Look Ma, I’m on TV!

27 05 2012

My friend Jaime has a fantastic new television show that teaches folks how to make amazing plant based meals. As you will see though, this show offers a whole lot more than just a few recipes. I make my appearance in the last segment to talk about how I came to adopt a plant based diet. I also get to try this amazing food. And that’s not hype, these dishes were fantastic! As you watch this you will see that it’s obvious that I’m not all that comfortable yet with sharing my story on camera but this was a very fun experience and a fantastic opportunity to let folks in my local area know about my blog.

I’m very much indebted to Jaime. People like her hold part of the map that I need to get to where I’m supposed to be going. The first night I met her I was really talking for the first time about my health, my new plant-based lifestyle change and my wanting to lose a lot of weight. I was terrified to talk about this in front of strangers (we were at a local bloggers meet and greet – yes, bloggers really do get out from behind the computer once in awhile. And when we do, we gather together and talk about blogging!). Jaime gave me a big genuine hug afterwards that completely disarmed me and made me feel much better about the situation. This is truly part of Jaime’s mission statement. She works to make the world a better place by putting part of her soul into so many of the things that she does. That night was the very first time that I truly realized that beyond my fear lies amazing and wonderful things.

please check out Jaime’s blog: http://savethekales.wordpress.com/





65 Pounds Down in Five Months!

15 05 2012

And so begins week number 21 of my switch to a plant based diet and increased exercise regime. This week I lost an additional 4 pounds! That brings the total to 65+ pounds in just five months.

What a ride this has been so far. Emotionally its like a roller coaster. The plateaus are coming now about every 10 pounds or so and they can really be a bear at times. The last one played havoc with me for nearly three weeks. I have redoubled my efforts though and have seen a great deal of movement after cutting out wheat, stopping my late night snacking and steering away from my occasional cheat meals until I make my way under the 300 pound mark.

I’m finally getting to the point where I’m starting to feel comfortable in my own skin again. I’m not there yet but it is within reach. I can feel the physical and mental switch within the last week. I look back at when I topped 400 pounds and almost find it unfathomable. How the heck did I let things spin that far out of control? It wasn’t long ago yet in ways, it seems like a lifetime.

I continue to receive really nice words of encouragement from you and I am very thankful for that. Your words are inspiring and the information that you send is helpful. That some of you take the time to send me an email with your thoughts and reflections on what I have written means so much. Complete strangers, some from half way around the world reaching out with messages of hope. It helps to restore my faith in humanity and makes me feel like I’m doing something worthwhile here. Without you I am positive that this struggle would be exponentially more difficult if not abandoned alreeady.

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So this week, I’m enjoying my Vitamix juicer/blender. I’ve decided to eat RAW foods meals at least twice a day this week and the Vitamix has gotten me off to a good start. Tonight I’ll be making some soup. Last night I got a little creative and made a smoothie with broccoli rabe, apple and pineapple, garlic, bell pepper, jalapeño, scallion, tomato and cucumber. The pineapple was a last minute addition after tasting it and realizing it needed something else to lighten it up some. An interesting mix of flavors but it definitely worked.

This is a whole new world for me so if you have a Vitamix and/or enjoy juicing, post up some tips here or drop me a line at johnnysized@gmail.com.





Gettin RAW!

12 05 2012

Woke up this morning while having a dream that I could noticeably feel the difference in gut size. I was literally feeling smaller in my dream. This is how I know things are moving in the right direction lately. My body and my mind know that the weight is dropping again. It feels good to be back on track. My body and mind are telling me that I’m on my way now.

It seems like the more weight I drop, the longer the plateaus. It can be discouraging when you are in the midst of it. It’s all good though, I’m in this for the long haul. I’ve read that the more gradual the weight loss the better the chances for maintaining that loss.

Interesting day on tap today. In a few hours, I’ll be on my way to check this out:

Since I made the switch to plant based, I’ve been gaining an interest in Raw foods. It appeals to me. I’m sure at some point, I will give it a spin. It’s like the evolution of what i’m already doing. i’m not sure about how long I’ll be able to sustain it but it would definitly be good to incorporate as many raw foods into my diet as I can. This is the way our ancient ancestors ate. Our body was built to run perfectly on this stuff. I look forward to getting an education today and deepening my understanding of a Raw food diet, juicing and other health and nutrition related topics.

Later I’ll be taking my daughter to see the new Avengers movie in 3D on an IMAX screen. I’m equally looking forward to that! At nearly 37 years old, I still love my super heroes!

Enjoy your day and whatever you have planned! Even if it’s just staying put. Relaxing is important too! Sometimes I need to remind myself about the importance of relaxing. Whatever you are up to, make it a good one!





Walnut -Sweet Potato Mash!

11 05 2012

This was the best meal of the past week right here. Not sure if it’s my sweet tooth or what but I love sweet potatoes now! Before making the switch to plant based, I was never really a fan. For those who consume dairy, regular butter and milk can be substituted). This was so good I had to pass it on:

4 lbs sweet potatoes (yams)
1/2 cup coconut milk
6 tbsps vegan butter
1 1/2 tsps ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup toasted walnuts (chopped)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Roast potatoes on rimmed baking sheet until tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Cool slightly. Scoop flesh into large bowl; discard skins. Mash hot potatoes until coarse puree forms.

Heat milk and butter in heavy small saucepan over low heat until butter melts, stirring occasionally. Gradually stir hot milk/butter mixture into hot potatoes. Gradually stir in spices. Season with salt and pepper.Sprinkle nuts over and serve.

If you want to liven it up, you could add a splash of bourbon and a drizzle of pure maple syrup. I had it without and it was fantastic!

DO AHEAD: Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm in microwave.





