Dr. Don Wagner Heeded "Physician Heal Thyself," and Now Guides Patients with a Whole Foods, Plant-Based Diet Plan
At age 4, he tumbled off a three story balcony in New York City, his childhood home. Paralyzed on his left side, he spent 6 months in a hospital with doctors helpless to get him to recover. Finally, still unable to move the left side of his body, the young boy was allowed to go home. When the doctors told Don's parents he would probably never walk again, his Mom became his hero. Refusing to give up, she learned some physical therapy modalities and worked with Don intensively until he made a full recovery. Don was not done with the hospital stints yet, though, and his pediatrician became a role model because Don saw him so often.
Luckily, Don grew into better health in his teenage years. "I never wanted to be sick again," he told me as I shared a fragrant Indian curry dinner with him and wife Sandy. The couple, thriving on a whole foods, plant-based diet, now juggles their busy Bullhead Urgent Care Center in Arizona with a plant-based private practice and Dr. Don's vegan radio show.
"I grew up on the standard American diet, but had a hippy macrobiotic uncle. He and his friends told me, "Don't eat meat, man, it's not healthy." Instinctively I knew they were right, and became vegetarian when I went to college, then vegan just before medical school. I didn't know how to do it right, though. I didn't feel well, and my weight plummeted from 180 to 122. I ended up going back to being vegetarian, which was easier for me," Dr. Don relates.