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!

Protective Diet Testimonial

Before & AfterAugust, 2011 had me utter the word, “vegan” for the first time. After my yearly physical total cholesterol had climbed to 264 mg/dL and would continue to increase unless I took preventive measures. My family physician prescribed me a statin, which was told would help “control” my TC but not reverse the condition. Weeks later I discontinued medication in search of alternatives. On October 30, 2011 I made the decision to take control of my health and look at the alternatives after viewing Forks Over Knives.

Julie Christensen’s Plant Purity (website before Protective Diet) came into my life after transitioning to a plant based lifestyle based around Dr. John McDougall’s teachings. This lifestyle made sense, reading success stories and experiencing weight loss and maladies disappear personally give me confirmation I made the right decision.

Prior to going plant based my weight was borderline obese, I was plagued by constant migraine headaches, side aches, plantar fasciitis, constipation and underwent two knee surgery that could possibly have been avoided. My numbers prior to a plant based lifestyle were staggering:

July 26, 2011
Weight: 216 pounds
Chol: 263 mg/dL
Trig: 269 mg/dL
HDLC: 37 mg/dL
Chol/HDLC Ratio: 7.1 H
LDL: 172 mg/dL
Non-HDLC: 225 mg/dL

The first recipe I cooked were Julie Marie’s Cheezy Scalloped Potatoes. It was the first time I used nutritional yeast in a recipe but I was hooked when the pan was pulled from the oven. It wouldn’t take a year to see impressive changes in my health. Inside of 30 days I felt better, looked better and had made impressive strides down my road to health. On December 20, just 51 days later I was shocked with my blood results:

December 20, 2011
Weight 193 pounds
Chol: 199 mg/dL
Trig: 210 mg/dL
HDLC: 37 mg/dL
Chol/HDLC Ratio: 5.4 H
LDL: 120 mg/dL
Non-HDLC: 162 mg/dL

While I remember Julie rolling out PD-ed, I hesitated to join, not because I didn’t believe in her program, but due to procrastination. I wanted the exclusive recipes, I wanted to be part of a group who accepted and supported each other, not to mention access to Julie and Jerry and everything they bring to Protective Diet.

On December 31, 2013 I made a resolution “to drive out the sodium and sugar” in my already clean approach to eating. Julie had the perfect solution to this. I registered for her PD-ed to “to decrease the dependency on sugars and nuts while enhancing my health with further education and information regarding nutrition.”

Since joining PD-ed I have continued my education in nutrition through Julie’s webcasts. Every recipe I have made from Protective Diet has been wonderful, but more importantly quick and easy. Her direction and inspiration has allowed me to further improve my plant based lifestyle. As of October 30, 2013 my health continued to flourish. Blood results were excellent:

October 10, 2013
Weight 175 pounds
Chol: 152 mg/dL
Trig: 147 mg/dL
HDLC: 38 mg/dL
Chol/HDLC Ratio: 4.0 H
LDL: 85 mg/dL
Non-HDLC: 114 mg/dL

To this day, I don’t believe I would have made the strides I have without finding Protective Diet and following Julie’s recommendations. With this new found health I have never felt better. In 2013 I trained and ran my first half marathon under 2 hours. A year later I challenged myself and ran my first 50K in under 9 hours. There is no challenge to big conquer. Julie’s approach allows each individual to take control of their health and flourish. I owe my health to everything she has dedicated to bringing to those willing to listen.