Plant-Based Gabriel from Injury to Health

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How Plant-Based Gabriel transformed his life from being a former Nebraska University football player with a broken back to losing 100 pounds with a plant-based diet!

plant based gabriel football

Our plant-based starter kits are a great way to begin this new healthy lifestyle because they include a book, a set of DVD lectures from Dr. Neal Barnard, and a folder full of helpful literature from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

By Gabriel Miller

Not your typical success story

You could say that my journey into a plant-based lifestyle was anything but ordinary. 

Growing up, my family was always extremely overweight, but that didn’t seem to register with me as I was obese, and all I could see around me was obesity

Looking back, I now understand the incredible toll the Standard American Diet (SAD) placed on myself and my loved ones.

Playing football for the University of Nebraska

As a larger individual, I gravitated towards football, the sport my father had played all the way through college. I dedicated my youth to the sport that eventually led me to play in the Big 10 for the University of Nebraska.

Plant based gabriel at Nebraska football

At the University, as the proud and fat carnivore that I was, I began studying Livestock Production. 

All seemed to be going as planned… a starting football player for one of the most storied programs in the country, traveling the country to play in some of the largest stadiums in the world, excelling in my classes, & living the life that I had dreamed about growing up in small-town Indiana.

Career-ending injury

During an offseason workout with the football team, I suffered what would become a career-ending back injury. In a matter of seconds, the life and dreams that I had been working towards were shattered. 

In the days and weeks that passed, I found myself putting on even more weight as I was unable to walk let alone exercise. My back injury eventually led me to the operating table, where I spent 6-1/2 hours under the knife trying to restore my chances of living and functioning at normal capacity again. 

Plant Based Gabriel after injury on walker

After my surgery, I was faced with a long road of recovery. And that is where you could say my journey towards a plant-based diet began.

Post-surgery struggles

After leaving the hospital and with the prodding of my surgeon, I began looking into ways that I would be able to lose the fat and excess weight that I had put on over the years of being a football player. And, as a livestock production major, I gravitated towards animal-based ways of dieting and trying to lose weight.

Over the course of a few years, I found myself frustrated from trying the various animal-based diets (keto, low carb, etc) and still being just as heavy as when I left the hospital. 

And this is when I decided that I would start asking some tough questions of my professors, whom I had been leaning on for advice as I was trying to lose the weight. 

Finding the truth about nutrition

The first real ah-ha moment was when I walked into my senior-level nutrition class and realized what a mistake I had made by taking nutrition advice from my 300-pound professor!

After that moment, I realized that I was going to have to go out and do the research and explore diet and lifestyle myself if I was ever truly going to lose the weight and change the outlook of my life. 

That moment and realization led me on a journey that would not only change my way of thinking about nutrition but also how I look at the world around me.

plant based gabriel weight loss before and after

I began reading everything I could from every author I could find who had any advice to give about weight loss. That is when I found out that there were doctors who had spent their whole lives researching and implementing the idea that the healthiest diet on the planet is one based on eating whole plant foods.

After seeing this, I decided to spend every spare second reading and researching everything I could find about a plant-based diet. 

Switching to a plant-based lifestyle

I decided that I had done more than enough research to make the switch in my own diet from an animal product-centered diet to a completely plant-based vegan diet.

To my surprise, I began to lose the excess weight that I had been working to lose for years without even breaking a sweat. I noticed that my skin began to clear up, my stomach problems disappeared, and my mood changed for the better. With that, I was convinced that this was the way that I would eat and live for the rest of my life. 

Plant based gabriel in garden

Over the course of the next few years, I had to relearn everything I knew about eating and what I thought was healthy. As someone who didn’t eat many fruits and vegetables growing up, the idea of eating only fruits and vegetables was somewhat daunting. I was jumping into a completely foreign way of eating, so I was forced to find ways to prepare vegetables, grains, legumes, and fruits that were appealing to me.

plant based gabriel cooking in kitchen

I found myself in the kitchen more than I had ever been, and I loved it! Over time, I became much more experienced in the kitchen by preparing easy, delicious, and healthy plant-based meals.

100-pound weight loss

After finding the foods that I loved to prepare, all that was left to do was eat. By eating these whole food plant-based meals I was able to lose over 100 pounds and gain the flexibility, and agility that I had lost with my back injury! 

I knew that I shouldn’t be the only one to experience the amazing powers of a whole food plant-based diet.


Health is a family affair

With my newfound health and knowledge, I began helping my parents and sister make the transition to a plant-based diet too! And this is why I began filming my recipe videos, to better help my family make the transition to this way of eating with easy-to-follow, step-by-step, healthy plant-based recipes.

By eating these meals, my family has lost an incredible amount of weight but, more importantly, we have gained our health back that was taken from us for many years. ​

plant based gabriel eating burger

More plants = More Power 

Check out Plant-Based Gabriel’s website for recipes and information helpful as you begin, continue and excel in your own plant-based journey! 

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More great articles on plant-based nutrition

Want more amazing encouragement? Check out these other Whole Food Plant-Based Diet (WFPB) Success Stories.


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