This Mornings thoughts on Whole Food Plant Based

Whole Food Plant Based is leading to yet another success story. Miraculously my blood sugar has dropped down from an average fasting number of 160 to 110. My overall body weight continues to drop slowly at an average of about 1/2 pound per week. My BMI is at 25.8 and I am shrinking in my clothing.

All of a sudden I can’t seem to function properly without fast walking 3 miles each morning on the treadmill. I look forward to Saturday and Sunday when I get to head to the local gym and work my body pretty hard with weights.

Body image is certainly an inspiration as I can see my midsection getting smaller each time I look in the mirror. I know that with full commitment that it is now possible to return my body to the image it was many years ago when I participated in many sports. But as these thoughts certainly make me smile they are ultimately not the real goals I set out to accomplish. The real goals are the things I cannot see in the mirror. It is the plaque that has built up in my arteries after so many years of abuse, it is the revitalization of a pancrease that is stubbornly slowing down the processing of sugar, and it is the microbiome that has been compromised due to all of the abuse it has taken by unhealthy eating.

The human body has an innate system of survival and can heal itself when properly taken care of.  A nutrient rich diet without processed foods, meat, dairy or added oils is the key to returning an abused body back to a healthy one. While I entertain myself by redeveloping my body image through exercise, it is the foods that I choose to put in my body that work on the inside. Someone once said, “If you take care of the inside it will reflect upon the outside.”

I know that there are so many who disagree with this approach as they rely on many of the foods I choose not to eat. This is a matter of choice and I too have been guilty in the past of taking the same approach. As I go back to some earlier posts I see the words that I write and the habits that I formed that I believed then were right, but I can no longer agree with as biochemistry has moved forward in so many ways and we come closer to understanding the human cell and what it needs to stay healthy and work correctly. It is unfortunate that we don’t see too much of this science because there is little money backing it like the pharmaceutical companies, but still it is managing to make its way out to the public.

Look, I know that as we age it is just natural for out bodies to start breaking down. And I know that one day I too, like so many before me will pass away. If I know some simple facts that would ease this process, make it less painful, more enjoyable and lengthen the time span for it to occur, then there is no reason in the world not to practice this lifestyle.

So I will be the old dude with the six pack abs walking down the beach. The one who questions the ingredients in the foods served at a restaurant, and the one who continues to smile and find joy in both people and things around me. I will be the one who always questions conventional wisdom and looks outside the box for alternative answers to health. I suppose that I will be that happy, “pain in the ass” who just never can go along with the crowd and rebels against the things I just don’t believe to be completely true.

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The Results are in

I just received my latest blood test in the mail and I will share the results. Keep in mind that the differences in levels have occurred in just 10 weeks. That is when I started the Whole Food Plant Based diet and started an exercise routine.

Before After
Cholesterol 286 206
Triglyceriedes 300 186
HDL (Good Cholesterol) 49 51
LDL (Bad Cholesterol) 188 138
A1C 8.0 6.6

Right after the blood test I noticed that my fasting blood readings in the morning had suddenly gone from the 150 range down to the 100 range. I have six months to continue this plan of attack before my next blood test. My goals are obviously to bring my overall cholesterol level under 150, increase HDL, reduce LDL and bring my A1C to under 5.0.

I met with a trainer on Saturday who helped my put together a systematic weight lifting routine where I will be working my body 4 days out of the week. In between this workouts I will be hitting the treadmill each morning to fast pace walk a minimum of a mile. I will also be mindful of “overdoing it” and recognize when I simply need a day of rest. If I see the results that I anticipate in six months I may coin the word “Vegecise” if it hasn’t already been coined.

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Under 100

Finally my body broke the spell it was under. Blood sugar reading this morning was a 98. Woo Hoo! All the discipline and patience is finally paying off. Pure, wholesome vegan diet, some cardio and some resistance exercises. It seems that all it took to return me to the healthy Billy I have always been.

Now all I have to do is get the results of my blood test and if all is as I am predicting I will truly have cause to celebrate. Bring on the Broccoli,

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Friday Meeting with the Doctor

After reducing my beer intake and adjusting my diner hours I can say that my blood sugar has come down to 116. It was teetering around 150 for ever but I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have also increased my level of exercise which may also have a lot to do with it.

