Fit Louisville

2014

Greater Louisville Health Guide is a directory and resource guide to health providers and services in Louisville, Kentucky. Includes listings of area doctors and dentists, hospitals, nursing homes and emergency care.

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FIT 2014-2015 11 E leven years ago, when John Baumann was 41 years old and a corporate at- torney for Steel Technologies, he walked into a neurologist's ofce with some strange symptoms: His face was expressionless, he rarely blinked, his hand trembled, his writing was illegible, and when he walked, his right arm didn't swing. Te neurologist immedi- ately diagnosed him with Parkinson's disease. "I said, 'Don't you have a confrmatory test?' She said, 'An autopsy,'" he says. Te diagnosis left him with a wide range of emotions. He found himself in a low-energy, work-sleep pattern that, after seven years, prompted him to leave his job. At that point, things changed for him. Instead of giving in to depression, he did the opposite — he started giving inspirational speeches to people with Parkinson's. Baumann would tell people: Become as aware as you can, research, eat healthy and exercise, do what you can to slow this disease's progres- sion. He wasn't exactly "Mr. practice what you preach." "I wasn't fnding the time to research Parkinson's — I was so busy. I was still going to fast-food restaurants. I wasn't exercising. I would do the treadmill once a month," he says. After attending an inspiring symposium with Davis Phinney, a professional cyclist who also has Parkinson's, Baumann tried personal training sessions and specialized diets that, unfortunately, helped neither his condition nor his overall health. "Ten I met Bernadette," Baumann says of his wife. In January 2012, he was visiting the Virgin Islands for a conference when he met the ft exercise and nutrition enthusiast. Bernadette watched a couple of his talks on YouTube and realized that he believes every- thing that she believes about being positive and embracing adversity — key lessons in his speeches. Te next month the two got mar- ried, and John Baumann's good health took of from there. "Knowledge is everything," Bernadette, 41, says. "I feverishly started reading about Parkinson's nutrition, exercise and holistic approaches." She found out that Azilect, one of the medications that Baumann takes, which has helped his symptoms greatly, is less efective in a diet that contains protein. While his doctor advised him to not eat protein two hours before and after taking the drug, Bernadette and John decided to remove meat completely. He adopted a vegetarian, mostly organic, whole-food, gluten-free diet. Bernadette was raised in Philadelphia in a house without junk food and spent many years in the Florida Keys and Virgin Islands before moving to Louisville. She says she had been removed from the conveniences of fast food for so long and was shocked when she came back to see drive-throughs on every corner. "It's sad to see people raised on this food," she says. "Tere's more neurological disease in this country than there's ever been. Tere's no doubt in my mind that it has everything to do with diet." When she frst came to Louisville with John, he had a box of Nutrisystem food in his kitchen. "I was like, 'Why is this chicken sitting in a box on the counter?'" she says. "Chicken shouldn't be in a box on the counter for weeks." Bernadette also says exercise and nutrition go hand in hand. "Exercise increases muscle memory, so your body will remember how to move itself more than your brain can, because that's what's lacking with Parkinson's," she says. Te two began daily workouts, alternat- ing videos with gyms and studios in their Crestwood neighborhood, including Louisville Hotspot Yoga, a Bikram yoga studio, and Core Louisville, where the two practice kettle-bell exercises and boxing ftness. John inadvertently lost 35 pounds. "Within the frst three months, he was transforming before my eyes," Berna- dette says. Along with John's ftness success, he says he's noticed a shift from medical-related talk to nutrition-and-exercise-related talk at the seminars he attends. "At a recent seminar in Baton Rouge, half of the speakers talked about exercise and nutrition. And you got one speaker to talk about it 10 years ago," he says. "Te doctors are pushing it. Tey're seeing it in lab tests. It's like — duh! Haven't we been saying that for 50, 100 years? If you want to be healthier, exercise and eat less junk. "About two years into my Parkinson's I was sitting at my mother's house and she said, 'John, everything happens for a reason.' I said, 'Mom, hundreds of times growing up you said everything happens for the best. Why the change?' She said, 'Because of your Parkinson's. I can't imagine that's for the best.'" Recalling this brings his mostly frozen face to tears. "It motivated me," he says. "I'm going to prove that somehow there's a reason." Over the 11 years that John has been active in the Parkinson's community, he's traveled the world giving motivational speeches, and is expanding his focus beyond Parkinson's to help anyone succeed with a life-changing event, whether it's the loss of a job or divorce. He's contributed to several books and has written his own, Decide Success. Discovering the powers of healthy eating and exercise has helped him add another dimension to his talks. "I'm healthier now than before Parkin- son's," he says, adding that his goal is to be the slowest-progressing Parkinson's patient in the annals of history. "Most people with Parkin- son's 11 years in are in wheelchairs," he says. "I'd say I'm doing pretty good." — Mary Chellis Austin PARKINSON'S PROUD 1-17.indd 11 2/19/14 11:50 AM

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