Vegan Isn’t Protective

On the cusp of making it through my first week, recommitting myself to a Protective Diet and learning from PD Education. How I’ve gone so many years without making time to learn from Julie and Jerry is beyond me. Yesterday my yogurt starter and reusable mesh bags arrived. Just finished watching Julie teach a shortened, Class #008 – Understanding Cholesterol. This was a number that climbed to 263 in July 2011, when I was tested. Through a lot of reading and healthy eating following a PD lifestyle, I reduced that number to 199 in just 5 months! In 2013 that number had fallen to 130! As I posted in my 2 Year Review, “Overall I lost 44 pounds inside of 10 months when going plant based. I saw my total cholesterol (TC) plummet from 264 mg/dL to a low of 130 mg/dL! Since that time, it has increased a few points, but I have been able to maintain a TC near 150 mg/dL, which has been called “heart attack proof.” Many if the ailments I had; constant migraines, side pains, joint pains, plantar fasciitis and nerve issues seemed to improve or completely disappear when I cleaned up my diet.

As I look back over nearly 10 years of a plant based lifestyle, I continue to ask myself, “where did I go wrong?” Unlike those “extreme” changes I made October 31, 2011, there isn’t one point to highlight as a key to my downturn. The following years, 2015 and 2016 were truly highlights, physical achievements I never thought possible! That’s when life took a turn things started to change and I started to make excuses for my poor eating habits. That Protective Diet turned less plant based and more vegan. Have you seen all the vegan products on the market that don’t come close to being protective? Here’s an ugly but short list: Oreos, Taco Bell’s Bean Burrito (no cheese), Chipotle’s Sofritas, Ritz Crackers, Nutter Butters, Life Cereal and Fritos. Fat. Oils. Sugars. Processed, so many bad ingredients, these products aren’t heart heathy.

More recently, I started getting more active on Instagram and You Tube and recipes. Initially to pick up some tips and tricks, as well as recipes for my son and wife. While this was beneficial, I picked up some recipes they really enjoyed but then I found some of those “vegan” chefs. Remember, vegan isn’t PD but in my mind I would continually convince myself that “hey it’s vegan, no meat, no dairy, it’s okay.” While I was still able to pick up techniques and ideas, many of the recipes were never going to be found on Protective Diet. The amount of oils in these recipes and frying were incredible! Tofu doesn’t always need to be fried to taste good! Fats along with the sugars made these recipes taste good, but did not promote that lifestyle that was going to improve my health.

Needless to say that vegan misconception continued to drive me deeper into a depression making worse food choices. Consciously, I knew these were bad decisions and that health I had worked so hard for began to unravel. A pound here, a pound there. Suddenly those trips to the gym became weekly, then not at all. The couch or computer chair became my best friend and I had regressed to a point that I felt incapable to return to my form, happy self. To date, I’ve not stepped on the scale, only guessing where my weight is, but know how poorly some of my clothes fit. For this new starting point I believe I will take an initial reading and use the mirror and feel of my clothes to see and feel my progress.

While life continues to throw up challenges, there have been some great steps made in the right direction. Over the last few years I’ve attempted to get back on that journey to health, not that I had completely fallen off, retaining the knowledge and understanding of what I should be eating a plant based diet as Julie promotes. Now is the time! No explanation as to why, maybe it’s the people in my life or the connections made from being involved in PD for years. For me, it’s about holding myself accountable, these posts and tracking my journey are what work for me. Both of which I did when I started this journey back in 2011 after watching Forks Over Knives and being completely turned from a “SAD” lifestyle. So happy to have a group who can relate to similar experiences, we are in this together.

Vegan Flip Flop


Plants. Nature’s medicine.

Three years ago I made the conscious decision to no longer include meat, dairy and added oil in my diet. This has been one of the best decisions I have made in life, as it allowed me to regain control of my health, something I had never had prior to following a plant based lifestyle. Yet controversy seems to swirl around how I eat.

Last week as I sat eating my Jalepeno Corn Muffins (thanks to Julie) and drinking my morning tea I read an article from the UK Daily Mail, EIGHTY FOUR percent of vegetarians in America eventually go back to eating meat. This Humane Research Council studied sampled 11,000 individuals with varied diets. As it stands now, only 2% of Americans follow a vegetarian diet and 88% of the populous has never tried a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. Even a smaller percentage will remove harmful ingredients such as oil, sugar and additives in their quest for health.

