The Marilu Henner Show, Trinity Broadcasting Network, and Daystar Television. Dr. Stoll and his wife, Kristen, live in Pennsylvania with their four sons and two daughters, where they, too, are actively involved in their church and community organizations.
Table of contents
Foreword by Michael Greger, MD, xiii
Getting on Board
Milan’s Story, 7
Dr. Stoll’s Story, 25
Milan’s Story, 35
Dr. Stoll’s Story, 42
Milan’s Story, 51
Dr. Stoll’s Story, 62
Milan’s Story, 77
Dr. Stoll’s Story, 85
Milan’s Story, 101
Dr. Stoll’s Story, 113
Milan’s Story, 127
Dr. Stoll’s Story, 135
Milan’s Story, 151
Dr. Stoll’s Story, 158
Milan’s Story, 171
Dr. Stoll’s Story, 177
Milan’s Story, 187
Dr. Stoll’s Story, 194
About the Authors, 213
Introduction or preface
At the age of thirty, my life took a truly unexpected turn. It was a life-altering experience that I would like to share with you. In this book, you will accompany me on my personal journey from skinny to obese to healthy. And when I say healthy, I am not just referring to weight. I am talking about mind, body, and soul.
It is truly extraordinary the way things happen sometimes. Who would have thought that taking a job I really didn't want with a company I didn't fully understand would be one of the best decisions of my life—second only to marrying my beautiful wife, Iris.
In October 2012, I became an employee of Whole Foods Market. It wasn’t long before I found out about the great perks of working for “America's Healthiest Grocery Store.” In addition to discounts on food (which can be very helpful to those who often struggle to make ends meet, as I had been struggling at the time), Whole Foods Market offered an all-expense-paid trip to a health program to its fulltime employees who would benefit from it. At first, the trip sounded like some type of baptism—and, in a way, it was. Unlike that religious ceremony, however, this program focused on rediscovering yourself, determining who you would like to be, and finding a way to become that person successfully. It aimed to teach you how to eat healthfully and live healthfully.
Imagine going to a luxury resort at a tropical location for seven days to learn from the best doctors, trainers, nutritionists, and chefs, all while enjoying fun exercise on the beach every morning. That was exactly the gift Whole Foods Market gave to me. In October of 2013, one year after I’d started work, I boarded a plane and flew to Naples, Florida, to attend Dr. Stoll's Immersion program. This singular experience would change the trajectory of my entire life. Thanks to this book, you may now join me as I walk you through the same program. Step by step, I will share with you everything I did to attain my amazing results. From dealing with the emotional trauma to fighting through the withdrawal stage, you will be given an inside look at every aspect of the experience.
With the help of Dr. Scott Stoll, I will introduce you to the exact seven-day immersion process I followed. In fact, Dr. Stoll will personally take you through the ins and outs of his immersion program, detailing information that is sure to help you finally achieve the health goals you’ve been struggling to reach. Together we will show you how to apply this wonderful lifestyle program to your everyday life in a very practical way. From grocery shopping and cooking to exercising and staying motivated, you will be granted unprecedented access.
By sharing some of my most vulnerable and personal moments, I hope to teach others two very important facts. The first is that you are not alone. There are millions of people in this world who are all suffering from the same affliction. Obesity has grown at an alarming rate. The second is that you can change. At my heaviest, I remember feeling hopeless. I did not think I could change. Change seemed like a pipe dream. I had resolved that I, just like my mother before me and her mother before her, was destined to be obese. I had also assumed that the afflictions present throughout my family’s history—afflictions such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease—were now my burdens as well. I couldn't have been more wrong.
As you will soon learn, the food we consume on a daily basis is a powerful force, and not only because it quite literally provides fuel for the body. It is a powerful force because of its ability to fight the progression or even onset of disease. When you eat a whole food, plant-based diet, your body receives all the nutrients it requires to operate at its optimal level. It took me over fifteen years to realize I couldn’t out-train a bad diet. I had to begin eating for my health as well.
If you are reading this now and thinking your personal struggles might be too big to overcome, or that your health is too far gone to repair, I would challenge you to allow yourself to follow The Change and see what happens. What I thought was going to be just another lucky on-the-job bonus—a free vacation—turned out to be a transformative event. Dr. Stoll and I now invite you to immerse yourself in the following information and become The Change.