Wow! I don’t want to end up like this guy! It’s been approximately 30 days since taking my health into my hands and making what some would call “drastic changes” in my culinary lifestyle. After watching numerous documentaries on food preparation and industrial process, the FDA and what was been termed “SAD” or the “Standard American Diet.” Like many I cook with oils and butter and include dairy and meat (various) in many meals I have prepared over my lifetime. But after watching these documentaries followed by further reading and research I have made the decision to change what and how I eat.

At work co-workers think I am crazy for cutting out things like dairy, meat (not including fish) and oils in my diet. At first glimpse, you too might think I am crazy for doing this. While I have not officially started my 12-day program as outlined by Dr. John McDougall in his book, The McDougall Program and outlined on his website, Over the last 30 days I have made changes that will hopefully turn my health around. I have not had any meat (chicken, beef or pork), cut way back on dairy including milks and creams, eggs and cheese as well as tried not to cook with oils. Compare this to trying to kick any addiction cold turkey. Not always the easy thing to do, but by the end of December I should have been able to cut many of the above items completely out of my diet in preparation for my 12-day program.

Now I am not advocating or promoting anyone to follow my ways. My wife will loves her meat, which I will cook for her and I continue to cook things like chicken nuggets, corndogs  and frozen meals for my son. Both have sampled meals that I have made based on “whole plant diet.” Meals like bean burritos, lentil stew and last night, pea soup with three bean salad. These are just a few examples of some of the meals I have found that fit my culinary changes.

Some people feel I am going to the extreme by cutting out many foods they consider delicious. I am okay with that because it’s not their health I am concerned about, it’s mine. If a change in diet can result in weight loss, being healthier and being able to eat as much as I want, whenever I want then dang it I am all for it! I have noticed a considerable weight gain since starting my new job 5 years ago. What’s difficult, yet tasty are some of the restaurants we frequent…on a weekly basis! Even the tofu tacos I have started to eat I will probably give up since they are prepared in oil, fried and include numerous sauces that I can only guess do not fit the guidelines I want to follow.

I an debating consulting my doctor, who’s opinion I don’t really hold in high regard because his answer ALWAYS seems to be medication. Headaches, he prescribed medication. Tennis elbow a Cortisone injection. Elevated cholesterol, a Simvastatin. Bone spur on my left foot, an anti-inflammatory medication. Ever ailment ends up being a pill or injection that potentially could have some nasty side effects. What caught me off guard was going to a routine check up with my dentist and I could not remember all the medication I was prescribe. This got me thinking there has to be a better way to live a healthy life. I did not want to start bringing all my medication in a plastic baggy just so I could recall what the hell I am killing myself with. Enter Dr. McDougall.

So what I have experienced in the last 30 days? Most notably has been weight loss, as I have dropped approximately 10 pounds, down from 215 to 205 pounds without being hungry. I have noticed my migraine headaches have disappeared, experiencing only one a week ago. While I have never had an issue with bowel movements, they are different, feeling more relieved and healthier. What I can’t account for are the (positive?) changes witnessed in my blood work. I have yet to get a blood test done, as a follow up to being put on Simvastatin to make sure my liver isn’t failing (another side effect of the medication, nice huh?).

When I approach my doctor I am going to ask for him to provide paperwork for 3 blood tests to be taken on day 1, day 6 and day 12 to see the changes in Cholesterol level, Triglycerides and blood sugar. I would also like to the doctor to follow my blood pressure as I can monitor my weight lose at home. Along with the change in diet I would include more exercise, as little as 30 minutes a day, which will start out as walking while at work and when I get home. The most notable number I want to see decrease is the cholesterol, which based on Dr. McDougall’s patients at his clinic, average a 28 point drop in 12 days!

So while many might not be accepting of my dietary changes in what I have to give up the results will be in how I feel and look, both of which should be enough reason to look at how you eat and make whatever changes YOU feel are necessary to make you healthier. These days leading up to the start of my 12-day program have been rewarding. I am educating myself on “living to eat, not eating to live.” There is a wealth of information and research that has been done. I want to see myself reap those same sort of rewards for a better lifestyle.

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