Friday was my visit with the doctor and I believe all went well. I am still waiting for the test results but my doctor believes that I am finally on track. There were a few questions asked after I explained to her that I was eating a Whole Food Plant Based Diet. The one of course was where do you get your protein? I told her that I get much of my protein from beans, but also all of the other vegetables that I am eating contain a great deal of protein. I try to shoot for 70 grams per day, but many times go over that amount. She gave me a strange look, but I told her to look it up.

When I told her that I don’t do added oil, she asked me where I get my “good fat” from. I told her that there is no good fat and all the fat that I need to survive and thrive I get in fruits and vegetables.

I will get the results of the blood test sometime this week and will post them along with the comparison of the last one before I started the diet.

Another comment she made was meats are not bad. I told her that last year I was eating the “Whole 30” diet and suffered greatly from Intestinal bathroom issues where I was running to the bathroom several times per day with bad diarrhea. I told her that I was very confident in what I was doing and would notice any changes in my body that would dictate a problem. I will be seeing her in another 6 months for a follow up. She told me that she was amazed at they way I approach my own health and looks forward to seeing me in 6 months. Maybe I will bring her a copy of “How Not To Die”.

 

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Too much BEER, Too little time before bed

I am now 8 weeks in to eating nothing except Whole Food Plant Based. My overall body weight has dropped from 196 lbs down to 181 lbs which I believe is pretty significant. I am exercising more yet seem to be stuck at this body weight for almost two weeks.

I will be off to the doctors office this Friday to get a 3 month followup blood test and I am sure that many of my numbers will be excellent. The one thing I continue to struggle with is my daily blood sugar numbers. I could just as easily blame the new diet due to the fact that I am eating more complex carbohydrates, but I accept this premises and start eating meat again I would lose of the other benefits I am gaining.

No, instead I turn to lifestyle choices and certain patterns that need to change. Oatmeal and berries in the morning have increased my energy and cognitive abilities during the day. Lunch is usually lighter and moves me into the afternoon feeling the same high energy levels. The problem I face is the things I am doing after work. A long ride home after a pretty stressful day gives way to reaching for a beer and usually another one and so on all the way up to dinner time which is around 6:45 PM. Even though dinner is the same healthy foods I believe that I may be eating way too late as I usually fall asleep within an hour or so after dinner. Between the beer and the late dinner logic dictates that glucose testing at 4:30 AM should show high results, which in fact they are.

I have no intention on giving up drinking beer, but I need to knock off drinking it every freakin night of the week. Dinner needs to be consumed earlier with a bit of light exercise following.

It’s so easy to play the “Blame Game” and say “Well, this diet doesn’t seem to be working out for me”. I have played this game before and the end result has always been the same. Instead I chose the “Self Discipline”. Figure out the things that aren’t working and correct them.

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Seven weeks with Whole Food Plant Based

At 7 weeks progress continues to be made as I have now dipped down to 181 lbs. from the original 196 when I started. I am finally back into my 34″ waist pants. I am feeling fantastic as this Whole Food Plant Based way of eating provides me with so much energy each day to fuel both my workouts and my daily life.

I am slowly increasing my daily walking as before I was shooting for 2 miles 3 days per week. I am now walking 5 days per week and hitting the weights on the weekends. The weight lifting seems to be the hardest part as my body is adapting. Yea, there is some pain involved, but this too shall pass.

The short term goal here is to get my cholesterol back into a healthy range, but long term I will be tackling also reducing my blood sugar numbers. The blood sugar reduction takes time, but as I continue to burn off stored up fat I will see those numbers come down even more quickly than they are now. I can also picture myself at a weight of around 165 lbs. but that too takes time.

I am breaking everything down to just one day at a time. The question I ask myself at the end of the day is, “Did I do all the things today that I needed to do to become more healthy?” If not then I change the things that not so healthy.

Right now one of the things I anticipate changing is the making a few adjustments in my diet. While I am eating a WFPB diet I eat too many staples like rice, potatoes and beans. While these foods are certainly healthy they should not be 90% of my meals. The initial change from eating meat, dairy and added oils to WFPB is not easy and being that the staples are an easy fix to cross over, I will have to slowly start adding more green and colorful vegetables to my plate while reducing the rice, potatoes and beans to form a more balanced approach.

