PD – Day 11, 12 & 13

A Protective Diet, like life takes some planning. It is that key element that I am currently failing on. The first week was nothing short of amazing, but I have noticed once I fall behind, I struggle to catch up. While I would like to commit to a SUS, responsibilities around the house usually do not allow me hours upon hours to prep for the upcoming week. In a perfect world, it works, however perfect I am not, but continuing to walk the straight and narrow as I look to reacquire my health.

I started a meal planning Excel spreadsheet, which has assisted in planning out the week and what recipes I will make and what foods I will eat for each meal. Unfortunately, when it goes without an update, it’s back to square one to prep and start again. While I had planned week 2, I was unable to follow through with all the recipes, skipping dinner one night and falling back on a meal I made previously.

As I look forward to week 3, I will need to put more effort into the meal planning in order to make this journey successful. As it stands right now, I have one meal I cooked last night, which will last for 2 days, beyond that. Nothing.

It seems to be a constant struggle if nothing is cooked or available, ready to eat. That goes back to SUS and having prepared food for the upcoming week. Consider it a deficiency I need to improve on, if I want to be successful. However, I was successful before this video even came out. Maybe it’s just being lazy and not putting in an hour or two to prep some PD foods for the coming week. It was great to do a chipotle lime and pinto beans for my son, which I too, could partake. What made it even better was the fact I already had taco sauce and ultimate cheese sauce done and ready to go!

Just little steps help tremendously when it comes to following a PD lifestyle. That is the point of what Julie preaches. Make it easy and success will come. Right now, I appear to be tussling with success and I am attempting to make things more difficult on myself moving forward into week 3.

With one meal already cooked, I will work on putting together 2 weeks of meals, along with a shopping list in order to prepare for the upcoming meals I would like to prepare. All is not lost, I still feel better than I did last month, weight is slowly dropping. If I had food prepared I do think things would be accelerated. Since they are not, we will have to take things a day at a time and get the meals planned and prepped in order to be successful

PD – Day 10

This week hasn’t gone according to plan in the kitchen, which has been a bit frustrating,  as my menu planning hasn’t quite happened. Monday was cut short due to a doctor’s appointment with my wife, while Wednesday was spent at the pharmacy arguing with the insurance company over an approval for one of her back medicines. This was followed by scouting, which left me no time to put together my Sloppy Jerrys or Hoppin’ John.

Tonight! Tonight! Tonight! *queue Phil Collins* “I am going to make it right” by cooking up the Hoppin’ John with cornbread. Over the last 10 days, if there has been a weak spot, it’s putting in the necessary time to get the cooking done. While the weekend is set aside for SUS, I don’t really cook much on my days off. Maybe I should, given I have the entire day, but usually end up working around the house and after 8 hours, cooking is sometimes the last thing on my mind. Guess that’s a GREAT time for a one-pot meal, huh?

Yet today’s piece isn’t on food or where I stand on the journey just began. Julie had an interesting response to Dorothy’s comment on the PDL group on Facebook.

…one thing I’ve noticed is expectations are what we experience. Our minds are powerful and what we expect becomes our experience. Stephen Toumi has done this successfully once and knows it produces dramatic fast results. He expects them and there they are. We must all visualize and expect results while we take action to achieve

The mind is a very powerful tool when it comes to your success, not only on a Protective Diet but whatever you decide to do. While I never gave up eating a plant based diet, I did fall away from principles Julie taught, which had negative results in my life. There was weight gain, bloated feeling, aches and pains returned. At age 48, I don’t want any of those in my otherwise, healthy life. Experiencing the health I had, I want to regain control and continue to put into practice the principles she teaches.

Everything I had worked for over the course of 10 months was undone because I lost the mindset and started making exceptions. “Oh just this once.” “Just a little bit won’t hurt me.” Even friends and family would hop on this, “go ahead and try a bite.” With the cards stacked against me, it was the experience I had when I started this journey. Looking in the mirror and seeing the physical changes were a powerful thing. Wearing clothes that actually fit; jeans not too tight, shirts that actually hang properly. The new found energy I had, the positive mindset of knowing whatever I challenged I was going to end up victorious!

