John Crews: Body fuels the mind

There was no reason John Crews’ knees should hurt so badly.

He was in his late 30s, and at 5-foot-8 and approximately 160 pounds, his height and weight were in proportion. He ate well, exercised regularly and had no known family history of arthritis, joint inflammation or any other malady that would cause his knees to ache.

For an avid outdoorsman and a fitness junkie, the pain was inconvenient. Crews could no longer do squat lifts in the weight room, and he felt the knees burn during routine exercise.

But much more, the pain also was beginning to affect his day-to-day routine.

Crews was having trouble climbing and descending stairs. He figured if things got worse, it wouldn’t be long before he might struggle to stand on the bow of his bass boat for hours on end – pretty much a requirement when preparing for and competing in the Bassmaster Elite Series tournaments where Crews makes his living.

He tried glucosamine, a natural remedy for joint inflammation, and it helped, but not well enough for Crews to stop thinking about his throbbing knees. He didn’t want pills or injections, either, so he ruled out seeing a physician.

He finally found relief 18 months ago, and it didn’t require a prescription.

“I had been doing a bunch of research, just trying to get my knees right, and I read where a plant-based diet could really help with something like that,” he said. “Shoot, I’ll try it. Why not? I really had nothing to lose except the pain at that point.

“Within a week, my knees quit hurting. It was crazy. I hadn’t had that kind of relief in about four or five years.”

A plant-based diet is just as it sounds, in that a person’s food supply consists of vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, legumes and the like. Practitioners minimize, or completely eliminate, processed foods and animal products (meat, dairy, eggs, etc.) from the diet, as well.

Supporters, including many nutritionists, say a plant-based diet reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes, while helping maintain a healthy metabolism, normal weight and proper cognitive function.