Mary Jo Bellner Swartzberg
It’s a new year, new decade, and a new you! Are you thinking about turning a new leaf or changing your habits? Many people take the beginning of a new year to make changes in their lifestyle. However, not everyone waits until January to do so.
Billie Jo (B.J.) Murray had an excellent career as a general manager at Microsoft prior to moving to SaddleBrooke. B.J. is outgoing and friendly – and she is a good golfer! It was last year when B.J. decided that it was time to make a major change in her health habits. A breast cancer survivor (three years clean) B.J. had surgery, chemotherapy, as well as radiation, and a full year of immunotherapy.
B.J. knew that she wanted to make changes in her health habits, but not just because she is a breast cancer survivor. An elevated cholesterol number ten years ago resulted in her being placed on a statin. Her doctor said that she would have to be on the statin drug for the rest of her life. She read that statins did not pose a threat to one’s liver but she felt that she wanted to give her liver a rest from the chemical. Her mission was to find a doctor who would help her wean off of the statin. And, she found that doctor right here in Oro Valley.
Doctor J. Ted Crawford, D.O., doctor of Family Medicine at Oro Valley Health, espouses a plant-based diet for patients who want to get healthy. He, himself, went on a plant-based regimen.
In May 2019, B.J. took the giant leap from a traditional daily diet to an all plant-based diet. She quickly dropped 20 pounds and people are in awe of the body transformation that resulted from her new daily food regimen. But she quickly tells people that losing weight was not the purpose behind the change of diet – getting healthy was.
She also states that eating a plant-based diet can have its challenges when eating out, although restaurants do offer many plant-based food options these days and many restaurants are very accommodating, otherwise.
Although she was rarely a meat eater, B.J. says that now that she is on the plant-based diet she does miss certain foods. As an example, she misses cheese – but not just cheese – a good blue cheese!
She is frequently asked whether or not she feels weak or drained since her change of diet, to which she replies “No!” She states “I feel better than I have ever felt!” She exercises now more than she did prior to her diet switch. Many days she is on the treadmill for 4.5 miles then does 60 laps in the pool. If there is time, she will bike with the Cyclemasters for 10-12 miles. And, of course, there is daily golf!
In full remission, B.J. credits her treatment for her cancer, exercising, and going to a plant-based diet with keeping her healthy. She sees Dr. Crawford in January to determine what her numbers are.
B.J. recommends the book How Not to Die by Michael Gregor to friends who are thinking of going plant-based.
B.J. is married to Rick and they have one daughter, who married last August. Their daughter and son-in-law are also vegan!
If you are thinking of going plant-based, check with your physician. As always, do your homework; the Mayo Clinic has this excellent website on the positive effects of a plant-based diet:
Also, there is a Plant-Based Nutrition Group here in SaddleBrooke: [email protected]
This I Have Learned…