Adam and Shoshana Chaim on Eating Their Way Out of a Medical Nightmare: PYP 184

adamshoshanaAdam and Shoshana Chaim are the hosts of the most excellent Plant Trainers Podcast. Their journey of discovery and transformation is one that needs to be heard by everyone who may ever come into contact with the medical establishment. (And even more so by the members of that establishment.)

Adam was always fit and in good health, so he thought. Working out, playing sports, maintaining a healthy weight; what more could possibly be required, right?

Then one day while watching TV, he experienced a sharp shooting pain across his chest. He was too young to have a heart attack, he thought. Scared and confused, he went to the ER, his thoughts swirling around his young wife and one-year-old son. Was he going to check out this early in life?

Two weeks later, he received a call from the hospital, asking (out of the blue) if Adam had scheduled his oncology appointment yet. Oncology? Isn't that the study of cancer? What the f—?

Following the oncologist's examination, Adam was told that he had a tumor on his left kidney that was most likely cancerous, and should have his entire kidney removed. Now was the time for a second opinion, and a third. The second surgeon was slightly more conservative, suggesting removal of just 3/4 of the kidney. And the third picked up on the words “most likely” and suggested a biopsy.

You know, just for kicks, to see if whatever it was, was in fact cancer.

It wasn't. A fact that took over a month to discover, thanks to the glacial pace of the Toronto OHIP medicare system. A month in which Shoshana was becoming more and more pregnant (is that a thing? Can you get “more pregnant”?) and the stress of not knowing and fearing the worst was taking its toll on the young family.

Then came the phone call with the results. Good news and bad news.

It's not cancer. (Huge sigh of relief.)

But it's possible a rare genetic disorder, von Hippel-Lindau disease, which deposits tumors all along the central nervous system, and rarely allows people to live past 40. Adam and Shoshana googled it, which turned out to be a huge mistake. They were scared out of their wits at the future that awaited them.

Then a Friend Who Knows Things (thank God for people like that in our lives!) informed Adam that there was an easy way to diagnose von Hippel-Lindau for certain: a simple retinal exam. And that exam, once conducted, showed no sign of a genetic disorder.

It did, however, reveal clear blockages of the arteries of the eyes, a sure sign of progressive cardiovascular disease.

At this point, jerked around and fed up by the medical establishment, Adam started doing his own research. He vowed to heal himself without surgeries or medications, the two tools of choice of the medical establishment that had caused him so much needless suffering. He began by reading Thrive, by Brendan Brazier, and so lucked onto the path of plant-based eating.

Shoshana was dragged into the lifestyle, and they navigated a divided fridge for a few years. Then upon reading Skinny Bitch, she began her own transition.

In our conversation, Adam and Shoshana and I covered:

  • the challenges of transitioning to a plant-based diet
  • “6 years of marriage pretending I couldn't cook”
  • how Forks Over Knives touched Adam, but not Shoshana
  • participating in a triathlon without knowing how to swim
  • the mystical, magical advice from a stranger at the pool
  • how Shoshana was moved by Skinny Bitch, and how she transitioned in her own way and her own time
  • Adam's shrinking tumor and healing eye arteries, and the bafflement of the medical profession
  • training harder and recovering faster
  • Shoshana's post-partum depression and anxiety: “I thrive with PTSD”
  • teaching kids about healthy eating at an early age
  • starting to convince doctors to take a look at this plant-based business
  • and much more…

Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.


Thrive, by Brendan Brazier

Skinny Bitch, by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin

Forks Over Knives

Adam and Shoshana's Links

Plant-Based Health, Nutrition and Fitness
Healthy Plant-Based Families
Contact Adam and Shoshana
Plant Trainers Website
Plant Trainers 1 Week Plant-Based Meal Plan

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Check out my online TV show, Triangle Be Well. This week I talk about America’s cheese addiction, and the dangers of all psychiatric drugs (and the whole profession, really).

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The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website,


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