This was the same powerful mindset I had when I attempted my first 50 mile ultra marathon. With no training runs over 20 miles and just a 50k (31.1 miles) under my belt I made the decision (with my running partner) to attempt this race. From the first gun to the final cow bell, I knew I had this race won. For me, finishing is winning. While I like to consider myself competitive in my younger days, it’s now about having fun. I knew going into the race I wasn’t going to win or even come in hear the top of the pack, but it didn’t matter. Thus my motto for these longer races was “finishing is winning.”

The mindset early on was strong, as I kept positive thoughts, yet went through a whirlwind of emotions at different points of the race. I recall talking to my wife briefly, as she was at Disneyland and it was all I could to do, to hold back tears when talking to her. Her voice was a much needed motivation that came at the right time.

Approaching the final timed aid station, my running partner said he was quitting, as he’d been running on a twisted ankle for 20 miles and could not go on. I succumbed to the fact I would quit, in support of him. However, the combination of his words, telling me to go on, coupled with a feeling I will never forget as I rolled into the aid station.

I saw another runner I am friends with on Facebook, who’s local to my area. He’s a very positive guy with lots of energy, who appears to have lots of love for the running community in general. This was the first time I met him in person, but his smile, comforting hug and words of encouragement reinforced the mindset I started the race with 11 hours earlier. “I CAN DO THIS!” With just seconds to get over the timing pad, I was off for the last 2.5 hours of my race.

The mind is a powerful thing and the feeling I had as I achieved my health goals were nothing short of amazing. Just like hearing the cheers and my name as I crossed the finish line in my race. I find I fall back on these experiences more often than I think, when it comes to a Protective Diet, as well as running. As my running partner says regularly, “You got this!” You know what? I do have this. The past experiences play a major role for me going forward. While it’s only been 10 days, it’s been 7 years of living a plant based lifestyle. I can’t stress enough the amazing results I have achieved in that time.

While no results are immediate, each day builds upon the previous day and before you know it 30 days will be up and the results could astound you. They did me the first time around. At the end of 10 months, with little exercise and following the principles set forth the results were something I never thought I would experience. A picture is worth a thousand words. I think that sums it up.

(L) Before in 2009. (R) After taken 2014.

 

 

PD – Day 9

The best part of a Protective Diet lifestyle is the simple fact you when hungry. At the point you feel satiated, you stop and repeat the process when hunger strikes again. Never in my wildest thoughts did think the love for starch would see me dropping over 40 pounds! Now, as I look to rekindle the relationship with this favorable lifestyle and food, there is a component I don’t follow.

We are each individuals and make our own decisions when it comes to how we live and to what degree we want to be successful. Julie and Jerry have provided more than just a recipe for success with all the wonderful food we have seen flourish on a Protective Diet. The countless “lifestyle” videos allow you take your plant-based habits to a new level and truly live life!

For me, I will achieve my goals in the coming months, for that I have no doubts. One tool I use that isn’t on a Protective Diet is the counting of calories or tracking of food. Since 2011 I have used a few programs that aid me in my progress. Originally I started with a PC program called Fit Day, while it was a bit clunky back in the, the online version and mobile application have improved over the years. When I upgraded my Garmin running watch, I linked it to the popular mobile app, My Fitness Pal. Along the same lines of Fit Day, I am able to track what I eat and drink over the course of a day and track my eating habits and weight loss, including the ability to record photos.

While stepping on the scale isn’t encouraged, I make it a religious habit. Why? As a tool I am able to see the progress by the numbers. More tell, as I am sure Julie will agree is to look in the mirror. How do you see yourself? Are your clothes fitting better? The numbers should back up the person you see staring back at you. I still recall that point in my journey when shirts started to fit different and pants were “too baggy.” It was an amazing feeling. Like Julie shedding the different pants in her Class #181 video, I was finding myself fitting into clothes I had not worn in years.

Now into the second week of I am down close to 5 pounds and have cooked more recipes in the last 7 days for myself than I did over the last 2 months. All this thanks in part to Julie and the Protective Diet. Of course I wouldn’t be successful if I didn’t give accolades to all those in the Protective Diet Lifestyle Group on Facebook who are always so positive and supportive. Not only towards me but to ALL people who are willing to give this lifestyle a try. It’s been just 9 days, but it’s amazing to see how people come together as one to thrive.

