Meet Josh Perry: BMX Rider, Brain Tumor Survivor, and IIN Health Coach
Happy National Health Coach Week! To celebrate, we’ll be featuring inspiring stories of Health Coaches who are doing amazing work in their homes, workplaces, schools, and communities. We’re excited to kick things off with Josh Perry, Class of 2014! He’s taking over our Instagram account today – follow along here to see what he’s up to!
Gravity-defying backflips, jaw-dropping stunts … and green smoothies? Though the world of extreme sports isn’t typically associated with holistic health, there’s nothing “typical” about Josh Perry, Class of 2014.
Josh is a professional BMX (bicycle motocross) athlete, performing incredible tricks with a freestyle sports bike. He’s also passionate about health and wellness, sharing photos of quinoa tempeh bowls that he enjoys after performing feats such as the “suicide no-hander.”
Josh’s health journey began when he was diagnosed with a non-cancerous brain tumor in 2010. After major neurosurgery, radiation two years later, and a long road back to recovery, Josh decided to take his health into his own hands – and discovered Integrative Nutrition.
Read his inspiring story below!
On discovering his passion: Nutrition was never important to me until I got diagnosed with a brain tumor. I was the young rider that lived off Hostess treats, two-liter Dr. Pepper, fast food, and processed foods like Kraft mac and cheese, cheap frozen meats, lots of processed cheese, and lots of refined white bread products.
It all started when a friend of mine told me to watch “Food Matters” on Netflix. That was the turning point for my journey with food and health. It turned that little light bulb in my head so bright! For the first time I saw the difference between food and the “food-like” products I was living off of. I made the connection to the diet I was eating and my experience with the brain tumor.
On changing his diet: It's been a difficult road to implementing changes over the years, but then I found Integrative Nutrition and my life has never been the same.
Once I started to make the changes to my diet, I saw major changes in my physical health, my recovery, my strength, my thinking and processing, and my riding improved! I learned that food is more than fuel; it represents our biological make-up, helps us heal and prevent unwanted ailments, dictates the way we act, feel, and think, and can make us strong or make us weak. I believe if you want to perform to the best of your abilities, even in things non-sports related, you have to take care of your nutrition so you have a strong body and mind.
On cutting out sugar: To be honest, I am now petrified of sugar after attending Integrative Nutrition and learning that tumors thrive on sugar. I'm probably a bit more scared of it than I need to be, but having had a surgery for a brain tumor followed by gamma knife radiation two years later for two areas of regrowth, I don't see sugar being of any good for my body. I ate enough of it in my past and now have a good balance of fruits and grains and grain products, while cutting out all the processed sugars, sugary treats and sugary drinks.
I have gone back and forth with eating meat and not eating meat. Now I have a good balance with organic meat and listen to my body and what it’s telling me. I definitely saw a huge change in my physical appearance (lost a lot of body fat and people always remind me or comment that I look "thinner"), but gained more sustainable energy, eat less, and feel stronger.
On his favorite Integrative Nutrition visiting teacher: Dr. Mark Hyman caught my attention not only from his information on sugar and the diabesity epidemic, but from his story with his own health, his passion for educating people, and his efforts in helping turn the health of our country around. I love learning from Dr. Hyman and it would be amazing to meet him one day. Thanks for all you have done and are currently doing for our country’s health, Dr. Hyman!
On his dad and green smoothies: My life has changed in many ways after enrolling at Integrative Nutrition. My family and friends have all gotten curious about nutrition and have been trying out some of my tips and recommendations!
I have suggested my dad drink water before any soda or any other beverage, to try and “crowd out” the soda. He has now cut his daily intake of two or three sodas a day to half of one, if any. Another example is my dad drinking a green smoothie for breakfast, rather than skipping breakfast or getting some donuts on the way to work. At the same time, he gets an extra serving of greens that he wasn't getting before. I love how every person is so surprised that they cannot taste the greens in the smoothie!
On future plans: I am currently working to get an action sports park focused around health and nutrition in Roanoke, Virginia. I want to combine my passion for BMX with health and nutrition in a facility that not only teaches and promotes action sports, but promotes and teaches healthy eating and its importance to performing and living in the best possible manner.
On changing the world: I have seen people suffering all over the world from their diet and lifestyle choices, and they don't even know it. I don't want to sound like I am judging others negatively, because I was once there and wish I had the knowledge I have now. They think it's just genetics, they are meant to be sick or overweight, it has nothing to do with food, or the doctor says they just need to take this pill, have this surgery, or exercise more to become healthy. Nothing about their food! It makes me sad, and that is what was so appealing about Integrative Nutrition. It taught me to foster a beginner’s mind and to not be judgmental or offensive to others. I have a deep passion for helping others when I can, and I finally found a way to help as many people as I can reach thanks to Integrative Nutrition.
Connect with Josh