Of the 12% that have made the conscious shift to a plant based diet, “five out of six people return to being carnivores.” It was interesting to note “that half of vegetarians who went back to eating meat did it for their partners.” What better way to say “honey, I love you and will fill my diet full of meat, dairy and oil so I can see my health decrease and take a handful of pills in order to maintain health.”

Other “reasons” from the articles sounded more like weak-minded excuses. “I took a bite of my friend’s pizza, which happened to have bacon, and then the next morning we went to brunch, and I ordered more bacon because it was delicious.” Sure sodium and fried fat is like an explosion in your mouth, don’t mind what it will do to your health (yes, even in moderation). Others claimed they missed holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, describing it as “a sad time.” The only thing SAD is the lifestyle led by eating these foods that promote obesity.

Being plant based isn’t a diet, it’s a lifestyle. You don’t do it “part time” to achieve your goals, only to go back to poor eating habits that put you in the predicament to begin with. I have no intentions of reversing what I have done the past 3 years of my life. This IS how I want to eat, it makes me happy, provides me great energy and allows me to build on this new found health. The desire to consume foods and ingredients I once cherished continue to be nothing more than a memory.

I don’t miss feeling terrible every day. I don’t miss the aches and pains, migraines and the handful of pills some attributed to “getting old.” I am stronger, healthier and achieving things I never thought imaginable. I owe it all to a plant strong lifestyle. So while the statistics will never favor how I eat, my personal experience tells me all I need to know. I won’t become one of those “5 out of 6” who return to making poor decisions when it comes to how I eat.

The 6th Thought: Going Vegan

We’re talking about these vegans and most vegans don’t have a lot of muscle mass.

-Hugh Douglas on Arian Foster “going vegan”

ESPN gets and ‘F’ all around when it comes to speaking about Houston Texan’s all pro running back, Arian Foster and his decision to go vegan, just a month before training camp starts. Stephen A. Smith, Hugh Douglas and Skip Bayless need to research the topic of a plant-based diet before making assumptions and talking nonsense. These three talking heads are embarrassing. Watch the video on ESPN.

My Challenges of Going Plant-Based

I am shocked, the New York Times has an article titled The Challenge of Going Vegan today. First, I hate labels. I feel that calling myself “vegan” carries a negative connotation with it and immediate affiliation with PETA. I do however like to tell others I am “living plant strong” or “I eat a plant based diet.” Regardless of what you call me I can relate to the challenges of “going vegan” but not for some of the silly points in the article.

Use any search engine and type in “vegan recipes” or “vegetarian recipes” and one of the first things you will notice, the use of dairy, soy, tofu and most damaging, oil in vegan cooking. The common misconception is that vegan cooking is healthier. In my experience (all of 5 months) it can be, but continuing to cook with dairy and oil can be counterproductive and will continue to promote cancer and heart disease. See my article I wrote last month called Fat Vegans.

Next, I don’t get a shit which celebrity or athlete are “singing the benefits of a vegan diet.” It’s seems to be make headlines when some star promotes a vegan lifestyle. Following what these people do is ridiculous. If you want to change your diet…you lifestyle, then you do it for YOUR reasons, not because your favorite soap opera star did it.

It’s nice to see The China Study mentioned in the article. In my opinion this book should be a must read for EVERY American! While the article cites “meat consumption as the social cultural norm” it’s never too late to take health into your own hands and start living to eat. It’s not easy making a switch to a plant-based diet. In my case I gave myself a 3 month transition period in order to gain more knowledge and learn how to cook without meat, dairy and oil.

Unfortunately the articles fails when they begin citing “expensive” soy products. Personally, I think it’s wrong for those who are carnivores to immediate think soy and tofu are the alternatives to beef and chicken. They aren’t. In 5 months I have probably bought two soy products, these are not a staple in my “vegan” lifestyle.

