Ah Nuts!

It seems protein is the new buzz word these days when consumers go to the stop. Many are misled from the beginning believing that protein comes predominately from red meat. That could not be further from the truth, but who am I to try and convince you? As I relearned nutrition I realized there was more to protein than eating meat and that I could get my source of protein not only from legumes and grains but from vegetables. The leafy greens vegetables are the best place to start with spinach and kale, but we can’t leave out broccoli, cauliflower and mushrooms, just to name a few. All of these foods have a higher percentage of protein than beef, chicken of eggs (source).

Leave it to Post to jump on the profits being made from protein and change their Grape Nuts formula, “Now with 8g protein” This change unfortunately involves the use of isolated soy protein, which is something to be avoided as it can promote cancer. Then again, what doesn’t potentially promote cancer these days? Both Jeff Novick, MS, RD and Dr. John McDougall say to avoid it (read Dr. McDougall’s April 2005 Newsletter).

When Post was contacted by the changes by an individual on the McDougall Discussion Boards, their answer for the change, “because people want more protein and it keeps you full longer.” It’s not protein that keeps you feeling full, it’s the carbohydrates that provide that satiated feeling. More protein, in new packaging will equate to potentially more sales for Post. It’s “a label that says protein has what researchers call a “health halo effect” that goes beyond just the promise of protein. When people see the word, they also believe the product will make them feel more full or give them energy.

It looks as if I am back to oatmeal for breakfast, as I will no longer support Post Grape Nuts because of the addition of the isolated soy protein. With any luck the Raley’s generic, Nutty Nuggets will remain unchanged, but for all I know it’s the same cereal repackaged for Raley’s at a cheaper price. As always read the labels, understand what you are reading before you fall for gimmicks and labels that make wild claims. Better yet, stick to real food and you have nothing to worry about.

Lifestyle Changes

This is not a diet, this is how I eat.I’ll admit I have had very little support in deciding to change my lifestyle, beginning with my eating habits. Support is a cornerstone when it comes to making positive lifestyle changes. To say the results I have experienced are anything short of extraordinary would be an understatement. I ate a very unhealthy diet and working in a stagnate job, eating lots of fried and unhealthy food it was only a matter of time before it caught up and took a toll on my body.

While my wife initially called this changing in diet a “kick” she is proud of the accomplishments I have made in just 9 months. Nine months to see a positive change in how I feel with more energy, in how I look since shedding 42 pounds of excess weight and improvement in my lipid panels (blood tests), reducing my total cholesterol by 88 points (to date).

I have drawn support from many who have come before me using Dr. McDougall’s wisdom and program to achieve success. His Star McDougallers are just a small percentage of people who have made radical changes in their life for the better. Many of these individuals were more sickly than I was when they started, but to hear their stories and see the positive changes only reinforces that the decisions I have made for my health are the right ones.

I read many comments on the McDougall Discussion Board from people who can’t do this program or are going at it alone, with a spouse dead set on not giving up a diet laden with meat, dairy and oils.  Best thing to remember you aren’t alone, the discussion board is a GREAT place to communicate with others, some who have been through a similar situation. Educating yourself on this lifestyle takes time. I didn’t jump in with both feet initially, as I wanted to read more about Dr. McDougall, what he stood for and why I was not healthy or losing weight when eating an industrialized and processed diet.

Many look at me as unique because of my dietary requirements, I now believe this way of eating is normal and wouldn’t consider going back to eating meat, dairy and oils in my diet.  The opportunity to cheat is always present and for some it could be very difficult to pass up that chance telling yourself, “oh just this once, it won’t hurt me.” You then suddenly find yourself making excuses to sneak more unhealthy food and suddenly you are not seeing progress in yourself.

A discussion board regular, Pinkrose has “identified some of the major causes of failure and success related to McDougalling, especially weight management” in a thread titled, Why Fail? He breaks it down into three simple reasons:

1. People remember their history of eating!

2. Some are overly concerned about what others think of their food choices.

3. Some underestimate their ability to adapt to changes.

If you asked me this time last year, I never would have imagined I would be where I am today with my health. I have achieved my weight goal of 175 pounds and continue to work on improving my cholesterol numbers. I still remember what I was eating this time last year. Meats, dairy and oils were a regular part of my diet, it was also not suggested by my family physician to cuts any of these out, even though I had high cholesterol and was placed on medication.

One of my biggest concerns, what others would think. It was frustrating at times, confrontational at others when I attempted to justify this lifestyle. It got to a point where I didn’t care what anyone thought of my lifestyle change, because it was mine and would only benefit me. Many still feel they are registered nutritionist when I bring up my plant based diet, telling em what I need to consume in order to be healthy. I usually listen, with a nod of my head and then move on. Not sure why my way of eating is suddenly the hot topic in the office, when in reality it’s me who is concerned for the health of my co-workers.

Change. People usually hate change. Some don’t believe they can achieve it, while others procrastinate. This way of eating didn’t come easy, but I made progress each day. As I mentioned, I didn’t jump in with both feet, I sort of waded into the waters cautiously. Once I started learning more I gained a confidence that I could achieve results that would end up making me healthier and happier. I had some vices, still do. Along the way I might have slipped occasionally, but I continued make an effort and I saw the changes taking place. No longer did my fat pants fits (size 36), my belt is now on it’s last loop. Shirts that were too small for me, now fit and hang normally. No longer and I self conscience when I take my shirt off in public. At 42 I feel very good about myself. This change has taken time and I have made an effort at goals I felt I could achieve, but required some work.

Knowing what I do now, feeling and seeing the changes I would love to share the success I have had with others. Many start with the excuses as to why they can’t achieve what I have.  More importantly being able to share my experiences and read stories about other like minded individuals have helped me get to where I am today. I am very thankful that I found a solution that fits my lifestyle. A solution that will allow me to eat many wonderful foods without having to count calories or weigh myself to make sure I meet a goal. Don’t underestimate the support you can find online to help you achieve your health goals.