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Phil Green is a heavy equipment mechanic for the military. Which is to say, he can fix things that people rely on for their lives.

And yet his own body was in a terrible state of disrepair. As a red, white, and blue son of Texas, Phil's diet was (in his own words) “fried everything.” Except for the barbecued meat.

A baseball player in his younger days, Phil abandoned any pretense of fitness or health when he gave up sports and started a busy career. Eating out all the time expanded his waistline and led to profoundly ill health.

A fling with Atkins in 2001 got him to a good size, but did nothing for his galloping symptoms except make them worse. And when he fell off the low-carb plan, of course he blamed his “failure” on the carbs, rather than the inherent unsustainability of the Atkins diet.

At the age of 40, as a new father, Phil reached new lows of poor health. He weighed so much that he stopped weighing himself. He had fatty liver, high blood pressure, chest pains, cholesterol in the 300s, trigycerides in the 500s, horrible memory, prediabetes, and cardiovascular disease. He prayed that when he died, his wife and kids would somehow be OK without him.

When a doctor finally told Phil that if he managed to survive his inevitable heart attack, stents, and bypass surgery, he would almost certainly end up with dementia, that was the wakeup call that got this skilled mechanic to begin to look into the inner workings of his own body.

Upon his doctor's advice, Phil embarked on a “crazy” diet: whole foods, vegetarian, with nothing processed. Even while indulging on tortilla chips and sardines twice a week, Phil noticed improvements almost immediately. Hypertension gone, cholesterol and triglycerides smack in the middle of the normal range, 30 pounds lighter. Which begged the question:

“If I keep going, what's going to happen?”

Listen to the interview to find out. Spoiler: the health and weight changes were just the beginning of Phil's profound transformation. (Wait until you meet his cow!)

We covered:

  • Phil's health challenges
  • floating through the day with an impaired memory
  • eating like a good old boy
  • starting with Dean Ornish's The Spectrum
  • binge-watching plant-based documentaries on Netflix
  • “other diets were so hard, and this is so easy”
  • loving more and caring more about his family
  • why we don't hear about this
  • getting hassled at work, then getting questions
  • hunting and fishing
  • “I hate for anything to suffer now”
  • discovering deep wells of compassion after giving up meat
  • saving a stray dog
  • buying and saving Rose the cow
  • starting to run
  • influencing others through a no-judgment zone
  • explaining heart health to mechanics (“the heart is like an oil pump”)
  • “you don't pour grease down your kitchen sink, why would you pour it into your body?”
  • “the machines I fix are used in war – and that bothers me”
  • 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.


The Spectrum – by Dean Ornish, MD

Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead

Forks Over Knives

Persimmon Hill Horses and Rescue on Facebook

Phil's GoFundMe for Rose the Cow (completed, shared here for archival purposes)

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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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14 comments on “Becoming a Health Mechanic with Phil Green: PYP 248

  1. Meredith says:

    Phil Green is brilliant and passionately made a case for plant based living. Really enjoyed it!!

    1. Phil Green says:

      You are very kind . Thank you.

  2. Lennie Poitras says:

    I love this guy! Phil Green is an example of what I would hope is the end result of changing from a carnivore to a plant eater. He is thoughtful, gentle and just a wonderful human being. Thank you for bringing to us.

    1. Howard says:

      Right? Phil is such a gentle and wise human being – I’ll pass along your kind words to him.

    2. Phil Green says:

      Thank you for your kind words.

  3. Nicola Benson says:

    What a lovely guy. And he is right, if men could only look after their bodies as well as they look after the cars, bikes and other machines in their life. I know so many motor heads who will rush to check out the smallest cough, splutter or rattle in their machines, but ignor the aches and pains that show that their body’s engine is in danger of blowing up and seizing permanently.

    1. Howard says:

      So true! Thanks for your kind words about Phil – I’ll pass them along 🙂

    2. Phil Green says:

      Yes they do. Thank you for the nice comment.

  4. Steve Smith says:

    I really enjoyed the podcast interview with Phil Green. I do believe that while big kudos are due to the pioneers and early voices of the WFPB movement, much of the real progress moving forward will come from the stories and authentic voices of people like Phil Green.

    Thank you Howard Jacobson for reaching out to a diverse mix of guests, and the many humble, yet earnest people like Phil. This is the way to push forward!

    1. Howard says:

      Agree 100%! I’ve got a few more of these interviews in the can, ready for publication. Josh Turner is this week, and Derick and Kassi Harrington soon.

      I’ll pass on your kind words to Phil.

    2. Phil Green says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the podcast. Thank you. I was very honored to be asked.

  5. Ann Jesse says:

    Phil Green absolutely needs to write about a book called “The Plant-Based Mechanic”. He and his story are so inspiring and fascinating!

    1. Howard says:

      I love it! Will tell him 🙂

    2. Phil Green says:

      Thank you so much for the kind comment. A book … hmmm. Lol !

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