Plant Strong Nutrition, Uncategorized

30 day results of the 180 nutritional turnaround

It has been just under 30 days since I wrote about my nutritional 180 degree turnaround!  I gave up all animal products, I use no oil or added salt when cooking , I reduced my sodium intake to 1500mg or less per day, added sugar to less than 24 grams per day and I’ve tracked my nutrition in an app called Lose it! 5 days per week. I am on a plant based, vegan eating diet based on the recommendations of Dr. Esselstyn, Colin Campbell Phd, Dr. MacDougall and the Engine 2 diet.  So, what are the results?

What I’m tracking                                      Beginning                                     30 days

Weight                                                                119                                                    117

Bodyfat %                                                        27.5%                                               26%

Cholesterol                                                      219                                                   191

Blood Pressure                                               155/90                                              135/85

What do I think?

This is pretty awesome!! I am just thrilled with 28 points off my cholesterol in just 30 days.  Without drugs!!  My LDL is 94 (they want to see it under 130) and my HDL is 83.  Blood pressure – my doc thinks I have “white coat anxiety” because the initial reading this week was 155/90, then she chatted me up and distracted me and it came down to 135/85.  So, I’m going to buy a blood pressure cuff and track it at home and see if I’m ok.  She believes I am.

Two pounds and 1% on weight and bodyfat.  Certainly that is not earth shaking, but it is a trend in the right direction and weight is not my primary motivator – my health indicators are my primary motivation. But, I need to get further away from 30% which is the beginning of obesity.  So, perhaps another 5 pounds and all will be good in this area.

How do I feel?

I feel GREAT.  I have energy. I do not have cravings.  I am full.  The Lose it! app has me on 1265 calories per day  and I can eat a lot of plant based foods for that amount of calories.  I am never hungry unless I’m under my calories for the day by more than 100 calories.

Is this hard?

NO.  It is actually very easy.  Part of the ease is that I decided this was all non-negotiable.  So I don’t sometimes eat meat or sometimes cook with olive oil or sometimes eat a pizza with cheese.  I don’t eat animal products or oil. I have found some great and very easy recipes in the cookbooks by the Happy Herbivore, Lindsay Nixon.  Check out her blog Happy Herbivore.  I use Engine 2’s website alot and the Forks over Knives cookbook.  I also follow Engine 2 and Wicked Healthy on facebook for more information and inspiration.

What does my husband, Robert think?  How does he feel?

I’m so glad you asked.  For years, Robert has gone on every diet experiment that I’ve wanted to try.  He’s a good sport.  We’ve tried a ton over the last 18 years.  He likes this one best and he says he sleeps better, his arthritis bothers him less and for the very first time he said that this diet has made him feel really good.  He has never said that before! He plans to get his cholesterol checked out in the next week.  He has lost 7 pounds!

So, I am truly encouraged.  I love this way of eating.  Everything tastes so good.  Our grocery bill has gone down about 25%.  We do a fruit and veggie smoothie or juice nearly every morning plus oatmeal or a southwest tofu scramble, lunch is usually dinner leftovers from the previous night.  Our dinners always include our famous Big Dog Salad and then a “side’ that is perhaps veggie lasagna or cajun cornbread casserole.  I’ve added a couple of recipes to this blog and I’ll enter even more as I can.  The resources I’ve listed above can help you find great foods; just remember to plan your menu around whole foods based on veggies and beans.  It can be easy to get caught up in vegan biscuits or cupcakes or whatever – keep it unrefined and very whole.  Nearly 70% of my calories are coming from carbohydrates that consist primarily of veggies, beans, whole grains like rice, potatoes, corn tortilla’s and oatmeal to name a few.

I had lunch with a friend today and she asked,” Now what?” Now what?  Now, I continue on eating this way, that’s what.  I feel great.  My health indicator numbers are trending in the right direction.  I don’t miss anything that I’ve given up.  In fact, I don’t feel like I’ve given up anything.  I only see this as a gain in my life.…..what about you?  Ready to make some changes?  You can start small or you can go 180 like me.  It doesn’t matter.  But the fact is there are foods that lead to death and foods that lead to life!  I recently went through my huge recipe file and threw out ALL my recipes that didn’t go along with this plant strong diet!  I kept one teeny tiny folder of a few special recipes that I found very hard to part with.  I’m not sure I’ll ever make them, but for now I’m keeping them.  I labeled the folder “Delicious foods of death”.

Below are the weekly recaps from my tracking in the Lose it! app.

