In my recent newsletter, I owned up to my health numbers and I made a promise to take a stand for Plant Strong eating! I want to post this on my blog and INVITE YOU to join me!! This is my first week! I selected to follow Dr. Esselystyn’s advice.
Here’s what I am doing this week:
1. No DAP (dead animal product) no LAP (no live animal product as in the animal was alive when it furnished the product like eggs or cheese). If it had a mom or a face..I’m not eating it.
2. No added salt when I cook.
3. No added oil. None.
4. I also am using the app Lose it! I’m tracking every morsel I put in my mouth five days per week. I’m monitoring calories and sodium, cholesterol, fiber, sugar, protein, carbohydrate and fat.
5. Food selections are as whole foods and unprocessed as I possibly can.
In the next few days, I’ll post the metric ranges I’m trying to hit in Lose it! and share with you the changes I plan to implement next week.
Here’s what I wrote in the newsletter, I also list some great references at the end.
The Truth is in the Numbers
Before you read my numbers below, I want to set a framework. I believe and the science supports that cardiovascular disease (CVD), high blood pressure, obesity and type 2 diabetes are caused primarily by dietary choices. I believe in the work of Dr. Esselstyn and T Colin Campbell, Phd. You can find their work in the movie Forks over Knives, Dr. Campbell’s book The China Study (this book reads like a nutritional detective novel, I really enjoyed it and thought I would be bored reading it. I was not.) and Dr. Esselstyn’s book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. There’s more science out there. These are just the gentlemen I’ve spent the most time reading and studying. Dr. Dean Ornish has for years been promoting a nearly identical diet. At the end of this article I provide links to many books and websites that can give you this information and I encourage you to read, learn and decide for yourself. Knowledge is power and health is a choice we make with each meal we eat. I am sharing with you my numbers. They are decent. They indicate health. But, it’s the trend in my numbers that concerns me. The trend is not moving in the right direction. So, my intention in sharing my numbers with you is to encourage to accept and believe that diet can make a HUGE difference – my numbers reflect this. Diet CAN prevent and reverse these and many other diseases. Hippocrates said many years ago, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” I want to impress on myself and impress on you that we all need to make MORE changes to our diet. And, with this article, I will begin to be more radical in my diet and encourage you to JOIN me…because it ain’t easy! There is food everywhere that is cheap, tasty and it is literally killing us. We need to avoid this trap. We need to stop making every get together, every celebration, every social occasion, every happy moment and every sad moment an excuse to eat things that we know aren’t good for us. So, I’m being tough on myself in front of you and I’m also putting a stake in the ground that says beginning now, today, this minute…I will no longer promote bad food choices for myself and if we end up dining together or celebrating together…I am going to choose or bring healthy and tasty food. It’s time for a 180 degree turn around! With me so far?….Ok, now…on to the numbers.
My Health Indicator Numbers
I recently had my cholesterol tested and after nearly two years of being 90% vegan, my cholesterol sits at 205. Not what I had hoped for. I had hoped that it would be closer to 180. Even my most recent blood pressure was noticeably higher than my historically predictable 120/80.
My weight sits between 118-122. This is healthy for my 5’4″ frame but, my body fat consistently measures 26% to 28%. This is the upper end of healthy. Now, I know that body fat measurements can be 2-4% off on any given day. They aren’t perfect. However, 32% body fat is considered obese for a female my age. At 28%, I’m close…too close to being obese.
Numbers are Facts and Facts are Stubborn Things!
The “Rational Lies” I Could Tell Myself….but won’t
I am a triathlete, my resting heart rate is sub 45, my triglycerides are low and my HDL’s are high. My body might be producing extra cholesterol. Due to injury, I’ve been unable to train for about 17 months and so I’ve lost muscle and gained a little weight. I eat healthy, I exercise, I’ll be ok. Blah, blah, blah….
Good enough? No.
Yes, I exercise and yes my daily diet is pretty good; but, this is not good enough. My numbers are trending in the wrong direction – body fat up, blood pressure up and cholesterol not where my good doctors referenced above feel is healthy to prevent heart disease.
According to the American Heart Association, one in every three deaths in the United States is due to CVD.
This isn’t about appearance and looking good. This isn’t about training harder and racing faster. It’s about LIFE or DEATH. These numbers tell the truth.
What are YOUR numbers?
Have you recently had your cholesterol measured? Blood pressure? Weight? Bodyfat? Have YOU taken a look at the truth in your numbers? Take some time to consider them and let the truth sink in. If you, like me are willing to accept the truth and embrace the change…there is good news ahead!!
The Good News
We can change these numbers. We can reverse this trend. We can prevent these diseases. We can stay off of the medications. We can stay out of the operating room. We can choose LIFE.
Diet is the Answer. Exercise Helps.
90% of this is diet. Exercise is key but the difference maker is DIET.
So what’s the plan? Well, a couple of super smart guys have been reversing and preventing CVD, Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes for many years. Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and Dr. John McDougall. Each are M.D.’s. Each have tried and true programs. So, it’s time to do what they recommend. Time to be coachable. Time to stick with it long enough to change the numbers and reverse the trend.
We can do this. You can choose to go “cold turkey” and follow some of the plans in the references listed below or find another plan that suits you better. You can choose to make incremental changes over time. But, I encourage you to choose, to set your course, map out your nutritional destination and get on the highway to this destination!! Please let me know what you’ve decided to do – the more we can encourage each other and share helpful tips, the more likely we are to succeed. I invite you to subscribe to my blog and we can use that as our communication and sharing platform! I’ll update you weekly with how it’s going, post helpful ideas and recipes. I’ll also update my numbers at the end of September.
Some Resources for you. Just click the links below.
How to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell Esseltyn
The China Study by T. Colin Campbell Ph.D
The Food Revolution: How your diet can help save your life and our world by by John Robbins
Movie: Forks over Knives
engine2diet (Diet, recipes and tips led by Rip Esselstyn, Dr. Esseltyn’s son)
Dr. McDougall (His website with resources, recipes, meal plans, etc..)
WholeFood Market Health Starts Here – menus, tips, plans, shopping lists, etc.