Never Trust a Fat Guy For Diet Advice!

4 03 2012

I’ve spoken to several people recently who have expressed an interest in trying a plant based diet.  This makes me excited that people  are willing to give it a try.   I think in trying it is where you will find its benefits (better than just reading what I think about it).  I feel that it is important to reiterate this disclaimer though:  things like protein, calcium and iron are obviously extremely important.  Eating a plant based diet requires us to be extra vigilant in making sure we are getting the things our body needs every day.  If you don’t like veggies, this is going to be a very hard road for you.  People who are going to have the greatest success with this are the ones who are going to eat the most varied amount of healthy foods.  Red, yellow and green veggies are not just pretty to look at, they provide so many different and important vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants.  Spinach lovers and others who enjoy leafy greens are going to get a lot of needed iron that way.  People who enjoy beans are going to get a lot of low fat protein. Soy is another source of protein although you will find different schools of thought regarding its use.  Nuts and seeds are other more fatty (but delicious) options.  Dry roasted edamame are a great lower fat alternative with 14 grams of protein and 7 grams of dietary fiber per 1/4 cup.  Vitamin supplements including vitamin D and especially B12 are extremely important.

I have faith that if people are willing to try going plant based, most will take the time to seek out ways of getting things they need.  If you are a finicky eater, the good news is, that after several weeks of going plant based you tastes will acclimate to your diet and trying new things that you think you may not like might begin to resonate differently with you.  If that doesn’t happen, consider a hybrid alternative where some lean meat is consumed.  Many people have success that way.  If you can’t do that, just try working more plant based food into your current diet.  That’s a good start.  It’s all about what you are personally trying to accomplish.  I’ve taken very poor care of myself for a long time so I need to be stricter now.  In general though, I find the middle path is the best.  Because my situation was bad, I needed to go more extreme.  In the future I may pare it back some.  I’m not so concerned with what I will be eating in 5 years from now.  I’m just thinking of today, tomorrow, this week.  One day at a time.  That’s enough.

Everyone has their own path.  When chosing yours, be healthy, be adventurous and be brave.   Don’t neglect to seek out the advice of your doctor and/or a nutritionist.  They are extremely important.  I’m not a guru.  Don’t trust someone my size to lead you to the road of better health and wellness.  I’m just someone who is trying to get healthy.  I have but one or two pieces of the puzzle.  The road is definitely here and there are many people on it.  Talk to them, get ideas and then experiment and see what works best for you.

Whatever your goals are, you can accomplish them when you are willing to make the change.  I recently read that failure happens not because people don’t have the willpower, it happens because people aren’t ready to commit themselves 100% to making the change.

Getting Off Oil

24 02 2012

The lifestyle change to plant based foods has taught me to trade things I thought I loved for the things that my body needs. Giving up animal sources of food was a little difficult and although I do crave a juicy steak from time to time, I’m managing. Giving up sugar was hard for the first few days but now I don’t even think about it. I see things like soda and candy and they look like poison to me. (Donuts for some reason, still look wonderful!) Dairy was probably the biggest challenge because of my love of cheese. I still do miss it but I can’t argue with how I feel, and how I feel is better than I have in 15 years which is really saying something. In a way, a plant based diet is like finding the fountain of youth.

The problem I’m having now though is that after 46 pounds, the body is starting to level off with the weight loss. I’ve switched my diet up here and there, added some additional exercise but still I’m not seeing much weight loss. I think I’m struggling with plant based fats. I love seeds and nuts. A 3.5 ounce bag of pumpkin seeds contains nearly all of my recommended fat intake for the day. I can polish a bag that size of in a few minutes. I probably eat a bag of those every day or two. Pistachios have also become a big snack food around here. I’m realizing that a lot of my plant based fat is coming from these two things every day. But the majority of my plant based fat is coming from olive oil.

I’ve started reading up on olive oil and in so many ways its not the health food that it has been marketed as. It is total fat. There are 120 calories and 14 grams of fat per serving. Pound for pound, it contains more fat than butter. It’s also heavily processed and often cotains chemical additives. The reality is, its nearly impossible to find a pure grade of virgin olive oil in your supermarket, especially if you are buying it in clear glass or plastic (as sunlight breaks pure virgin olive oil down). It only has trace amounts of vitamin E and many or the purported benefits of olive oil can be gained from the foods I am already eating. To top it off, it is only heart healthy when compared to other kinds of fats. And no, other oils do not seem any better for you as the nutritional values appear to be about the same. I’m not a doctor, but what I’ve been reading lately would seem to indicate that my heart would be healthier without it altogether or at least in vastly smaller quantities. I have used about 36 ounces of it in my salads and cooking in just the last several weeks. I’ve never consumed so much olive oil as I have been recently. It’s a lot like taking several scoops of ice cream, dumping them onto your salad and asking why you’re not losing weight.

So this will be the next step in this process, severely cutting back on plant based fats and eliminating olive oil all together. For sautéing, I will try veggie broth and see how that goes. For salads, I tried using 3 parts balsamic vinegar and two parts dijon mustard (mixed together then drizzled) last night and it rivals any dressing I’ve ever gotten at a decent restaurant. It is so much better tasting than an oil and vinegar dressing.

It’s true, I don’t really know what I’m doing. I’ve never eaten this way before and admittedly, I’m not well educated on these things but I’m trying to get there. I feel ike all of the plant-based fat intake has been slowing my progress down and so I’m going to tweak my regiment a bit and see what happens.

“Every mouthful of oils and animal products, including dairy foods, initiates an assault on these [cell] membranes and, therefore, on the cells they protect. These foods produce a cascade of free radicals in our bodies especially harmful chemical substances that induce metabolic injuries from which there is only a partial recovery. Year after year, the effects accumulate. And eventually, the cumulative cell injury is great enough to become obvious, to express itself as what physicians define as disease. Plants and grains do not induce the deadly cascade of free radicals. Even better, in fact, they carry an antidote. Unlike oils and animal products, they contain antioxidants, which help to neutralize the free radicals and also, recent research suggests, may provide considerable protection against cancers.” – Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr.

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