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The Health Science Podcast | Episode 038. | July 27, 2023
038: From Addiction to Triumph: How Tim Kaufman Overcame Obstacles and Found Renewed Purpose
038: From Addiction to Triumph: How Tim Kaufman Overcame Obstacles and Found Renewed Purpose

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Each week, Dr. Frank Sabatino spotlights extraordinary individuals with incredible resilience and transformation stories. In today’s episode, Dr. Sabatino talks with the amazing, and transformative, Tim Kaufman, the founder of FatManRants.

Tim’s life is a living testament to the power of determination and a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle.

Tim’s journey from despair to triumph serves as an inspiration to us all. Despite facing chronic pain, addiction, and obesity, Tim overcame seemingly insurmountable odds.

Tim’s Early Struggles

In his early twenties, Tim Kaufman received the life-altering diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS). This condition caused chronic pain, significantly impacting his daily life and overall well-being.

As the years passed, Tim’s health deteriorated, and he found himself entangled in a web of addiction. Depending on powerful painkillers like Fentanyl and various opioids, as well as battling alcoholism, his physical condition continued to deteriorate, with obesity further complicating his struggles.

The Turning Point

At the age of 37, Tim reached a breaking point. Feeling immobilized and hopeless, he knew he had to make a change.

After many failed attempts at getting healthy, Tim was willing to try anything but knew he had to do things differently than in the past. Thinking surgery was the answer, Tim’s world seemed to be caving in around him when due to his severe drug addiction, the doctor refused to operate on him.

This was a turning point for Tim. Rather than opting for radical transformation, Tim realized that sustainable progress required small, consistent adjustments. With determination and courage, he embraced a plant-based whole-food lifestyle, marking the beginning of a profound transformation.

Small Steps, Big Changes

Tim’s transformation wasn’t overnight, but with each passing day, he shed the weight that burdened him both physically and emotionally. As he embraced his plant-based journey, he discovered an unexpected passion for physical fitness. Activities that were once impossible became sources of joy and empowerment. Through perseverance and dedication, Tim revealed the hidden athlete within himself, breaking free from the chains of addiction and chronic pain.

Starting with a failed attempt at walking a mile and a half, Tim’s refusal to quit, and the support and encouragement from his wife, defeat turned into 5ks, 10ks, half and full marathons and eventually ironman competitions.

Inspiring Others with His Journey

Tim’s unwavering commitment to his well-being and the transformative power of a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle did not go unnoticed.

Media outlets worldwide began to share his story, bringing hope and motivation to people from all walks of life. His inspiring tale has been featured in prominent platforms such as Runner’s World Magazine, Good Morning America, Today, People, WebMd, ESPN, and many others.

Becoming an Advocate for Change

With newfound health and vitality, Tim Kaufman embraced his role as an international speaker and advocate. His platform became a means to educate, inform, and motivate individuals about the life-changing potential of plant-based nutrition, fitness, and the path to addiction recovery.

Tim exudes charisma and vulnerability, as he shares practical advice and heartfelt encouragement, empowering others to believe in their capacity for change, regardless of their current circumstances.

A Beacon of Hope

Today, Tim Kaufman stands as a living example of resilience, determination, and the human spirit’s incredible capacity to overcome adversity.

His advocacy work through FatManRants and his appearances on various podcasts and media outlets have touched the lives of countless individuals worldwide.

Through his unwavering commitment to health and well-being, Tim leaves an indelible mark on the realm of health science and inspires others to embark on their own transformative journeys.

Tim Kaufman’s journey from chronic pain and addiction to vibrant health and happiness is nothing short of a miracle.

His story serves as a reminder that transformation is within reach, no matter how daunting life’s challenges may seem.

By embracing a plant-based whole-food lifestyle and cultivating resilience, gratitude, and self-love, Tim redefined his life and found purpose in spreading hope and health to others.

Learn more about Tim Kaufman




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Episode Highlights

[02:30]             Life was based on food, smoking meats, and hunting

[05:15]             A diagnosis of a disabling disease fueled Tim’s addiction

[09:00]             The cycle of addiction rears its ugly head

[14:00]             The sneaky side of addiction and obesity

[18:00]             The impact of loved ones with terminal diseases to turn Tim’s life around

[22:35]             The inability to put his socks on is a glimpse into Tim’s funeral

[27:00]             A broken office chair is the final straw

[31:00]             A juice fast starts the process of embracing a plant-based lifestyle

[34:00]             Simplicity is the key to success for Tim

[37:00]             One step after another leads to the summit

[40:00]             Released from the bonds of fentanyl through the power of forgiveness

[42:50]             From 5ks to marathons to triathlons to Ironmans… the miracle unfolds

[48:00]             Tim Kaufman’s impact on young people is far reaching

About Tim Kaufman

Tim Kaufman, founder of FatManRants, was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) in his early twenties, leading to chronic pain throughout his life.

By age 37, he became addicted to Fentanyl, alcohol, and fast food, weighing over 400 pounds and struggling with basic daily tasks. With numerous chronic health issues and limited mobility, he felt hopeless. However, Tim embarked on a transformative journey to reclaim his health, making gradual changes one step at a time.

Now, Tim is an athletic advocate of a plant-based whole-food lifestyle, living a happy, productive, and medication-free life. His mission is to inspire others that regardless of their current situation or size, they too can transition to a healthy, active lifestyle and profoundly change their lives.

As a renowned international speaker, Tim has appeared on podcasts worldwide and featured in prestigious media outlets like Runners World Magazine, Good Morning America, Today, People, WebMd, ESPN, and more. He uses his platform to educate, motivate, and empower people on topics such as plant-based nutrition, fitness, addiction recovery, overcoming physical challenges, and emotional and spiritual wellness.

About Dr. Frank Sabatino

As a recognized authority on the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, Dr. Frank Sabatino has cared for and inspired thousands of people for over 40 years. Dr. Sabatino has a PhD in cell biology and neuroendocrinology and has done extensive landmark research on calorie restriction, stress, and aging. He currently is on staff at the TrueNorth Health Foundation in Santa Rosa, CA, and serves as the Director of Health Education at the NHA.

Dr. Sabatino’s passion and life’s work include raising awareness about the benefits of whole-food, plant-exclusive nutrition (without added salt, oil, or sugar), health rejuvenation, stress management.

About NHA

The National Health Association (NHA), founded in 1948, is a nonprofit organization that promotes the benefits of a plant-based diet. The Association provides educational materials, educational events, and services to thousands of people around the world.

The mission of the National Health Association is to educate and empower individuals to understand that health results from healthful living. The NHA recognizes the integration of all aspects of health: personal, environmental, and social.

The NHA also provides travel experiences around the globe through the NHA Plant-Based Travel and cruise division.

More information:


A unique benefit of the NHA Conference is the selection of two medical students who receive a full scholarship to the conference.

Contact Wanda Huberman for more information on how to apply for the scholarship.  [email protected]

NHA membership

For a very nominal investment, you can enjoy incredible benefits of the NHA membership.

Members of the NHA enjoy a subscription to the award-winning quarterly health journal, Health Science, access to the “Members Only” section of the NHA Website (which contains all 43 years of back issues of the magazine),  the ability to download for free many classic out of print eBooks on the history of the Natural Hygiene Movement, including Fasting Can Save Your Life and The Greatest Health Discovery, discounts on books, and early notice of the NHA events.

Only $35 a year for basic membership within the United States.

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