“Why?” Barnard stammered through tobacco-stained teeth.
“Did you have bacon and eggs this morning?” asked the doctor.
“Yes,” the twenty-something replied nervously.
Autopsy over and victim's chest sewn back, Barnard headed for the cafeteria. They were serving ribs for lunch.
Motivation set in that day. Eventually, cheese and eggs followed meat on Barnard's personal list of revolting foods.
“It's very much like quitting smoking. At first it's hard. But after a while you think, ‘Yuck, why did I eat that stuff?'” Barnard said.
He said it's not always easy for someone to become a vegan at first but tastes often change after about a month.
“It does seem like for the first week or so, you should be listening to folk music and wearing tie dye. But after three or four weeks, if you go back to that double bacon cheeseburger you'll find it wasn't the joyful experience that you once associated it with,” Barnard said.
On the third week of Hale's new lifestyle, he was more than 14 pounds lighter when he visited his doctor. Hale said when Dr. Daryl Birdwell checked his blood sugar, his mouth fell open.
“Randy, you've reversed your diabetes,” he said.
His blood sugar was 85 compared with 158 on his previous checkup.
Hale said his energy level increased so that within a couple of months, he hiked 12 miles in the morning, 2.5 miles in the afternoon and then went home and carried his grandchild 1.5 miles.
His Santa-size breeches shrunk from a 40-inch waist to a 28/30 waist.
“The biggest thing is finding your motivation,” Hale said.
He said he's doubled his motivation now through Cailin and new granddaughter Ridlee. Rather than having to chase them around in his motorized scooter someday, he hopes to influence them to exercise and eat right. He's already logged 110 miles of carrying his older grandchild, Cailin, or pushing her in her stroller.
He said he has no problem sticking with the new diet, except for one food.
“I miss chocolate a lot. I have good willpower but not at 2 in the morning. There's not a drug strong enough to keep me away from chocolate cake at 2 in the morning,” he said.
But Barnard said he has a recipe for that.
His book, “21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart,” includes a “Wacky Chocolate Cake,” recipe that substitutes applesauce for butter.
New Year's resolution
Millions will start diets on New Year's, but Barnard said people find the 21-day vegan diet not as difficult to maintain.
He's working with celebrities, doctors and dietitians with the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine to team up with Silverstone, NBA champ John Salley and celebrity chef Tal Ronnen to coach the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart.
It's an online program going live Jan. 2 at www.
Dieters will get recipes, celebrity advice and more on trying a plant-based diet.
At a glance
Vegan on the go
Breakfast: Boil up oatmeal and combine it with fresh or dried fruit. Or try pancakes made with soy or almond milk. Try dry cereal.
Lunch: If you go to a restaurant such as Subway, order a sandwich without the meat and cheese. For a Mexican fast-food restaurant, order a bean burrito but hold the cheese.
Dinner: Try angel hair pasta topped with wild mushrooms and chunky tomatoes but not meat or cream sauce from an Italian restaurant.
Randy Hale's favorites
Good foods to eat
Both vegetarians and meat eaters should take a vitamin B-12 supplement.
After three or four weeks, if you go back to that double bacon cheeseburger, you'll find it wasn't the joyful experience that you once associated it with.”