PD – Day 8

Growing up in Southern California, it wasn’t difficult to find good Mexican food, nearly every corner had a taco shop. Being minutes away from the San Ysidro border crossing, authentic was a car ride away. Growing up my mom was an amazing cook! Maybe it’s where I gained some of my culinary talents in the kitchen. While Mexican was a popular cuisine, Indian cooking was a virtual unknown in our household. It wasn’t until I moved out, grew up that I first experienced Japanese curry, but quickly moved for the Indian variety. In fact, I experience some of the best tasting Indian curry, down under in Australia, when I visited some years back.

Since that time, I have been fond of flavors out of India; cumin, tumeric, garam masala, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, mustard seed and cloves just to name a few. Now that I have my own kitchen, curry seems to be a regular dish in my repertoire, as I am always looking out for new and different recipes to try.

It’s quite easy to find vegan Indian cuisine, unfortunately many of these dishes are loaded with oil when cooked. There’s a local establishment that has some great food, while all  vegan I know I should have made a wiser decision and cooked my own. It’s one of those meals you bring home and the containers are laced with oil, but the favors are incredible.

Looking deeper for vegan recipes from India, the oil can be omitted in nearly every case. Last night I made the Protective Diet Tikka Masala. Oil free, plant based, this was one of the best dishes I have made! It was coupled with Indian Style Basmati Rice I found off All Recipes. I failed to use the PD Indian Spice Rice recipe, as I missed it when I was reading the instructions. Then again, failing to read Julie’s recipes ALL THE WAY THROUGH, seems to be a common theme with me. Funny because it’s usually the FIRST instruction she has when you start the recipe.

Last October I had two weekend long outings with the Boy Scouts of America. It was leadership training for adults, where were broken into groups of 5-6. Along with camping, we were told to cook our own meals during the second weekend. In our group we had a leader named, Praveen. As luck would have it, he was from southern India, vegan and asked if he could do all the cooking. While we pooled our thoughts for meals we could cook, he came up with some excellent Indian food.

While I had heard of Chana Masala (Indian chick pea dish), I had never cooked it but Prvaeen sold us the mean by another name, Chole. This was our main course for dinner the second night. This dish is created several ways depending on the time and richness you desire. He pointed me to this video by Vahchef as a guide.

 

While canned chickpeas and premixed garam masala can be used, the flavors are enhanced when can soak dried chickpeas and use individual spices to create your personal garam masala. Soaking the chickpeas you are able to control of hardness of the garbonzo, but usually overnight is adequate. Garam masala is a mixture of cardamom, cumin, clove, bay leaves and mace. This spice can be found in any Indian grocery, but also at nearly any market you shop in the spice section.

Accompanying our meal was a dish called upma. “Originally from South India, is a hot favorite breakfast food! Made with semolina and slightly spiced to make a tasty dish that can be eaten for breakfast, brunch or as a snack,” as described by Sanjay Thumma. The word translated;  “up” means “soft” and “ma” means “flat.”

 

The basic upma recipe as cooked by Vahchef:

Ingredients
1 tbsp channa dal
1 slice chopped ginger
1 small chopped onion
1 tsp cumin
8 leaf curry leaves
2 piece gr chillies
1 pinch hing
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp oil or butter
2 tbsp peanuts
1 pinch salt
1 cup sooji/semolina/rava
1 tsp urad wash

Directions
Add oil in a heavy pan ,add mustard seeds,cumin and add channadal ,peanutsand saute till they are cooked add urad wash, add chopped ginger,chillies curry leaves hing add salt and water bring it to boil add semolina/sooji slowly stirring continously so to avoid lumps mix well when all moisture is absorbed cover for 5 min and serve hot with chutney ,pickle ,sambhar and kids love to eat with some sugar (text from the You Tube video).

This recipe can easily be modified for a Protective Diet by removing the oil and the peanuts. In fact, when Praveen made it, there was no peanuts used, but he did use oil to heat the spices before the actual cooking started. However, it was the whole spices that really brought out a full, deep flavor in the upma.

One ingredient I had never cooked with, curry leaves. As I continued to search for more Indian recipes, I realized I had never seen curry leaves for sale at any market I go to, including the Middle Eastern markets I frequent. As luck would have it, a co-worker, who is Indian has a few curry trees growing in his yard and cut some branches for me. Fresh curry leaves are easily stored in a Ziplock bad, folded between newspaper in order to keep moisture off the leaves. Done properly, curry leaves could last up to 4 weeks in the refrigerator.