Perseverance Pays Off

10 05 2012

Over two days of being a lot more disciplined and it is paying off. Three nights of no snacking and trying to get more rest has definitely been helping as well. Two nights ago I hit the weights pretty good and did some of DDP’s patented 10 second pushups (DDP YOGA). I’m finally seeing some weight loss again. After three weeks of gain a pound, lose a pound, no movement, I was starting to feel like I was alone in the wilderness. Now the scale is moving again. Yet, I know that the hardest days are still to come.

I’ve been working through dinnertime some days and that can be rough. The cravings will start and lets face it, there aren’t very many healthy options when you are in the car and need to keep on moving. Luckily yesterday, I had a bunch of cauliflower packed and that was helpful in holding me over until I got home (where I had a most amazing walnut /sweet potato mash – recipe coming tomorrow). When 5pm rolls around fast food begins looking good to me. Despite the fact that I know a burger from Burger King will make me feel like a sloth the second I’m done with it, it still calls my name. Despite knowing that McDonald’s chicken nuggets are made with anti-foaming agent and really don’t taste all that good, I still crave them. Though I haven’t eaten either in nearly 5 months and am able to rationally talk to myself about why they are bad for me, they somehow still have their hooks in me.

My biggest weapon during these cravings lately though has been some Buddhist philosophy. “This is just a thought”, is what I say to myself. “It will pass. Let it pass. This is only temporary”. I often think of how many times before this that I’ve had the seem exact craving. I think of how I have given into this craving in the past and where it has gotten me. The satisfaction of surrendering to a craving never lasts very long. It is quickly followed by shame, guilt and diminished feelings of self. I know I can never be my best if I reopen the door to that world and begin traveling down that path again. Better to make a high quality burger at home once in a very blue moon. Last night I opted for three vegan chik’n nuggets. They tasted better than anything McDonald’s can come up with anyway. It was surely healthier.

So the journey continues and perseverance is beginning to pay off.

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The Amazing Benefits of Eating Your Sweet ‘Taters!

11 04 2012

One of the neat things about eating plant based is that your tastes really do change after awhile. As a kid, I despised sweet potatoes but after eliminating all sugars from my diet, I’ve gone back to try them and found them to be nature’s candy. They are delicious and one of the most nutrient packed vegetable that you can eat. Sweet Potatoes are loaded with vitamin A. An average sized sweet potato packs more than the daily recommended allowance of vitamin A. This is especially beneficial for smokers who often end up having a vitamin A deficiency which over time can lead to emphysema. They are also a great food for asthma sufferers and are low on the glycemic index for those with diabetes.

An average sized sweet potato can give you nearly a third of your daily vitamin C allowance while providing you with 15% of your recommended daily fiber intake. They are also loaded with antioxidants. You won’t find more betacarotene anywhere so sweet potatoes are perfect for good heart, eye and skin health. They are also full of anti-inflammatory properties and are excellent for people suffering from arthritis.

Because sweet potatoes are often chemically treated during and after the growing season, it is best to remove the skin prior to eating. As always, buying organic is going to be your best bet. It’s worth the extra money not to eat the poison.

Sweet potatoes are so nutrient rich that they can potentially cause harm if you eat them too often while having kidney or gallbladder issues. They contain small amounts of oxalates which when taken large doses can be problematic. Healthy digestive tracks will be more able to properly digest sweet potatoes. But like all things, eat them in moderation. Definitely don’t pass them up thpogh because they are amazingly beneficial and delicious.

Here is a great looking recipe that I cannot wait to try. It’s from Engine2 Diet:

RIP’S SWEET POTATO LASAGNA
1 onion, chopped
1 small head of garlic, all cloves chopped or pressed
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 head broccoli, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1 can corn, rinsed and drained
1 package Silken Lite tofu
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon rosemary
2 jars pasta sauce cashews
tomato
2 boxes whole grain lasagna noodles
16 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
6 roma tomatoes, sliced thin
1 cup raw cashews, ground

Preheat oven to 400º. Sauté the onion and garlic on high heat for 3 minutes in a wok or nonstick
pan. Add the mushrooms and cook until the onions are limp and the mushrooms give up their liq-
uid. Remove them to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Reserve the mushroom liquid in the pan.
Sauté the broccoli and carrots for 5 minutes and add to the mushroom bowl. Sauté the peppers and
corn until just beginning to soften. Add them to the vegetable bowl. Drain the tofu by wrapping in
paper towels. Break it up directly in the towel and mix into the vegetable bowl. Add spices to the
vegetable bowl and combine.

To Assemble:
Cover the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch casserole with a layer of sauce. Add a layer of noodles. Cover
the noodles with sauce. This way the noodles cook in the oven, saving time and energy. Spread
the vegetable mixture over the sauced noodles. Cover with a layer of noodles and another dress-
ing of sauce. Add the spinach to the second layer of sauced noodles. Cover the spinach with the
mashed sweet potatoes. Add another layer of sauce, the final layer of noodles, and a last topping
of sauce. Cover the lasagna with thinly sliced roma tomatoes.
Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle with the cashews,
and return to the oven for 15 minutes. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!





How to do a 21 Day Plant-Based Kick Start!

6 04 2012

Are you ready to take back your life? Are you ready to find the energy that you’ve so desperately been missing? Are you ready to fight and possibly even reverse heart disease, high blood pressure, type II diabetes? do you want to stave off Alzheimer’s? Are you trying to lose weight?

People often ask how to get started with a plant based diet. I posted a section of this in the past, but here is the entire show. Dr. Barnard is a wealth of information. If you have the time and the true desire to make a change, this man can show you the simplest way to do it. What are you waiting for for??? It’s only three weeks, give it a try. you have nothing to lose!











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