“How Not To Die” update – week 9

Things are really going well following Dr. Greger’s guidelines in “How Not To Die.” I got the book 63 days ago – exactly 9 weeks today. I also want to say special thanks to Chef AJ for her always helpful advice, as well as the great advice from Plant Based Gabriel and Potato Strong Guy. All very supportive!
In these past 9 weeks, by following Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen and avoiding animal products and oils, and limiting any intake of sugars and salt as much as is practical, my weight has dropped 8.0 kg = 17.6 lb.
In total, since I began my WFPB voyage some years ago (I’ve had ups and downs) I am down a net 25.6 kg = 56 lb.
I’m convinced WFPB is the way for me to go for the rest of my life.
Note: Since I am also concerned about my weight I am also logging my calories in MyFitnessPal and limiting my net calories (food in minus exercise) to 1800 calories/day. Calories do count – whether you count them or not. I find this easiest for me, and my daily loggings of food, exercise, and weight is a sanity check for me. I’m convinced that this logging is what has prevented a complete rebound for the first time in my life. Today is also MyFitnessPal streak day 2,396!
The only exception to my calorie logging is the 1 tablespoon of walnuts I have been adding to each green salad. Dr. Greger advises having 1 tablespoon of walnuts with each green salad when no other fats are added, and also reports that doing so is shown not to adversely affect weight loss. I was skeptical, but it’s safe to say that so far the walnuts have not hurt me.
I have also increased my exercise. While I am not at Dr. Greger’s recommended 90 minutes a day yet, I’m happy to report I have done at least some exercise (walking or cycling) every day these past 9 weeks.
I don’t think there has been a noticeable change in my blood pressure so far, but my doctor says my current blood pressure is not a worry.
I do have high blood sugar, HbA1c, though. I am looking forward to my next quarterly blood test on December 15th. I hope it has dropped and that I can say, “Hahaha! Whole grains and fruits don’t hurt my blood sugar!” We’ll see. I’ll report when I get those results. I expect my blood sugar will have gone down simply because of the weight loss. That has been my past experience.
In the meanwhile I am feeling fine. I definitely have more energy. I do not feel deprived. I don’t feel like I am missing anything. If I ever get tempted at all by something I shouldn’t have I just say my mantra, “stay the course” and go past it.
So – stay the course!

How Not To Die

Since starting Dr. Michael Greger’s book, “How Not to Die” on October 9 I’m down 5.2 kg = 11.5 lb. My total weight loss so far is 22.8 kg = 50.2 lb. Yes – over 50 lb now!
I highly recommend the book. It’s the best health and nutrition book I’ve ever read. It’s also the only book in that category I’ve ever gifted to friends and relatives! I’m that excited by it.
I’ve had ups and downs over the last few years, and still have quite a ways to go, but I’m on a weight loss streak again. I’m in “healthy eating” mode. I attribute that mostly to:
(1) Dr. Greger’s book for getting me psyched again. Following his “Daily Dozen” has been helpful and revealing. I’m doing some things I hadn’t been doing carefully before. I’m adding a tablespoon of walnuts to my green salads. I’m also adding ground flaxseed, which I never bought before. I’m making sure to get in my daily servings of cruciferous veggies, other veggies, whole grains, legumes, and fruits – particularly berries, and a variety of spices, including turmeric – also a first for me. And I’m exercising more. Obviously all of that has given me a boost!
(2) The encouragement and advice of people like Chef AJ (who taught me the best way to air fry potatoes), Plant Based Gabriel and Potato Strong guy, all who have been supportive and have great advice. You can find them all on FaceBook.
And onward! Stay the course!

And the best diet advice is…

I started a discussion in a healthy eating / diet group I’m a member of (Whole Foods Plant Based) and it generated a lot of comments. A lot! I tallied the opinions expressed, and thought my friends might find the results interesting.

As I have experienced in the past, a lot of the info is contradictory, so ultimately I need to use my best judgment and sort out what is practical for me and what is not.

The numbers are the numbers of mentions of that opinion. I’ve listed in the order of most comments expressing a particular opinion.

– Calorie limits (in vs out) and tracking are needed: 27

– Limiting starches is needed: 11

– Chef AJ is helpful (and her new book): 10

– No food limits are needed: 9

– Intermittent fasting is helpful: 8
– Everyone is different (what works for some doesn’t work for others): 8

– Calorie tracking/limits are not needed: 6

– More exercise is needed: 5

– Portion control is important: 4
– I’m eating too few calories: 4
– Greens are important: 4
– Dr. Joel Fuhrman is helpful: 4
– Weight Watchers is helpful: 4
– Nuts, nut butters, processed grains, avocados, etc. will hurt weight loss: 4

– Calorie density is key or all that matters: 3
– Avoid sugars, dairy, excess oil, processed food, fried foods: 3

