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After years of illness, former Wolverine thanks plant-based diet for renewed health

Stateside's conversation with Marc Ramirez of Chickpea and Bean.

Today at Detroit's Eastern Market, there will be a celebration of all things vegan. It's called V313.

Organizers promise food from local vegan restaurants, music by local "plant-powered musicians," and educational speakers. 

Marc Ramirez will be moderating the Vegans of Color panel discussion. He's the co-founder of Chickpea and Bean, a nonprofit which hopes to raise awareness and educate people on the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. He's also a former football player for the University of Michigan.

While he was playing, he was able to eat pretty much whatever he wanted and stay healthy. 

Then he graduated, and without all that physical activity, he started gaining weight and developing health problems.

Twelve years out of college, Ramirez was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Over the next decade, he developed high blood pressure, high cholesterol, psoriasis and more.

In 2011, Ramirez and his wife decided to go vegan after seeing a documentary about the harmful effects of animal foods. He says that move radically changed their lives.

"Once we adopted this lifestyle in December of 2011 — after, again, being sick for a decade — I was off all five of my medications in two months, and in three months, I had lost 45 pounds," Ramirez said.

Listen above for the full conversation.

Stateside originally broadcast this story on June 17, 2016. 

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Ramirez's daily medications in 2011.
Marc Ramirez /
Ramirez's daily medications in 2011.
In 1989, Ramirez was a right guard for the Wolverines.
Marc Ramirez /
In 1989, Ramirez was a right guard for the Wolverines.
In 1997, about seven years out of college, Ramirez was up to 280 lbs.
Marc Ramirez /
In 1997, about seven years out of college, Ramirez was up to 280 lbs.
Ramirez in 2011 at 260 lbs before changing his diet.
Marc Ramirez /
Ramirez in 2011 at 260 lbs before changing his diet.
In 2016, Ramirez says he's in "the best shape of my life."
Marc Ramirez /
In 2016, Ramirez says he's in "the best shape of my life."