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Dr. Terry Shintani

Nathalie Walker photo

Nathalie Walker photo

While in law school, Terry Shintani was flunking and on the verge of quitting.

Then a friend recommended he change his diet. Game to try anything, Shintani committed to a 10-day vegan, mostly macrobiotic diet.

At first, he felt nothing. But on the fourth day, he woke up in the middle of the night with a renewed clarity and newfound energy, and put it to use studying. Suddenly, he was catching up in classes, making the law review and ranking among the top five students.

“Changing my diet changed my mind,” he says. “It changed my mental ability.” Of course, those who have followed Shintani’s career know that the one-time lawyer really is best known for his work as a doctor who has dedicated his 27-year career to getting patients off medications by relying on healthy eating.

His recently released 12th book, The Peace Diet: Reverse Obesity, Aging and Disease by Eating for Peace of Body, Mind and Spirit, is a project that has been something of a life’s pursuit. Yes, the book provides practical and applicable advice and methods to eat a healthier diet. But it also is a reflection of the spirituality Shintani, who appeared on MidWeek‘s April 29, 1992, cover, has encountered in life that ultimately has provided him with an inner peace.

When Shintani was 6 months old, his father was diagnosed with cancer. A surgery temporarily solved the problem until Shintani was 3, when he underwent another surgery. Knowing the aggressive hold cancer takes on patients, Shintani was scared and began to pray every night, asking for his father to live.

“He never died of cancer,” he says. “So I’ll always believe that prayer had something to do with it.”

After changing his diet in college and experiencing significant changes to his mental health, Shintani says it also enhanced his spirituality and intuition.

When he needed a job, for example, he had forgotten to interview with any hospital or program. So he prayed and received a phone call out of the blue from Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, saying it would like to work with him.

When he conceptualized a plan for the health center to battle obesity and instill pride in Hawaiians living in the area by returning to a traditional diet, he needed funds. He prayed, and as he met with others in the community, everyone supported him at no cost. This included a donation of 500 pounds of poi from the Tottori family.

It’s this balance among physical, emotional, spiritual and mental health that Shintani credits for much of the professional success he has achieved. And it is a concept his book discusses in much detail, backed with personal experiences and hard data.

“Through my experience, I have found that the best diet is one that helps you find inner peace — and then weight control and health follow naturally,” he writes in the book’s preface.

While the book is written specifically for vegans and those who honor that diet, Shintani says that it doesn’t mean those who are less strict won’t find value in it. Plus, with the start of the new year, Shintani says many have probably made goals to lose weight or get healthy.

“It’s hard to stick with it, but at least it’s a start.”

Dr. Shintani will host a free seminar Jan. 9-11 at MOA Wellness Center for those interested in a 10-day health program to reduce their dependency on medications. For times and to register, visit healingandyou.com.