People ask my why I am doing all of this. My answer is pretty clear. I don’t like hospitals, I don’t like medications and as I am heading into my retirement years I want to be able to live an active life. Many people say that it is extreme, but extreme to me is getting your chest cracked open to perform open heart surgery.

The evidence has been around for a long time now. Eating this way prevents and cures most major diseases. This includes the big killers like heart disease and cancer but also includes many of the chronic ones that people deal with each day.

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What I Eat for Breakfast

Breakfast is pretty simple and packed full of energy, vitamins and minerals. I start with Bob’s Red Mill instant oatmeal. It comes in many varieties but I always choose the one with less sugar. I boil some water and pour it into a bowl with the instant oatmeal. I usually let it sit about two minutes to allow the water to absorb.

I then add about a quarter to half cut of Bob’s Red Mill Granola. Again, many varieties to satisfy your taste buds.

I cut up a whole banana and place the pieces over the top of the oatmeal follow by either strawberries, blueberries or blackberries. Sometimes I combine more than 1 berry.

With my spoon I like to break up the bananas into smaller pieces.

This is the breakfast I eat each morning at 6:00 AM. I find that I feel no hunger at all during the morning and by 12:00 PM I am ready for lunch.

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Never too Late to go Vegan

I have 4 weeks under my belt since I made the decision to adopt a Whole Food Plant Based way of eating and I have say that each day seems to get a little better. Initially I dropped a significant amount of weight (around 10 lbs.) but I have noticed that the process has slowed down. I am still dropping but only at the pace of around a pound or less a week.

I am at a strict 2 mile fast paced walk on the treadmill every other day and it is getting easier each time. I anticipate joining a local gym to start resistance exercises on the weekends. While walking certainly is a great fat burning exercise I have learned that the ultimate fat burner is lifting weights. As always I will start out slow with low weights and progressively move my way up to challenges my muscles with heavier weights. As Dr. Neal Bernard explains, we build up tiny little deposits of fat in each cell which black the receptors that allow glucose to enter the cell. In doing so the result is a higher level of sugar in the blood, thus Type II Diabetes. My ultimate goal is to remove as much of those fat deposits as possible through weight lifting.

I have made the decision that just because I am 57 years old, I don’t have to accept age as a factor in not attempting to become the healthiest I can be at my age. “We just have to accept that we are getting older”, “Sooner or later you will experience your first heart attack”, “Getting sick is just the way it is when we get older”, these and so many other statements I have heard but simply do not understand how anyone could accept them.. I can accept the “getting older” part of these statements, but I truly don’t believe that we are all doomed for a horrible medical condition because of it. No, there are actions we can take right now at any age to prevent most of these events.

In just four weeks I have noticed many changes in the way my body is working and I find it to be incredible. All I did was take certain foods out of my diet like meat, dairy, added oil and processed foods and add other foods. I am eating more carbs each day, a lot more, and the results have amazed me. My skin is clearing up, I am losing body weight, I have incredible energy all day long and feel no hunger between meals and problems I suffered before adapting to Plant Based have disappeared like irritable bowl syndrome. Actually my bathroom habits have become quite regular. I have also noticed that I am producing and releasing more saliva as I find myself swallowing more frequently during the day. This is a sign that my GI tract is working more efficiently.

Preparing my own foods has been a breeze. I created a few staples which I usually prepare on the weekends like baking a half dozen sweet potatoes, cooking a cup of rice to eat with black beans, preparing whole oatmeal and placing it in small containers for the week and of course putting together a large salad to pull from to enjoy a salad for lunch each day. I am purchasing a few handfuls of fruit each week to accompany my oatmeal in the morning and I always make sure I have fresh berries to put in my oatmeal. I may spend an hour doing all of this on a Sunday, sometimes a little longer, but the sacrifice I make in time preparing these foods on the weekend pay off during the week as I spend a fragment of time in cooking during the week.

One of the most frequent question I get from others is “where do you get your protein?”. There is protein in all produce, but I do try to eat a little more beans and use hummus as my new mayonnaise along with guacamole. To be honest with you I believe that I was eating too much protein as a meat and dairy consumer. I believe I was putting my internal parts into overdrive trying to process all of that excess protein. I have determined that based on my body weight and daily activities my body only needs around 70 grams of protein each day. With my current diet I am still getting more than 100 grams of protein per day.