– Adding more starches is needed: 2
– Eating fruits is good: 2
– Lots of beans and veggies are good: 2
– Fruit should be limited: 2
– Starch/carb calories don’t count as much as fat calories: 2
– Aging slows your metabolism: 2
– Following Engine 2 resulted in weight loss slowing down: 2
– WFPB is for everyone: 2
– Drinking more water is helpful: 2
– Crack and meth are bad: 2
– Salads are good: 2
– Gut health is important: 2
– Dried fruits and fruit juices hurt weight loss: 2
– Increasing fiber is helpful: 2
– Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson is helpful: 2
– RH fitness in the UK is helpful: 2
– Dr. McDougall’s Starch Solution is helpful: 2
– The time of day you eat is important: 2
– Going to a program center is helpful: 2
– Amla Green is helpful: 2
– WFPB is about healthy eating, not about losing weight: 2

– Gbombs are good: 1
– Chef AJ didn’t really help: 1
– Juice cleanses help: 1
– Smoothies are good: 1
– Nutritionfacts.org is useful: 1
– Keto is bad: 1
– Nutritionists and therapists can help: 1
– No exercise is needed: 1
– Never eat until you are full: 1
– Eat whenever you are hungry: 1
– Dr. Neal Barnard is helpful: 1
– Dr. Doug Lisle is helpful: 1
– Yo-yo dieting makes it harder to lose weight: 1
– Menopause makes it hard to lose weight: 1
– Humans are herbivores: 1
– Humans are omnivores: 1
– Keto works for no one: 1
– Keto works for some people: 1
– WFPB is a lifestyle, not a diet: 1
– Overeaters Anonymous is helpful: 1
– Barbara O’Neil’s Proper Diet is helpful: 1
– Strength training is helpful: 1
– Brightlineeating.com is helpful: 1
– Limiting high fats and adding starches is all you need: 1
– White rice is not good: 1
– Beachbody 21 day fix is helpful: 1
– Dr. Alan Goldhammer is helpful: 1
– I may be in starvation mode: 1
– Mastering Diabetes is helpful: 1
– The Pleasure Trap is helpful: 1
– The Power of Habit is helpful: 1
– Starches are just side, not main courses: 1
– Mindset breakthrough sessions are helpful: 1
– Calories don’t count: 1

Diet update – home again with vegan, non-oil

While I have lost 5 kg = 11 lb the last 10 weeks by just calorie counting I didn’t really feel like I was moving off my plateau much. So last Friday, after getting my latest blood test results, I decided to be more pro-active and “come home again” to a vegan, non-oil diet.

In just one week I’ve lost 2.6 kg = 5.7 lb! So over half of what I have lost these past 10 weeks was just in the last week!

What I’m doing differently this time:

  • I’m paying more attention to calorie density (calories per lb) as recommended by various vegan, non-oil doctors. The idea is that you should get full on whole, vegan foods which are lower in calorie density (e.g. potatoes, rice, legumes, non-starchy vegetables, fruits) and avoid those which are extremely high in calorie density (e.g. noodles, breads, and oils in particular).
  • I’m limiting tofu. It’s not high in calorie density, but it is almost half fat. And not particularly filling.
  • I decided to not have any diet colas. I think they trigger sugar urges. I’m mostly drinking just water, and sometimes unsweetened green or black tea.
  • I am avoiding foods where the main ingredient is sugar, such as sorbets or icicles.

I’m not eliminating all sugars from my diet. If a particular vegan, non-oil food has some sugar in the ingredients I don’t really care.

What I found is that that I went from having sugar cravings for sorbet this summer to no sugar cravings at all within just the first few days.

I’ve also been eating a lot of potatoes and almost no rice. I think that’s a major difference from my first go-round with vegan, non-oil dieting. Rice is ok, but it does trigger some hunger urges. Also the calorie density of rice is considerably higher than potatoes. I’m not completely avoiding rice. If I’m outside and all I can get is a rice ball to eat for lunch and I’m hungry, I’ll have it. But I have no rice at home.

I have lots of salad stuff, little packages of corn for the salads, legumes like garbanzo beans and red kidney beans, non-oil dressing, potatoes, other non-starchy vegetables and other things I might get for a snack like some pickles, or the occasional fruit. I’m not eating much fruit though. I’m not having any cravings for anything sweet.

I really like potatoes microwaved, moistened with some soy milk, and topped with nutritional yeast, which gives it a cheesy flavor. A huge plate is only a few hundred calories and filling for hours.

It’s only been one week but I find my hunger urges are largely abated, so I’m not really eating in-between meals. I’m also not eating late at night. So basically I’m fasting ever day for over 12 hours – from my dinner until breakfast the next morning. I’m not really doing that intentionally, I just find if I eat a filling meal at around 6 or 7 pm that I’m just not hungry after that.

My meals consist of a nice salad with corn and non oil dressing, followed by something like 300-400 g of potatoes. There is some variation, but it’s mostly like that.

My energy has increased, and I’ve been taking more bike rides. The fact that the weather has cooled off a bit may have contributed to that.

I am logging calories. Calories do count (whether you count them or not). I notice that eating this way my net calorie intake has dropped a lot. Which of course explains the weight loss.

I feel this way of eating could be sustainable. So I look forward to going back to the doctors in three months and blowing them away with fantastic blood test results!