You’ll notice that my sugar is higher than 24 grams.  24 grams is the amount of added sugar allowed.  95% of my sugar has been what is naturally found in the foods I eat.  I have had to really cut back on my fruit intake!  I was a fresh fruit junky.  Three servings for fruit is plenty per day.

Fat Carbohydrate Protein Cholesterol Sodium Fiber Sugar What I’m tracking
15% 70% 15% <200 <1500 25 24 Goals I’m shooting for
Actual % Averages for the week Actual Daily Averages
22.3 59 18.6 31.2 1872 30.6 36
19.5 67.8 12.7 20.4 1023 25.4 37
20.5 67.3 12.2 21.3 1674 28.6 45.9
20 66 14 4.1 953 29.4 43.6
Plant Strong Nutrition

14 days in and I feel great!!

It has been two weeks since I said, “no more” to a diet that was mostly healthy.  I chose to radically eliminate much of what I now refer to as “death” from my diet.  I continue to be super motivated, the way we are eating food  is so amazingly delicious and I don’t miss anything…nothing! If you missed my blog post about my 180 degree diet change because of my health indicator numbers, here it is.

Week 1 I committed to:

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, sodium, cholesterol, fiber, sugar, protein, carbohydrate and fat.

Week 2 I committed to (in addition to week 1):

1.  Black coffee or only coconut milk creamer.  Coffee beans are 1/2 caffeinated and 1/2 decaffeinated.

The numbers I am shooting for are based on a wonderful article written by Mark Sutton that you can find here: the nutritional numbers.

Based on a 1200 calories per day diet

14 grams of fat

24 grams of sugar

1500 mg of sodium or less

200 mg of cholesterol or less

2400 calories per day

28 grams of fat

36 grams of sugar

1500 mg of sodium or less

200 mg. of cholesterol per day

I have been shooting for 15% calories from fat, 70% from carbohydrate and 15% from protein.  Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and  Mark Sutton recommend fat at 10%; I do not have cardiovascular disease for right now, I’m happy shooting for 15%.

My results for the past two weeks are posted at the end of this blog post. From week 1 to week 2, I’ve moved closer to the targeted goals.  The sugar seems to just creep up on me and I am not consuming any straight sugar!  Just what naturally occurs.  I am consuming some fruit, but not a lot; Certainly, not anywhere near what I am used to consuming in both the fruit and  the added sugar departments.  The first week I easily had too much protein and that all came from beans and tofu! I expect that in a few weeks, I’ll have these numbers dialed in a bit more.  I’m averaging about 1200-1400 calories per day for the 5 days that I track.  On Saturday and Sunday, I give myself a break from tracking and relax.  But, I do not stray from the goals set above; I just lighten up the reigns a bit and I know that my caloric intake goes up which is ok too.  I have lost 2 pounds so far; I can live with that.

How do I feel?

Honestly, I feel amazingly good.  Better week 2 than week 1.  I feel alert. My energy is on an even keel all day and  I’m sleeping really deeply! So far so good!! I haven’t had any cravings.  I haven’t missed anything I’ve given up.

I thought that giving up dairy would be hard.  Then I watched a video with Dr. McDougall speaking on The Perils of Dairy and that did it for me.  That presentation eliminated any desire I might have for dairy ever again.  Seriously.

I have created or found some really great recipes and I will post some recipes over the next week, so check back for some seriously yummy and flavorful food.  I’ve shared some of this food with friends and they love the food.  I think you will too. And, our grocery bill is going down and not up!!

Credit where credit is due

I read the story of Karl,a guy who “had legitimate excuses” to not take up this lifestyle.  Reading Karl’s story challenged me and encouraged me equally, I think you’ll find it inspiring as well.  Karl’s story.

Want to feel better, look better, live longer, live better longer, train harder and get better results, keep your family healthy…then come on…you don’t need to track how I’m tracking but you do need to just TURN AROUND from the food that is literally robbing you of health and life. Want to get started?  See resources at end of my prior post here.  I’ll give my next update in two weeks with the results of my blood work as well.  Diet by the numbers and the plant  strong lifestyle, I’m loving it and… super importantly, so is my husband!

  % Averages for the week Daily Averages
Target 15% 70% 15% <200 <1500 25 24
Week End FAT Carbo PRO Cholesterol Sodium Fiber Sugar
9/1/12 22.3 59 18.6 31.2 1872 30.6 36
9/7/12 19.5 67.8 12.7 20.4 1023 25.4 37
Plant Strong Nutrition, Uncategorized

The numbers, the 180 degree turn and an invitation

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.

More Numbers
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.