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.

Potato Hack

potato_hackStealing a line from the McDougall Forums, I am up for a “potato hack.” I feel this is appropriate as I evaluate the status of my current health. It’s been challenging since the new year began with my wife returning home from major back surgery, followed by a bout with melanoma, followed by two more surgeries and a load of stress. I have let myself lapse, taking those two proverbial two steps back. While my weight has increased about 7 pounds, a portion of that due to the strength gains I have made through Stronglifts (since October) I don’t have that feeling I had a few months back.

I have not changed the way I eat, still following a plant based, whole foods diet with no added oil, dairy and meat. Thankfully I haven’t fallen THAT far. Unfortunately beer has become my crutch once again, while it’s only 92 calories and 2.5 grams of carbohydrates, I do believe it’s having a negative effect on my health, as seen in the weight gain and how I have been feeling. The other factor, a lack of consistency at the gym. I have not been able to put together a full week (3 days) of work outs since February.

A final, possible factor is the lack of tracking my food and weight on a daily basis through Fit Day. While this could be seen as overkill or unnecessary, I do believe it’s another reason why I have seen negative changes. Since changing my way of eating, I have been very good at taking the time to input what I ate each day, not so much to watch total caloric intake, but to see approximately how those calories I was eating were broken down (total calories, fat, carbohydrates, protein). I would also log “exercise” or any activities that would burn calories.

My diet hasn’t changed I am eating much of the same good food I have been for the past 16 months. One change, while not major that could influence the weight gain as been the addition of nuts into my diet. Nearly every time I cook cheese, nuts are a base ingredient (although I just found a recipe on Plant Purity that uses acorn squash of pumpkin pie filling). Unfortunately yellow and green vegetables are still not a big part of my diet.

For the next 2 weeks, possibly 20 days I will challenge myself to thrive on potatoes and vegetables. Ask me 16 months ago if this was possible and I would say it would be crazy. Knowing what I know now, this will be a welcome challenge. It will also get me “back to basics” as it relates to cooking. I’m at a point where the complexity of my cooking is much more than just boiling potatoes or steaming veggies for dinner. It will be a nice break to put together a handful of recipes of just potatoes and vegetables.

As for the fitness portion, I am in the process of setting up a home gym. I had a friend donate 300 pounds of weights, as well as a squat stand. I am now in the market for a bench and a barbell. While it will still take me the better part of a month to get this organized it will benefit me to be able to work out at home, in my garage. I will also save money in the long run by not having to pay the monthly dues I pay now. Until it’s set up, I will still make the commitment to get to the gym 3 days a week.

What do I hope to gain? Better health, obviously. Also as a reminder of all the hard work I have accomplished to this point, to let myself fall back into bad habits, such as drinking beer regularly. In the process I will hopefully drop a few pounds, from 182 to 177 and get back to feeling better and looking better when I stand in front of the mirror.

Healthy Oil is a Myth

I am sure if you were a friend on my Facebook account you would think I was pushing the plant-base, whole food lifestyle. Some mistakenly term it “vegan” but I consider my more than “just vegan.” I have come across way too many recipes from vegan web sites that end up using a considerable amount of oil. Dr. McDougall and other well known physicians have said time and time again that OIL is not beneficial and adds little to the healthiness of your food.

Unfortunately the way foods and oils are marketed, you would think olive oil is there as a “heart healthy” alternative. It’s not (in my opinion), but I am not a doctor, nor am I going to argue or belabor the point. I don’t cook with it and the program that Dr. McDougall has laid out has no recipes that include it. After further researching his point (and that of Jeff Novick, RD). As Jeff notes, “14% of the calories in olive oil come from saturated fat. The current recommendation from the American Heart Association is to limit our intake of saturated fat to no more than 7% of calories” (source).

If that example isn’t clear enough, here is another common use, see if you can relate. “If we add 2 tsp. of oil to a 1/2 cup serving of steamed vegetables, we would raise the total calories from 25 to 105, and the majority of the calories (76%) would now be coming from oil. This side dish is also now 11% saturated fat.” Again this is coming from a registered dietician and is based on what “healthy” qualities oil brings to a diet. None and that is why I stay away from it now.

Now that I have sidetracked myself, I am trying to figure out how to present this to my parents. No matter what I say or how I say it, they won’t change their ways when it comes to cooking and eating. I tell my mom the success I have had the past 3 months, the weight I lost and the improvement in my blood work and I don’t make any headway.

I know, I said I won’t push this lifestyle on anyone and I won’t. But to have my mom, who is an outstanding cook sit there and tell me olive oil has redeeming qualities I don’t accept it and I know that her opinion is based on myth (which Dr. McDougall dis-spells) and not fact.

The past 3 weeks I have monitored what I eat closely. Using a program called Fit Day, along with a recipe builder call Spark Recipes I can input all my ingredients to a recipe and get a nice breakdown on the nutritional data and enter it in my food log so I can see if I am adhering to the way I want to eat. So far, outside of my 6-pack of beer a week I am doing very well. In fact I wrote about this in Tracking My Food earlier this month. While this is probably going to the extreme I find it very interesting as to what I cooking and eat. The number don’t lie, from calories eaten vs calories burned to my overall weight, which continues to go down to how my nutritional data breaks down.

I just wish I could get my parents to recognize there are healthier ways to eat. When we vacation with them in March, I hope to introduce them to a few of the recipes we frequent, like potato enchiladas. While I don’t expect them to make wholesale changes in their lives, I would like to see them make some changes to improve how they eat. We will see just how they take to what I cook.