Fresh-food dieter eats his way to health

Mary Dooley, nurse at First Med, 2323 Ridge Court, gives Daniel Fisher some good news Monday. In addition to his blood pressure decreasing, Fisher's weight and cholesterol levels have also dropped significantly.

Thirty days of fresh food can do a body good.

At least, that’s what worked for 29-year-old Daniel Fisher.

On Jan. 25, the self-proclaimed fast-food junkie quit his habit, replacing chain restaurants with Lawrence’s Local Burger. The downtown restaurant specializes in locally grown, organic meats and produce.

“I’ve lost 23 or 24 pounds, and I can feel it. I feel great,” Fisher said. “I have a lot more energy than I used to.”

Local Burger’s owner, Hilary Brown, recruited Fisher for the project, which she calls “Localize Me,” a play on “Super Size Me,” a movie in which the filmmaker eats only McDonald’s fast food for a month.

“He was wonderful about sticking to the program and just being committed to this journey,” Brown said.

That journey was to eat only Local Burger, three meals a day, for an entire month. At first, Fisher worried the healthy fare would not satisfy his super-sized appetite.

“I thought I was going to starve to death eating little tiny portions, but I had a lot of food to eat,” Fisher said.

Brown taught him not to eat less, but better.

“I think it’s time for people to be aware of what they’re eating,” Brown said. “It doesn’t have to taste bad to be healthy, and it doesn’t have to be fat-free to be healthy.”

When Fisher went in for his final lab results Monday, his physician was surprised by the results. Not only had Fisher’s weight dropped from 295 to 272 pounds, but his cholesterol level plummeted from 285 to 166.

“I couldn’t imagine that someone could change their diet and in 30 days could drop their cholesterol that much,” Dr. David Dunlap said.

In addition, Fisher’s blood pressure, heart rate and blood sugar levels decreased.

“I guess I just want people to know you can change the quality of the food you’re eating, and that you can change your health dramatically in a very short amount of time,” Brown said.

But Fisher isn’t ready to call it quits just yet. He hopes to get down to 200 pounds. Because he didn’t cheat during the first 30 days, he knows he has the willpower to do it. To keep him on track, Brown offered him 50 percent off her menu prices until he reaches that goal.

“We’ve taken the first steps. I just have to keep it going,” he said.