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 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.

PD – Day 4

Accountability! Isn’t that what it is all about? If you are not accountable for your actions and decisions, who should be? The answer, no one! The New Year always rings in many resolutions from many people looking to make change. A 2016 article cites, “ 8 percent of people actually keep their New Year’s resolutions, according to one commonly cited statistic. There are many reasons people can’t stick to their resolutions, from setting too many of them to getting derailed by small failures.”

For those who follow a Protective Diet lifestyle we must learn to build on what we’ve started. For me, I started this whole foods, plant-based journey in 2011 behind Dr. John McDougall and the documentary, Forks Over Knives. Thankfully I found my way to Julie and her Protective Diet, taking the plant-based lifestyle to a healthier dimension. I do appreciate all the information supplied by Dr. McDougall because without him, I probably would have never made the change.

My transformation was staggering, to say the least, but not unexpected. However, there were points in the journey that saw me take a few steps back before making a small gain. Maybe that is to be expected. We know this lifestyle has amazing health benefits, we watch Julie and listen to her on a variety of lifestyle topics. We read testimonials from other PD members but yet we still hold onto some doubt that it won’t work.

While I never stopped following a Protective Diet lifestyle, I did slide far enough away that I needed to reassess where my health was at. A blood test was not needed to tell me I wasn’t in a good place, every time I stopped to get fast food, I felt guilty, knowing it was a wrong decision, yet nearly every time I went through with it. So here I sit, looking to build up a strong foundation I laid years ago. Thanks to people like Julie Christensen, John McDougall, Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Campbell.

While I did not resolve to “follow a PD lifestyle” ahead of 2018, I did recommit myself to change. Again, pictures are worth a thousand words and while it might be monotonous seeing my before/after picture, it’s a driving factor for me. I recall how strong I felt when I participated in my final Tough Mudder event in 2014. The previous year was even stronger, as I said, “I accomplished more than I ever could imagine. While I won’t call Tough Mudder easy, it wasn’t as difficult as I had made it out to be. I had fears to face out on the course, which only strengthened my resolve and increased my confidence when I accomplished certain obstacles.” This was a result of improving my health and gaining strength.

Even now, I am sure there will times of weakness or exception made. While I admire those who hit that “100% PD compliant,” I am not sure I am at that point. Yet. Even when I was a mindful eater, running and lifting weights on a regular basis, I still had my weak moments but those did not dominate my lifestyle, like they do now. Those little moments did snowball and gain momentum, which eventually saw my lifestyle and health do a complete turnaround for the worst. So maybe those “weak moments” are the ones I attempt to work out this time in order to achieve and more importantly, maintain my health.

PD – Day 3

It’s like riding a bicycle in some regard. I’m beginning to think it was nothing more than a lazy approach to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. On Julie’s Facebook recommendation, I viewed Class #181 – Keep It Out & Keep It Off. This class was a reminder as to how and why you got to where you are (or were, in my case). For me, seeing my before/after image on my PD Testimonal speaks volumes to me. In fact, it’s shouting at me as I reestablish myself, behind the values of living a Protective Diet lifestyle.

Like Julie and many others who have had success, I’ve had those moments where I try an old pair of clothes on and realize they are much to large for me any longer. The image of Julie standing in her size 22 pants is that reassurance that this healthy lifestyle is the key to success. While Julie holds the pants up, this is the realization of where I currently am. “Wow wee Julie, what a great visual,” exclaims Jerry! As she drops each pair pants and reveals her current healthy body. That is me! That is where I was and where I want to get back to.

That feeling of success was second to none, the only comparison I can draw from, comes from ultra running. The moment I crossed the finish line of my first 50k trail race, I experienced a “runner’s high” or “a feeling of euphoria coupled with reduced anxiety and a lessened ability to feel pain.” It was absolutely amazing to see and feel what I just accomplished and wanted to take my ultra running further, going longer distances. This is the same thing I want to do with my heath. I want to look good and feel good, full of energy to burn.

In my mind I have experienced success, but where did I go wrong? What caused my slow downhill slide over the course of a year or so to put me back to near where I started back in 2011? I believe it can be summed in with the term, “mindful eating.” Julie has discussed eating until full, this is where I have been failing. They talk about “too much of a good thing.” There are many cases where I have cooked a meal, only to see myself eating the whole damn thing. That satiated feeling gone, replaced by gluttony and lethargy.

This sort of eating saw me eat my way right back to where I was before making a change in my lifestyle, removing foods like meat and dairy, followed the oils and sugars. Time and time again, I would make an exception, “well just this one time.” Unfortunately that exception suddenly became the norm and I found myself losing control, slipping further away from optimal health.

