Does the 'nutritional boot camp' program really work?
HOUSTON The story received such enthusiastic response from viewers that we decided to follow two people through the entire four-week program. Doug Pritchard decided it was time to do something after seeing our story on Dr. Baxter Montgomery's Wellness Boot Camp. "My kidney doctor told me that if I don't get things taken care of, I'm gonna wind up on dialysis," Pritchard said. He had gotten so heavy -- 365 pounds -- he couldn't walk without a cane. And his health had taken a turn for the worse. "I'm on three different types of insulin. I'm on a total of 17 different medications because I have heart disease, uncontrolled diabetes, uncontrolled hypertension," Pritchard said at the beginning of the program. Julia Johnson had a similar story. "I have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol. And when I heard on that news article I could get off my medicines, that was my motivation," Johnson said. Both Johnson and Pritchard were determined to improve their health with the help of this four-week boot camp. Dr. Montgomery is the author of "The Food Prescription for Better Health." His program features strict dietary restrictions -- no meat, no fish, no chicken, no dairy, no sugar -- and for the first week, as many raw foods as possible. "It's gonna be challenging. It's not easy; I can tell. But I can do it," Johnson said at the beginning of the program. After one week, Johnson had already lost 10 pounds. More importantly, her blood sugar levels improved, and so did her energy level. Pritchard's first-week weight loss was a whopping 17 pounds. He said then that things were already changing. "This morning my blood sugar was 79, which normally my blood sugar is 220 in the morning," Pritchard said after his first week on the program. "And I've had to cut back a lot on my insulin." At home, their routines also changed. No more steaks and fast food, but healthy smoothies and salads instead. By Week Three, there were new challenges for Johnson. "I've learned when other people have food, I just move myself from the situation," she said. And new converts for Pritchard. "All three of my doctors have seen me in the last week and are just totally amazed of the difference it's made in me," he said. Dr. Montgomery says the plant-based diet program is the reason why. "Your body will heal itself when properly nourished. And also, when improperly nourished, the body will continue to deteriorate, despite the number of medications you are on," Dr. Montgomery said. Week Four brought a field trip, as Dr. Montgomery took the class to a grocery store to learn how to make healthy food choices. "Obviously, you want to spend most of your time in the produce section," Dr. Montgomery told his boot camp participants. The two-hour walking tour included stops on almost every aisle, highlighting what's good and bad for their new eating plan. At the end of the four weeks, Johnson had lost 19 pounds. She'd gotten off one diabetes pill and cut another in half. "For one month, I did that. I did it. I can do anything now," she said. For Pritchard, it was an amazing 44-pound loss in one month. Plus, he'd gone down from 17 medicines to 13. And he went from feeling his days were numbered -- to this: "I feel fantastic. I'd usually walk with a cane; I'm not using my cane. I can't climb those stairs before; I can climb them now. Just everything is -- my complexion, everything's gotten better," he said. "I feel like a new person." Dr. Montgomery's next boot camp will be in January. He's also been contacted by the city of Marshall, Texas to conduct a citywide boot camp for the entire town early next year.