Training for Life (Literally) with D Anthony Evans: PYP 270

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D Anthony Evans found out at age six that he had a rare disorder (Neurofibromatosis) that caused painful tumors to emerge at random all over his body. And things just got worse from there.

His doctors explained that this disease generally leads to a highly aggressive form of cancer, MPNST (Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumors). So he spent his youth wondering when and where the cancer would strike.

Tumors grew all over his body, with sensations that D Anthony described as “like bee stings, all the time.” He rejected the standard painkilling cocktails that took away his energy and focus, and instead distracted himself with sports.

His mom died at the beginning of his junior year of high school. Fatherless, he floated around with other relatives until he became homeless and found his way into a gang.

D Anthony discovered power lifting, and embraced not only pumping iron, but the high-animal-protein diet thought to be required for success in that endeavor.

In 2012, he was diagnosed with the dreaded MPNST, and was given six months to live. After 11 operations and the removal of about 385 tumors, he began the road to recovery.

I met D Anthony at the Wellness Forum Health conference this past November, where we trained together early in the morning at the hotel gym. He helped me achieve my first honest-to-goodness pullup (and not those namby-pamby chinups I had been doing). As it turned out, I could have met him in the gym pretty much any time of the day, as D Anthony trains for hours a day to keep the cancer from recurring.

Our Skype conversation turned into the longest podcast episode I've ever released. This episode will require two hours of your attention. And I may be so bold to suggest that it's worth it. D Anthony is one of the most impressive, inspirational, unlikely, and wise people I've ever met. His approach to life can benefit us all.

In our conversation, we covered:

  • how his tumors were coded as preexisting cosmetic lesions rather than a conduit to a rare and usually fatal sarcoma
  • finding out that his mother was dying of AIDS while watching Magic Johnson on TV
  • feeling betrayed by a doctor who minimized the severity of surgery
  • losing his spot on the basketball team
  • “my father chose substance abuse over giving me a place to live”
  • getting strapped to a board at a mental institution following his suicide attempt
  • hiding from the pain of losing his mother, and finding distraction and acceptance in gang life in Chicago
  • the 2.5 years studying art and music at Columbia
  • creating a media company to place local ads for CBS and Clear Channel
  • “from the day I knew who I was, I knew I was a problem”
  • getting turned on to power lifting at Serenity House
  • going from 160 pounds to a 315-pound power lifter
  • creating sustainability concerts and having it all embezzled away by trusted partners
  • discovering Master Vegan Chef David Choi
  • “I can save you, but you have to give up everything you love”
  • meat, dairy, yeast, and sugar – “everything I get up for in the morning”
  • resigning from the American Cancer Society
  • eating hundreds of dollars worth of pine nuts each week
  • needing 1-3 surgeries a year for the rest of his life
  • the three keys: nutrition, fitness, and spirituality
  • and much more…

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

Talk Back

Links

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Chef David Choi on Facebook

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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.

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