Just three days in, I can already feel the difference in my eating habits. Work has been a big pitfall due to all the restaurants in Chinatown that cook amazing dishes, however very few fall into how we eat when following a Protective Diet. In the office, it’s a never ending cycle of sweet, sugary treats and the nonstop flow of coffee. Thankfully, I have been able to stick to the vegan basics; no meat and dairy. However, the oils and sugar, the “flavoring” of many addictive foods got a stranglehold on my eating habits. It was a long, dark decent back to a place where I swore I would never return to.

Like Julie and so many others, read all the testimonals, I know this lifestyle works! I have been one of those success stories, from the weight loss, to increased energy to great blood work numbers. Everything I did centered around achieving and maintaining my health. That is where I plan on returning to. Gone, but not forgotten are the daily runs I used to go on. Last year, I missed out on my 50 mile race I have completed the last 2 years. Plans were in the works to attempt my first 100 mile run, but seeing myself as I do know, that won’t be possible this year. Optimal health has been replaced with a lack of energy, a body I am not happy with, pants and shirts that don’t fit like they should. Pains have crept into my daily life. None of these things were present when I achieved my optimal health.

Approaching meals the past few days with the notion of “mindful eating” as the cornerstone to a Protective Diet lifestyle. It serves as a reminder reminder to eat until satiated. It’s a simple principle, but one I had failed to practice in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

PD – Day 2

Such as warm and heartfelt, “welcome back,” so to speak from the Protective Diet Living Group on Facebook. These wonderful people create the backbone of support when it comes to being successful in a plant-based lifestyle. I still remember finding Julie Sterner’s (before she married Jerry), Plant Purity website and the start of her recipes that eventually led to Protective Diet, followed by registration to PD-ed!

I made a rookie mistake yesterday and forgot to bring any food to work with me. Thankfully I had an air popper and pop corn in my locker, which represented my breakfast and lunch. Needless to say, I was hungry when I got home from work and was only thinking about the Cheezy Scalloped Potatoes! This was the first recipe I made of Julie’s when I found her site. This recipe only seems to get better every time I make it. Last night was no exception, it was amazing and a perfect meal to “kick start my heart” (to steal a lyric from Mötley Crüe).

Yesterday was a planning day, we know Julie is BIG on planning with her “SUS” approach to meal planning. While I haven’t mastered this skill, I created a Excel spreadsheet that allows me to plan a week in advance the foods I want to prepare and what I need from the store. Thankfully, most of the ingredients for PD meals I already have in the pantry, even some of the obscure ones I’ve purchased off Amazon in the past.

Hiking near Los Vaqueros with BSA Troop 93 and my son, Zachary.

One of the items I felt helped me on my journey was the fact I logged everything I ate, as well as my running and weight lifting. Living a PD lifestyle, it’s not necessary. Eat when hungry, don’t when you are satiated. Can it get any easier? What logging my food allowed me to do was get a visual representation of my journey. Along with looking in the mirror, I could see just how well I was doing. While this required a bit more effort, it was one worth making. Each of us are different, some might find this cumbersome, while others might find it makes a useful tool.

There are two other tasks I want to accomplish early on, as I refocus on my health. First, I want to revisit the Dr. John McDougall’s book, The McDougall Program: 12 Days to Dynamic Health. It was this book and the information he presented that really made me think differently when it came to food. I used it as a reference book for a number of years and some of the early recipes I followed were from he and his wife, Mary. Prior to buying this book, it was a co-worker who suggested I watch, Forks Over Knives. Names like McDougall, Esselstyn and Campbell quickly come back to mind and their research and conclusions provide more incentive to “live to eat, than eat to live.”

An unflattering image of just how round my face has become and how “small” my clothes are. Okay, how big I’ve gotten.

The only change I will make to my approach is not to push this lifestyle on anyone. That was the single, biggest mistake I made when I started to see life saving changes occurring. Standing in front of a mirror, I did not recognize the new me. To look back at old pictures, the first thought that would pop into my mind, “wow, I was heavy!” I am embarrassed to look at those pictures, but the same question can be asked, “How did I let myself get like this?” We each make a conscious decision daily. Yesterday I chose to make changes in my lifestyle to benefit my health, for myself, my wife and son. Hopefully I can lead by example and possibly help to make some healthy changes in the future.

Hopefully by following those steps I took back in 2011 when I made the decision to take control of my health I will reap the benefits in a matter of months. As Julie said recently, ” Nothing can get in his way now that he made his mind up. Keep your eye on him. Results happen fast! Watch this super star transform before us.” It’s that transformation that will quickly sneak up and before I know it, my pants will be loose, shirts will be fall differently and I feel better and have new found energy. All because of a PD lifestyle and a commitment to change!