The most recent book I have read is: Never too late to go Vegan by Carol J. Adams, Patty Breitman and Virginia Messina. Rather than describe the book I will share the description, but I have to say it did open my eyes to certain truths about being 50 years plus.

According to popular folklore, wisdom comes with age. What could be wiser than choosing compassion, vibrant health, and a vast, delicious cuisine to be the guiding principles in our life?

We wrote Never Too Late to Go Vegan to introduce you to a lifestyle that brings all of those things plus a new sense of purpose, and a new experience of power to affect change. That’s what it has done for us and for countless others who choose a vegan way of life.

Imagine if reaching retirement age was just as exciting as entering high school or getting accepted to college. Imagine that this milestone is, like those, an opportunity to widen our perspective on the world, encounter new, interesting people and ideas, develop new skills, and share what we learn to help others. Veganism offers all of this, and it is yours for the taking whether you are still working or long into retirement.

And in veganism, there is something that ties together many of the aspects of positive aging. If aging makes people feel they have less influence and power in the world, veganism offers a strong rebuttal to that feeling. We love the amazing health benefits that come with plant-based diets. We love that our choices do not hurt animals. We love that the food we eat reduces the methane production that is a major contributor to global climate change.

And we especially love that it’s easier than ever to eat this way. In our blog, we’ll be adding tips and ideas to supplement the material in our book, all aimed at guiding you through a range of choices from simple ideas for meals to more elaborate choices for those who enjoy cooking. We’ll be keeping you updated on the latest scientific findings that affect over-50 vegans, too. We’re eager to share with you all of the great news about being vegan after age fifty!

I just started reading “The Starch Solution” by Dr. John McDougall and will share my thoughts soon as I find it fascinating.

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Three weeks into the Whole Food Plant Based adventure

It’s been 3 weeks now since I started eating a Whole Food Plant Based diet, which is rapidly becoming a Whole Food Plant Based LIFESTYLE.

The first thing I noticed was an incredible increase in energy. I no longer felt any episodes of fatigue or feelings of taking a nap during the day. I started noticing immediately that I was no longer having hunger pangs between meals. A small bowl of oatmeal topped with a healthy bran cereal and berries at 6:00 AM carried me all the way to noon. I started eating a salad everyday at lunchtime and leftovers from the night before which usually utilized certain staple foods like sweet potatoes, rice and black beans, along with mixed cooked vegetables. Again after a lunch like this I had no desire to eat again until dinner which usually comes around 6:30 PM.

Within the first two weeks I dropped 10 lbs. but seem to have stopped losing weight. I will start losing again once I make a few adjustments to reducing the staple foods and increasing the raw and cooked vegetables.

Basically it comes down to a diet where their is no meat, no dairy, no processed foods, and no added oil. Difficult yes, impossible no.

My thinking process as I work through difficult problems at work has seemed to gotten better where I am no longer going through mental debate before finding a solution.

I am back on the exercise track as I started out slow but have quickly built up to walking two miles per day at a rapid pace on my treadmill each morning. While walking I have discovered a wealth of videos on youtube from doctors who are involved with changing their patients health status by utilizing a Whole Food Plant Based diet and also some pretty good documentaries on netflix and amazon prime.

One important note is that all symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome have completely disappeared along with any problems with constipation.

I just finished reading The Plant Based Solution by Dr. Joel Kahn and highly recommend it to anyone who has questions about their medical conditions being related to their current diet along with any questions about the facts which support this way of eating for health or even ethical reasons.

I am becoming vege-cated and quickly learning that many of the feelings that I had about the aging process are quickly changing where I haven’t felt healthier in quite some time. I will continue to learn more cooking techniques as I am slowly purchasing items like spices to add to my collection and anticipate creating some pretty spectacular dishes as I am learning and collecting new recipes.