 

PD – Day 6 & 7

Honest, nothing happened. I didn’t fall off the PD bicycle just 5 days into the fun and excitement of eating all this good, healthy food. The fact of the matter is, I failed to check in on my website, as I still don’t have my PC set up. However with a bit of free time yesterday, I was able to get it running, but will need to update my wireless connection in order to stay connected when I am away from work. Last thing I want to attempt is blogging on my mobile device.

This past Friday was supposed to start with a afternoon/evening out with a childhood friend of mine, in town from Pittsburgh, PA. Unfortunately, I had to back out on our plans, which might have been a blessing, as I know it would have included quite a bit of beer and unsavory foods, which would tempt me. We reattempted to connect on Sunday but it just wasn’t to be this time around. I did keep busy all weekend around the house, with a load of energy to burn!

The kitchen is always a busy place in our house, as I am there every evening, cooking for the family. As mentioned in the past, it can be as many as three different meals a day. Maybe it’s going the extra mile for my loved ones, or the difference in how we all eat. In preparation for Friday’s dinner, Chorizo Tacos, I made the Ultimate Cheeze Sauce, Taco Sauce and Taco Slaw, earlier in the week. The following day I put together the Vegetarian Mexican Rice. So good! I could probably have eaten the entire pot for dinner that night. I also soaked the black beans (as I was out of pinto) in preparation for the IP. Unfortunately, I ran out of time and the tacos had to wait until Saturday.

I am a huge Mexican food junkie, I love a good burrito or ceviche, but rice and beans were my soft spot. As there is so much lard used to “flavor” these side dishes, I knew neither to be healthy. Over the years I have tried to find recipes full in flavor, but usually these dished tasted a bit bland as if they were missing something. It appears I have found the most flavorful replacements that accompanied the Chorizo Tacos over the weekend. I made the Pintos & Cheese from the PD site, but opted for another Mexican Vegetarian Rice recipe, which featured a few substitutions to conform to the PD lifestyle.

While it was all about the food this first week, I did fall back on planning my meals, which was made easier because many of the ingredients I already had. Amazing to think there were times I would find myself wondering, “what can I eat?” You know that moment. Open and look in the pantry and there is NOTHING made, just bulk foods and canned goods. I found myself getting very lazy, which was cause for a big downturn in my health. In the back of my mind I knew I had so many different meals I could be making, but didn’t

As Julie talks about in her video series, Class #32, #33 and #34, Stocking Your Kitchen For Efficiency and Savings, this can make a world of difference as is relates to your success. While cleaning the kitchen on Saturday, I opened the cabinet that holds my spices. That is where I stayed for the next 2 hours, cleaning and organizing my spice cabinet, as well as the bulk items in my pantry. It seems you can never have enough spices, as the cabinet is bursting with flavor, so to speak. This collection continuously grows. In fact I have an Indian recipe I want to try uses whole cloves, cinnamon sticks and cumin seeds. In all honesty, I could have stayed there for another 2 hours and I still wouldn’t have accomplished everything.

Thankfully, my kitchen is stocked! I was surprised at what I was finding, that I honestly thought needed replacing. What my pantry is missing is more organization. While many of the bulk foods are in plastic bins, I have others that sit in plastic bags, not easily stored or identified as what it contains. I found myself tossing some unidentified bags out, while making a list of a few other bulk items I was low on in order to fill the next time I went shopping.

While a bit of the geek side, I recorded all the spices I owe in the mobile app, Out of Milk. There have been a few times I’ve gone shopping, only to forget if I need specific spices. I use the mobile app to shop and approximate the grocery bill. Adding the spices and pantry list to the mobile app will help me track what I already have, which would help reduce monthly grocery bills.

In just a week, I feel as if I have more energy, as witnessed by the cleaning I did this weekend. Stepping on the scale, I was down about 3 pounds. The next few weeks will be more telling, as even 5 pounds would make a difference in how my pants fit. I do recall, when the weight started dropping off, it came off relatively easy. Looking forward to completing the first 30 days. Maybe if I am brave enough, I will post those before and after pictures.