When it comes to price I will also disagree with the article. I find my family and I are saving money when we go to the market. Why? We aren’t needed to pay for meat and dairy products, which quickly add it. It’s great to roll though those departments. I find that I can spend less and buy more when it comes to vegetables, legumes and tubers. The nice thing is being able to buy in bulk. We now buy 10 pound bags of potatoes, 8 pounds of onions, 5 pounds of pinto beans and 5 pounds of couscous, just as an example.

Being socially accepted has probably been the most difficult part. In my opinion, why should anyone care how or what I eat? They shouldn’t. I am now to the point where I will accept the comments and jokes are continually directed to me. Cooking for friends can be difficult. While I haven’t hosted a dinner party for carnivores, I have taken a few dishes to parties and many have times I have come how with no leftovers. People have commented on my three bean salad and tri-colored couscous salad. These are great dishes that can accompany any meal. I can guarantee the potato enchiladas I make would fill even the fiercest carnivore I know. Still many are under the misconception they need to eat meat to survive.

As for making a lifestyle change, I can’t call it a diet because it’s so much more than “just a diet” you must do it for YOUR reasons, not to be socially accepted. After learning, should I relearning nutrition and educating myself on what promotes heart disease and cancers making the decision to give up meat, dairy and oil wasn’t difficult. I mentioned a 3 month transition period earlier, this allowed me “break the rules” and still feel good that I am following a lifestyle that will promote a healthier lifestyle. Meat and oil were easy to give up, dairy was more difficult.

I found giving up cheese to be the hardest food to do without. I love the smell and taste of the wide varieties of cheese, which I would use in many dishes from pasta to casseroles. One thing I have learned, the use of substitutes for plant-based cooking. Now I use nutritional yeast combined with other ingredients to a make cheese sauce. Sure, its’t NOT real cheese, but after a few months it takes on a cheesy flavor. The longer I go without eating meat, cheese and oil, the more I enjoy my culinary experiences from the real flavors of the foods and spices I cook with.

While I would love to see everyone making the switch to a plant-based lifestyle, I know that will never happen. The meat and dairy industry back the USDA, who set the nutritional guidelines to keep Americans fat and unhealthy. It’s really a sad state of affairs when the nutritional guideline set are promoting a very unhealthy lifestyle. Not sure I will live to see a day where plant-based, whole grain lifestyle is the norm, but I am grateful I found it after 42 years. It’s never too late to start and the change doesn’t have to take place overnight.

“It’s vegan!”

Some people just don’t get it. Listen, if you don’t like the way I have chosen to eat, then keep your mouth shut unless you have something constructive to add. Don’t stand there and tell me what I am doing is wrong or I am not getting enough of some nutrient. Why? Because chances are high you have no idea the details as to what I am doing. When I try to detail what and why, I am quickly labeled “vegan” and they walk away.

There continues to be a sticking point with oil. Why, I am not quite sure. One tablespoon of oil is 14 gram or 140 calories. From Jeff Novick, “It has no protein or essential amino acids (which we need), it has no carbohydrates, or sugars (which we need), it has no fiber (which we need), it has no minerals (which we need) and has virtually no vitamins (which we need) except for a small amount of Vit E and some phytosterols” (source). So why would I want to keep this junk food in my diet?

Recently I was at a gathering of friends and was offered some food. It didn’t look all that healthy and my first assumption was it contained oil. After eating it, I know it did as I could taste it. I asked the person serving me, for the contents of this dish and they replied, “It’s vegan.” Okay, so I pushed the oil question on them. “I said it was vegan.” Great it’s a vegan dish, I am glad to hear, but if it has oil, then I must decline.

A few minutes passed and that same individual confronted me and said, “You know you need fat in your diet, about 30% a day. Oil is good, as it has nutrients for brain development.” Okay, to a degree I can accept that some, like Omega 3 DHA fatty acid is needed for brain and eye tissue development, but stand there and chastise me because I passed on a dish I knew contained oil.

Again, it comes down to labeling me or those who follow this way of eating. It’s not for everyone and maybe look at me different because of what I don’t eat. That is fine with me, I look better than I have in months, I feel good and I am now in control of my health. So please, don’t try to bullshit me with what you THINK you know about how I eat or nutrition, especially as it relates to olive oil. Respect my decision to eat what I want.