 

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I have found my way back to a “Healthy Lifestyle”

It was a little more than 12 years ago, and I still remember it clearly. During an annual physical with my physician it was noted that my cholesterol was peaking towards 200. My doctor wrote a prescription for me for Lipitor. I asked him what was the source for my cholesterol becoming so high? He told me it doesn’t matter, just take this pill everyday for the rest of my life. My answer? NO. I told him I would not take the medication until I did my own research into “high Cholesterol”. We the Doc kind of flipped out on me and we sort of got into a shouting match, but I did not take the meds.

I went home that day with a lot of curiosity and a mission to find out why my body was building up cholesterol in my blood stream. After searching the web I found the website: Vegsource.com and started reading and watching videos. I was so excited about this discovery that I ended up spending upwards of $10,000.00 on education material. I stopped all meat and dairy intake and started hitting the gym. I shedded close to 30 pounds in body weight and felt healthier than I did even when I was in my 20’s. After six month I went back to see my doctor to follow up on previous appointment. My cholesterol had dropped down to 104 and my good and bad cholesterol had fallen back into healthy ranges. My doctor told me that he was pleased that the lipitor hand helped. I told him that I never took the meds and managed to make those changes through a healthy lifestyle. The Doc flipped out on me again and told me that what I am doing is not sustainable and I must start taking the medication.

That was the last time I had a visit with this doctor and a few months later discovered through one of his employees that he was receiving international trips all paid by the pharmaceutical company each time he managed to prescribe 20 prescriptions of lipitor.

Flash forward 12 years… Here I sit once again scratching my head about some of the same medical conditions I faced back then, plus Type II Diabetes. Last week I was sick with pneumonia and stayed home from work to rest. During that week I looked over the results of a blood test I had done with my Primary Care Physician the week before. I started my research all over again but the answer came from a movie I watched on Netflix called “Forks over Knives”. I revisited my old friend Vegesource.com on the computer and was once again quickly hooked.

It’s been just nine days since I started the whole food plant based diet and I am proud to say that I have already shedded 8 lbs of body fat. All my problems with irritable bowl syndrome have vanished. I eat just 3 times a day and do not feel hungry in between meals. I have this same incredible energy that I felt the last time I adopted this lifestyle. It is absolutely amazing! I am watching my blood sugar come down a little each day and know that I am once again on my way to becoming the healthiest I can.

As far as exercise is concerned, although it took a while, I have learned that a little is a lot. I spend just 30 minutes per day on the treadmill, just 3 times per week. Eventually I will through in a few other body baring exercises, but this time without using weights. Overdoing it leads to inflammation which in turn leads to problems.

Preparing meals and eating is pretty much easy. Breakfast is granola with blueberries with almond or coconut milk. Lunch can be a healthy salad, rice and beans, baked sweet potato, assorted grilled vegetables, a vegeburger on a whole wheat sandwich thin, and I usually throw in a piece of fruit. Dinner is pretty much the same as lunch. I know that I will slowly expand as I try new recipes, but for now I am actually quite pleased with my choices. Whole grain breads and nuts are also things I will add to a meal. There are so many choices of healthy foods that come in so many happy colors that my plate never looks boring.

You probably are asking the same question that I am asking myself… Why did you ever change your diet years ago after discovering what was called back then a “Vegan” diet? Well truth be told I fell in love with the person who is my beautiful wife today. She loved to cook and I loved her. I seem to be what people refer to as a “people pleaser”. Nothing brings more joy to my heart than seeing others happy. As I slowly starting eating meat again I started loving the flavors. Before I knew it I was grilling ribs and chicken wings in the backyard. She is having a hard time coming to terms with my change as she is a genuine “Foodie” and proud of it. She can plan meals for the whole week without blinking an eye.

As for me, I am returning to this lifestyle because I am madly in love with my wife. I had this horrible thought of her sitting next to me in the hospital as I experienced my first heart attack and was preparing for open heart surgery. Right now I have the option of doing whatever I need to do to make sure this episode never happens. Of course there are never any guarantee’s but if it is possible to increase my chances of preventing my early demise why wouldn’t I do that? It is certainly better to have a “Vegan” husband rather than a dead husband.

But this is not the only reason I am adopting a “Whole Food Plant Based” lifestyle. I have grandchildren who I adore spending time with. Pop Pop needs to be healthy. Life seems to be what we make of it and I always manage to find joy in each day of my life. I certainly don’t need some stupid disease standing in my way.

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